Krabi Boats 8

 Shoes door

One of the customs I love in Thailand is removing my shoes before entering a home. The purpose of this custom is based on the fact that most of the dirt brought into a home is stuck on the bottom of shoes. Therefore, in order to keep the dirt out, the simple solution is to keep the dirt on the shoes outside the door thus ensuring we do not walk dirt into a clean house.

mac waiThai culture is unique and wonderful, very different from my own warm South African upbringing.  We first noticed this in 2014, when we first arrived in Thailand, and quickly learned about appropriate ways to behave in public using gestures which are considered acceptable and normal. However, after arriving from our first home assignment it felt like we had to go through it all over again.

We were so excited to get back to Thailand after 6 months in S.A. How would our Thai friends react when they saw us again? We didn’t think about all that because for 6 months we traveled throughout S.A seeing family and friends again after 2.5 years, it was loud, intimate (hugs and kisses) and waving while still far off.

 But we quickly had to ‘snap out of it’, and remember to smile, wai and bow slightly while  inwardly containing the urge to hug or speak loudly. Imagine the embarrassment after our  feverish waves were returned with a smiles, bows and wais. All part of our daily learning experience as church planters in South Thailand.

Our house in Phrom Khiri is near the district office, and recently they held an installation service for a new Buddha statue/idol placed in the front (it is the black statue in the photo). Caleb, our oldest son, was out playing soccer with the other Thai kids in the neighborhood that night, and they wandered over to look at the statue. All the other kids told Caleb to "wai" the statue. Usually the "wai" done with the hands is a form of Thai greeting, but in religious situations it is a form of worship and a sign of respect. An adult also motioned for Caleb to "wai" the idol as well. Would Caleb “wai” or not, and did he understand why he should not?

On our recent Adventure camp there was one teenager that was always sitting outside the group and it was a struggle to get him to participate in any of the activities. Sadly towards the end of the camp he was warming up and starting to interact with some of the other campers. Camp was over and as leaders we were disheartened that we were not able to break into his world and find out what was truly taking place in his heart and give him the guidance that he needed.