Monday, April 20, 2009

Shop till you drop!

Well, we survived Songkran, Thai New Year...aka Water Festival. People had the whole week's kinda like Christmas vacation back in the states but Thai style. Some go back to their hometown and visit family. Other consider it vacation time. But those who stay in the city...boy do they party. They spend 3 days throwing water at each other and everyone else who passes by and I mean everyone. The highlight of it all was that there was not much traffic ...which is very rare for Bangkok...but nice. It felt like a Sunday everyday!!!

So, what to do with some days off? Act like tourist with our guest, remember, Amanda and Frank. Off to the Floating Market. I like to shop but this is a totally different experience. You grab one of the boats..and trust me there are many...and just ride along the river back and forth and SHOP till you drop or till you run out of Baht. I controlled myself though, which was not too easy. The only thing we bought was some sticky rice with mango which is irresistible, Amanda would agree and you all know Jeff never says "No" to food. You can buy souvenirs, clothes, food, vegetables, fruits and anything you could think of. This is the cool part, if you like something you see, just signal your boat driver, he maneuvers his way through, the owner of the shop gets his long stick with a hook on the end, grabs on to your boat and pulls you in...isn't that neat. But remember "keep all hands inside the boat at all times"...seriously!

Let the bargaining begin...

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Jungle Book ... Tarzan... The Bronx Zoo... The Circus... These are some of the places I think of when I think of elephants or maybe they were the only places I could remember ever being exposed to these massive wonderful creatures. All I can say after spending a day with them was WOW!! but before we go into that let me explain how we got to this magnificent privilege to play jungle book.

As we explained in our last blog we have been very busy here in Thailand and when are we not your probably saying. But hey that's what we're doing staying busy. You know what they say 2 or 3 tasks a day keeps the devil away.( nothing against apples or dentists but thanks for the borrowed nursery rhyme reference) We got back from the southern part of Thailand to be greeted by another Thai assembly for the next weekend. We thought that maybe it would be a good chance to kick the shoes off and take in the breeze since we just enjoyed the program already. But to no avail I received a phone call to sign the opening song of the public talk after the intermission. AAAAAHHHH!!! As you can see I was just a little nervous. Well just enough to faint maybe once. What do I do? how do I prepare? I'll explain soon enough. Before the assembly we had our pioneer meeting ...which was very encouraging not because we knew Thai enough to understand but the fact that it was the first to be interpreted to sign. We have one deaf Japanese brother who is a pioneer with his wife and they are here serving as needgreaters.

What was most encouraging was the fact that with just one Deaf there all the effort was done to relay the encouraging information to him. Now I don't know if you understand me here BUT JUST ONE DEAF!!! You see Jehovah makes sure that everyone even if is just one gets the

opportunity to learn about him. So any of you who read this and are struggling in learning a new language because either you moved to serve in another country or in a foreign language group in your own territory. Don't give up!!! if you notice anyone in your territory who doesn't speak your language. Wouldn't it be awesome to learn their language even if it's just the greeting. The effort will be most definitely blessed. O.k enough of the soapbox speech. After that I was pumped now to prepare the song. With the help of A.S.L DVD, God's spirit ,I was on my way. The day of the assembly I was a wreck and when I got up to do the song My legs were shaking like leaves in the wind but all in all it went well.

Wow so much rambling I forgot about the elephants. We had guests over from another part of Asia, Frank and Mandy... so Meli and I decided to play tour guides and what fun we had with our guests. They were awesome and we'll miss them. We had a great opportunity to see many parts of Bangkok like the famous Floating Market...which I'll write more about later... and also some elephant trekking... which was the best part. As I said in the onset WOW what a wonderful animal. We truly fell in love with these magnificent beasts and I think Melissa wanted to take one home. We have still so much to write about so come back and visit and don't worry I told Melissa to take the elephant back.

Krabi??? let's catch up...we're a little behind...

Guess what? We received a phone call from the Branch Office..."there's a need in Krabi for sign language...are you willing to move?" That's where our trip began. It started with Surat Thani...just a few kilometers from Krabi. This is where the Circuit Assembly was being held that weekend. Hence, the reason for our trip..."to spy out the land".

Took the night train 10 hours to Surat 2 sisters at the train station and off to a Thai Sign Language Class...yes...still no sleep...but don't worry we're used to it...worked nights back home! Had an awesome class. Our teacher was great...Danish fellow! Learned about classifiers and practiced more signs. Off to the hotel ...eventually we needed some sleep!

Our first Thai Assembly...different experience. Met sooooo many need greaters from Finland, Sweden, Philippines, Hawaii, Canada, England, Australia and the list goes on. And for the Deaf, there were about 7 new ones. The rest of us were there for support. The sisters and brothers involved in interpreting the entire assembly did amazing. It did not look easy at all...but they were always smiling. Although we still do not understand much Thai yet, there is always this sense of comfortness when you are around your brothers and sisters...and that's what we felt.
Now as to moving? We've prayed long and hard. Had great discussions with others who have done the same...who have received that same call and who have needed to make that same decision. They all have seen many we finally decided to go for it!

It's gonna be an interesting year...but we still have to write about the memorial, our friends visiting, elephant trekking, floating markets, Songkran, Protesters, Thai Assembly in Bangkok, Jeff's first Thai Sign Language song...and much more.

By the way, we just got some good news: we've been invited to the international convention in Kenya. Let's hope, with Jehovah's willing, we can go.