I have arrived safe and sound and I have to tell you all that your prayers were tangible. I actually felt the weight and influence of them and it was quite a wonderful sensation. The flights were smooth as silk, I made all of my connections without a hitch and Pat and Sam were waiting for me as soon as I walked through customs.
There was one minor snafu because I left blank the question of where I would be staying in Bangkok. They asked, "which hotel?" I said I wasn't staying in a hotel, I was staying with friends. "What is the address of your friends?" I said I didn't know. "What is the phone number of your friends?" Well, I didn't know that either. "Are they Thai?" "No, they are American missionaries." The poor thing was a bit flummoxed so we played 20 questions for a few minutes. I kept telling her I was staying at YWAM Bangkok but she kept insisting on an address. I kept smiling and telling her I didn't know what it was. She finally sighed and told me to write YWAM Bangkok in the address box. I did and the guy at the next counter waved me right on through without even glancing at it!
I must admit it probably seems a bit silly to come to a large city in a completely foreign country, where I don't speak or read the language and not have the slightest idea where I am going or how to get in touch with the people I am staying with, but I have been so convinced of God's leading in every aspect of this trip that I knew it would all work out, and it did. Flawlessly.
Actually, I could get quite used to serving the Lord like this. I ate when they brought me food, slept when I was tired, watched an inspiring movie based on a true story, read a book that left me in even greater awe of our awesome God, chatted with an interesting fellow sitting next to me, and finally hugged two of my dearest friends from my YWAM days whom I haven't seen in 30 years! Such sacrifice for the Kingdom!
Pat and Sam have been faithfully serving the Lord in various places in Thailand for 26 years now. They raised all three of their children on the mission field. This is a spiritually dark country with less than 1% of the population confessing Jesus. I'm sure you and I can only applaud one day as we watch a crown of glory being placed in their heads to throw back at the Lord's feet. I am deeply humbled by their sacrifice and devotion for the sake of God's Kingdom.
I am staying in their simple Thai house in Bangkok rather than on a YWAM base, which surprised me, so I'm not sure of the set-up yet. But then again, I didn't even know their phone number! We are headed off to church in a few minutes and lunch with their pastor afterward.
Tomorrow morning I begin the first two lectures in the "discipleship seminar" for the women of Tamar Center.
I am praying, and rest in your prayers, that God will do, "exceedingly, abundantly above all I could ask or think." I am His willing vessel and know that He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. It is my prayer that as I minister His love I will find my soul is truly, deeply, satisfied in Him, and that He will glorify Himself through me and show Himself to these women because of your prayers.
To quote a prayer of William Wilberforce, "Oh Lord, purify my soul from all its stains. Warm my heart with the love of Thee, animate my sluggish nature and fix my inconstancy and volatility, that I might not be weary in well-doing." This is my prayer for myself, for Pat and Sam and for each of you as we endeavor to serve the Lord with all our heart, soul, mind and strength in the place He has called us to.
With gratitude to God and all of you, Catherine