"If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?"
-David Livingstone

April 9, 2011

Highlights of the Last Couple Months...

I’ve had much that I wanted to write about, but I haven’t seemed to be able to make myself sit down long enough to quite complete my thoughts.

For me one of the biggest highlights of the last couple months would definitely have to be our completely epic camping adventure.

Sabbath afternoon as we were sitting around the little round table in the Sharon’s bamboo living room on the tail end of our quite delectable lunch, someone had what I thought to be a completely brilliant suggestion.

“Why don’t we go camping?”

I was quick to second the vote.

For a girl that’s been rather housebound for the last several months this was, this was....... Really it was pretty much our (Jabe and my, that is) declaration of independence.
You see, there’s something you should know about me… I dream about backpacking trips! In fact, where other people crave chocolate, or eating, or sleeping…(you get my drift), I crave camping.

And so after throwing extra formula and warm clothes for Jabez into my back pack we were on our way.
I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, but having Jabez and all (despite my protests on actually possessing legs which are in working order...), I was elected to be the passenger on the back of the bike for the trip up into the mountains while the others would walk. And so Jason, Memewah, Jabe, and I piled onto the motorbike and were off! Now this is by most standards a pretty exciting road… It trails up the mountains repeatedly crossing and re-crossing through the river. Probably 4 or 5 river crossings later we found what we deemed to be a satisfactory camping site where Jason left us off while he returned to ferry up the remaining hikers.

Now by most standards this would probably have been classified as survival camping. But this, surviving? No, I believe I'll call it thriving! For gear we had a military canteen, a machete, and some rice. For meals we squatted around and ate off of the same large banana leaf, dumping the cooked rice in the middle and then scooping it into portions for each of us along the sides of the leaf. This is the life! No plates. No silverware. No cups. (Bamboo works great for both cups and water containers, as well as a serving platter for the vegetables.) We found various leafs, flowers, and ferns that were quickly reduced to a remarkably delectable curry. That, as well as roasted chillies...causing me to cough and sputter in turns through part of my meal. (One point which, seeing as I haven't exactly mastered the eating of, seriously messes with my new Karen identity.:/)

Later that night we had worship on the mat by the fire and then all slept around it on the mat and in hammocks. As I sat barely able to tear my eyes away from the fire, I decided that I could definitely live here.:) That was a looong night. It was bitterly cold and I soon decided that it was a very unwise idea to not have brought any blankets for myself along. I'd already wrapped Jabez up in everything warm that I had brought but I continued to repeatedly check on him, concerned that it wasn't enough. As I lay there shivering in the dark with him in my arms, my thoughts went out to all the Karen mothers out in the mountains together with their small children - whether in rickety shacks, or fleeing through the jungle - who have no way - nothing, or at least little more than scraps of clothing - with which to chase away the cold. It broke my heart. Of course, I always thought it was sad, but it wasn't 'til that night that the impact hit me of what that must do to a mother's heart. When there's nothing you can do...

After breakfast the next morning we headed back down, this time with three adults together with Jabez on the seat of the bike. I wasn't so sure about it...mostly because of Jabe. (I wish you could see the bike piled like that! It's something that in the States we just wouldn't do. Someday I'll get pictures.) We made it out without even falling down (despite some close calls), which proved my nervousness over the whole situation completely unfounded. So as I was saying, it was an amazing experience. I wish I would have had a camera along.

I’ve been finding myself on a lot of long bus rides lately. For never having been in the Bangkok bus station before in the more than a year that I've been here, now going through it eight times or more in the last two months is a lot.

First to Cambodia, then to visit Emily in Bangkok, then back up to the school to help out for a little over a week, and finally this last week found me in Laos for one of our infamous visa runs. This time I took a more lengthy route through Laos to get to Vientiane where the Thai embassy is located. Lisa Sharon gives a much better description of that trip on her blog than I could ever give. You should read it.:) (Copy and paste: http://sharons.jesus4asia.org/wp/?p=1051#comments) Thankfully, I do love travelling, although bus rides get old quickly.

And Jabe. Nope, no ill affects from the camping adventure whatsoever. If I had to sum him all up in two words they would have to be: Has grown. He will be 7-months-old this week. He’s definitely developing personality! And a vocal 'lil feller at that - forever cooing, squealing, or just making his thoughts known... I believe that I have good reason to fear the day he begins to talk!:) Several weeks ago now the day finally arrived for him to learn to sleep through the night minus any feedings. (To my great joy, I may add!) Normally he would have been taught much earlier in life, but in his case, with all his setbacks and being as underweight as he was, it didn't seem like a very good idea. (I should add that not only did he make it up to weight, but the nickname Mr. Pudge suits him quite nicely at moment!)

Praise the Lord...for life in general!:)

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