Upon arrival

It’s been six days. We’ve been here most of one full week and it feels like a month. The days feel long and the distance back across that ocean longer.

We spent the first several days just trying to get our feet under us in this city with the sweetest tour guides we could possibly have been given. They’re seasoned missionaries and they know the ropes in this place. I imagine we must look a little like wide-eyed children to them as we attempt pitifully to take it all in.

It became clear fairly quickly on arrival that Levi isn’t tolerating busy city life healthwise, largely due to the air pollution from the incredible number of vehicles. It’s hard to explain but we’re staying on the edge of an ancient moat. Cars, trucks, motorbikes, tuk tuks, and songthaews cruise around the moat day and night. In a word, it’s loud. In another word, it’s exhaust-y. And Levi, sensitive as his little airways are, just isn’t thriving.

We came to Chiang Mai for language school, although our sights are set on Sukhothai. But we learned on Monday, quite by providence, that the language school offers classes through Skype. While it may not be quite as effective to not be in an actual classroom, the benefits of this flexibilty seem to outweight the drawbacks. Because we were going to have to drag the little boys to class, require them to be still and quiet for two hours, drag them through the long walk back and then somehow also make time to study what we’re learning. We’re told it’s intense and we don’t want to neglect them. They’re our first mission field, after all.

So today we got registered. We pick up our books Friday and begin classes on Monday. Three days a week, two hours a day. I hope to soon be speaking to you in Thai. 🙂

And with the matter of language school settled, our focus is now on getting our actual visas, which requires a trip out of the country and back in. Crazy, since we just arrived in this country but it’s the way it works. We’re also praying for God to open the way to a house if we’re to move on to Sukhothai. It seems pretty clear to us that He’s leading that direction and we even found a house with solid potential. Now we wait and pray to see if it’s the one.

It’s rainy season here and during our visit to Sukhothai on Monday and Tuesday of this week, the rain waters were so high that it was seeping beyond the walls and flooding lowlying homes. People were standing on the road looking at their houses partially submerged in water. One couple sat on a bench of some sort atop the water in front of their house and appeared to just be staring, powerless.

I don’t for a minute mean to say I’m glad for what’s happening there right now, but I am thankful I got to glimpse it. Because since we arrived I’ve largely felt nothing. It’s like there’s some disconnect from the compassion I generally feel for people when they’re hurting. But seeing, even for a few moments from the window of the vehicle we were in, the struggle those people appeared to be patiently and quietly enduring quickened something in my heart that I had feared was dead.

Maybe there’s life within me yet. Praise God!

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