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Finally some time to post! More to come…

June 20, 2007

Hello all!
 
    Well after a week of adjusting to an eleven hour time difference, I’m just now starting gain my energy back!  Who would have thought jet-lag could be so hard?  I’m probably just going to write a ton of random stuff (I’ll do my best to organize it!), so here it goes!  By the way, there may be a ton of people who would like me to add them to this mailing list, so if you know anyone who would be interested in receiving updates and pictures etc., give me their email or have them email me and I will add them. 
 
    I had my first day of teaching today (half day) so we’ll start there.  I’m teaching 10th and 11th grade English, and 9th, 10th, and 11th History.  My 10th graders are a lively bunch of teenagers!  I’m excited but slightly nervous about teaching them.  Focusing all of their energy to productive use could be a challenge!  I only have four 11th graders and they are extremely nice and very good at English.  It’s a huge challenge teaching when I’ve never done so before.  I would say the hardest thing that I believe I will encounter is relaying what I know about English in ways they can understand, and making my lessons throughout the year flow together as opposed to a bunch of lessons that stand on their own. 
 
   The school is a fairly nice school.  We do have air conditioning in the rooms, a library, a computer lab, pretty much everything a school in the states would have.  Most of these students come from middle/upper class families.  Right outside of my townhouse/apartment they are building the new gym…so I’m usually up around 6 everyday…even on the weekends! 😦
 
   Okay, life in Thailand.  Let me begin with culture shocks.
 
1.  Most people don’t use toilet paper in their bathrooms!!  They use that spray thing (I don’t know the name of it).  So, I went to the store to get toilet paper, but my teacher friend said they don’t use it.  Needless to say, that has been an adjustment.  However!! the spray things works pretty darn well!! 🙂
 
2.  I can’t communicate with Thai people.  Of course I knew I couldn’t, but being here is totally different than hearing about it.  There is a Walmart type store (Big C) down the street.  I went in there to get stuff, and it was so hard trying to get what you needed.  All the directions are in Thai and so it would be impossible to ask anyone to help you.  Thankfully I have some good thai friends (my friend Matt who taught here last year told them to look out for me), have helped me out tremendously.  Now, I just need to learn some words!
 
3.  It’s so darn hot!!!  Imagine Thomasville/South GA in July, and then add a humidity that reaches 90%, then think of that day in day out and you have Thailand!!  It’ pretty crazy.  But, you get used to it.  Enjoy your nice cool weather Thomasville! 😉
 
Okay, what else…I live in a suburb of Bangkok called Nonthaburi.  I have it explained to me that Nonthaburi is the Brooklyn of Bangkok.  There are tons of people, but I would say it’s pretty safe.  I did see a motorcyclist who got smashed by a car in the middle of the street one night after dinner (that’s was pretty emotionally draining to me), but apparently this happens all the time.  I hope he survived, but from the response of the Thai people who saw it (who are pretty non-expressive usually), he probably didn’t make it.  That was a tough night for me.
 
Bangkok has about 10 million people in it.  I’ve been to a few of the malls, and they are huge and so many people in them.  It’s definitely different than living in Thomasville.  But I’ve really enjoyed it.  I probably would never have lived in a big city in America, so this has been a cool change. 
 
Okay, for a little Thai culture.  I’m only going to write about one thing and add more later.  Thais have an expression called “losing face.”  Thailand is called the Land of Smiles because Thai people believe that you should never show frustration or express anger (like yelling etc) to other people.  If you do it you “lose face” and it’s very shameful.  So in terms of teaching my students, no matter what I cannot yell at them or get show out so to speak.  Conversely, one of the best ways to get them to behave is to call them out in front of their classmates, which causes them to lose face and be ashamed.  Buddhist mentality definitely affects their attitude on life tremendously and this is one of the ways it does. 
 
Buddhism obviously is extremely influential here.  There are not many Christians, but I see that changing.  I went to a Christian event on Saturday called NewSong where a group of about 50 or 60 thai/americans met up in a room near a mall (kind of like an attic) and had worship and heard the word.  It’s was so good!!  It was precious seeing Thais worship the King of Kings.  A new friend of mine (Toh) is a Buddhist who has been going to NewSong for awhile and is very interested in Christianity.  He sings the songs, and loves the fellowship.  I truly believe the Spirit of Christ has been manifested in his heart, and now he needs to make a confession of what the Spirit has been doing.  Unfortunately, doing so may alienate him from a great deal of family and friends.  This would be hard for anyone to do.  Pray for people like Toh who are extremely curious about the gospel (maybe already embrace it) but cannot or will not confess it for fear of rejections.  Family is sooooo important over here (way more so than in America), and it would be devastating to lose family for Christianity.  The words of Jesus about bringing a sword ring true right now (see Matthew 11?).
 
Anyway, I could keep going, but I need to go to some teacher work.  I hope this give you an idea about life over here.  I’m falling in love with Thai people, they are so friendly and I’ve already made some wonderful friends.  So far everything has been delightful…oh yeah before I forget, you can eat a good thai meal (if you like japanese/rice, chicken etc) you would like thai for less than a dollar at some places.  My lunch today (cashew chicken and a coke) cost me about $1.50.  It was great!  So everything is good.  Pray that God gives me wisdom in teaching (I don’t really know how!), and that I would engage my students in fun and exciting ways.  Pray that I would live out the gospel in love, joy, peace, and kindness to them.  This job is a huge ministry with huge implications.  God is moving and I just want to be his ambassador.  Pray for these students and their parents (!!) that their hearts would be softened to the gospel and the light of Christ would outshine the darkness of Satan.  Thanks so much for your prayers.
 
In His love,

Jonathan

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 4, 2007 1:07

    Sorry 😦

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