This morning we landed in Bangkok, slept for a few hours, and then hit the road running. We managed to pack in a visit to the staging cafe for some great coffee, a fantastic lunch, RIDING ELEPHANTS, a cultural show, a boat ride, and a wonderful dinner with Rev. Dr. Thawesak Mahachavaroj and his family. At dinner, Rev. Dr. Thawesak Mahachavaroj prayed over our pilgrimage and thanked us for coming to experience Bangkok and a new culture. I am thankful for the opportunity to meet him and for the adventures he blessed us with today.
We spent a good portion of today at the Rose Garden which was great, mostly because it was beautiful. The vegetation was green and lush. The flowers were in bloom adding color to the scenery. The river ran right by the garden, allowing us to take a stroll and stare out at the water chestnut plants growing along the shore. It also gave us the opportunity to interact with several Thai people, although the language barrier made that a little bit of a struggle.
Life here is different. Buildings are more colorful. The traffic is insane. The vegetation is green (which is a huge change coming from a bleak Missouri winter). Elephants are common. The people are friendly and more gentle than the people I encounter in the Midwest. I really am a world away from home.
But as I was wandering around the Rose Garden today, taking in the sites and waving and smiling at people in lieu of using language, all I could think about was the beauty of everything. The beautiful colors, the beautiful people, and the beautiful new creatures. Being a world away from home reveals God’s creativity in a whole new way. The same God that created the crazy Missouri weather and the people that live there also created Thailand’s tropical climate and the people that live here. How cool is it that we believe in a God that is big enough to embody all cultures? That is creative enough to think of a snowy winter morning and a tropical Thailand sunrise. That creates creatures as intelligent as elephants. Thailand reveals God’s creativity in a new way. So as I continue to adapt to the changing environment around me, I am thankful that the God I serve was creative enough to make a world where so many different cultures can coexist, a world where every place we visit is an invitation to experience God’s creativity anew.
“The vocation of the “pastor-theologian” is one that appeals deeply to my personal sense of calling. I have never felt particularly gifted as a “shepherd pastor,” or a “CEO pastor,” but have always had an abiding spiritual curiosity that has led me to seek God both intellectually and in community. Working on a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree at Central gave me the valuable freedom to explore theology and biblical studies more deeply than I could have imagined. I not only learned how to conduct research in my field of New Testament studies, but I learned how to better form my own questions in search of answers. Central helped me to realize my own vision of making biblical scholarship accessible to the local parish, a vision that I hope to carry well into my future.”