Our first full day of the trip was an adventure. It started with an American and Thai breakfast buffet at the hotel. Our first stop was at the Grand Palace; the colors and textures were unlike anything I have ever seen. In the photo, you can see the attention to detail in each “yaksha” (demon guard) and the gold plated structure they are supporting. The large crowds consisted of both tourists and individuals paying homage. As a pilgrim, I believe that I was a part of both groups. Our pilgrimage to Thailand and Myanmar combines the spiritual and physical journey, thus creating an entirely new way to encounter God.
One of the main takeaways from today was the warmth and hospitality shown to our group. As we traversed the river on our “Long-tail” boat, a vendor rowed out to greet us. She listed many of the things in her canoe and then with a big smile held up a beautiful green hat. I believe she was offering us her best, something she was proud of. It made me think about the inventory God has put in my “canoe”. Can you articulate your best? Even more, will you row out and joyfully share it with the next passerby?
From early on in life my desire has been to follow God and serve Him in any capacity that was available to me. My grandparents, who actively involved me in the spiritual life of our family, raised me in a Christian household.
I accepted Christ as my personal savior when I was nine years old. As a teenager I felt a strong, consuming desire to do more with my life, especially as it related to life within the staging church. After much prayer and spiritual counseling, I answered the call to preach when I was 16 and delivered my first sermon when I was 17, becoming the fourth generation of pastors/ministers in my family. Eventually, my responsibilities within the staging church increased. I have served as Youth Minister, Associate Minister, Assistant Pastor, Interim Pastor, and Senior Pastor in churches in Missouri and Texas.