Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Narlin went to the room and found Tina sprawled on the floor crying. We took her downstairs and checked if everything was well with her. Fortunately, there was no broken bones and big bumps except for a small bluish swelling on her right cheek. We put ice pack to reduce the swelling and to give some relief to the pain she was experiencing. We delayed her sleep for an hour and observed her to make sure that everything was really alight.
We woke the next morning and she seemed to be fine. That was until she was in school. While Narlin was teaching at the school, Tina’s adviser approached her and said that Tina had been crying the whole morning. The reason was her bruised was painful. So after Narlin’s class we went straight to Mae Sai hospital and had her checked by the doctor. The doctor thought that an x-ray would be required, so we have to wait two hours because we came during the break. We had our lunch at the hospital.
The result: no broken bones but the inflammation on her cheek was not looking good. She had to take medicine for several days but she will be fine.
We need to get rid of the bunkers but it means we need more space for bedroom. This what made us think that our decision to get another house for the boys is a very good idea. The children are growing. Boys and girls could no longer share the small space upstairs. And besides the Thai government requires boys and girls to stay on separate buildings.
At first, we were thinking of a place that we could use for ministry like English learning and training center. But if it is the reason, we are willing to forget about the idea and we almost did.
We have been moving stuff for a week now. The boys are sleeping in the new house starting tonight. Tina does not need to sleep on top bunk. There will be enough space for everyone.
This means additional expenses. But we believe that God will provide. We are grateful for our family and friends who remember us in their prayers.
Friday, September 14, 2012
I stumbled on the lecture notes by Professor Malcolm David Eckel, Ph.D. an Associate Professor of Religion in Boston University. I found his lecture notes enlightening and current. I will be posting fragments of his lectures here.
The lecture is a survey of the history of Buddhism from its origin in India in the sixth century B.C.E. to contemporary times in America. The course is meant to introduce students to the astonishing vitality and adaptability of a tradition that has transformed the civilizations of India, Southeast Asia, Tibet, China, Korea, and Japan and has now become a lively component in the cultures of Europe, Australia, and the Americas.
The lecture begins by exploring the religious and cultural world of the Buddha in ancient India. To understand the Buddha’s contribution to the religious history of the world, it is important to know the problems he inherited and the options that were available to him to solve them. In ancient India, before the time of the Buddha, these problems were expressed in the Vedas, the body of classical Hindu scriptures. The Vedas introduce us to scholars and ritual specialists who searched for the knowledge that would free them from the cycle of death and rebirth. The Buddha inherited this quest for knowledge and directed it to his own distinctive ends.
Born as Siddhartha Gautama into a princely family in northern India about 566 B.C.E., the Buddha left his father’s palace and took up the life of an Indian ascetic. The key moment in his career came after years of difficult struggle, when he sat down under a tree and “woke up” to the cause of suffering and to its final cessation. He then wandered the roads of India, gathering a group of disciples and establishing a pattern of discipline that became the foundation of the Buddhist community. The Buddha helped his disciples analyze the causes of suffering and chart their own path to nirvana. Finally, after a long teaching career, he died and passed quietly from the cycle of death and rebirth.
After the Buddha’s death, attention shifted from the Buddha himself to the teachings and moral principles embodied in his Dharma. Monks gathered to recite his teachings and produced a canon of Buddhist scripture, while disputes in the early community paved the way for the diversity and complexity of later Buddhist schools. Monks also developed patterns of worship and artistic expression that helped convey the experience of the Buddha in ritual and art.
The Buddhist King Asoka, who reigned from about 268 to 239 B.C.E., sent the first Buddhist missionaries to Sri Lanka. From this missionary effort grew the Theravada (“Tradition of the Elders”) Buddhism that now dominates all the Buddhist countries of Southeast Asia with the exception of Vietnam. Asoka also left behind the Buddhist concept of a “righteous king” who gives political expression to Buddhist values. This ideal has been embodied in recent times by King Mongkut in Thailand and Aung San Suu Kyi, who won the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent resistance to military repression in Burma.
The Indian tradition was radically transformed by two major new movements. The first was known as the Mahayana (“Great Vehicle”); the second, as Tantra or the Vajrayana (“Diamond Vehicle”). The Mahayana preached the ideal of the bodhisattva who postpones nirvana to help others escape the cycle of rebirth. Tantra developed a vivid and emotionally powerful method to achieve liberation in this life.
Buddhism entered Tibet in the seventh century and established itself as a powerful combination of Indian monasticism and Tantric practice. Tibetan Buddhism eventually developed four major schools, including the Geluk School of the Dalai Lama. Today, the fourteenth Dalai Lama carries Buddhist teaching around the world.
Buddhism entered China in the second century of the common era, at a time when the Chinese people had became disillusioned with traditional Confucian values. To bridge the gap between the cultures of India and China, Buddhist translators borrowed Taoist vocabulary to express Buddhist ideas. Buddhism took on a distinctively Chinese character, becoming more respectful of duties to the family and the ancestors, more pragmatic and this-worldly, and more consistent with traditional Chinese respect for harmony with nature. During the T’ang Dynasty (618–907), Buddhism was expressed in a series of brilliant Chinese schools, including the Ch’an School of meditation that came to be known in Japan as Zen.
Buddhism entered Japan in the sixth century of the common era and soon became allied with the power of the Japanese state. Buddhist Tantra was given distinctive Japanese expression in the Shingon School, and the Tendai School brought the sophisticated study of Chinese Buddhism to the imperial court. During the Kamakura Period (1192–1333), Japan suffered wide social and political unrest. Convinced that they were living in a “degenerate age,” the brilliant reformers Honen (1133–1212), Shinran (1173–1262), and Nichiren (1222–1282) brought a powerful new vision of Buddhism to the masses, The Kamakura Period also saw a series of brilliant Zen masters who gave new life to the ancient tradition of Buddhist meditation.
Since the end of the nineteenth century, Buddhism has become a respected part of life in countries far beyond the traditional home of Buddhism in Asia. The teaching that began on the plains of India 2,500 years ago has now been transformed in ways that would once have been unimaginable, but it still carries the feeling of serenity and freedom that we sense in the image of the Buddha himself.
Thursday, September 13, 2012
“This is the time of the year in Mae Sai when you can experience three seasons in a day”, a Thai friend told us. True enough, the remnant of the summer heat, the rainy season is still at its peak and the cold season is slowly seeping in. Seasons change but God remains faithful to his children. Paul explained this truth to the people in Lystra in Acts 4:17:
Indeed, regardless of the situation, we can testify that the God’s faithfulness never fails and he has filled our hearts with joy. Here are the highlights of our recent activities.
Mother’s Day Celebration
Thai people celebrate the Mother’s day in honor of the Queen’s birthday on 12 August. We were happy to be part of the celebration both in Pantamit church and in the Rongriyan Tesaban 1 (municipal school). To of our children once again won the prizes in the drawing contest held in the school. The holiday also gave us the opportunity to go for picnic and swimming at our favorite place- Khon Nang Nam Nun Lake. We are grateful to the Lord for the break.
ASEAN English Camp
After being postponed for three weeks, the English camp was eventually held on 31 August. A total of 260 students joined the activities of learning English through songs and games.
Chai read the history and purpose of ASEAN in English and she did very well. Tina on the other hand recited an English poem.
Once again, we thank the Lord for the opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the school. The occasion made us know the school supervisor more, develop our friendship with the teachers and we become more involved in the life of the students. We thank the Lord for this privilege of being part of the school family.
New House for the Boys
We have been praying for another place for our other ministries like English teaching and discipleship. We also noticed that the children are growing up to become young ladies and gentlemen. Hence, we need another house for the boys. The Thai government also requires orphanages to have separate buildings for older children.
This week a friend has called us to tell us that they are moving out of their house. The house is relatively cheap and they are leaving to us some of their furniture (bed frames) and stuff (beddings, blankets, pillows, etc.). This is an opportunity we could not let slip away.
However, we need your help in prayer for the support of the monthly rent and utilities. Any amount will be a huge help. We will be moving in the new house this coming Saturday (22 September). If you have any questions regarding this matter, please don’t hesitate to ask.
More Prayer Requests
Please continue to include us in your time of prayer.
- We thank the Lord for keeping the children generally healthy despite of viral fly break out in Mae Sai.
- We thank the Lord for the children’s diligence to study. Their education will be their ticket to a better life here in Thailand.
- Thank you for praying for Jared and Reuven. Jared is now in his second trimester in college in the Philippines. He is doing well with his studies. Reuven is holding his own in Thai school. We thank the Lord for his provisions too.
- We thank the Lord for Narlin’s teaching ministry at Rongriyan Tesaban 1. Our relationship with the school helps us to minister and share the gospel to the teachers and students.
- Pray for the Tina, Ayung and Mike’s ID. We are hoping that their ID will come out on the 17th of September. Pray for Nuch's ID too. There is a problem with her ID but hopefully with the help of some people it will be resolved soon.
- Pray also for our plans to go to the Philippines for a week in December. We are invited to share our testimony by Asia Vision Short-term Missions.
Friday, September 07, 2012
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of the theologians I admired. He died as a martyr resisting the Nazi reign in Germany during the Second World War. So when I read from the Bible Gateway site that his 40 Day Journey is being reissued to be sent directly to my inbox, I subscribed. Bonhoeffer’s theological reflections are very practical and truly relevant today as they were more than 8 decades ago. I am sharing in this blog some of his thoughts that challenges us to look at ourselves as Jesus’ disciples.
These people without possessions, these strangers, these powerless, these sinners, these followers of Jesus live with him now also in the renunciation of their own dignity, for they are merciful. As if their own need and lack were not enough, they share in other people’s need, debasement, and guilt. They have an irresistible love for the lowly, the sick, for those who are in misery, for those who are demeaned and abased, for those who suffer injustice and are rejected, for everyone in pain and anxiety. They seek out all those who have fallen into sin and guilt. No need is too great, no sin too dreadful for mercy to reach. The merciful give their own honor to those who have fallen into shame and take that shame unto themselves. They may be found in the company of tax collectors and sinners and willingly bear the shame of their fellowship. Disciples give away anyone’s greatest possession, their own dignity and honor, and show mercy. They know only one dignity and honor, the mercy of their Lord, which is their only source of life.