Friday, June 20, 2014

Here and there


We made two trips to Chiang Mai within a week. The first one we did hesitantly and the other one was unplanned. Although we like to travel, we could not afford it. With 13 children and one teenager every cents count.
The first trip was necessary. We had been planning to go to Chiang Mai for the renewal of my driver’s license. I know it can be done in Chiang Rai but in order not to complicate things, we always do it in Chiang Mai. However, we still think that going there just to renew my driver’s license was not a strong reason to make the trip.
Then we had a surprised call from Nueng, the Foundation’s secretary. She told us that the Labor officer in Chiang Mai wanted to see us for an interview.  So now we had more than one reasons to make the road trip.
We drove 4 hours to Chiang Mai and went straight to the city hall to see the labor officer. We already met the officer before so I knew it would be a very friendly and pleasant chat. She wanted to know what we are doing in Mae Sai.  After our business at the labor office was over, we checked-in at the cheap hotel beside the bus terminal. It was becoming our favorite place to stay whenever we are in town.
The hotel was fairly good with cable TV. So we took the opportunity to watch some movies and just took the much needed rest and sleep longer.  In the morning, we went to Rajayev Hospital to get the medical certificates. I needed one for the driver’s license and I also got one for the work permit.
The labor office requirement for a yearly medical certificate was the only opportunity I had for physical examination. Usually, I passed the physical exam with flying colors. But in the last two years, my blood pressure was beginning to get dangerously high.  I guess father time was catching up on me. For some reason or perhaps the hospital deliberately did it, I was assigned to the same doctor every year.  So I decided to make him my personal physician. I requested him to give me prescription for my high blood. In fairness to him, he asked me last year if I want treatment  but I declined because I thought I was there only for the medical certificate.  He made an appointment with me to come back for more test at the end of the month.
I renewed my driver’s licenses in the afternoon. Everything here was quick and convenient. This year they required us to watch a one-hour video about traffic rules and safety. It was cumbersome but I think it was good for the local drivers who do not have any idea about driving courtesy. Another productive day was over.
The next day, we took the opportunity to attend the Association of Filipinos in Thailand (AFT)- North Chapter’s celebration of 116th Philippine Independence Day. New officers were elected. We had fun playing games and watched a friendly karaoke-singing competition.  It was good to see old friends we had not seen for a while and meet new ones. Then we came back to Mae Sai expecting not to return to Chiang Mai for at least another two months or so.
If only we knew, we would be back in Chiang Mai after a week. We received another call from Nueng telling us that one of our co-workers (with the Foundation) and his family died in a car accident. We barely knew them; perhaps we uttered a quick “hi” and “hello” every time we see each other when there was a Foundation meeting or activity. Although we had other plans, I will be preaching on the next day and usually I used Saturday to polish my already prepared sermon. Narlin and I felt that we need to go to honor our co-worker and his family who died serving the Lord in the mission field.
It was a very sad day for us who barely knew them more so with people who were closer to them. Apparently, their truck lost control on a wet slippery road, spun wildly until it eventually smashed onto the coming delivery truck.  The truck, as shown on the LCD projector, was a total wrecked.
It reminded us of similar experience we had five years ago. I vividly remember, it was raining we were driving on the mountainous winding road going to Chiang Mai. We were going uphill when I sensed that the back tires lost tractions, so we negotiated the asphalt road very slowly.  Suddenly, we saw a pick-up truck going downhill slipped, lost control and spun fast toward us. We felt helpless, all we could do was put our car as far to the side off the road shoulder, prayed and waited till the pick-up truck smashed on us. But thankfully, the Lord had saved us from that fatal accident; the truck missed us maybe by an inch as we watched it passed us by.
Please pray for the kingdom workers in Thailand. Pray for our safety as we do a lot of traveling for our visa and other errands. Pray for our health too. In the light of the health issues and accidents happening, we are praying that God will protect us more. We really do not have anything like insurance that will take care of our children when something happened to us. But we fully trust that God will take care of us.
By the way, I just celebrated my 50th birthday. Thankful for the life that has given me. Thankful for friends who remember and find way to greet and encouraged me.

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