What I Learned a Half a World Away

by ANDY WOOD on JULY 18, 2009 – (originally posted here)

I expected to learn some things and be reminded of some things when I made my first trip to Thailand.  I was not disappointed.  To put an exclamation point on our trip, here are some things I learned along the way…

humidityYou may think you know what humidity is, but you’re wrong.

My wife had one unending childhood adventure.

Churches everywhere are made up of humans, with human needs, human potential, and human flaws.

Pastors may not speak the same language, but the leadership issues they face are the same worldwide.

smilesIt’s amazing the trust you can gain with a sincere smile.

The sweetest words anybody could ever hear, other than “Jesus” or “I love you,” are, “Ladies and gentleman, the captain has turned off the fasten seatbelt sign.”

No two pastors, pastors’ wives, or churches are alike.

The gospel is still “the power of God unto salvation.”

childrenAnywhere in the world, children are beautiful, and like to stick close to Mamma.

Nobody – nobody – likes dead religion.  But anybody will listen to a testimony of what a living Christ has done to change a life.

Buddhists’ chief aspiration is to die to self in order to become nothing.  Christians’ chief aspiration is to die to self in order for Christ to become everything.

When you live near the sea, you’ll eat from it.  Deal with it.

groupsSmall groups of people who “do life together” have amazing transformative power.

To convince a culture that Jesus and His claims are true, you must present the claims of Christ within that culture.  Asking somebody to change his/her cultural mindset before they receive Christ is patently ridiculous.  (And that’s true wherever he or she lives.)

There are three words that are the same in any language:  Hallelujah, Amen, and Coca Cola.  When you don’t know the language of the locals, all three come in handy.

“If you build it,” they may not come.  But if you don’t “build it,” they’re sure not to.

fruitI don’t know much about a land flowing with milk and honey, but I learned about ngaws (shown here), mahng-koots, and rose apples.

Little lizards on the walls of your restaurant, house, hotel room, or retreat center are a good thing.  BIG lizards – not so much.

Facebook is the ultimate online travel companion.

Some people in the world actually (gasp!) treat the Internet as something to log onto and off of.  Confusing.

motorcycleA modest motorcycle (helmets optional) is a nice, inexpensive way to transport your family of four.  When the third baby arrives, however, consider a car, longboat, or pickup-taxi-thingy.

Home is where the people you love are; my home keeps getting bigger and bigger.

America has no villages.

Two weeks without iced tea is about long enough.

We may plan our way, but the Lord directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9).

It’s still sweet to hear:  “Thank you for coming,” and “Welcome home.”