We are near the end of rain season in Thailand and it is going out with a vengeance. There has been torrential rains for the last several days. For us, this is a great blessing because it has made the weather much cooler.
We came to Thailand to assist Thai Christians in planting churches, training pastors and leaders, and starting mercy ministries. We came to be a blessing to the Thai people, but we are deeply blessed by Thai Christians who go the second mile in helping us. Last week, Pastor Wirot of Li, Thailand took 3 days out of his very busy schedule to navigate meetings with government officials in the process of trying to obtain visas so we can remain in Thailand to do our work here. When we seek to thank him for his hard work in our behalf, he says the classic Thai phrase "mai dtong krengjai", literally meaning,"no need for consideration". This however, is not a good translation, because "krengjai" really has no English word or phrase that sufficiently describes it. In Thailand, when a person has krengjai, they try to impose upon another person as little as possible. Krengjai is involved in everyday life, including asking for a drink of water. When asking for a drink of water, a very polite Thai person will say. "May I have a small amount of water can I" By asking for a small amount of water, they are trying not to impose on the other person. Another way that polite Thai people seek to express krengjai and not impose on others is by taking very small portions of food. Thai people never fill their plates with food when they are at a person's home. They take small portions and will go back for more after each small portion is eaten. It is their way of trying to not impose and be a burden on others. So when a Thai host or hostess says "no need for consideration", it is their way of saying "please make yourself at home, eat all the food you see for there is no need for small portions because we are all friends and family here." When Pastor Wirot sacrifices his precious time for us and then says "no need for krengjai", he is saying that there is no need to express a large amount of appreciation for his efforts because we are all friends and family here."
This week, we were blessed by Peter and Nuc. Peter is a first year student at Phayao Bible College, and is training to be a pastor. His wife Nuc is our Thai language teacher and they are close friends of ours. Recently we purchased a pickup truck because our duties require extensive travel here. Peter and Nuc spent all day with us sitting in government offices to get the vehicle inspected, registered, and insured and then helped us get the vehicle to a mechanic to have some work done on it. Every time I tried to express our deep appreciation for their sacrifice for us, Peter and Nuc tell us "This is God blessing you. God loves you very much and takes care of all your needs". God has blessed us through the love and devotion of our Thai sisters and brothers. It has been very humbling, that even after being here for almost a year, we are very dependent upon our Thai sisters and brothers for doing almost everything we do here. We have come to Thailand to be a blessing but we find we are being blessed more than we can ever give in return.