9: Waiting for the King

It’s hard to believe today is our second and last Sunday in this mission trip.   How quickly the time has passed!

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The Sunday in GROW started with glorious praise to the Lord.  Pastor Jeff’s message about forgiveness was just perfect.   Forgiveness is so foundational to being a believer.  As Jesus forgave us, so shall we forgive our brothers and sisters.   

Pastor John demonstrated the burden we carry by not forgiving our brothers and sisters.    The children laughed as one of the GROW kids carried several bags representing carrying unforgiven sins.   Though funny to see, this was quite a powerful way to teach the concept!  

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For our last afternoon and evening at GROW,  the team was initially torn between having to choose between going to Abonzo coffee or the waterfalls.   The choice was actually quite easy when we talked about the significance of what Patrick from Abonzo coffee is doing which is really following God’s calling and building a coffee ministry to help bring Jesus to the Akha people.   

This is the team’s repeat visit to Abonzo for some who’s been here before yet it continues to amaze us to see how our Lord is working through Patrick.

Abonzo Coffee is located in Doi Chang which just has an amazing landscape.  Of course, they make the BEST coffee to go with the beautiful scenery.   This is also where they sell Blue Latte -  a yummy blue/lavender frappe drink.

Next we headed to the waterfalls but didn’t make it in time.  The waterfalls will have to wait for next year as they moved up the closing time on account of the earlier daylight end.    With the Cave experience of getting trapped, they are really careful to keep places safe which we can all appreciate.

It’s a perfect time to head back to GROW.    

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As we headed back, we encountered road closures and found out the King’s daughter was passing through.    We quickly found out there are several things expected with the passing of the Princess.   For those wearing capri pants or skirts above the ankle, we had to go behind the vehicles so we are not seen by the Princess.  We could not use our phones or take pictures.   Faa was clear in giving us guidance on what to do and not to do.  Faa was following what the policeman was instructing her to do.  The rules would even be more when the King passes.    Faa shared times in Chiang Mai where the King passed and all the subjects bowed down and stayed on the grounds for about 3 hours until the King has passed.    One of the team members continued to have her phone out and questioned why she should follow when the policeman saw her and didn’t tell her to put away her phone.   Several team members responded back to her advising we have to follow as we have to respect Faa and it is the polite thing to do. The policeman told Faa what she should tell us to do as we were clearly foreigners in this part of the world.  We clearly didn’t know what to expect when the King’s daughter passes by.   

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There was a sense of uncertainty and perhaps even a bit of anxiety and frustration with waiting and not knowing how long we have to wait.   It made me reflect on what the Bible tells us about waiting for Our King.   James 5:7-9. “Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming.  See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and rains.  You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.  Don’t grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged.  The Judge is standing at the door.” 

We ended the evening having a wonderful time with the GROW children and staff where we sang and danced for each other and exchanged gifts from our children’s Vacation Bible School (VBS) and the Thai children’s gift of art/drawings.  I will forever treasure the gift of art from the GROW children.  

This was a glorious end to our day.   However, it also brought sadness as we said goodbye to the children.    One of our team members said,  “we do not have enough time with the kids...”. yes, there is never enough time with them.  

We have to come back and visit again.