Saturday, July 5, 2008

The God of the Custard Apple

They look a little bit like fat, green pinecones. When ripe, they are very fragile and easily break open to unveil dozens of hard, black, inedible seeds. As their name suggests, the gooey, white flesh is smooth and creamy.

I'm back at home now, trying to get my body to figure out what time it is. My last week in Thailand was such a blessing; I joined two Malaysians, an American, and a Thai pastor and translator to host an English camp in Thabklor, four hours north of Bangkok. We were a ragamuffin group, and none of us knew exactly what was going on, but God tremendously blessed our efforts. We rotated teaching Grades 4-6 and Grades 7-9 in the mornings and afternoons in a Buddhist school for the area's lower class. No Christians live within an hour's drive of this town. We were privileged to be God's first ambassadors to this area. We prayed with them, played with them, taught them songs about God, taught them English through teaching about health principles, and fell in love with them.

From the time we arrived at the school in the morning, to the time when we walked home, the children would not stop talking to us (with their five phrases of English), touching us, shaking our hands, and hugging us. I had always thought Thais were not a touchy people, but these kids defied that! They were especially intrigued by my blonde hair.

The kids could be rowdy and rambunctious, shouting out the songs as loud as they could on all manner of clashing notes. Their parents are mainly drunkards at night, and one got a light beating one night when we brought her home late after doing house visits.

"But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd." Matthew 9:36 Now that we have left them behind, all we can do is pray for them. Who will teach these precious children about God's love now? Who will come to tell them about Jesus' free gift of salvation? Who will water and nourish these seeds we've planted? We can only pray for them now.

As they touched us, I thought about how Jesus interacted with children. Sometimes they swarmed so thick I could barely breathe! "Lord, please help them feel a current of Your love flowing through us as they touch us!"

I am honored God chose me to be a first representative of Him to these precious children. Perhaps when another Christian comes by, they will remember our group, and be interested in learning more about God. Thanks for your prayers and support!


Jonas said...

We had Custard Apples in Peru too, but I didn't know what their english name was!!

I had never told my family about them, simply because I didn't have a "word" for the fruit. The interplay between language and thought seems to work that way... new insight into John 1: 1-5

Refulgent Courier said...

Hey John! You never said if you liked them or not, did you? I also found that they are called sugar apples, too, so I'm not sure which one both of us has tried! Ahh... the exotic fruits of the missionfield...

Kristin said...

I've just got back from volunteering for two weeks at a summer camp.

I was kind of struggling with thinking about the fact that I only see those kids for one week and then all I can do is pray for them. But God is good.

I read some things in my devotions that really helped me and encouraged me.

Read Isaiah 55:10,11. God's word is never wasted. And, I was thinking about Philippians 1:6 and the promise that God will finish the work He has started in us... I had always applied that to myself, but hadn't thought about the implications for others.

Thinking about that verse and the promise it holds for the kids I've seen at camp really helped me to have faith that God will continue to touch their lives even after my influence on them is gone.