Day 5 and we are not wanting to go home. It was a heavy day. It was a hopeful day.
Grabbed breakfast on the beach. Amazing fresh fruit and awful instant coffee. Yes, Lent is officially over on the Sharp calendar.
Pastors Suchit, Chat, and Port picked us up at 9am so that we could all head to the resettlement camps and see where rebuilding was taking place and find, again, those who had slipped through the cracks and figure out how to help them. All the places we visited today are north of Phuket Island on the mainland.
We first visited this area of remembrance and body storage. This was the central place where the Thai government, assisted in large part by Norway, brought all the bodies of the dead for people to pick them up for proper burial.
Kind of morbid, but these are the refrigerators they store the bodies in.
We left there and headed further north. The church that we are working with in Thalang, Phuket is assisting building two houses north of Phuket. Why so far away? Because someone called and said they had a need so the church met it.
It is an amazing way of doing things in a time such as this: When a need arises, see if you can meet it. It is better than just getting overwhelmed with how much destruction and hopelessness there is. Of course you cannot help every person, but help those who come to you. That is what we are trying to learn to do.
A car that was crushed by the tsunami. Many cars like this.
We met Jen, an internet cafe owner who lost all her computers and who's home was partially destroyed and the back fence obliterated. She lives alone so a fence is a big deal. She came to us for help. We are helping her. We need to raise $1250 to build the fence. I have promised the money, so if it is on your heart to help, please let us know.
After we promised her help, we left to Nom Kem, where the worst damage was. Of the 10,000 people who were in Thailand that died, over 1,000 of them died in Nom Kem. Tragic area. Hopeful though.
Here is a boat that was pushed in 100 meters or so from the ocean. This was not uncommon. Huge boats pushed several hundred meters in are everywhere where the tsunami was in this region.
Pastors Suchit and Chat knew some folks in the area, so we grabbed lunch with them. I was practicing my Thai all day. Poot dai neet noy. I speak a little. Good thai lunch.
Lunch turned into an impromptu church service with singing and preaching and people wanting to hear more about Jesus. I shared about how following Jesus or knowing God is not just about going to heaven after you die. It is about bringing goodness into the world now. God did not save us for later, but for now.
Holly shared as well...
Holly's new friend and a new Christian...
Destruction in Nom Kem... these photos just do not convey fully...
Dropped Chat off at his church. He is also a 28-year-old pastor...
We finally made it to the art tent at one of the resettlement camps... It was a hopeful place, but needs were already met, so we gave all the art supplies we brought to the church to use with the sea gypsy children.
Tonight, Holly and I were a part of the church staff planning meeting and one of the ladies who works with the gypsy kids shared how grateful she was for the art supplies. She was praying because she did not know what she was going to do next week with so many children... perfect. We worshipped together and had one of the more moving spiritual experiences of my life. Just a dozen or so of us.
We have family here now. Pastor Suchit is very supportive of us coming out for 4-6 weeks this summer. He is also very supportive of us moving here.
Everything is up in the air, but we are thinking about moving out here indefinitely in late fall of this year. I just throw that out there to ask you to pray for us wisdom and consider how you might be a part of this with us: visiting to join in assistance, helping financially (there will be a great many needs and projects), moving out here with us, or even something else.
Tomorrow we meet with Chris which should be good. Also finding the technician tomorrow since we didn't have time today. Thank you again for your prayers.