Day 16: Read #write31days

One of the ways that we spent time with Mom in the hospital and the palliative ward was reading to her.  She requested a long-time favourite of Stuart McLean’s Vinyl Cafe stories (of Dave and Morley and family) and we continued to bring in all of his books.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with Stuart McLean but his stories of Dave and Morley invoke a lot of emotion.  Sometimes you find yourself nearly in tears but usually loud laughs would escape from your mouth (and heart!) before you could even stop it (but why would you want to?).  Sometimes Mom would start laughing so hard that it would bring on a coughing/asthma fit and it would take her a while to catch her breath.  But she would say it was worth it.

Of course we read other books or passages of Scripture to her, but Vinyl Cafe stories were the main staple.  Oh the joy they gave my Mom!  Oh the spirits that were lifted!  Oh the gift of stories and silliness and laughter in such a dark period and place!

Kateful 2.0 – Spicy?

Last night we had green curry with chicken (and mushrooms instead of eggplant because that’s what was in our fridge). We added extra coconut milk to dilute the spice so Kate could eat it too. She is a big fan of green curry. 

But last night I wasn’t sure if I had diluted it enough and so I kept asking Kate, “Is it spicy?” She would pause slightly from shoving the food in her mouth and shake her head and say, “No.” Then she started asking herself, “Spicy?” “No,” she’d answer in response. Every few mouthfuls, “Spicy? No.”

Kateful 1.0 – Skating with Dora

I feel like I’m going to inundate my Facebook wall with the super cuteness of Kate and her antics so I’m wondering if this is a better outlet.  I mean, I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging about our daughter (but I guess I am really) but she’s basically a genius baby, and has cute as her middle name (a 3rd middle name?).  

Kateful is what I’m grateful for about Kate.  It’s her cuteness, her mischievousness, her boldness, beauty and brains.  It’s Kate.  Kateful.

Kateful 1.0

A few days ago, Kate was watching Dora.  Dora was helping her monkey friend (see how little I know about Dora) put on roller skates because they were going to a skate park.  Kate watched them and immediately went to her shoe/boot drawer in the front entranceway and pulled out a “just a bit too small” pair of fall/winter boots.  She INSISTED that she put them on.  With my help.  And then proceeded to dance/run/glide around the living room while continuing to watch Dora.

a few more gifts before leaving Canada

53. Catching a friend on the phone before they left their house.

54. Misty, warm mornings covering the backyard with dew drops piling up.

55. Long daylight hours in June, & lovely cool evenings.

56. Lovely, sunshiney, almost summer mornings.

57. Reminders of truth to persevere when changes remain unseen (for now).

58. Berries painting their stain on man-made surfaces.

a shaking – One Thousand Gifts

It grieved me to hear what she was saying.  After the split of an influential church in Thailand, she was more than disillusioned.  She and her daughter both.

Her adult daughter was the first of the two that I met.  Sometime late last year on a trip to another city.  She’s a friend of a friend.  When the daughter found out that I was a Christian missionary, she immediately told me that she used to be a Christian too.  Her church split.  It was messy.  Incredibly messy.  And she left the church and returned to Buddhism.

She said it so matter-of-factly.  But I wondered where her heart was really at.

The mother moved away to a larger city down in Central Thailand and was warmly welcomed to her new neighbourhood by a loving group of Mormons.  They came to her house and helped her with various things that needed fixing.  They showered her with love and support.  They gave her another book – in addition to the Bible.  The Bible alone wasn’t enough.  They taught her, equipped her, shaped her thinking, hopes, desires, future dreams.

I heard all this in the middle of a street market on Sunday evening.  Crowds streamed like a river around the small cluster that we formed in the middle of the walking street.  Mother and daughter were enjoying a few days together in a city in which neither of them lived anymore.  Introductions were made, jokes were shared, smiles and laughter floated up into the night sky.  And then the daughter told us that her mother was also a Christian.  And so the story unfurled.

Heartbroken I listened.  Desperately wanting to say something, anything to encourage her to return to the one and only Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Grace and nothing else but grace.  Jesus Christ alone.

“Mother,” I said, calling her the polite title in Thai.  “The Bible that you had when you went to church here in Chiang Mai, do you still have it?”

“Yes,” she replied, smiling.  “And the Mormons gave me another book as well.”

“I think the one that you used when you lived here is better.  You only need that one.”  My words fell flat.

“Oh the Mormons use both.”  And still she smiled at me.  Polite.  Polite as ever.

It was time to start heading home and we all began walking in the same direction.  I told the mother that I would pray for her.  She, in her friendly way, put her arm around my waist and I put mine around her shoulders and we walked and talked some more.

I reminded her of the words in the Bible that say not to add or take way from the words that are written there.

“If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18-19

“Yes!” she answered enthusiastically.

“And,” I said, “thank God for the truth that Jesus spoke.  His words are true.”

“Yes, thank God for that Jesus’ words are true.”

I knew her thoughts hadn’t changed by what I’d said but I hoped and still hope and pray that at least she would think about what we had talked about.

By this time, we had to part ways and as we hugged I told her again that I’d pray for her.  Her daughter hugged me as well.

Dear Dear and I talked about what had just happened and commented in how it had seemed that the daughter, our friend, had purposely revealed to us her Mother’s new found faith in Mormonism, as if she too was concerned for her mom but didn’t know how to address it.  We talked about how it was the beginning of a relationship with her mom and a continuation of one with her daughter and how we can build on what we shared tonight.  We talked about how quickly the mother taken to me.  Even in the silence that then followed we talked; our silence communicating the depth of the sadness over what we had heard.

Days later the silence is with me in my truck.  At work.  In my home as I cook dinner.

And I pray.  For the mother to return to the only true Gospel.  For more opportunities to build on these relationships.  For the daughter, our friend, to return to following the Lord Jesus Christ with all of her heart, soul and mind.

For others who were so deeply affected by a church split that shook the lives of Thai across many areas of at least Northern Thailand.

For me to grow in loving others better – believers and non-believers alike.  For the body of Christ to step out of our comfort zones, out of our routines, to risk getting messy by being involved in loving ways in other people’s lives.

And my list continues…
10. Bundling up in cosiness sent from Canada with love.
11. Unexpectedly cool weather in hot season.
12. Rain washing all things new.
13. Cats who cuddle up on laps.
14. New-found coffee shops with close close friends.
15. Finding new corners that produce great productivity.
16. Hot Earl Grey Tea on cold days.
17. Cold, iced Earl Grey Tea on hot days.
18. Dry weather for getting laundry done after days and days and days of non-stop rain.
19. Last minute get-togethers with fun friends.

And now for some of those ugly things that turn beautiful…
20. Things that shake us and spur us on to know Him deeper and share Him more broadly and boldly.
21. New awakenings.
22. Opportunities just waiting for redemption.
23. Stories that aren’t yet finished.
24. Transformation in process.
25. The smoothing out of the rough bits in one’s life.
26. Diamonds on the verge of being formed through high-pressure, high-temperature conditions.
27. Waiting and relying on Him to move because that’s the only way forward.

“Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.”  Ephesians 3: 20, 21

28. His love.
29. His power.
30. His thoughts and imagination.
31. The Word of God.
32. The Gospel of grace.
33. Grace.
34. Forgiveness.
35. Hope.