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Asia Church Planting Field Story Thailand

The Goal Was Chicken...

We repeated gai (chicken) a few times, the waitress nodded and smiled. We shrugged and sat down, wondering if we had ordered any food at all...

Food and transportation for nine people in a foreign country is always an adventure. This night was no exception.

Our team had been told that the local Saturday night street market would be an excursion worth pursuing, and that we should definitely stop by an amazing restaurant on the way. So, we loaded up our two scooters and steering-wheel-on-the-right-side car and journeyed forth to have this much-anticipated experience of a lifetime.

Despite our recent arrival in Thailand, we already knew a few things about good food, especially the street food. The team decided to share a couple of dishes at the restaurant so we could all save room for food at the street market.

A smiley, very eager, very-non-English-speaking waitress greeted us upon arrival and sat us down at the largest table in the outdoor seating area. After perusing the menu, we decided chicken was the goal. The waitress began to ask us what we would like to eat, or, at least that is my guess, not that we could understand what she was saying.

I pointed to the cashew chicken, and then stared blankly at the waitress as she appeared to ask some clarifying questions regarding my meal selection. Confused, I followed her as she guided me to an additional “picture” menu on the wall. She pointed. I pointed. A teammate came over. We did the dance of charades, and another teammate joined in. We repeated gai (chicken) a few times, the waitress nodded and smiled. We shrugged and sat down, wondering if we had ordered any food at all.

Ten minutes later, we were presented with a platter of…chicken strips? Who knew? However, the mysterious dish was delicious and went well with ketchup, so we were sold. Heather, one of our teammates who had been doing a bit of independent Thai language study, volunteered to give her communication skills a shot. She managed to say, “Do you have this?”, while pointing to a few different photos of dishes in the menu. The waitress emphatically confirmed. Heather then let her know which dishes we would like. Success!

So successful, in fact, that we received every single dish we had inquired about! As we finished one plate, believing it was the last one, another came. And then another. Over the course of twenty minutes, an intended order of chicken strips, cashew chicken, and fried rice turned into two orders of fried fish strips, two plates of chicken strips, one (whole) fried fish, a plate of cashew chicken, and fried rice! Each dish was a new (but delicious) surprise. Somehow, we ate almost all of it and still managed to save room for dessert.

The first years in a new culture certainly present challenges. Why do we put ourselves through this? The Lord called us to reach the unreached in Thailand. According to Joshua Project, less than 0.4% of the people are believers. Without a gospel witness, millions in Thailand will live and die without ever even hearing the name of Jesus.

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