Well, the end has finally come. I'm finishing packing up tonight (Wednesday night here). Tomorrow morning we are going to ride elephants and go on a boat ride down the river, then at 3:45pm local time (3:45am - Thursday Central Time) I will be flying from Chiang Rai to Bangkok. I'll stay there at the airport from 5pm to 7:15am the next morning when I'll fly to Tokyo, from there to Chicago, and then finally to Green Bay, where I arrive at 5:50pm local time Friday night. From there it's a quick 1.5 hr car ride to Northland, where I'll be taking block classes for the rest of the semester and graduating in May.
As far as summarizing thoughts for closing this part of the trip, I can't think of anything philosophic or brilliant to say about it. I can't even probably come up with something that hasn't been used before about other trips. It was difficult and frustrating at points, but so terribly beautiful in others. It was rough going for parts, and not rough at all in others. I think it goes without saying that I learned a lot on this trip, being on this team, working with these language projects, etc. However, is that really the purpose of this? Is the point of these trips really to improve my knowledge and understanding of culture? Am I really here to "learn a lot and have fun"? Is that it? Cause I'm sure there are easier ways to accomplish that. Cheaper ways too. So why am I really here? Why did I really come to the other side of the world and spend months working with different languages and training sessions? Why did I spend all this money?
I can tell you why. I'm not here for the thrills, the fun, the cultural education, or the fun people. I am here because of the grace that has been given to me. I am here because of all things in the world, to me the most powerful and most precious is the Absolute Word of God. I have seen the power of the Word in my own life, and the lives of others around me. There are people around the world who still haven't seen and still haven't heard, and many of them speak languages that don't yet have the Word in their mother tongue. That is why I'm here, and that is why I came. It was fun, and it was exciting, and it was growing and stretching for me, but beyond all of that, I know my Savior better than I did before, and more people will have access to the Word because of this trip. So how was this trip? Did you really expect me to come up with one word that summarizes everything? Sorry, it's not possible.
G&P as always to the Family at home and overseas.