from the city of pattaya

Carla

Salutations fellow journeyers!
Yesterday, at the internet cafe, I could not figure out how to log in and post on the blog– the words are automatically in Thai. I am learning a few words: hello, sorry!, NO, yes, what is your name?, how much does this cost?  This
So, this evening, upon arriving back home after visiting the bars in downtown Pattaya? We had, visitors in our home. Yep. LOTS. There were cockroaches hanging out all over the place. We had neglected to take our garbage from our breakfast fruit buffet (sooo good). The adorable mini bananas we had been enjoying? The cockroaches were enjoying as well. The garbage full of peels? Moving with cockroach activity. The open packet of instant cappuccino mix? Yep, there was a cockroach in there too! AHHH!! I think of my OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder CLEAN friends) and wonder how much they would freak out? In my tired state of arriving home? I almost cried. Sara, a valiant and courageous team member took the trash out and I proceeded to my bucket shower.
How are we keeping clean you ask? Well, as a matter of fact, we are taking bucket showers—there are garbage bins in the bathroom, filled with water. Each bathroom has its own garbage container (clean) with water and a scooping bowl that floats on the top of the water. Now, these serve two purposes: one is to scoop water out to assist  flushing *ahem* #2s, and also as a bucket shower technique. I had my second one today, and it went pretty well! It’s a little bit of a balancing act so as to keep the things you intend to remain dry—dry. SO refreshing! The days are hot, humid, and we are guaranteed to be sweaty.
Wednesday marked the 2nd day, and we began with a prayer meeting at the coffee shop/bakery at one of the Tamar center buildings (they also have a hair salon at Soi 6 (soi means street in Thai). Many ministries in Pattaya were there and it was awesome to see how the prayer meeting was conducted and the prayer that went around—we took time to pray for each ministry. Rachel—another team member, and so talented, was asked to lead out in worship with 30 seconds to prepare! She was Holy Spirit lead and we were all so proud of her. We visited some falongs (foreigners—like us!) at the coffee shop where we also ate lunch.
In the afternoon we did a prayer walk down the streets where most of the girls work. Now, our God, He is incredible and amazing. I have to remind myself that God loves the abuser as much as he loves those who are abused as we watched some of the negotiations take place on the street. There is so much pain and brokenness on these streets. These men, from all over the world are coming to Thailand, and I wonder what prompts them to come here? Their friends told them how easy/cheap it is to engage with prostitutes? Their own lives are in such a place where they don’t feel like real men? I don’t know, but this heart problem propels men here. This beach-bound sex-destination town is responding to the tourist demands. Women are everywhere and in impoverished places where employment is difficult to come by and education limited, money rules. I went out with my group and was paired with Mawn (our group’s translator from Chang Rai), and P-Tum (sounds like “P” Toom) who works at the Tamar Center. We sat down at a bar, and the thing is the girls have to talk to us as customers, so we order a soda or a water. I didn’t really have a chance to talk last night, but spent my time praying for this woman Fawn. Her husband left her and while her in-laws take care of her two children she works at a bar and is a prostitute. Her children ask her where the money comes from because they think she works at a factory. Fawn tells them it comes from gambling with cards. And so her two young boys have begun betting on cards as well. Such a hard situation. As I was sitting with Mawn and P-Tum, there were two half dressed English guys (early 20s) that walked by this bar and ALL the women working there, 8 or 9, went NUTS. Yelling, cat calling, chanting alluring phrases. I was really surprised. Fawn continued to talk to us as if this was nothing. I wonder what next times will look like. Our Southeast Asia team has started a blog, the web address is:

http://teamsoutheastasia.weebly.com

Please check it out for additional stories and photos—we are all taking pictures and trying to keep everything as up to date as we can. Yesterday we taught English– which was a lot of fun!

We are all learning rhythms here in the apartment we are staying at while we are in Pattaya. My team is incredible, and I am still learning about community. Learning again about family. What does it mean to love well? What does love look like? How much time to I spend by myself? How do I express myself? How do we communicate needs/wants/desires? What do I do when I am frustrated? How do I encourage and build up? All things that I am learning. To me it is curious about how one grows accustomed to living alone and what an independent lifestyle looks like. I feel like I have swung between wildly independent from (perhaps?) unhealthily codependent and am finding a place right at interdependence.

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