Comment from Blake Altman:
Thai money is called “baht” (pronounced like “bought”). There are about 32 baughts to one U.S. dollar.
On Tuesday we went to a nearby park and had devotionals and a prayer walk. Tim, one of the missionaries, led the walk. It was good to have a restful time of reflection and prayer. Despite being on a mission trip, time devoted to reading the Bible and prayer seems hard to come by.
Tim has a passion for the arts, and one of his focuses, albiet outside all of his other duties, is to get involved with art programs in the city. Art is a reflection of the culture, Tim says, and although Thai art often points to Buddism and Hinduism, we shouldn’t ignore the beauty often found in Thai art and artchetecture.
You will be able to see in the pictures some the structures that Thais build, and its espectially obvious in their shrines and temples. Their structures are often wider on the bottom and get narrower towards the top. This is to emphasize strength in the building. Their buildings have a lot of sharp points on them (I heard it was to keep the evil spirits away but I don’t know if it’s true).
Tim would like to, in the long term, establish more business relationships with Thai’s, especially in the art arena. In fact, this really seems to be an important goal for all the missionaries here. They don’t want to just be here, supporting the churches completely with MTW funds, but want to help the churches become self-sustaining. Not only financially, but also pastorally as well.
It’s not that Andrew and Tim want to leave the churches prematurely, but once the churches are self-sustaining they want to plant other churches as well. Forming business ties is an important step in doing this. Not only are the missionaries doing this, but some of the Christian Thais as well. You’ll hear more later about a young Thai pastor that is starting his own business.
Wednesday was the reclining Buddha. Pretty crazy. It’s cool to see, but really saddening. Thousands of people coming in there and bowing down before it.
Inside the temple they have coffers (small metal pots) for coins to be dropped into for Buddah. There is a constant ring inside the temple from all the people lining up and dropping coins in the coffers. And the coffers fill so fast there is someone there constantly emptying them out into a big container.
As you walk through the temple grounds (its pretty big with temples all over it, the reclining Buddha is only one temple) you hear monks chanting through the speakers they have over all the grounds.