COUNTRY GIRL IN A BIG CITY by Joshua P Jacks

Wow, it has been so long. SO LONG since I have written.  Over a year to be exact. In the last blog, I talked about our girls trip to the middle of nowhere in the gorgeous Lao mountains, where my beautiful friends and I spent a couple of nights. It was a great trip and I would love to do it again, tomorrow!

So much has changed since then. We have transitioned, and we are in the BIG city of Bangkok, Thailand.  It's 605 square miles with a population of over 8.2 million people. The metropolitan area has around 14 million. It's got an average of 15,300 people per square mile. Compare that to Pensacola, Florida that has onlyabout 2,303.5 people per square mile. That is a big city with a lot of people in a small space! Over 150,000 people live in our tiny district of Bangkok alone!!!

 

  Bangkok alley

Bangkok alley

  Our new front yard!

Our new front yard!

  View from our new church.

View from our new church.

We are in an urban jungle! As far as the eye can see there are concrete buildings. When we are on the elevated highways, we sky scrapers everywhere. We have traded our mountain view for city streets, city traffic, city skyline,  city city!

 

  Bangkok Driving

Bangkok Driving

  More traffic!

More traffic!

This is the first time I have ever lived in a city. My high school was surrounded by corn fields, and my best friend growing up had horses. Then Pensacola and its beautiful beaches to Lao with its beautiful mountains and small town feel. It has been different every time!

This city is unlike any place I've ever lived. The sights, smells, needs, and opportunities are all overwhelming! Personal space is 0! The malls are too many to count and always busy!

In the past it took only 10-15 minutes to get anywhere in town. Now it can take 30 minutes to 2 hours just to travel a few miles. Not to mention, you might have to take two or three different types of transportation! Trains, taxis, walking, canal and big river boats are all an option!

 

  Canal boat

Canal boat

  Chao Praya River from the express boat

Chao Praya River from the express boat

We are truly on another adventure! I hope to stay closer connected to let you know what all these new experiences and city life brings! We appreciate all the love and support that we have received from around the world as we see the path our Father takes us on!

Until Next Time,
Country Girl in the Big City

 

  Short walk to the 711!

Short walk to the 711!

  Shrines in supermarkets

Shrines in supermarkets

  View from a friend's apartment of the "Big Mango," Bangkok, Thailand

View from a friend's apartment of the "Big Mango," Bangkok, Thailand

Muang Ngoi by Joshua P Jacks

Muang Ngoi. By the time I learned how to pronounce it right, it was time to leave. Recently, I had the opportunity to go on a girl trip with some of my closest friends! After a 3 ½ hour van trip and a 45 minute boat ride, we made it to this small riverside town. There wasn’t much there, but the breathtaking view of the river, a few bungalows and a small village was all we needed for a weekend of fun!

We had 3 days and two nights of walking, talking, bonding, dreaming, and playing together! From exploring caves to swimming in the river. From eating French fries with a fruit smoothie to playing card games together, it was a time I really needed away.

I’m so thankful for the opportunity have spent some time with a few of my closest friends.  I’m even more thankful that I get to live this life surrounded by such amazing people!  Here are some pics! Thank you Lauren Seymore for loaning a few of your photos to the post!

There's No Place Like Home by Joshua P Jacks

We’ve been here in Lao for about 5 months now, and we’ve started making our house a home. There are still a few things I’d like to change. Hanging pictures requires a heavy duty drill and a few special tools. As Josh posts this, hopefully it will remind him to get on that stuff!!! :)

As a woman, there’s just something inside of me that needs to make a home! I'm sure you can all agree! After a move, we will spend countless hours losing sleep and our sanity trying to set up our new home. We will sacrifice hours upon hours on shopping and searching for that perfect end table or rug. We will save our pennies, wake up and drag our kids to yard sales and thrift stores to buy that one piece to refinish for our children's room. Most rooms are never finished. Just when we finally think we are done and it is complete, there is always a better color for the walls or a picture at hobby lobby to put in an empty space. 

Let's face it, our home is our home because we get to do what we want with it. We are able to  continually improve and change the things to our liking. 

As I look around at all the things I’d like to do, I’m reminded of the things my Father wants to do in me. He wants to make a home in our hearts. In doing so, He will always be moving things around, taking out the old and putting in the new, and changing things around until the original intent of that "room" is beautiful and complete. 

Remember this. You never see a house at hobby lobby looking for a painting to put on its wall, or an apartment out at yard sales searching for the perfect piece of furniture. It's always the owner who is doing the searching and changing. The house's job is to sit ready and open.

Don't get me wrong, the house can and will throw you curve balls. Maybe a pipe bursts or you have hidden problem with a remodel. This doesn’t mean the house is worthless or unusable! Thankfully, we have an owner who is never surprised and is an expert in all areas of remodeling! 

So if you have been the Home for awhile, be encouraged! The remodeling will never be finished, but as long as we are ready and willing, we’ll look more and more complete. Remember, we don’t want Him to just have a house, but a beautiful home!

Pardon the Interruption by Joshua P Jacks

I was out for a jog the other day and the phrase “pardon the interruption"came to mind. As I was running, I looked ahead and saw an older man with his daughter and granddaughter. They were sitting by a fire to keep warm. It was then that I realized why that phrase popped into my head. So, each time I turned around my loop, I would stop jogging. This meant I couldn’t reach my personal best or keep from stopping during the jog. Then I’d hear “pardon the interruption," take out my ear buds, and would make a comment or greeting to the three sitting on the side of the road. In Lao, I’d say “Hi, how are you” or “wow, its cold. I would give them a chance to respond and be on my way. Then, each time around the loop, I slowed down and took out my ear buds. On the last time around, before I could say something, they started the conversation! They asked, "aren’t you tired” and “you’ve been running for a long time.” This is how relationships begin!

Friends back home are always curious as to what a normal day looks like on the field. It’s as if we have these amazing stories and adventures every day! We do get some amazingly crazy stories and our life is full of adventure. However, I am going to let you in on a little secret. Our normal day is well…. NORMAL! Our family wakes up and gets ready, I teach Noah, we have meetings, and language studies, Josh prepares to teach class, we even eat multiple times a day! It usually ends with us reading books to our children, praying, and then tucking them in bed. We then close the door smiling at each other because the chaos of the day is finally slowing down. 

The big difference from how we used to view things is this. During every moment of our normal day, we are looking for interruptions! We crave for interruptions to help someone out, start a new friendship, or even just break the ice with a “Sabaidee”. Nothing, I mean NOTHING, would happen if we didn’t intentionally look to be interrupted. This can be EXTREMELY INCONVENIENT! Sometimes it is difficult when those interruptions are not on our time table. They normally mess up what we had planned to complete that day and pretty much always happens at an inconvenient time.

As I study the way my Father walked this earth, I noticed that he lived this way! He lived a life full of inconveniences and interruptions. The more He taught, the more the interruptions came, but to Him they weren’t interruptions. They were opportunities. Opportunities to make a difference in the lives of those around Him.  They were His life, His joy, and His purpose! So seek out, allow, and embrace the interruptions in your life. Change the way you think about them, and you will change the world around you!

The Return by Joshua P Jacks

The next phase of our adventure has begun! We've left the states, spent nearly 30 hours in planes/airports, and have stopped in Bangkok, Thailand. The last few days have been spent getting over jet lag and having some things done at the hospital. In a few days, we'll be back in Luang Prabang, Laos.

We are finally returning to the people that have captured our hearts. There is such an excitement in the air and our family is so optimistic about what the future holds.

My heart has been dreaming and reflecting quite a bit over these last few days. I can't help but be amazed by all of the people that have thought about, cared for, supported, and loved on us while we were in the states. I'm also dreaming about our new home, all of the people that will fill it, and the new friends that will find a place in our children's hearts. 

Tomorrow we will get off the plane, step foot on Lao soil, and see our friends that we have missed so much. Absence has definitely made our hearts grow fonder! Singkham and Thieng have already asked Josh about our arrival and we are anticipating seeing them soon. 

There are so many of you on this journey with us. We could not and would not want to do this without you. Thank you so much for making this life possible for us. There will be challenges, obstacles and risk involved. However, they are far outweighed by the opportunity we've been given to reach Laos. Thank you for standing with our family and the beautiful people of Laos!