God’s Providence. God provides. I am back working in Bangkok after six months of itineration in the USA. I spoke at more than 20 churches in five different states. The only negative experiences I had were with machinery. Thank God! Everywhere I went people were welcoming and giving—even when they had problems of their own. Well, I think we all have problems of our own.
Four days after arriving back in Bangkok in early July, I was in the hospital. Thankfully, it was for one night only. The diagnosis: food poisoning. I’m guessing the stress of traveling half-way around the world might have contributed as well. Even good stress is still stress. My travel was a joy, in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana, and Kentucky. Also, in Washington, DC and England, where I was able to visit my daughter and son-in-law, and then my niece who is working in Cornwall, at the southwest tip of the United Kingdom.
At one Midwest church that shall remain nameless, I was hosted by a wonderful woman in her 90s. She kept telling me to sit and rest—she would bring in the groceries, etc. God’s people are beautiful and hilarious.
God provides in ways we don’t always notice—even when we think we’re paying attention. I mentioned my joy in traveling. What I didn’t mention is that I traveled with a sore foot (the doctor in Iowa said I’d been wearing the wrong shoes, oh dear). That meant that I got the kind of help with my (multiple, oh-so-many) suitcases that I might never have gotten otherwise. At one point in my journey, I found myself waiting for a bus in the rain, with no indoor waiting area. With all of my suitcases. Again, all sorts of people took pity on me and were willing to help. And the rain did let up that day.
My foot is still sore, but now I look quite distinguished with my wooden walking stick. Which I am confident will be temporary. However. Like other places in the world, a physical challenge does not always bring out neighborliness in this big city. Too often, I am expected to get out of the way of others. My friends who have been through this sort of thing more than I have, can probably confirm this. But how is a walking stick part of God’s providence? Well, I’m learning what it’s like for far too many people in this world. And sometimes it feels as though I’m living in a sitcom. Truly, a sense of humor is vital when you’re having adventures.
Another providence is my new commute. It now takes five minutes or less to walk to work, as Wattana Church has provided me with a condo nearby. That is blessing enough. But most days I walk through the most beautiful garden to get there. It is a tropical teaching garden, which belongs to the next-door Christian girls' school, Wattana Academy. After that, I walk through a shaded parking lot. In the tropics, shade can be one of God’s greatest gifts.
But today I am grateful for the community of Christians around the world. I am grateful for generosity, which is in all of you who are reading this letter. I am grateful for the desire to serve others, which I see strongly in Christian sisters and brothers in Thailand. And I am grateful for the beautiful and hilarious surprises and even glitches, because they help me to see God.
Anne Gregory serves with the Church of Christ in Thailand. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.