Last month as I preached at a worship service here at the national headquarters of the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT), I found myself thinking again, as I so often have, of a Peter Mayer song from an album by my friend, Scott Stilwell—“Everything is Holy Now.” In it, the singer remembers growing up in church and wondering why there are so few miracles today, compared to Biblical times. But the song also tells us that if we know how to look and how to listen, we can realize that miracles are everywhere and we’re swimming in a sea of God’s holiness.
Last Friday I was asked to go and visit a Christian preschool in one of the poorest parts of Bangkok so I could help translate for a visiting denominational executive from the United State. This invitation came, not because I’m the best translator in these offices, but because better translators weren’t available. Having spoken Thai for only two months out of the past 40 years, you can imagine I was nervous. As I prayed my way through our visit, I realized that my translating was actually working. It had to be the grace of God.
During that time, the School Principal let us visit with the three-year-olds after they’d awakened from their nap (we adults were envious). Our visiting executive tried to make friends with a very studious, pig-tailed little girl, who was practicing writing her numbers in Thai. None of us could get much of a rise out of her. Then we had a walking tour through the neighborhood. We saw that many families were living in single-room dwellings, only about 6 inches above the swamp water in that area—and this is the dry season. In fact, these families seem to be living in Mosquito Central while large parts of the country are experiencing drought conditions.
But everyone greeted us with smiles. It was obvious that the school principal knew all the neighbors and they knew and liked her. When we arrived back at the school grounds from our neighborhood visit, a small pig-tailed missile came shooting across the school yard and into the arms of our visiting executive. It was the same studious little girl. Turned out she liked her new friend, after all. To me, she was an ambassador of God’s grace.
In this new/old place, Bangkok, I’ve found that there is so much for which to be grateful on a daily basis. The 15-story building where I work is located right next to a bit of inner-city jungle. This is a great gift, since green is a much rarer color these days than it was in the past. Our office actually has floor-to-ceiling windows looking out on a patch of coconut palms and rain trees, along with some others I can’t name. On any given day I can see tree shrews playing in the branches and blackbirds flitting around. Most days I hear a bird called a kgaa wow calling—sometimes all day long. It’s named a kgaa wow because that’s the sound it makes. Rather piercing, actually.
Like all the ministry I’ve ever done, this work involves being willing to listen and look for where God is already at work, right where I am. I may be editing, publishing, gathering information, visiting with Mission Co-Workers or CCT Co-Workers, or translating, but God is the Sea in which I swim, the Shade in which I stand, and the Path where I walk. Everything is Holy Now.
Anne Gregory serves as an Ecumenical Officer with the Church of Christ in Thailand. Her appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples' Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.”