One day I was going to a certain stall to order a drink and have a conversation with the Isaan owner there, only to discover that the entire stall was gone! I found her nearby at a different stall selling vegetarian food. Only, this time she was not the owner but rather an employee. Sadly, a few weeks later she disappeared and I never saw her again.
Right next to the drink stall is the crepe stall. The family there was very friendly to me, always opening to chat and encouraging me to speak better Thai. They were husband and wife, originally from a nearby province in Central Thailand. The crepe lady also hung around with the Isaan lady. They all along with many other employees lived close to the food court, like a tight-nit family. Some even living directly above so never having to leave the building. But one day, the crepe stall also disappeared, and with it the family too.
I walked by this “Tudari” spot many times and noticed a lack of customers. A few times I had a chit chat with their employees. It was in one of the biggest malls in Thailand. So I was surprised to find this place too was shut down without warning. Another place here today, gone tomorrow. I wondered about the lives of those who worked here; their hopes, their contributions – who would remember them? Likely nobody, like a passing of the wind. No one would mourn such an loss. After all, another one would quickly take its place. And another smiling face would soon appear at its doorstep.
In Matthew 6:30, Jesus said that the grass of the field is “here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire”. You see we are also like grass (Psalm 103:15). Our lives are like grass. In an instance our lives can turn upside down. We could instantly lose our jobs, our health, or our family at any moment. And so it is with those who have not yet heard the gospel. That there is a holy urgency here in Thailand to tell those who have not heard of the gospel. Because they might never get another chance to hear about Jesus. Then, it will be judgment day. A friend once told me that all relationships are redemptive. That God has given us all relationships with the purpose of bringing them either closer to heaven or further. Those words have never left me. Because in light of eternity, everyone is here today, but gone tomorrow.
Both the Isaan lady and the crepe family knew why I was studying Thailand. They knew I was a Christian, but they did not know why I gave my life to Jesus. They knew I was a teacher in the church, But they did not know how it was different from a monk in the monastery. They knew I cared about the Thai people, but they did not know that Jesus cared for them much more. Because my Thai was not good enough, I could not express all I wanted to say to them. And now, I have to leave them in the hands of the Lord.
Lord help us to have a holy urgency to tell our friends and neighbors the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.