Posted by: nemerson | August 16, 2013

Last stop…Lithuania!

Yes, we arrived in Lithuania last Saturday as planned.  Our time in Thailand was truly a joy.  It was such a blessing for us to be with our missionary friends Jeff and Mervil Kowatch and learn first-hand about being on the mission field.  They have been in Thailand just over 2 years and honestly shared with us their struggles, heartaches and joys.  I took a LOT of notes!  Most of all, it was so comforting to be living with people who spoke English and knew what kind of food we liked–and cooked it for us!   Church in Thailand was awesome because their church is an international church.  The words for the songs were on screen in both Thai and English, and the sermon was translated into English for us via headsets–very cool.  🙂

IMG_3959 On Monday, we celebrated Grace’s 12th birthday with ice cream cake from Dairy Queen.  Grace’s choice for birthday fun was ziplining through the rainforest.  It was truly beautiful and amazing!  What a different perspective to see the world from the top of an enormous tree that is like nothing you’ve ever seen before, God’s creativity sprawled out before you…  The zipline park was next door to a zoo which we visited after we were finished zipping.  They allowed and encouraged hand feeding of all the animals–deer, hippos, rhinos, elephants, giraffe.  Grace LOVED it!  It was a perfect birthday celebration!

On Wednesday, we went with another American missionary, Bekah, to an after-school program for kids in Ayutthaya.  They had tables set up for the kids to go to whichever activity they wanted to.  We played some simple games in English (Boggle, Spot It) and just hung out with the kids.  This was Bekah’s first time going to this event, but she hopes to continue volunteering there and building relationships with the children, staff and other volunteers so that she can eventually share the gospel with them.  The Thai people are predominantly Buddhist–in fact, they even have a different calendar than the rest of the world based on the birth of Buddha instead of Christ.  They are very happy with their religion.  Many of them actually know about the good news of Jesus but prefer Buddha’s teachings and lifestyle.  It is a difficult mission field.

IMG_4064On Thursday, Grace and worked on filling up packets of Christian literature (in Thai, of course!  very few people in Ayutthaya speak English).  Each packet had a Gospel of John, some tracts for kids and adults, some candy, and invitations to the church, the movie “The Hope” and a new English game night starting in September.  We stuffed about 200 packets and then delivered them around the neighborhood on Friday morning.  Please pray with us that many will read the information we delivered and choose to follow Christ–or at least be interested enough to come to see the movie or join in the English game nights!

We spent our final afternoon visiting the sights in the center of Ayutthaya–by elephant!  There are many temple ruins there, though much of the area was damaged last year during the flood.  It was completely under water for more than a month.  Yikes!  Grace also needed one more swim in the pool down the street–what a blessing to have that pool so close and open every day for our swimming enjoyment!

IMG_4228We arrived in Lithuania on Satuday evening, Aug. 10, and we are now officially sick and tired of flying!  Our time in Lithuania is simply to show Grace’s paternal birth grandmother, Victoria, how much we love her.  We are relaxing and taking in the sights.   Lithuania is very much like Maine, and the weather has been perfect–sunny and 70s.  What a relief after the steamy, hot summer we’ve had!  Our first day in Lithuania was spent celebrating Grace’s birthday (again) and ziplining (again!).  We had a great time and brought along one of Grace’s distant cousins named Augusta.  She’s Lithuanian but lives in England now, so she speaks very good English.  She and Grace have a lot in common and had a great time talking and zipping together.

 

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On Tuesday, we took a two-hour drive southwest to a resort town called Druskininkai, which is very close to the borders of Belarus and Poland.  Our chauffeur and translator is a special man named Algis, Grammie Victoria’s cousin.  It’s great to have him with us because Grammie Victoria doesn’t speak English.  Algis also enjoys adventures and often comes with us–if not to play, then to take pictures!  We spent three days in Druskininkai and did MORE ziplining (across a river going 35 mph!), went indoor snow skiing and tubing, rode bikes through the pine forest (Grace’s bike broke 4km out!), and enjoyed three hours at a very busy indoor waterpark where people were fighting over tubes!  Yes, we’re exhausted!

We have a few more days of sightseeing here in Lithuania and will FINALLY be heading home on Tuesday, Aug. 20th.  We aren’t looking forward to three more flights (stopovers in Helsinki and New York), but we are definitely looking forward to being home.   It’s true…there’s no place like home!  Thanks for all of your prayers–Grace’s allergies are much better now.

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