Surrendering Our Plans

5:12 a.m. On the bus to Lampung

It’s been a few days since I’ve written. With spotty Internet access and traveling from the south to Bangkok, we’ve been quite busy.

Did I mention we became three? Yes, our friend Susana has become part of our traveling band. It’s been great to have her.

So Bangkok. In comparison to Phuket: big, imposing, busy, and urban. We were only there for just under 2 days, and I think that was enough for me.

We took an overnight bus in, arriving at our hostel around 6:30 a.m. The supposed “VIP” bus we took with its quite garish decor and flamboyant attendants made us wonder if we paid a few baht too much, but we got to our destination safe and sound. From the bus station we got our bearings and found an in-bound bus to the city. Bus #2 since apparently Lonely Planet’s recommended bus #511 was missing in action that day.

They say that communication is 30% verbal and 70% non verbal (body language).It’s been interesting to note how much that is true. One of my favorite moments occurred on Bus #2. I think we changed buses… Here we are crowded into the bus, standing in the aisle with our backpacks strapped on tight, and suddenly the driver hits the breaks. Little me, I went hurtling forward when the Thai woman I stood next to grabbed hold of my arm. I looked at her and smiled, knowing she was my rescuer that day. She smiled back. “Kob khun ka,” I offered gratefully and made another friend that day.

It’s been neat to pick up the language as I go, and I’m finding it’s sticking. Guess I’m reaping the fruit some of the prep work I did before leaving. But what I love is how the Thais light up when you use their mother tongue. “Kor tod na ka,” I say as I make my way passed a crowded queue. “Oh! You speak Thai!” I respond, “Only a little,” punctuated with my characteristic smile.

I’ve really begun to consider how much the Lord can do with such “loaves and fishes” of interaction. I wish I could say more, but I do what I can with what I know and trust God is using the rest. “Sawadeeka!” I greet a young boy as we cross the River Kwai bridge. The smile I receive in response is priceless.

It’s also been so neat to see God’s provision along the way. Tonight’s bus ride is further evidence of how He cares for us. We, well, left things to the last minute and after a long day of touring, we needed an overnight sleeper from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Lo and behold they were all booked up. We had to make a game-time decision: do we book it across town on BTS + taxi to catch a bus? We had about 10 minutes to decide. “Let’s do it,” I said. And then we were off! On the way we prayer walked the streets of Bangkok asking for God to open the right door for us or redirect us as He saw fit. It was all up to Him to come through, and we knew it.

We made it to the station with 30 minutes to spare and asked for tickets to Chiang Mai. “All full.” What?! Sigh. I mean, we were kinda moving on a hope and a prayer that three seats would be available, but it was still sad to find there were none. We asked for other options and a man mentioned Lampang was close to our desired destination. Praise God I remembered it indeed wasn’t too far from Chiang Mai, so we bought our tickets, boarded the bus, and after a quick 7-11 stop we were off to Chiang Mai via Lampang.

Let me tell you…99th hour or not, God provides when we ask Him, and not just any old thing. We got an awesome deal on our tickets, rode a bus more fabulous (and cheaper!) than our “VIP” bus from Phuket, and got to Chiang Mai at the same time as the sleeper.

Oh yes, God is amazingly good.

So as plans are rerouted again and again, and we continue to experience DA’s (Divine Appointments) during our time (like a guy we met from Sherman Oaks on our Floating Market tour!), we just keep surrendering to Him. Such an adventure this is, and stretching as all get out, but I see His hand in it and His grace is abounding — it’s incredible.

Now, we try for Sop Ruak via Chiang Rai to see the Golden Triangle. Sweet. =)

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