Saturday, February 26, 2011

100 Days in Thailand :: Day 39 - Mae Sawan Noi Waterfall

Today was a day dedicated to spending time with our Thai partners here, Pastor Banya and P. Rapee. These two are incredible - they are so full of love and JOY! Plus, they are super cute, and a lot of fun to be around. If you can't tell how much fun they are from the picture below (poses completely theirs!) then you should really check out this video. It's a bunch of clips of the two of them in action and it makes me giggle everytime!

The four of us went hiking to a waterfall today (Rapee's idea) and I was so excited! I love being in the woods (or jungle in this case) and I think waterfalls are so peaceful and beautiful! Being surrounded by nature always makes me feel more connected to God.

Plus, I was really excited to just spend time with Pastor and Rapee. Rusty just adores these people (he has known them since 2007) and they are the reason we decided to create a partnership here for The Sound of Hope. I was really looking forward to getting to just be with them - without work or video cameras or big groups of people getting in the way.

The place we went was kind of like a national forest - with a few signs and a marked trail. There were 7 waterfalls here (heaven to me!) and this one (above and below) was the first big one we came to. I was ooing and ahhing and snapping pictures while Rapee kept saying, "This one no good! Just wait! You must come down!" I was so excited - I couldn't imagine what else was waiting for us!

The waterfall below was the second "big one" we saw and again, while we were admiring it, Rapee was telling us that we "must see" the next one!

And finally, we did....

These photos really do not do it justice! The waterfall was HUGE, and so beautiful! It was nestled in this peaceful little spot - with flowers and shade trees all around it....

And at the bottom of it was the most perfect pool for wading, that dipped down into yet another small waterfall. I couldn't resist putting my feet in the water!

Aren't these two just the cutest?! I just want to put them in my pocket and bring them home!

We really love them, which is a good thing, because they love to cuddle. The culture here is much more affectionate (at least when you know each other well), so Rapee and I are usually holding hands or walking arm in arm... and it's not unusual to see Pastor and Rusty holding hands or standing quite close with their arms around each other (which is the sweetest sight, considering Pastor fits right under Rusty's arm! haha! I wish I had a photo of that!)

And now some photos of us taken by Rapee (I was so impressed at her photography ability! ;) It was hard to pick just one, so I'm sharing a few....

The photo below is my favorite from the day....

The next two pictures will help you see how massive this waterfall really is!
(and how small we are in comparison)

With the man I love in a beautiful place.... I could not have been happier!

After we enjoyed the main waterfall, we spent some time talking together. Pastor shared some scripture with us, and Rapee explained to us how much us coming meant to them. They told us that they had almost given up on their dream for The Promised Land Project, because nothing had happened for so long (there wasn't any money for the project and it was at a standstill for a year and a half) and they thought maybe they had heard God wrong. They told us how much the money that The Sound of Hope raised encouraged them, and how it renewed their vision, their hope, and their faith! It was incredible to know God had used us in that way!

Then they told us that no matter what, they never wanted money to come between our relationship. They told us they loved us and that we were like family to them, and that they wanted that to always come first. To hear them say those things moved me so much!

We shared with them about how we also loved them, and about how we believed God had put us all together for a reason. We told them we believed God had a promise and a plan for them - to make them parents just like Abraham and Sarah (because they cannot have children of their own) by building this Children's Home. Then we all prayed together....

It was such a special time with them, and definitely one of my favorite days in Thailand! We are going to miss them so much when we leave!

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