Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Close call

Driving around in Chiang Mai you often take your life into your own hands. People pull out in front of you all the time without the slightest glance in the oncoming direction. You really learn to be a cautious defensive driver. Road rules here are more like suggestions and are often ignored and scoffed at. Driving a motorcycle around here is liberating and very dangerous at the same time. Liberating in the fact that you can weave in and out of traffic and get to where you are going without all the traffic jams. Dangerous because everybody does whatever they want without regard for safety or rules. Maybe not everybody, but it sure does feel like it sometimes.
Every other Wednesday I go to my photography group meeting which is near the airport and it is a 20-30 min trip on the motorcycle. I could drive the route in my sleep if I had to. Last week I was on the road headed to the group's meeting and was stuck behind a slow moving truck in the middle lane. I checked my side view mirror and saw the motorcycle behind me pulling out into the right hand fast lane to bypass the truck. I thought I would follow right after him and started leaning in that direction after I had checked my mirror again and was met with blasts from a horn coming from a speeding truck in the fast lane I was trying to enter. He was going too fast to stop and looked like he had no intention of stopping. I barely turned my body and missed the guy by about a foot and a half. I felt the huge gust of wind as he flew past me and realized that I almost died in that split second. My heart was racing and I was just trying to control my emotions over the next few seconds. I immediately started praying and thanking God for sparing my life, because if the truck driver hit me I would surely be dead. A near death experience can really put things into perspective. All I could think of was my family and how I could be the best Dad and husband I could be. All of it could be taken away in a split second. The most important thing in life was my family. Have you ever had a close call with death and how did it change you?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Baker Extraordinaire

Shelly's Baking program has become quite the sensation with the boys from Urban Light. Please pray for the boys of Urban Light and that Shelly can continue with her vital work.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


 This is a sobering documentary into the lives of Thai boys living a life of prostitution and broken dreams. These types of stories are all too common and shows the underbelly of the sex trade. Please pray for these young exploited boys and kids everywhere that are treated like commodities rather than human beings..

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Melody of strings

weaver's loom from Brett Faucett on Vimeo.

I recently made a weaver's loom for my daughter Acacia and we have a house guest that is experienced in using a weaver's loom staying with us. Combining those two together and Acacia has a great creative outlet. As does her Dad trying to be creative by filming her. This was about 10 min of weaving condensed down to about 3 1/2 min. I didn't do much in post processing and I wanted the dark and shallow focus look to the video. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Coming Home

Shelly has been training these young boys from Urban Light how to bake for almost a year now. I don't know if they are really gaining a new job skill or just love to meet every week to take their mind off of what their life is really like. Can you blame them for wanting consistency in their lives especially from somebody that doesn't want use them for their bodies. I've recently begun a soccer/sports program at Urban Light and I show up every Friday at the drop in center just to play games or do activities with the boys. They really seem to enjoy it and are always happy to see me.

 The boys are so sweet and innocent and it makes me cry every time I watch the video above. They are just teenagers!    I see how genuine and nice they are and then I think about some adult male using and abusing them for their own twisted sexual satisfaction. I can't imagine the shame and rejection the boys must endure.  They are like the throwaways that nobody seems to notice or care about.

 I don't think I have to do much of anything to make an impact with these boys other than be myself. I am a foreigner that they can trust and will not use and abuse them. I feel like just being there and role modeling what it is like to have a relationship with an adult male is hugely significant.  I just have to be with them and love them for who they are. No judgement, no condemnation just love.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

A Season of Change

Living as a missionary family is both rewarding and stressful at the same time.  We live in an amazing place of beauty and adventure here in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  The sights, sounds and smells of Northern Thailand can be intoxicating.  We love the work we are doing here as well.  We feel very blessed that we have the opportunity to follow God's call in helping those living with HIV and AIDS, disabled children and Human Trafficking.  It is all heart breaking work at times, but also very meaningful when we see what showing a little love can do.  All our work has to do with people out on the margins of society who have no voice to tell their stories and lives.  It is amazing to me when I think of how courageous and vulnerable the people I work with can be and also be willing to let me into their lives.
The "Golden Rule" really applies to the we way think missions should be viewed and carried out. " Do unto other as you would have done unto you". 
It is a very simple rule that is not always the easiest to follow.  How often do we judge people for their appearance, social status, belief systems and race.  Sometimes Christians can be the most judgmental, myself included.  I have to constantly remind myself as I am dealing with someone, is the way I am treating them the way I would like to be treated?  My emotions sometimes gravitate more towards sympathy rather than empathy and I have to catch myself and try to imagine myself in their shoes and not just feel sorry for them.  Feeling sorry for someone is not not going to change the situation for the better, but being able to walk in their shoes will help in gaining a deeper understanding.
Being a missionary can be overwhelmingly sad at times, especially when dealing with children that are abused or selling themselves for sex to just to be able to eat and live.  Sometimes I just break down crying with my head in my hands.  Shelly is currently teaching a group of boys English who are from Burma and have come to Chiang Mai to escape poverty.  Unfortunately, the boys are working in a well known bar that caters to western sex tourists.  The boys wanted to learn English because there are more opportunities for them if they know English.  As Shelly was teaching the boys she was getting to know them a little more each time and it is heart breaking to hear how young some of these boys are.  Almost all of them are teenagers.  Could you imagine your own teenage son or daughter having to perform sex acts for sick perverts.  It makes me literally sick to my stomach.  I often don't want to think about it, but we have to because we are in an opportunity to speak love into their lives and give them hope that someone really does care for them.  It is about applying the "Golden Rule" to every situation.  Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

As I mentioned in the title of this post it is a season of change.  The missionary life is a very transient life.  This is the time of year at the end of school when missionary families are going back home to reconnect with family, friends and churches and  it is also when some families leave the mission field for good.
Several years before coming to the mission field I spent 4 years in the Navy and it reminds me of my time here, especially boot camp.  Being on the mission field feels like boot camp in that we are working together and are all in the same boat.  Working alongside someone in the trenches is a very powerful bonding experience.  Some of the friends we've made here make me feel like we've gone to boot camp together.  We are now faced with saying goodbye to families that are not coming back and it is ripping my heart out.  These are the people who I have shared my hope, fears and dreams with and now I may never see them again.  These are the people that truly know what our life is like and can understand what we are going through.  I love them with all my heart and I am so grateful to get to call them friends.  My kids are another story as they are saying goodbye to friends they've known half of their life.  We talk about it during our bedtime routine and poor Acacia's eyes will start to water and her little lip will start to shake.  She hasn't broken down yet and is trying to keep a brave face, but underneath it all I know her little heart is breaking.  And that in turn is breaking my heart.  Sometimes being a missionary sucks!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

It's all in your perspective

Yesterday I went to visit McKean Hospital with our CAM staff and a volunteer that is here helping us for 2 weeks. McKean Hospital is one of the first hospitals in Thailand that was devoted solely to treating people with Leprosy. McKean Hospital was founded in 1908 by Presbyterian Missionaries Mr and Mrs McKean. McKean is surrounded on one side by a river and a stream that connects the river to create an island of sorts. The hospital grew in stages of being a leprosy colony and hospital to a leprosy rehabilitation center providing physical and occupational therapy. Their goal is to empower these patients to attain their maximum potential physically and to be psychologically healthy with a sense of worth and self acceptance, and to be able to live productive lives with acceptance and dignity in their own community.

I had visited several times before and have always enjoyed the serene atmosphere and the sense of community that this place exudes. Today we were visiting to celebrate many holidays with the patients such as Christmas, New Years, Children's Day and a few other Thai holidays.

We had a worship service to start with and had all the patients in a big circle sitting in wheelchairs or regular chairs. We all sang together and had gifts set aside for each one of the patients living there. While watching this whole thing unfold I kept thinking to myself how lucky I am to be healthy. I was thinking about all the times that I feel sorry for myself or feeling that life has been such a struggle. Then I look around at all the patients and my struggles and challenges seem embarrassingly minuscule. I started to get emotional watching the scene play out with all the joy and love that was surrounding these people. People who were deformed with missing limbs or nubs for hands and feet, but with beautiful redeeming hearts and souls. Sometimes I think it is good to get a sobering dose of reality to gain a better perspective of what real challenges look like. It is reminders like these that put it all in perspective.

How is God challenging your perspective?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Muddy Christmas and Gloppy New Year!

This year we wanted to have a fresh clean start to the new year. Nothing says clean like a good old fashion mud bath. This debauchery actually took place before Christmas and so we decided it would be a good early Christmas present for the girls. They also invited their friend Micaiah who was a major playah in their mud fight video last year. Which has only 50,018 views/hits on youtube thats all.

Remember doing this kind of thing as a kid? Man, it seems so long ago when one could just let loose and start slinging the mud. Then I got to thinkin how playing in the mud is alot like being a missionary. It's a stretch I know, but like a mud fight it can be exhilarating and adventurous and at the same time very messy and uncomfortable. Sometimes I feel like I have mud all over my face when I am out and about trying to speak Thai. Often I feel that Thai people are looking at me as if I actually had mud on my face. "What is he saying" "Is that Thai he is speaking"

Just like the picture here of the kids in the Charlie's Angel pose it just goes to show one needs support. Whether it is during a mud fight or trying to walk alongside people sharing your faith.

Life is messy and chaotic, but it is also can be filled with joy, just like playing in a mud puddle. What is the chaos and joy that God has put in your life?