15 Things I’m Doing with All This Extra Time

Here in Bangkok, students who attend Thai schools are currently on summer vacation while international schools were ordered to close on March 18 for 2 weeks. My school has moved our 2-week spring vacation forward, so we aren’t scheduled to go back to school until April 13, but who knows if we’ll actually go back on that day. Since I’ve started this post, the governor of Bangkok has announced that all malls and restaurants in Bangkok will close from tomorrow until April 12, but that grocery stores and fresh markets will remain open.

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Vareishum Kamkara: The man who pastored 10 churches over 50 years in the Northern Tangkhul region

Pastor Vareishum in April 2016. He and his friends made baskets to support themselves.

Early Life

Pastor Vareishum Kamkara was born on December 28, 1928, in Nungbi Khullen Village, Ukhrul, Manipur, India. His parents were animists, as were most Tangkhul Nagas at that time.

When Vareishum was 14, his mother passed away. His father struggled to take care of their children. Six months after the death of his mother, Vareishum’s father died from malaria and he and his siblings became orphans.

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The Supremacy of God in Preaching

John Piper

Kingsway Publications, 1990

It’s Christmas Eve, several years ago. I’m at church, and the youth pastor is talking about the time he was in a band. It feels like a comic routine, and I’m waiting for him to get to the message, the message of Jesus coming to earth as part of God’s plan to save humanity from an eternity without Him, you know the one, but he never gets there. The only thing I remember him saying about Jesus is that He was a carpenter who died on a tree.

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Adoniram Judson: Bound for Burma

Janet and Geoff Benge

YWAM Publishing, 2000

When I was growing up, missionaries visited our California church often to participate in annual missions conferences and to raise support. My family often took these missionaries out for lunch after church on Sundays and hosted quite a few of them for short stays at our house. I think all the time we spent with missionaries played a big role in God’s call for us to become missionaries when I was in high school. (I talk a little bit more about that in this post.)

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Ancient City (Muang Boran)

There is so much to see and do in Bangkok; after 8 1/2 years here, I still have so much to experience, but we were able to check one more thing off the list last weekend. Some of Worchihan’s sweet, sweet former English students took us to Ancient City (known as Muang Boran or เมืองโบราณ in Thai) to experience as much of Thailand as you’ll ever be able to experience in one day.

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George Town, Penang: Armenian Street and What I Bought

If you read the first George Town post, you’ll know our trip was last-minute. You’ll also find out where we stayed and what we ate. I wrote about what we did in the second post, but decided Armenian Street (and what I bought) needed its own post.

(Disclaimer: I am not a shopping advocate. I try to buy what I need, as well as chocolate and local art and books when I travel. I am including what I bought on this trip because I was impressed by the amount and high quality of the local products made in Malaysia by Malaysians.)

On our first morning in George Town, I went for a walk and stumbled upon this little street, which I didn’t know anything about, because, again, I hadn’t done any planning for this trip, which, as I’ve discovered, is the best way to be pleasantly surprised!

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Women on the Move: Hanoi’s Migrant Roving Street Vendors

Bangkok is the perfect springboard for exploring southeast Asia. Flights are short and inexpensive. Since I’ve lived here, I’ve visited Cambodia, Vietnam, Burma, Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines – 6 of the 11 southeast Asian nations. (Of the remaining countries, Laos is at the top of my list.)

When I was a child, I bought pencils and keychains as souvenirs. Then it was t-shirts, but I found that in Asia, they don’t fit me very well, so now I buy art and sometimes books. In Singapore, I bought The Little Singapore Book, a children’s book with beautiful illustrations that is also perfect for adults. At the Vietnamese Women’s Museum in Hanoi, I bought Women on the Move: Hanoi’s Migrant Roving Street Vendors.

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George Town, Penang: Sleeping and Eating

So I now know how to plan a I-have-to-leave-the-country-in 5-days trip. My first thought: I need to go somewhere where I don’t need a visa and Worchihan can get one quickly. That meant Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos were out — Americans need visas for them all — so Malaysia it was. I had heard that George Town in Penang was a cool place so I headed straight to Agoda and then to Google Flights, which is clearly out of order (no one makes me feel more like I have to do something RIGHT NOW than Agoda). It wasn’t until we got to the airport that I looked up how we could get to George Town from the airport — and that’s all the research I did. (Old Susan may not have been friends with new Susan — I mean, come on, I did have 4 full days to plan the trip!)

So, I come to lesson 1: You can have a great time on a trip whether you research the heck out of it or not.

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