I can imagine the scene in America. People will gather in churches this weekend and pray for France. There are tears pouring out because we know how much it hurts to be attacked. Yes, it was 14 years ago, but we cannot forget the fear, grief, and even anger those attacks caused. In restaurants, the waiters will be talking to the customers, and they will say things like “I am praying” and “bless their hearts.” In the aisles of Walmart, strangers will be discussing all the details, and talk will probably shift to remembering 9-11. It is fitting, and right, but here in Bangkok, I’m not sure most people even know what has happened in Paris.
We have been watching the news since we woke up, and our hearts hurt so much, but not a single Thai person I have been around today has said a word (unless I brought it up.) I am sure within the next 24 hours this will change. They love everything French and British, and since most people here love their social media even more than Americans do, word will get around.
I am anxious to see their response, though. After the bombing here, I was shocked at how unmoved people seemed by it. I wanted to cry every time I thought about it, but not a single Thai person I asked seemed to be anywhere near as upset as I was, and they essentially said, “It is what it is.” It was a huge cultural lesson for me!
I think one reason for their response is that they do not wear their hearts on their sleeves. Even if they were upset, I would probably not know. Many times, I am grateful for this, because I know I have probably offended (culturally) so many people, and it would break my heart to be told each and every time. However, anytime they talk about their king, their voices and body language convey adoration for him. There is no doubt what their feelings are for him.
That leads to my second thought as to why their response was so muted (in my opinion.) They have an unwavering trust in the leaders of their country. American’s question everything, and as a rule, we do not trust politicians. (Sometimes, I think if “Honest Abe” was president today, he would only be called that sarcastically.) But that is not true of Thai people. They trust their leaders to handle the situation, and therefore, see no reason to be concerned.
However, I think this final reason is the main one. I heard this from several Thai people–our church, teachers, my friend–and the more I watch and listen to those around me, the more I realize it must be true. It all boils down to the Buddhist beliefs of karma and reincarnation. I will not pretend to completely understand what they believe because it really does vary from person to person. The essential thought, though, is those who do bad things will have to pay for their actions, and your life is fair payment. So, if you die in a terrorist attack, it is almost assumed it was because you are paying for past sins. If you were the perpetrator, you can expect to pay in some way as well. Some people told me you can work to balance the bad by doing good, and it will help you during your current life; others said it impacts your next life. I have also read that your good works only make a difference in the length of time you stay in Hell before being reincarnated. None of it adds up in my mind.
I serve a God who completely forgave my sins-and I did nothing to balance the good and bad. There is no guilty feeling in my heart. When I look at the world around me, I realize that this is the worst it ever gets for me. I’m going to Heaven when I die, and I will not pay for all the sins I have committed. Instead, I will be with my Saviour and my King, and I will be in a crowd of those who worship only Him. I have no fear of death. None. Sometimes, I fear life here on Earth, but I look forward to what awaits me when I die. Christ.
Please pray as we look, and make, every opportunity to tell those around us about Christ. This city is filled with many different cultures and religions, and we have been blessed with the opportunity to tell people from all over the world about Christ! AJ’s parkour teacher is from France, the other one is from Australia, we teach a family from Yemen, most of our classmates are Japanese or Korean, and we meet people from Myanmar and India everyday. What an amazing gift from God! Then, after praying for us, look at who the Lord has given you to tell, and go tell them!
Psalm 116:16 “O LORD, truly I am thy servant; I am thy servant, and the son of thine handmaid; thou hast loosed my bonds.”
Hi! My name is Rachael and I am a child of God. I was saved from sin and all its bondage at the age of 21. I am married to an incredible man. He constantly challenges me to grow closer to my Saviour. We have three beautiful children that love the Lord. Currently, our family is preparing to go to Thailand as missionaries.