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Lao – Day 1

Posted by on December 22, 2011

Well, as I sit here, we have been on this journey for 24 hours.  We left last night and boarded the VIP bus en route for the border town of Udon Thani.  I think it’s really good that we slept through that bus ride….it was super curvy and I think if I had been more aware of the speed with which that guy was taking those turns, I would’ve been up all night worrying for everyone’s safety.  Some things are just better to NOT know about.

After some shenanigans with Jack’s passport (he had recently gotten a new one and needed to have some sort of hi-jinks done to make it “right”….[did I just use “shenanigans” and “hi-jinks” in the same sentence?]…oh my)…we headed across Friendship Bridge, which delineates Thailand and Laos, at which point, pictures commenced being taken.

Beginning the crossing of the Friendship Bridge

The Mekong River

After we finally got to the Thai Embassy, we waited our turn to find out that we had every document we needed…except ONE.  Seriously, this happens to everyone.  We had talked to so many people who told us what they needed, and each had a random item that seems to give a sense of power to those people behind the Thai Visa desk.   It’s a ploy that’s 100% effective.  Today’s item of need was the expiration date of the Chairman of the Foundation’s work permit (of which there was a copy).  I felt as though I needed to point out that work permits are either 1 or 2 years in duration, and since he had the start date of the work permit, it would be no problem to deduce the expiration date.  That kind of logic has no place in a culture where there is no future tense in their language.  So…Buddy ran around, found our friend Matt, who so very kindly was able to get us all the documents we needed about 5 minutes before the Visa desk closed.

In the midst of that, I wish I could tell you how each of us was clinging to the hope of the Gospel…that God loves us, sent His Son for us, that because of that, our life is full and abundant and even if Buddy was 5 minutes late, such marvelous truths at this wonderful time of Christmas would have us skipping away, full of assurance of our God-given faith.  Instead…I hunkered down with the “What to do in Laos” book so as to avoid the looks from my children.  Jack cried honest sadness, Megan and Adrianne continued to annoy and irritate each other as we all left rather grumpy despite the race seemingly having been won.

Honestly…though the mood has picked up…there’s not a lot of grace giving (except for Buddy…who I must say has been absolutely stellar in both spirit and attitude)…I struggle with my children not being able to get that “missing Christmas” is such a small, pinhole of disappointment in light of all of life..disappointments that will come their way that will make such an idea seem well…dumb.  This struggle tends to get my own heart heavily involved in its own cycle of disappointment.  It is a very hard tension to keep holding out a high and godly standard for our kids and yet give them the grace to let God teach them.  Pray that me, in particular, can do this while trusting God for the lessons that will come and the comfort that only He can give.

Anyhow…back to Lao…we had delicious Indian curry…could have made the trip worth it, but this evening, we landed on the real delight of this trip.

Only one word appropriate here... SSSSSCCCCCOOOOOOORRRRRREEEEE!!

We found the “Rimping”/”Robinsons” of Vientienne…loaded up with foreign goodies, nothing compares to Kinder Eggs in the stocking (especially for an ole’ girl who grew up in Germany!)

One of our many tuk-tuk rides today!

Tomorrow we buy tickets back to Udon Thani, hope to pick up our Visa’s at 1pm and get back into Thailand for some loitering at a mall until the bus leaves again at 8pm.  God willing, we should be home early on Saturday so I can wrap some presents and spend Christmas Eve service with our dear house church.

Whew…that was long…thanks for those of you who stayed tuned and prayed…keep it up…while it only seems like 36 hours to go, they can be a bit challenging at times!  Love you guys – Jen

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