Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bangladesh is Pretty Nuts

I have arrived safely in Bangladesh. Matt told me the country was random and crazy and he was right.

It became real to me that we were actually going when they started serving the meal on the plane from Thailand to Bangladesh. It was a choice of chicken or lamb with curry and unidentifiable vegetables. We were also separated on the plane so I was only sitting with one of my students instead of the whole group as we had been.

We got to Dhaka and it was quite different than Thailand. Thailand is much more like America than Bangladesh is. I have been presently surprised by the amount of English writing on signs around town. It makes things easier. All the educated high society people seem to speak English, which is nice.

The place we are staying is very nice- a lot nicer than where I lived in Maui. We even have a tv. We had been quoting lines from Kindergarten Cop for the last two weeks and I was aching to see it. Today it came on tv. So sweet! I think it was no coincidence. The Lord knew I needed to hear the lines, "I don't want to be a policeman, I want to be a princess!" Priceless.

We have been here only a day and a half so we are just getting acclimated to our surroundings. We had to get clothes right away. We wear these things called- Sala Kameez. It is a long shirt/dress thing with matching pants. The most important part is a scarf that covers your boobs, called an ulna. Despite being fully covered, without an ulna, you are pretty much topless. It takes so getting used to for sure.

The culture here is very different and all of us are suffering from varying degrees of homesickness and culture shock. I am doing okay right now but I can forsee getting sad sometimes during the two and a half months. I did get to see Lindsay Lieser, one of my favorite students from the last team Matt took to Bangladesh. She is pretty much my hero as she has committed to being here in Bangladesh for a year.

It is so nice that Matt has already been here. It makes stuff so much easier. He makes sure the drivers of the mini-taxis and rickshaws don't rip us off. It is pretty obvious that they, along with the beggars, see dollar signs when they look at our white skin. People stare at us quite a bit. It really doesn't bother me too much but it is really getting to some of the students.

The traffic here is the craziest I have ever seen. We thought Thailand was bad but it was nothing. THe sides of all the buses are all banged up from being hit so much. There are lanes but no one seems to care. I pray a lot as we travel.

Overall, Bangladesh is weird but good. We meet with our contact tomorrow to discuss the overall outreach more. That should be good for all of us.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Thai Massage

I had never had a professional massage until just the other day. I heard how cheap they are here and was determined to give it a go. There is a place right by the YWAM base that charged 200 bhat an hour (about five dollars). How could I pass this up? Matt took the boys on our team the day before so I decided to take the girls.

The ladies could not speak much English but they spoke enough to make us understand that our guys had made quite the impression on them. Apparently they had Matt take off his shirt and were quite amazed by his girth. The Thais are a small people. And they had giant crushes on Eric.

The massage was good but a bit odd. They do a lot with pressure points and use their elbows and feet to massage in addition to their hands. They also massaged my butt, which can't help but be awkward.

Monday, August 21, 2006

A little bit longer this time

I know I just wrote yesterday but my time got cut short and Matt and I had to come to the internet place to email our contacts in Bangladesh. My post yesterday was painful short and undescriptive and I hope to rectify the situation now.

Yesterday we went to this giant market for our day off. Ashley, who is leading the nepal team, had told me about this place from her previous visits to Thailand. It was much crazier than I could ever imagine. It is a giant maze of shops and booths. It is very hot and very crowded and very AWeSOme! We spent about six hours there and probably saw about one fourth of what it had to offer. There was a pet section that had to be seen to believe. My favorite things in that section were the chipmunks they had for sale. They were wearing little leashes and sitting on top of their cages. To be perfectly honest, they kind of scared me. i felt that they might leap onto me at any moment. My experience with squirrels and the like has been that they are skittish and unpredictable- not the best pet. My friend, Todd, was much braver than I and actually picked one up. He didn't get to hold the one he wanted. That one was wearing a little beret. That's right- one of those floppy french hats was perched on a chipmunk's tiny head. But much to Todd's dismay, the fancy chipmunk was tied down and could not be cuddled. Todd had to settle for holding a much less fashionable rodent.

I bought a decent amount of stuff but nothing above $15. If you like to shop, Thailand is a great place. Besides shopping, we have gotten to do some ministry in addition to hearing lectures. We went to the prostitute area of bangkok. It was so hard to feel compassion for all the older white guys there. We walked around and prayed for the girls and the guys who were using them. I wanted to talk with the girls but the translator we came with was really nervous and uncomfortable. She is a strikingly beautiful Thai girl and the lustful men look at her as a possible purchase. In order to protect her, I just treated her to Pizza Hut. Thai people love pizza. Little do they know that their pizza pales in comparison to the United States. it tasted like a slightly fishy tomato sauce with weird cheese and meat on a saltine cracker. And they serve ketchup on the table. Strange!

Things are going well but I am getting anxious to go to Bangladesh and get things started. i will definitely miss the nepal team while we are apart, though. I love those guys.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Experiencing Thailand

I have been in Thailand for almost a week now. The purpose of this time is to be a kind of "pre-outreach." The students have lectures and ministry times. They are getting used to a new culture and we as staff still have other YWAM Maui people to help us deal with stuff. Unlike a lot of leaders, we have already had to deal with a lot of CRAZY stuff on our own while our school leader was gone.

We went on a tour of the Budhist temples here. There are many really famous ones in Bangkok.
I thought it would be fun and I could take funny pics of me pretending to hug Budha statues but it was a lot harder than I thought. I found it interesting but also really sad to see all the ways people were trying to earn God's love when He wants to give it to them freely.

I am really bad at learning the language. My student, Kelli is really into it. But instead of saying How are you, she said May I fart. Haha.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I am in Thailand (How about that for an original title?)

I have now experienced Asia. After an abnormal amount of flying and chillin in chilly airports, I am finally here. The flying actually was not too bad. It sure beat the packing beforehand. I procrastinated so much that I only got two hours of sleep before we left. In fact, I am still quite tired. I slept on most of the flights. Each time I woke up it was like taking sleeping pills and waking up after only a few hours. I was in quite the fog. Most of my companions were in the same shape. We had a long layover in Taipei and almost all the students slept on ledges and the floor by the gate. When we first got to the gate, there was no one there but when they were waking up the area was brimming with Asians. It was quite fun to watch them emerge from their sleepy caves made from "borrowed" airline blankets. Their expressions were priceless.

Thailand is cool so far. It actually reminds me more of home than Maui. This is mainly because of the extensive freeway system. There are a decent number of things in English and we are all practicing our Thai. I am not very good at it. I like saying English words and adding the word, "kah" at the end. That is what you do if you are a woman. The guys say a word that sounds like crap at the end of everything they say. PRetty sweet. This place also reminds me a bit of Mexico. THe place we are staying is right across from the biggest university in the nation. I though UT was big with 50,000 but this one has about 600,000. I guess we should start saying Everything is bigger in Thailand!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Synopsis of Craziness

I haven't written in a little bit because things have been so crazy. I wasn't sure how to explain what has gone on. I tend to include too many details so I will try to consdense this as much as possible. I am also getting tired of talking about it.

Last Thursday started out with all but one of the girls being late to lecture. Not good. Then we had a prayer time and one student ran out after getting upset at another student. Definitely out of the ordinary! Later it became apparent that one of our student's had had a very serious mental break with reality. She had been sharing some strange "visions" with the other students throughout the DTS. They didn't tell us so we were clueless. Well, she essentially went crazy. I believe there may have been some spiritual aspect to it but there was definitely something psychological going on as well.

We questioned her through lunch about some rules she had broken but she was unresponsive except for yelling at another leader at one point. We had to involve our base director. To make a long story short, then she ran away. I was so afraid she was going to hurt herself. With such eratic behavior, I did not know what to expect. She ran down Hana Hwy and I chased her. It was so much like a movie. Unfortunately I was not dressed for the occasion. I would have killed for tennis shoes and a sports bra instead of sandals, my bathing suit, skirt and tank top. But alas, when chasing a student who has gone crazy, there is not much time for wardrobe changes. As I ran, I just prayed that I could catch her and that she would not run in front of a car. It must have looked hilarious to anyone driving by. There was a little Korean girl running from a girl dressed for the beach(me), followed by a giant red-headed guy(matt) and then followed by two small people, (Ashley and Josh- her leaders)

My working out paid off and I caught up to her as she tried to hide in a sugar cane field. As I was walking her back, she passed out and because of a lady who stopped to help, we ended up calling an ambulance to pick her up. The emergency room evaluated her and recommended that she see a psychiatrist the next day. Her behavior became stranger and stranger. We had to isolate her from the other students as her behavior might upset them. Someone had to "babysit" her at all times. It was pretty intense. She gave long diatribes about how she wasn't crazy. This is pretty scary. She at one point said she was "channeling" another student and tried to convince us that she was that student. So weird! We booked her on a flight home the night after her big chase. She actually escaped once more before getting to the airport but another student caught her.

Now she is back with her family, pastor and counselor. They are working with her and I pray that they can help her. It was too much for us to handle especially so close to leaving for outreach. So, now the Nepal team is down one member and actually we lost another member in the process. One of our students made some very poor choices in the midst of all this drama and proved himself less trustworthy and forthright than we had hoped. He will not be coming to Bangladesh but the base is letting him be a mission builder and then attend the next DTS. I am glad because he is an awesome guy but he is a new Christian and needs more discipleship before he can handle Bangladesh.

Our base director, Tom, was a saint throughout all of this. He is one of the most upright and godly men I have ever met. He brought us fried chicken when we were interrogating through lunch time. He even personally walked the student to her gate at the airport and made sure she got on the plane. Without his support, I don't know how we would have done it. I would give that man my first born.
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