Foreign soil. A new place we had never been. Fog had settled over Hong Kong during our 24-hour layover, but we still wanted to get out and see this city while we had an opportunity. Walking down the streets, we couldn’t understand most of the language around us, and faces didn’t seem as friendly as in Thailand. It felt strange to be wandering around as tourists.
After traveling up to Victoria Peak and crossing the harbor on the ferry, we settled in to watch a light show over the harbor. As we watched, I realized I could understand a conversation going on in front of me. Three young adults were sitting on a bench talking to each other in Thai. I made eye contact with one of the young women. “Are you from Thailand?” I asked her.
“Yes, we are. How do you know how to speak Thai?” she asked wonderingly.
“We have lived there for three years. How long have you been in Hong Kong?”
“We’re just visiting for a few days.”
We chatted for a few more minutes before the show began, and I told her it was nice to meet Thai people in other countries where I don’t speak the language.
A few weeks later, we were in a restaurant getting ready to order food when I realized that two of the girls behind the register were talking to each other in Thai. When it was our turn to order, I asked the cashier where she was from. She said that she and the other girl were from Thailand. She was surprised when I started talking to her in Thai, but happy to be speaking in her heart language. She said there were about 40 Thai university students working in that town during their school break. After hearing that, we kept our eyes and ears open to see if we could encounter any other Thai people in that town.
Several times we have been happily surprised to meet our people here in the States while we are on furlough. Moab Utah, the Grand Canyon and Mount Rushmore are just a few of the places we have encountered people from Thailand. They are always happy to have a chance to speak with someone who knows their heart language and where they come from. We have been delighted by these opportunities. We never know when the next one will present itself.
In all the busyness and ordered chaos of furlough, we are glad that the Lord is keeping the Thai people at the front of our minds and close to our hearts. We pray that He will work to provide what we need so we can get back to our work in Thailand soon. Thank you for your help in making this possible!