Weed Water

The words “Weed Water” stared at me from the sign. “100 baht (about $3.00) for four bottles. 100% real!” The shape of the leaves confirmed my fears—marijuana juice. On another occasion, wanting to make small talk with the restaurant owner, we noticed the marijuana plant he was trimming and silently wondered if there would be any “happy leaves” in our food. After recent legalization, marijuana is not the only leaf of concern. Gruesome crimes committed by hallucinating Kratom addicts sully the daily newspapers.

Leaving the leaves behind, we move on to politics. The Twitterverse screeches with bile-filled vitriol. Once hush-hush anti-government speculations are now debated openly in the Thai news. Will the volcano of public discontent defuse before erupting into violence?

Moving on, we turn to entertainment—the world where silliness, hedonism and Golden Calf idolatry combine to anesthetize those not already drugged or distracted. Sports, movies, gossip about the rich and famous, concerts, Candy Crush and scrolling mindlessly through Facebook feeds are as ubiquitous here as in America.

Concurrent to all this, the Buddhist monks preach, “Self-reliance is the answer. Only you can help yourself through merit-making.” Two shops within walking distance of our house only sell materials used in merit-making—primarily gifts to monks.

Meanwhile, the sun sinks low in the west. The night is coming when no one can work. What can we do in the face of addictions and societal unrest? How can we compete with the entertainment industry and the prevailing Buddhism? Only God can grant success. We covet your prayers and more workers.

My prayer today is: “Lord God, make us bright for you! Break through these distractions of Satan. Bring salvation to the people here in Surat Thani. Send more workers. Use us to replace weed water with the Water of Life.”

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