It’s been three weeks since we’ve been home. It started as a simple trip to Chiang Mai to see friends and do some business. We never thought this would mean three weeks of captivity. Finally, though, it seems that the hostage release has been negotiated and we’ll be allowed to go home.
I suppose you could look at our stay that way, but really our captor was a burnt out engine and the prison was the guest rooms of our close friends in Chiang Mai. Ironically, the engine overheated on a trip that was intended to register the vehicle in my name. We’ve spent the past two weeks getting the truck travel ready to get back to Maesot. We actually made an initial trip three days ago and the truck overheated again. This time, no damage was done to the vehicle. After some very minor repairs, we drove the truck through the mountains near where we’re staying and the engine maintained it’s temp well. So we plan to go home tomorrow.
Our stay here offered us many opportunities to reflect on life in Thailand. We’ve probably spent most of our time just trying to figure out the culture and not as much time adventuring and enjoying our time. Being forced to live in one of Southeast Asia’s most popular tourist destinations, Chiang Mai, gave us a chance to expand our horizons. We visited an organic farm, saw a 700-year old Buddhist temple, and enjoyed some local cuisine that we cannot find where we currently live.
The costs of repairs challenged my fears about having enough money while living on a donation-based salary. I spend much of my time focusing on controlling the flow of our money in an effort to be responsible. But at the heart of it, I fear that if I spend more than I make that people will consider me foolish. Choosing to not worry about what others might think allowed us to enjoy our time in spite of the large bill that came with a new engine.
We also had to learn to accept the gifts of provision and space that our friends lavished on us. Their generosity was amazing. While not unexpected, we found it difficult not to thank them by giving something in return. At the same time, being away from our home in Mae Sot, issues arose there that we were unable to address. Our friends there came through in a big way, and we are very thankful.
All around, this trip was very humbling for us. It’s a great reminder that friends are priceless. It’s very easy to doubt in the generosity of others, maybe because we’re taught not to impose on others in America. Whatever the reason, this trip and all we accomplished would have been impossible without the help of all our friends. Thank you to all who helped on the ground and who prayed for our safe return. We hope to see our Maesot crew tomorrow!