The last day of 2011 - my how this year has flown by! As I'm in a slightly nostalgic mood, reflecting on the last year, I thought I'd write just one more blog post for this year.
We went on vacation for about 5 days - we left on Christmas morning, which might seem a bit ridiculous to some. Who leaves on vacation on Christmas day? We do. We decided we didn't want to wait an extra day. Haha.
Anyway, we went to Koh Samet, the same island that we went to last year. We stayed at a different location, and it was both good and bad in several was. The room we rented was a grand total of 300 baht per night, which equals out to about $9.50. Yep. Gotta love vacation expenses in Thailand! Granted, we didn't have air conditioning or hot water...but who really needs either when you're sitting in the sun all day and it cools down nicely at night?
When we went to this island last year, we spent a day on a boat tour of some surrounding islands. You might remember (well, maybe not) the story of some of the people we met that day. They were kind to us, and we even went out for dinner and drinks on Christmas night. Last year, Michael and I were amazed at how these new friends of ours reacted to knowing that we were Christian. One was pretty adamant about NOT talking about religion, but somehow, it kept coming up in the conversation with him. We went home from that trip hoping that we'd get to meet them again and continue conversing with them.
This year, our experience was totally different. Both Michael and I secretly hoped (although we knew it was unlikely) that we'd meet up with the same people we had dinner with last year. Instead, we were pleasantly surprised to meet some Americans (among other people, of course!). Not only were they Americans, but they were both Christians as well! These two women were on their Christmas vacation, traveling from Thailand, to Hong Kong, then back to South Korea, where they both work as teachers in an international school. One of them just started talking to us as we swam in the ocean on our second day there. The conversation was short, and we all returned to our respective chairs on the beach. An hour or so later, as I was reading my book, the same woman came walking up to us again and exclaimed, "I just finished reading that book with the Bible study I'm involved in!" I was reading a Philip Yancey book called What's So Amazing About Grace? - the small group that we are in at church also recently finished a study on the book. I didn't have time to read the book while we were actually studying it, but I brought it with us on vacation because I thought it would be nice to catch up and read it, despite the fact that we'd finished the study a few weeks previously.
Anyway, all of that is to say that we felt immensely blessed to meet and become acquainted with a couple of Christian women. I'll be honest and say that I was surprised to meet other Christians; if anything, I would have expected to have an experience similar to last year, where we acted as witnesses to the strangers that we met. It was really refreshing to be able to talk to others who have the same (or similar, at least) worldview and have had similar experiences as us. We ate several meals with them over the course of the next few days and enjoyed our time getting to know them.
That was the biggest highlight of the trip. Now we are back at GES, awaiting the New Year, relaxing, and anticipating the start of school next week. I can hardly believe that school is starting up again, but fortunately this time around we get out an hour earlier (at 3:30 instead of 4:30)! We're looking forward to getting back into a routine...but at the same time, we also really enjoy all this free time that we have!
We hope that you can look back at this year and remember all the blessings that God has given you. He is good, faithful, and gives us so much more than we deserve!