Friday, November 11, 2011

A Lesson From the Slum

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, 
how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. 
We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me.  I was homeless, and you took me in.” ― Mother Teresa

About this time last year, Dave took a trip down to Bangkok to get our necessary paperwork verified at the Australian Embassy.  When he suggested that I go this year, I jumped at the chance.
After beginning the day at 4.30am and arriving home at about 10pm, it felt like I had been away from home for much longer than just one day.
Outside the Australian Embassy

The last time I had been to Bangkok was about 12 years ago, so I really didn’t remember that much about it. 
Having lived here in Chiangmai, for almost two years now, it was so wonderful to be able to go to a different part of Thailand and grow a bit more in my understanding about the country through this experience.  My friend Kaylee (new ZOE missionary) accompanied me before “officially” starting to work full-time on Monday.
Inside the embassy
What I wanted to share though was not about the deliciousness of the lunch we ate, the beauty of the paintings we saw in an exhibition or about the crazy traffic and millions of bustling people.  
It’s not about the heat of the day or about our chance to practice our Thai phrases on the locals, or the fact that due to the current flooding there was NO bottled water available in any of the shops that we went in to.
No, the absolute highlight of my day was visiting my friend Jodie MacCartney who lives in a slum with her husband and three little girls working with UNOH (Urban Neighbours of Hope) and “doing life” amongst some of the poorest people in Bangkok.
Jodie and I in her home

I already had so much admiration for Jodie and her husband Chris.  I remember hearing about what they were doing about 5 years ago through a mutual friend (long before we’d heard of ZOE) and being in a state of shock and total amazement.
But having been there now and seeing where they live and work… I have no words to describe how I feel about this precious family.
I want to be able to explain to you all that I felt, all that I experienced, all that was spoken but honestly I still feel overwhelmed by the whole experience.
What I will say though is that it left me with a lot of questions in my own mind that I will be doing some soul-searching about for a little while yet.
The "Second Chance Bangkok" op shop.
You know, there are a lot of people that are doing AMAZING work to help vulnerable people, children, the elderly, teenagers in need etc.

I am surrounded by them everyday.

BUT if I look at the life of Jesus and what he did during his time here on earth, I would have to say that, in my opinion, these guys are doing a pretty great job of replicating the ministry He had… through positioning themselves right in the middle of the poverty, disease, abuse, drugs, homelessness, helplessness… and opening up their hearts and their lives to help these people “practically” wherever the need arises, what ever that looks like AND all the while shining the love of God in to some otherwise pretty dark places.

In conclusion, maybe the most humbling experience of the day came when Jodie’s neighbor, not knowing that we’d been looking for bottled water all morning and hadn’t found any... maybe not even having many bottles left for herself, came over from her house and gave Kaylee and I an icy-cold bottle of water… for no other reason than just because… it’s the beautiful, kind, generous, loving nature that we see time and time again amongst the Thai people.  It could also be seen in the eyes of this neighbour just how much Jodie meant to her, reasons I can only imagine.

So many of us try to be generous and give out of the abundance of what we have.  But how many of us can honestly testify to giving generously when there’s nothing left to give?  This lady gave not out of her excess, but chose to bless a stranger in a very humbling act of generosity.

To Jodie and Chis, we think you are doing a sensational work where God has put you, and we will continue to pray for your family.
For more information about this AMAZING family, check out their blog……
Or, watch this short clip that shows pictures of the slum where they live and work.

NEW: And for additional footage from the ABC News, "Second Chance for Bangkok Slums" click here.



Anonymous said...

Hi guys, loved to read the article. Yes Jodie and Chris are pretty darn special people. My name's Murray, also supported from Dingley village and am working in Mae Sot. But I am in Chiang Mai for a week. Wondering if we could catch up? My mobile is 0822378078. We met in July, and shared the speaking that day. Hope you are well. I am staying off Nimmanhaemin.

Cross Family said...

Hi Murray, we were just talking about you the other day. Dave's out at ZOE now but when he comes home I'll find out a time that suits. Be great to catch up, Andie.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dave and Andria,

Still trying to contact you guys.
Not used to this Bloging caper.
My email is,

Tom Mac

suzy said...

What an amazing woman. I have no words.
Thank you for your blog Andie. Without it I would not learn.

Cross Family said...

Thanks for reading Toni. Jodie really is an amazing person and I am still processing all I saw... I find it personally very challenging.