December 30, 2009

Yangshou China and Krabi Thailand

December 30, 2009

I took a four-week, half vacation, half-mission trip to China and Thailand.

I wanted spend time climbing some world famous climbing crags while doing some volunteer work.

In Yangshou, China I found it fairly easy to get set up volunteering as an English tutor. All I had to do was show up to any one of the numerous schools in the city and offer to tutor and immediately I would be given free room and board.

Yangshou is a haven for both rock climbers and Chinese students studying English. All that was required of me was 2 hours in the evening spent talking and hanging out with the students and a single 20 minute lecture per week. Since these were advanced students and undoubtedly had already heard all the generic type of lectures on English, I decided I would give them something they probably haven’t had a lecture on: Dating and Relationships. The evening was definitely interesting to them. I shared with them the means and ways of dating and marrying in my home country, America. Many questions ensued on the contrasts between their practices and America’s. In China, they do not date just to date. Parents are usually involved. A great deal of respect and honor is given to the practice of marriage. I appreciated that.

In Krabi Thailand I worked with a YWAM ministry that focused on educating kids and teaching english in the area of Krabi. The weather was a consistent 90 degrees F every day. The sunshine was always reliable, and the water warm. The humidity made for some interesting, sweat-soaked climbs (carry a towel) but was some of the finest anywhere in the world.

The Thai people I found, were fairly resistant and hardened to the gospel and the church. For as long as Christianity has been in Thailand, they have developed deep seated presuppositions and conceptions of it which, unfortunately, are not accurate. But the Church presses on here.

One of the reasons for the hardness may be due to the fact that a lot of places in Thailand, like Bangkok and Krabi are overrun with Western tourists. Sadly, locals have a negative perception of Western tourists, and everything they bring with them, with except to their money. As a result, it is very easy to be taken advantage of as a western tourist in a place like Krabi, so one has to be on extra guard and careful.