Epistle 1, July 9 and 10: On the Road to Myanmar

10 07 2009

I have arrived in Bangkok, and I am writing this blog entry after having finished 18 hours of air time and 7 hours of waiting around time.  I have been up for the last 30 hours.  Of course this seems exhausting, until one considers the time it took Adoniran Judson to get to Southeast Asia.  He left on February 19, 1812 and arrived June 12, 1812.  Four months!  This puts my 30 hours in perspective.  One should never complain about traveling today.  I always consider it a major magical that in less than 24 hours I have been in Kansas City, Chicago, Shanghai and finally Bangkok.

One interesting aspect of the trip was the concern over the Swine Flu.  Upon landing in Shanghai, we were not allowed to leave our seats until each person has his or her temperature taken.  On to the plane came two sets of technicians clothed like they were out of the science fiction movie.

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All you could see were their eyes.  They used lasers across our foreheads to check our temperatures.  If someone had an elevated temperature they then used a thermometer.  If that person failed, then he or she was quarantined immediately.  Evidently, I was a perfect 98.6 degrees.

One other thought struck me as I was waiting in the Shanghai Airport:  the bilingual signs.  The photo below is an example.

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It reminded me of the first-century (and what does remind me in some way about that pivotal point in history).  The world of the NT was bilingual with Latin and Greek.  While the sign illustrates the official government language of China is Chinese, the language that will speak to most people is English.  In the ancient world it was Greek.  Even though Jesus spoke and taught in Aramaic and lived far the centers of culture and power, he probably knew enough Greek to get by.

For the next two days, Saturday and Sunday, we will be in Bangkok.  We will have the opportunity to see some of the sights of this ever expanding city and to see some of the Baptist work that is happening.

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