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Archive for October, 2009

Retreat into the Woods

This past weekend, Liem and I went on a retreat with a church called Song Sawan. They are closely connected with NightLight. It gave me a good opportunity to show Liem who I work with each day and allowed both of us to become closer to this amazing community.

We were in Isaan, a region a few hours North of Bangkok. It was nice to get out of the city for a weekend and back to nature. Lots of laughter, tears, joy with 50 others.

There was Thai worship music. There was Scripture. Testimonies. Games. Deliverance. 5 Baptisms and one accepted God into her life!

We came back to the city with a sense of renewed spirit and refreshed, ready to battle the upcoming week!

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Baby bump: week 31 (7+months)

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This bright, blue bus was our ride to Isaan. It matches my shirt. It features a super loud sound system and disco ball for dancing!

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It rained pretty hard the night before, so there were lots of flooded streets all over Bangkok.

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Singing worship songs in Thai. There are no words to describe the love for God in the room.

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Worship gathering.

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5 women were baptized this weekend. So beautiful…

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Volunteers in the woods! I love being around such amazing women with amazing hearts.

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Noble Awards

Just recently found out that AnnaLynne McCord has picked up a Noble Award on for her work with The Blind Project. We’ve been fortunate to have her on our team to spread awareness about sex trafficking, to her Hollywood colleages.

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Looking back when me, Anthony, and Chad started the organization our goal was to spread awareness and that’s why we called it The Blind Project… to open the eyes to those who are blind to the issue of sex trafficking. We are so amazed and humbled to see how far it’s come.

Have to believe that’s why me and Downy are in Thailand. Downy is helping women who have been exploited by the sex trade and I am working in advertising. But together, we can use our resources to help these victims and open the eyes of those here in Southeast Asia.

Below is a video from the event this past weekend. It’s a bit long but you get to see Anthony and a very good speech by AnnaLynne (by the ways, the person standing next to Anthony in the video is the wife of ‘Uncle Jesse’ from Full House, random).

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I am excited to see what the upcoming year will bring. We have some new fashion / jewelry designers on our team and one of our upcoming projects will feature fashion goods made by rescued victims in Southeast Asia.

At the very heart of it all is the sad truth that slavery is still in existence today – much more than it ever was in history.

We are so very thankful for everyone who has supported The Blind Project thus far.

God Bless,

Liem

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Starting work, etc, etc

Another blog to touch base with everyone. You know what? It’s kinda hard blogging. I think it’s finding the right balance of living life vs documenting life (I can go deeper into this topic, trust me, but I won’t).

Anyways. we really miss you guys. We had a rough time before work started to keep ourselves busy. So about work…

First week of work for me was real interesting… just trying to get the right vibe and culture of work takes a little time. Fortunately, I work next door to where we live so the commute takes a few minutes walking – which is great because I can meet Downy for lunch or rush home if there is an emergency. But also, it could be bad because I may never leave work if things get busy because I live so close to home.

I posted some photos below but one thing you notice here is the complete reverance and loyalty to the King & Queen. Their pictures are everywhere… I mean everywhere. 20 ft photos with fancy decorations in gold. I think he’s been in power for 60 years and there is a lot of love and respect for him. I was told from co-workers not to talk badly about the royal family and that if I did, I could get in DEEP trouble.

This is the front steps of my work building.

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Koi fish in the lobby fountain (good for us, not so much for the fish).

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In case you missed the king at the front, he’s by the elevators too.

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Work is good so far, just getting to know my neighbors around me. Sometimes I forget that I’m working in Thailand until I walk out into the hallways and see tons of Thai people speaking Thai… and then it hits me. I am in Thailand. What? What the heck did I do? I miss NY. haha. Crazy how that happens. But I do think there is a reason for us being here for the moment. But I think it has something to do with what Downy is doing here and the recent success of the blind project (more on that later).

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If you’ve been searching for God, well, here you go.

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Sad but true – you get awards in advertising.

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So work – same ol’ same ol’. I’m already working on a tv spot for an ice cream company here. Did a 15 second storyboard and waiting for the illustrations to come in tomorrow. And also, one of the perks of speaking English pretty well is that you will get used as a voice over talent if they need you for emergency. On Friday, I was a voice over talent for a deodorant tv commercial… so that was cool. Anyways, enough about work.

Downy’s health is good. Her stomach is getting bigger and so are her calves! There is a lot of walking here in Thailand and a lot of sweating. But, fortunately, there is a lot of taxis here and they are CHEAP. For the New Yorkers reading this… seriously, it is unbelievably cheap (imagine taking a cab from JFK to Grand Central for $5 instead of $50). The hospital here is great and the healthcare and inexpensive as as well. We went to the doctor yesterday and the baby’s heart beat is strong. Downy says this will be her 2nd child. Can’t wait for my son / little brother!

This is a snapshot of the hospital hallways.

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Downy getting groceries.

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I found a park nearby where I run in the mornings called Lumphini Park. It’s like Central Park except filled with thousands of old people running and doing tai chi. It’s like running through a kung fu movie with a bunch of extras of senior citizens. I think in the early mornings like 6 am, this is my favorite time in Bangkok. This is where the city wakes up and breathes it’s first breath. It is a spiritual and peaceful place. I get sentimental when I’m there in the park because I think of my parents. It reminds me that when people get old… we don’t need to cash in our chips, sit around and wait. We can LIVE. We can enjoy time… look forward to each morning to meet our friends. To laugh, to excercise, to have quiet time alone, to have coffee, and talk. I can’t wait till I get old so I can be among them… the old geezer still cracking inappropriate jokes. Below are a few photos of Tai Chi people… there are a lot more.

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But something tells me I’m gonna be more like the guy doing Tai Chi alone next to a tree.

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And I found a bball court! I put down the camera and played a couple of fullcourt pickup games. This won’t be my last time here.

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Oh yeah, if you run, careful. Watch out for the 5 ft carnivorious lizards.

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Just got this photo from my sister in law and it made me happy. My mom, brother (and his wife), my sister, niece, and friends did the Race For The Cure over the weekend in Dallas.

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Church has been good too. I think we are going to commit to a church here called LifeCenter. A very different kind of church… more about connecting with the local people on a very personal and small group level. Spiritually, it’s been good – we’ve had some rough moments, but hasn’t everyone? “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.” or the simple man’s version, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

Anyways, the title of this post is ‘starting work, etc, etc’ – I should have added a few more etc’s in there as this post is a bit all over the place.

Thanks for all your encourgement and prayers. That stuff works you know. Really. It does. Just ask him.

Peace & love.

Liem

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First week volunteering

IMG_4896NLThis is a photo from the spring trip. Little did I know, I’d be spending the rest of the year sitting in this same room, volunteering.

This week I started volunteering at Night Light. http://www.nightlightinternational.com
My duties will include assisting Annie, the woman in charge of it all.
Also, I get hang out and connect with the women making jewelry.

The first morning I was introduced to the other volunteers and women working here, I recognized many of them from the eye exams in February, they remembered me as well!

I ended up sitting and speaking with some of the girls making jewelry in the morning. I attempted to make some jewelry but failed miserably! I have to say, the skill level of the girls was incredible: very intricate beadwork. It’s definitely upper level craftsmanship.

I had lunch in-house with the other volunteers, each day a few of the women who work there take turns making lunch: home style Thai food and communal fellowship. Reminded me of Baan Immanuel (Ron’s orphanage) in Chiang Rai.

It turns out my daily schedule includes starting each morning out with and hour of worship. How wonderful it is to start off each morning in a room of redeemed women each morning, singing songs of praise in Thai?

Once a week, the volunteers have Bible study over lunch.

I cannot even begin to express how blessed I feel to be involved with Night Light. Between worship, Bible study, communing with the girls, can this get any better? Stay tuned.

-Downy

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Out + About

So work doesn’t start for me for another week and a half… giving us time to wander around the city. It’ s hot here. Like in NY it’s nice because when summer arrives EVERYONE wears shorts and sheds clothing. But in Bangkok, it’s hot all the time… and no one wears shorts. I don’t know why. In the fashion advertisements you see people wearing shorts. Personally, I think it’s ridiculous. That being said, I already bought a couple of work pants.

We’re doing quite a bit of baby shopping for supplies and bought our first crib. Sometimes I forget that Downy is pregnant and has our son growing inside of her. And then, other times, I realize our life is going to change quite a bit when we have a kid.

Below is a crib I put together anticipating our new arrival in December.

Luckily, we met some new friends here in Bangkok who have kids of their own. Their names are Daniel and Paulina Brolin. They are a married couple from Sweden who came to Bangkok to plant a church called LifeCenter (www.lifecenter.asia). Daniel is a Swedish graphic designer and his wife keeps busy with their 4 children. Anyways, they’re the first Christians we’ve connected with and have been really encouraging so far.

Daniel, Paulina, and their kids.

Daniel and me at the Thailand Open (major tennis tournament).

And also, Downy’s cousins live here and they have a couple of kids of their own as well. They’ve been giving us a lot of advice and recommendations for doctors / hospitals. Below are a couple of snaps of their son and daughter (Plubb and Pinn) when they came over to our place for a swim.

So that’s about it so far. We’ve been skyping a lot (mostly with our parents) but if you want to skype us and video chat feel free to. My skype sn is limb.when so go on and add me. Anyways, below are a few snaps we took of just being out + about.

Food here is cheap and quite good. Seriously, it is cheap.

It’s official. We’ve changed banks.

They are not afraid of covering entire trains with ads. The ads here are inescapable.

And then we ate at a seafood restaurant where they had weird exotic creatures in a tank. Below is a sea salamander which they pulled out of the tank and sliced it open. We ate the little guy raw with vinegar carrots and lime. Real chewy like calamari. what an experience! NO JOKE!!!

Ok. Fine. I was only joking. We actually went to the aquarium and snapped some photos.

… some floating implants.

And that’s all folks… until next time. Thanks for stopping by… Miss you.

Liem

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