My Week Without Mirrors

Two weeks ago my team and I took a four hour ride into rural northern Thailand where the village, Mae Ai is tucked between mountains and rice paddies. When we were first notified that we would be leaving the "comforts" of Chiang Mai, and trading them for mosquito nets and squatty pottys, I naturally panicked. I assumed that the lack of cleanliness, the bugs, the labor and language barrier would all be too much for me (and at some points they were). I made the decision to keep my head down and trudge through, all the while closed off to the experience as a whole. This decision of mine lasted about 2.5 seconds. Even during the nauseating song tao ride God was constantly reminding me that even the seemingly treacherous things in life can hold beauty


Mae Ai is a tranquil farming town, insistent on maintaining a lifestyle of self sufficiency and community. I was introduced to my host parents Ma Dang and Pa Long, both of whom speak no English. After a quick tour of their home one thing hit me, there were no mirrors

I remember getting flustered, wondering how in the world they knew what they looked like or how they did their hair in the morning. I began to panic, because I found identity in appearances and now I had no way to maintain mine.


But God has made man in his image. As I spent time building relationships with these people I began to see God in them and realized that we are all reflections of one another. If I could see God in them, could they see God in me?? 


I began to realize that finding my identity in my appearances is a waste of time. My identity has already been found in Christ. God longs for me to look away from the mirror so I can begin to see reflections of him instead. 

That week God was reflected in many things,

Pa Long's giant smile

Ma Dang's occasional smirk

My roommates praying over each other as we tried to forget about the roaches we found in our net

The calluses on my hands from working in the mushroom field

The coca cola Pa Long graciously gave us everyday

Pa Longs chiropractic skills

Team dinners

Worship under the setting sun

Toothless grins from the neighbors

The monsoon rain I willingly showered in 

Long walks through the rice fields

Sitting in the front of the truck with Pa Long

Pa Long saying amen

All of the animals on the farm (fleas included) 

The crow of the rooster ALL DAY AND ALL NIGHT

And most of all, the sweet sweet time I got to spend with my gracious, peaceful and loving God


Reflection does not exist so that we may see ourselves, but rather that we can see the presence of God IN us, and in those around us. 



This is a poem I wrote about my host dad:

The lips form a terrace, budding with harvest on which a single man works an entire season for a years supply of sustenance 

Day after day he tills the skin praying to strike gold but exhausts his efforts with expectation when all he really needs is anticipation 

The harvest is coming

Souls will be dug up and cleaned off 

Vocal chords will be pruned 

Bodies will be broken and healed to become what they were meant to be 

Pah Long forks dinner onto his plate as a prayer is muttered across the table

The language is foreign and untamed 

But his ears are curious, his face begins to study the mouths of those giving thanks and he begins to understand 

His soul begins to interpret a language he heard as a child

He dips into the deep pools of nostalgia and out of fear for loosing again what has always been within he mutters amen


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