Resonate Edition 29 - Page 3

ADVENTURES with the harlands Episode №5 For the last few years, Resonate subscribers have been reading snippets from Luke and Belle. They are now beginning their third year serving with the Global Interaction team in Thailand. O ne of the most surprising things I’ve (Luke) found while learning a language is discovering how much the words can teach me about the culture. For example, being an Aussie, one of my most commonly asked questions in my vocabulary is, “How ya goin’?” It casually asks someone how they are and serves as a great conversation starter. However, the Thai equivalent, “Sabai dee mai?” isn’t the question the Thai’s ask. Instead, they ask, “Gin cow gup aray?” meaning, “What did you eat with your rice?”! Almost every meal is eaten with rice, even breakfast. I usually study with my language nurturer in the mornings and she asks me this question every time I see her. My answer is the same every time, “Cereal!” The fact that this question is about food and not mood reveals a cultural priority for hospitality. When I visit someone at home, the host will always bring me a drink, without asking if I’d like one. If we see our neighbours around a meal time they’ll always ask if we’ve eaten and invite us to join them. When we study with our teachers, they’ll usually serve us Thai sweets or occasionally their mothers bring us some curry to try (the latest one included meat from Asian Palm Civet, a cat-like animal!). Hospitality is also important in Thai faith groups. Weekly gatherings always include snacks of seasonal fruit, sweets and water. Just last weekend we all went to a beautiful local waterfall for a baptism service, which included a tasty spread of chicken, a red-ant egg dish and a spicy fermented fish sauce with sticky rice – very different to the Arnott’s Family Assorted biscuits and weak cordial served after church at home! But hospitality goes beyond simply serving food. I’ve known some of the poorest of people to be the most hospitable. During a university placement, Belle stayed with a family in a slum in the Philippines. She was welcomed with a meal and a soft drink, which the family didn’t have. They lived in a tiny little two room house by a river, which meant it flooded every rainy season. The family of five shared a double bed which they insisted Belle use. Hospitality isn’t about offering up a nice spread. It’s about honouring others with the gift of generosity no matter how much or how little you have. For us, hospitality means having an open home and sharing what we’ve been blessed with, most important of which is the treasure we have in Jesus. resonate · issue 29 · page 3