I’m sitting here trying to decide what to share with you about my trip to Thailand. A big part of me wants to just make it easy and tell you about the amazing food we ate and how I got to touch, feed and ride an elephant. It would be simple to tell you how the beaches of Phuket were some of the most gorgeous beaches I’ve ever been to and the ocean water was so incredibly warm. I could go on about the picturesque tourist things we did, but that is not what has been yanking at my heart to share with you. The moment of my trip that touched me the most, but sometimes seems silly to have mattered so much is the five minutes that, as I was lost deep in the jungle outside of Chiang Mai, I had the most epic squirt gun fight with a little girl who I couldn’t communicate with through words and lived in a rural village of 46 people.
So, lame or not, here’s the story God has convinced me I need to share:
We did an over night trekking tour in the jungles outside Chiang Mai and it was one of the coolest experiences of my life. The website said ‘trek’ and I’m thinking “heck yeah, I hike somewhat frequently and am in relatively decent shape”! Holy moly, it was long and far and hot and sweaty and dirty and sticky (90 degrees and 90% humidity!). Half way through our trek we stopped at our guide, Pili’s village where he was born. There were only 21 people in his village when Pili was born (TWENTY ONE!) and now there are 46…yeah, 46 people total and 9 families. It was truly rural village life with homes made out of bamboo and no electricity.
We got to meet Pili’s family and his niece and nephew were there playing with squirt guns when we arrived. Pili told us we could walk around the village and see what it was like while he visited with his family for a few minutes. So we walked around and all I could think about was having a squirt gun fight with those kids. When we got back to Pili’s home a few minutes later everyone was gone – so we waited around for Pili to come back so we could continue our trek.
Then (God know’s my heart for children so well!) Pili’s niece comes walking up the path towards the house alone and looked nervous when I looked at her. I really wanted to have a squirt gun fight with her so I put my hands up like I was pulling the trigger of a squirt gun and smiled. But she didn’t understand what I was trying to say and looked at me with a confused, shy look (remember she speaks no English and I certainly can’t speak their local village language). So my brain got to thinking and I took my water bottle out of my backpack, held it sideways, pointed it towards her and pulled a fake trigger beneath it. As soon as I did that, her face lit up! She ran to the spot that she kept her squirt guns, pulled them out of their precious hiding spot and showed me where to fill them up with water.
Both squirt guns were finally full with water and then we looked at each other (I think she didn’t actually believe I was going to squirt her!)…I got a big smile on my face, squirted her once, and started the most epic squirt gun fight of my life – running and laughing and hiding and getting each other wet. Then I held up my finger (“wait!”) and motioned for her to come close to me. I secretly pointed to Ben and David (my brother in law who joined us on this trip) who were sitting facing away from us nearby and motioned that we were now on a team and we were going to squirt the guys. Oh boy, did we both get huge smug smiles on our face when we created the plan to attack them. Pili’s neice was litterally jumping in her shoes waiting to attack them. I counted to three…one…two…three! And we ambushed Ben and David with squirt guns, ran around the village laughing and screaming until I ran out of water in my squirt gun (and my breath as well!).
I don’t know exactly why this was the most impactful five minutes of the whole two weeks we were in Thailand. There’s just something God has placed in my heart for a strong love of kids and breaking the barrier that I’m a foreign person walking through this village with no way to communicate. Please, let me say something…sometimes the best communication is understanding that we are all human beings (and kids at heart) who just want to laugh, have fun and forget about the worries of the world for five minutes. And through a five minute squirt gun fight, I realized that it doesn’t matter if we live completely different lives or can’t speak in the same tongue, we are all blessed with souls that still know how to love, laugh and care for others no matter what. (And just look at my smile – I couldn’t contain how happy this little girl made me!)
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