Saturday, October 07, 2006

Birthday Elephants and Humility

I had a fabulous 22nd birthday! I signed up for an all-day Elephant ride through the jungle with a tour group of 8 other people.
One couple was from Canada, another was from Malaysia, 3 were from Spain, 1 from Japan, and myself. We all got on splendidly learning about each other’s countries and swapping travel stories. I quickly became known as the “extremely religious bubbly birthday girl Jen from America!” haha. We had fun.
I’m not sure how I feel about the “extremely religious label”. That conjures up pictures of Pharisees – I sure hope I wasn’t giving them the impression that I was more pious just 'cause I’m a missionary working at an orphan home.
I am reminded everyday that the fact God is using little ‘ol me for anything is a testimony to His grace, sense of humor, and that He likes to use small unimportant things and people to shame the “wise” and shine His glory! Yeah God!
Sometimes I set up interviews with people over the phone, and when I meet them in person they’re shocked saying (either verbally or non-verbally) “What?! I thought I was meeting with a highly experienced reporter!
How old are you? Do you know the hierarchy of YWAM leadership and the 7 steps to our visionary strategy with the 4k network….?” and I say sheepishly “Er…well no. But God’s funny with who He calls for His work isn’t He? I mean he used David to slay Goliath, and a teenager to birth the son of God, so surely He can use anyone, right?” =)
Soooo I hope I am quick to give Him every bit of glory if do anything well.
But back to the elephants =)
We sat 2 people in a saddle while a Thai professional elephant rider man led us over a mammoth mountain, through banana trees and dense jungle foliage.
Since it was my birthday and all, the elephant driver let me out of the saddle to ride the elephant’s shoulder!!
He jumped off to smoke cigarettes and beat the elephants butt with a bamboo stick. I do not believe animal cruelty is edifying for anyone so I petted my elephant, rubbed his ears, and told him nice things. I think he responded much better to the positive encouragement, than the stick.
See how happy he looks in the picture?
We ambled down into a valley which was so green and lush, and spent the day there. It was paradise!
But it wasn't over yet....that night at the Home of Joy the children and staff surprised me with a sweet celebration. Here is a picture of some of them looking all cute and covered in cake.

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