After standing with the Prophets on Mt. Carmel and declaring the end of the world as Gog and Magog converged on the plains of Megido, I flew out of Israel back to my job at Good News Bible and Book Store. Just after we got back in the rhythm of things in Fairbanks, Bob came into the store. He said hi, and then asked if I wanted to move to Thailand with him and his wife Toi in 3 months. Without a second thought, I said yes.
In the weeks leading up to that day I read a pile of books on Christian mission. I devoured Anointed for Burial, To the Golden Shores, Bruchko, Peace Child, and more. I read them eagerly. I wanted my own pith helmet and to board a boat for Timbuktu with my personal effects packed in a coffin.
When Bob walked in that afternoon it wasn’t just the mission venture that made me want to go with him. It was obvious to me that this was my next step in following God. I didn’t just want adventure, I wanted to follow Jesus, and I was sure that doing so would give me all the excitement I could handle. For this reason, and because I had nothing holding me down, I agreed to buy my ticket to Bangkok.
I looked for Taiwan on the world map in the church office and couldn’t find it. Then I realized I was in fact going to Thailand, and sought for the new land. Finding it at last I turned to Jeff and said “Whoa man, it’s by China.”
Within 3 months I was on a plane for Hawaii, where I would complete a Discipleship Training School with Youth With A Mission, go running in Tokyo with a cute red head from Norway, and land in Bangkok dripping sweat, waiting curbside for Nim, the beautiful wife of Teerachai, Bobs good comrade. She picked me up on a 50’s era Citroen sporting pneumatic shocks that decompressed and sat down on the street when she turned the ignition off. She didn’t speak a word of English. I could have been on Mars.
I studied Thai for a year. Union Language School was the HQ for all aspiring missionaries and cult members moving to Thailand. I was the youngest student they ever had, and the least educated. Everyone knew who had what degree. It was talked about between classroom sessions. Not only did I lack an MDiv. But I looked like some ones lost son.
Interestingly, the ones who invited me to dinner and wanted to hang out with me were the members of Rajneesh Purim, Ten Rikyo, and the Moonies. The cult members loved me.
Ajaan Yaay, the head of the school, lectured me for being an irresponsible child who should leave missionarying to real missionaries and go home. So I started wearing pressed shirts and dressing like a 50 year old. I wore baby blue shirts and aviator glasses.