Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on Pinterest Share Share on LinkedIn Share Thai festival Loi Krathong, like many other holidays around the world, is the perfect mix of joy and sadness. Above me float a thousand rice paper lanterns. Flickering orange flames dot the darkness, puncturing the Asian sky with prayerful afterthoughts. I am reminded of E. E. Cummings’ poem, Sonnet IX from Tulips (1922): the hours rise up putting off stars and it is dawn into the street of the sky light walks scattering poems on earth a candle is extinguished the city wakes with a song upon her mouth having death in her eyes and it is dawn the world goes forth to murder dreams… i see in the street where strong men are digging bread and i see brutal faces of people contented hideous hopeless cruel happy and it is day in the mirror i see a frail man dreaming dreams dreams in a mirror and it is dusk on earth a candle is lighted and it is dark. the people are in their houses the frail man is in his bed the city sleeps with death upon her mouth having a song in her eyes the hours descend, putting on stars… in the street of the sky night walks scattering poems Our family lit three lanterns with our Thai friends this evening, one for me, one for my wife and one for my daughter. My 11 month old child watched in awe as our lanterns rose slowly, joining the symphony of thousands of Thai celebrators. Only a few hours earlier today, we joined our Thai friends in Wat Faham—one of the 268 Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai—as they burned incense and bestowed gifts upon the orange clad monks. My daughter crawled on the carpet as monotonous chanting echoed within the 500 year old wooden frame of the temple. Cara my 11 month old daughter didn’t take her shoes off when we went to the Buddhist temple w/ Thai friends. She was the only 1. I’m telling — David Joannes (@davidjoannes) November 17, 2013 YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: How’s Within Reach Global Doing? A Candid AnswerI whispered to my infant missionary kid, “It’s good to be here. Many Christians would tell you, ‘you shouldn’t go to a Buddhist temple.’ But it’s good to bring light to the darkness. Enjoy being the light!” Like our Within Reach Global partner pastor, Richard West, says, “Don’t run from the darkness. Simply turn on the light!” I was happy to be part of the Loi Krathong festival by joining our unbelieving Thai friends at the Buddhist temple. It made me think of Dave DeVries’ tweet earlier today: Nearly all church planting candidates I assess admit they’re weak in relating to non Christians. Why do you think that is? — Dave DeVries (@davedv) November 17, 2013 Christians who are weak in relating to unbelievers might want to consider the scandalous ministry of Jesus, who thrived in the midst of non Christian crowds! If you don’t have 10 non #Christian friends you’re going to #church too much! Wed night/Sun morn go to coffeeshop/bar for #missional living! — David Joannes (@davidjoannes) November 17, 2013 I am sitting on a sidewalk in Chiang Mai, Thailand writing this. The once brightly lit lanterns of Loi Krathong are waning as the dark night sky consumes their flames. Hollow gray carcasses of a thousand prayerful lanterns are ebbing toward death in slow motion. One just landed in front of me, crumpled and lifeless. An unanswered prayer. A hope deferred. The eyes of the nation are lifted toward the sky tonight. Some are hopeful. Others are breathing their last hope in 10/40 Window wind. Loi Krathong, like many other holidays around the world, is the perfect mix of joy and sadness. But the Light of the world is still flickering in the night sky, scattering hopeful poems of salvation and redemption and life. And I am determined to be light in the darkness with him. YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Awesome Podcasts With Back To Jerusalem And Within Reach GlobalPhoto credit: wikipedia Share on Facebook Share Share on TwitterTweet Share on Google Plus Share Share on Pinterest Share Share on LinkedIn Share David JoannesFounder/President at Within Reach GlobalDavid Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.