Today we started the day off early with a monk chat. Our first session was with a monk who had surprisingly limited English. We tried to ask questions but he simply couldn’t understand much of what we asked and his English limited his ability to speak about deep things when he did understand. We left a bit frustrated and moved on after it became apparent we would not get many answers there.
We had a delicious lunch and then tried again at the local monk university. They only allow for certain times to monk chat and we were very early. Fortunately, “the master”, a professor and monk for 36 years agreed to see us. We were informed how lucky we were because Buddhists come from around the world to seek teaching from this “master”. It was a 45 minute question/answer session in which we got a lot of information.
We left with a mix of emotions. Their belief system is so empty compared to the fullness of the Cross and the roots of the emptiness are so deep that we can really see why missionaries have a very hard time winning people for Christ. This monk spoke of religion as “foolishness”. “Buddhism”, he said, “is a way of living, a philosophy. There is not god. But people are free to believe whatever they want. It’s about what makes a person happy. It’s about self.”
This is why we see so much spirit and ancestor worship here in Thailand. It’s really not a part of this form of Buddhism, but it’s up to the people whatever they feel like doing. So, this country is entrenched in spiritual strongholds, animism, ancestor worship, and spiritual emptiness and darkness.
After monk chat, we split in three groups. Some of us cooked French toast at the center and hung out with the students. The students loved the French toast and some said they would make it at home. Some went to the slums and played with kids and some prayer walked in the Red Light District in preparation for the night’s ministry. After, we reconnected for dinner, had rooftop worship at our guesthouse, and the ministry group headed out while the prayer team began to intercede. It was a powerful time of prayer, praise and worship while the team was gone.
The team returned with stories of answered prayers and a testimony of spiritual connectedness. We are really one body! Many of them had intimate conversations with girls that included discussions about not liking what they do or their family not accepting them. When they returned we prayed for 10 girls and ladyboys (cross-dressers) by name. It was an amazing day!