Connections in a rice field

I mentioned in an earlier post that you would hear more about Andy. It has taken me longer than I expected to be able to articulate why meeting him was such a life-changing event, so I hope I do it justice with this post.

We met Andy the day before we left for Bangkok to come home. I’d had enough of being away by then and was chomping at the bit to just be home already. As a group, I think we were wearing on each other a bit by then, so our moods were not exactly of a cheery, ‘thankful to still be here’ nature…well, certainly not mine, in any case.


This is Andy. He is twenty years old and lives alone with his mum who has alzheimer’s. As is the Thai way, the youngest takes responsibility for the care of ageing parents, so Andy has come to live in southern Thailand leaving behind a burgeoning career in the music scene.

Andy and his mother live here:

Andy's House


Apart from church on a Sunday, Andy doesn’t leave the house as his mother is afraid to ride on a scooter, his only available transport. Andy also is studying International Law at university by correspondence.

The things I have already said about Andy show you something about who he is. But the fact that he is 20, the sole carer of his mother, is virtually isolated and is studying International Law weren’t what struck me most about him.

He was thankful for his circumstances. And I mean truly, truly thankful. Living in that house, in that situation – he was thankful. Although we could only communicate via our pastor friend interpreting, the joy in his heart needed no translation.

While we were there, we sang some songs together, with Andy playing guitar. Those twenty minutes or so were probably the most profoundly moving minutes I’ve ever had. Singing in the middle of a rice field with an ox bellowing on the other side of the house, just Andy, our pastor friend, Charli, another team member and me brought a whole other meaning to worship.

I was raised in church and, thankfully, had parents who saw ‘life’ as worship, not just as a Sunday thing, yet never have I experienced the level of deep connection to my Creator and fellow man as on that hot afternoon in the south of Thailand.

Andy’s love and gratitude to God for his circumstances was so staggering and made me wonder if I have ever really been thankful for anything in my life. He was totally at peace with where God had him. He wasn’t bucking against it, telling God He was doing it wrong or offering suggestions. He is just getting on with the life God put him in for this moment.

Does that mean he doesn’t have hard days, dark days? No, of course not. Does it mean he couldn’t think of 50 other ways God could be using his life? No, I’m sure he has great plans and dreams he would like to see realised. Does it mean he isn’t sometimes discouraged and down? No.

But it’s how he is living in this moment, that really resonated with me. I am so often straining to see far into the future, to see what God’s got in store for me; reminding God of all the things I would love to be used for; letting God know that if He needs any help with planning my life, He can just ask me because I have heaps of brilliant ideas.

I’m so busy anticipating that I can forget all about the moment. I forget to be right where I am.

Andy gave me so much and I will be forever grateful that we met. It really was the perfect, blessed ending to our whole trip.

There’s not a great deal I can give him in return. But the one thing I can do is pray. I would love it if you remembered him in your prayers too.

I hope to one day go back and see Andy again and hear all about the amazing things God is doing in his life. And I will smile, knowing that prayers said all around the world really do make a difference.


6 thoughts on “Connections in a rice field

  1. I agree with Alison – lovely. Too often we are caught up in doing, buying, getting, we don’t appreciate the moment we are the in, the people we have around us, just that we are able to enjoy a spring day. Thanks for the reminder, Susannah.


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