Jesus in Thailand by Casey Chalk

Communiqué

Jesus in Thailand

The Christian Asylum Seekers of Bangkok

I confess I'm not one for exotic vacations. Before we were married, I joked with my wife that I would be perfectly happy to go on a mission trip to some unchurched land for our honeymoon; she, being the more reasonable one, wasn't so thrilled with the idea. The very last thing I wanted was to sit on some Caribbean beach, casually sipping daiquiris and wasting away the hours in some otherwise poverty-stricken country.

It's highly ironic, then, that my family recently returned home from a three-year stay in Thailand, ground zero for exotic beach destinations in Southeast Asia, with its pristine, warm-to-the-touch, cerulean waters, its cheap yet delicious cuisine, and its effusively welcoming hospitality industry. Since returning to the United States, we have often been asked by friends or acquaintances what we liked best about Thailand. Surely its vacation spots, food, or foreign culture is the expected answer. So they are taken aback when I tell them the best thing about Bangkok is its predominantly Christian asylum-seeker community.

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Casey Chalk is a graduate of UVA and a student at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Theology at Christendom College, Front Royal, Virginia. He is also an editor for the ecumenical website Called to Communion (www.calledtocommunion.com)

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