I woke up this morning feeling worse than before. My cough was not getting better and I was feeling some chills. I still had many things to do, but my mind was not working because I was hungry. I decided to go out and buy food. I dragged my body out of bed and away from the laptop to find breakfast.
When I got out, the elevator was not working… Great! That meant I would have to climb down and back up to the 4th floor when I return. My breathing was heavy and my heart was pounding. I know I haven’t had exercise, and my sickness made it more difficult.
After I’d finished one payment transaction, I decided to go across to The Mall to get something from McDonalds – the only restaurant open besides 7/11. After finishing an order of french fries, I wondered why I didn’t ask for take out. I thought to myself, I am tired, so maybe I will just eat for awhile and take out later.
As I was munching on my french fries, an older lady sat next to me. She gave me a toothless smile as she passed by to take her seat. I smiled back, of course.
While I continued eating in silence, I noticed she was just sitting there alone. I thought she was waiting for an order or for someone to accompany her. I offered her my french fries and she politely declined. Then it dawned on me and I started asking questions inquiring whether she already ate, or if she ordered already and the answers were all no.
So I asked what she wants to eat and she started talking in Thai very quickly, and since my Thai is limited, I asked her to come with me to place an order at the counter. She ordered two pieces of chicken, french fries, and asked for the soda to be changed to orange juice instead. I paid for the food and we went back to our seats to continue conversing in my limited Thai.
Her name was Leng, she’s single, and did not get married. She has one sister who is married, but she doesn’t know where she is now. She doesn’t have a phone, so she cannot be contacted either. She is living alone but doesn’t have a place to call home, although she said she’s staying somewhere in Rewadee. My heart felt sad for her and ashamed of myself at the same time.
When our food came, she thanked me again and again with her toothless smile. I felt energized and happy. Gone was my tiredness and my now heavy heart felt light.
Then I realized, this is an encounter with Christ. He knows I needed this at this time. At the point of my physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, God showed me that He is there, just sitting right beside in this sweet old lady with a toothless smile.
I can’t help being teary-eyed, I wiped one or two that got away. People should not see me crying inside McDonalds at this early hour… Oh, how I wished my Thai would be more than what it is so that I could tell her how much God loves her and about the gospel of Jesus, but sadly I am still lacking.
I tried to use my cellphone translation to tell her that God loves her and that I wanted to pray for her. I prayed in English mixed with Thai. She was not finished eating yet when I decided that I had to leave, so I thanked her again and told her how much joy she gave me this morning. Indeed I was more blessed by this simple encounter, and I thank God for letting me dine in and not take out…
P.S. The elevator was working when I got back! Praise God!
(The experience is shared to us by Disa Joy Negre. She is the Adventist Youth leader at Ramkhamhaeng Internal Seventh-day Adventist Church (RISDAC). She is also the VP Social of Adventist Youth Association Central Zone 2 Thailand).