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My name is Joshua Bauder. I am a 35 year old American from Spokane, WA, who moved to Bangkok, Thailand about 6 years ago to be a missionary. Being a missionary is not as clear cut or as easy as I hope it would be. It is really hard! So, I want to start this blog and this website by telling you about my journey and how I got to where I am today.
I was living and working at a small church in Hayden, ID as Asst pastor/Outreach Coordinator, I enjoyed my work and the people in my church, whom I miss. I felt the Lord calling me to foreign missions but had no idea where. I talked about it with a friend and he felt the same way but we had no idea where to start so we started praying. The Lord opened and closed many doors and time to renegotiate my yearly contract was getting close, I had a little bit of money saved but not enough to be a short or long term missionary. So, I kept praying! About a month and a half before the new year (I had planned to leave in January 2014), I got a hold of the mission organization of Jesus for Asia. I talked to the man who had started it and was really liking his attitude towards missions and more importantly he said, “Yes”. So, I Started praying and asking that if this is where God wants me to go that He would give me the next $8,000 that I needed to go. I made flyers and gave them to everyone I knew saying that I would fix anything or do any manual labor for whatever amount you thought was fair or God impresses you to give. So, as the day drew nearer I was working more and had sold everything on Craigslist that I owned. This was the second time in my life that I sold everything that I owned and followed Jesus. By the time I left God had provided about and beyoned the money that I needed for 1 year in Bangkok. I had only planned to come for one year but here I am 2 1/2 years later.
Well, the day had come and Chris and I were going to SEATAC international Airport, the night the Seahawks won the Superbowl. We boarded the airplane with 2 bags and a piece of paper with an address written in English on a piece of paper. 24 hours later we arrived in Bangkok tired, hungry, and jet lagged at 1 p.m. We decided to grab a taxi and after hearing horror stories about Thai taxis ripping white people off we tried to make sure it didn’t happen to us. We showed him the paper and he said 700 baht (roughly $20) and we argued for him to turn on the meter for about 15 mins and he would not turn it on and we were tired and hungry so we gave in and agreed on 700 baht. We drove around for 2 hours looking for the church and could not find it, driving in places that we did not feel safe. We had pockets full of Bahts and dollars going down back alleys, we were sure that this taxi was taking us somewhere to kill us and take our money, these streets were straight out of movies, the alleys you don’t go down. We soon came to find out that most of the streets (sois as they are called in Thai) looked like this and were completely safe. We could not find the church and had no cell phone service so we could not call anyone. We saw 1 building that we recognized, The Holiday Inn. We pointed to it and said, “There”.
We arrive at the hotel starving and exhausted, mentally and physically. Little did we know that in Thailand, Holiday Inn. is a 5 star hotel and is super expensive, but being tired and not wanting another experience like the one we just had in the taxi we paid the enormous price. We got situated and decided to go find food before we crashed, Not realizing we were in one of the most expensive tourist areas in Bangkok, Silom St. We went to some expensive for Thailand but cheap for us restaurant and got food. We took the food back to the hotel to escape the extremely hot weather. When we left Spokane there was 2 ft of snow on the ground, when we arrived in Bangkok there was 100 degree temperatures and 100% humidity, we were no prepared. We get to the room and decided to rest and try to find our way to the church the next day.
When we woke up the next day we tracked down the pastor, who could not speak English and got him to come pick us up and take us to the church. We arrived to find one bed and a jail cell sized room, we were shocked but happy to be “home”. I don’t know what we were expecting but I know that we were not expecting that! We got situated in our room and walked around looking for food and then came home and went back to sleep together in our bed.
We didn’t realize or even think that these problems that we were having would be problems while we were in America, but we were loving the experience! Everything except our sleeping situation. We knew that everything would be ok because we finally made it to where God had called us to go! It felt like we were the Israelites and after all of our battles and wandering we finally made it to the land of milk and honey! We had listened to God and we were okay with whatever would happen or whatever situation would arise, we had to be, we came to Thailand in the middle of one of its many coup d’états.
We learned one of major lessons that Jesus taught, that when we leave everything and follow Him, it might not be easy but He will take care of us whether in this life or the next.
Luke 18:22 – 22Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.