The past month has been an exercise in serendipity of sorts. Before I dive in, I want to share two quick definitions of serendipity. The first is “the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it” (modern meaning). However, the original meaning holds something more “making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things they were not in quest of”. That something more is the “sagacity” of putting pieces of the puzzle together to realize that you’ve come across something terrific.
If you haven’t read anything before that I’ve posted, I’ll give you a quick introduction. My wife and I are missionaries in Thailand, with a human trafficking focus. We’ve been here 4 months, so we are at the stage of learning language and helping others in ongoing ministries. Due to the steep learning curve to speak Thai well and that our first year is our apprenticeship time – we are in more of a learning role than a “jump in and make waves” role at this point.
Now with the definitions and introductions out of the way I want to dive into the thick of things… the serendipity.
My wife and I are here to help those trapped in human trafficking. In Thailand this often takes the form of prostitution. So one morning I’m talking with a guy and he proceeds (out of the blue) to talk about how a guy he is friends with is taking the “moral high ground” telling him to marry his girlfriend; however, the said guy is cheating on his wife by visiting prostitutes. This isn’t typical “small talk” conversation, and I had the rare opportunity to talk candidly with this man about this type of behavior. Because of that conversation, it will be easy to talk about it again in the future – and maybe even meet his friend. There were quite a number of potential opportunities from a simple conversation.
My wife and I were praying about where to send our older son to school. We had been deliberating over the decision for a while and finally came to an agreement. We also asked our son to be praying about it. So that morning we called him into our room and said “Hey pal, Mommy and Daddy have come to a decision about where you’ll be going to school – but before we tell you, did God tell you anything?” And he’s like “Yeah, He did… I had a dream last night and saw myself walking into school, so I know where I’m going.” Maybe we should have asked him to pray about it earlier 🙂
My younger son is pretty much afraid of the dark. We’ve been leaving the bathroom light on for him since we got here – in part because we hadn’t found a good/safe nightlight for him. At the preschool he’s attending, they had a December 26th gift exchange. He leaves the house with a toy car… and comes home with a large, covered night light!
Our car needed some work. For those of you more familiar with cars, the boots on the axle were torn – which is not good when you’re driving on a number of dirt/gravel roads. I had taken it to two dealers which quoted me really high prices… not something we had budgeted for. So I decided to try a local garage that our landlord uses. When I showed up I quickly realized language would be a bit of an issue. I speak very basic Thai, and my landlord speaks minimal little English! (We had to have a go-between just to help communicate my request of “Can you take me to where you get your car worked on?”) So when I showed up whom did I see but a Thai friend, who is fluent in English, having his oil changed. In about three sentences, I explained the problem, got a price quote for the work, and set up a time to bring it back!
And for my final story… I give you this: “Christmas Eve Caroling Surprise” http://jam-livinglife.blogspot.com/ (yes, it’s a link – to my wife’s blog). She did an amazing job writing this story about how running late can change lives.
Everything I mentioned happened in about a month’s time. Some people may say “Wow, those were some neat coincidences,” but I choose to see them as something more. Serendipity. Seeing those various blessings all strung together, I don’t see random chance. Instead, I see the hand of an amazing, loving, powerful God working all around me. Even in the small things. The “sagacity” that I see is two part. One is choosing to pray, even about the little things. The second is choosing to see Providence instead of randomness. All these things and many more yet to come, will only encourage me to greatly pursue open doors and see more serendipity unfold!