Undeniably, few of the many things that you miss when you are living abroad are the church activities that you used to grow up with. Those routines of attending Holy Mass or Sunday service during Sundays or Saturdays for our Seventh Day Adventists brothers, the home visits for Bible Study groups, feast days of the Patron Saints for the Roman Catholics, etc. These are but part of our existence as Filipinos being the bastion of Christianity throughout Asia.
|Day 9 of the Holy Rosary at my humble abode.|
Photo Credits: Ate Leah Doysabas
Luckily for us who are here in the Land of Smiles, things are not too different from home. Although Thailand is a Buddhist country, many Thai people have already embraced other religious beliefs including Islam and Christianity. Being an open country, everybody is given the freedom to express his/her own religious beliefs and the privilege to share them even with Thai people. It is no wonder that in the province where I am right now there are already a number of Christian churches - Roman Catholic church, Born Again Christian churches, and Seventh Day Adventists church administered by Thai Christian leaders. As a matter of fact, the Filipino expatriates in the province of Phitsanulok reaching to almost a hundred in number are also subdivided in smaller communities according to their religious denomination with regular weekend Bible studies and prayer meetings. At least once a year, these groups also conduct "outreach activities" around the place and in the nearby provinces as a way of evangelizing, rendering service and giving back the goodness that this country has been extending all throughout these years.
For the Roman Catholics, the month of October is significant. It is the month of the Holy Rosary in honor of the Virgin Mary, Mother of Jesus. And similar to what we traditionally do in the Philippines, we have been hopping from one house to another to do the month-long nightly prayer visits. Aside from the spiritual food, we also have been feasting authentic "lutong pinoy" for dinner which makes us spiritually and even more physically healthy (If you know what I mean...wink!).
Thank God that living abroad is not that lonely for us who are still so much in touch with our own culture and beliefs. I am grateful that with friends around who speak the same (Bisdak) regional dialect as mine and with Thai people around having physical features like me, boy, it feels so much like home.