Global Lens Reflections on life, the universe, and everything


United Methodist missionary Cindy Moon waits with 9-year old Play Nata to see a dentist in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The girl is an HIV positive orphan, one of eight such girls that lives in an orphanage directed by Moon and her husband Gary.

Usually I go back a ways in picking each week’s photo, but let’s break the rules this week and use one I captured on Monday, when I was in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. I spent a couple of days documenting the work of Gary and Cindy Moon, who are Korean-American United Methodist missionaries who’ve started an orphanage for HIV positive children. They’ve currently got eight girls, and I shot hundreds of images of them walking, working and playing with the girls. The Moons are doing great work. It's a ministry of accompaniment, and that means, in this case, being present with 8-year old Play Nata as she waits for the dentist. In many places in the world, that’s a rather tedious experience. In this case, they got her checked in at a huge medical center, and once she got in to see the dentist the care seemed quite good (though Play ended up having to be rather unhappily restrained). But the wait was, well, you can see for yourself. I like the image because some people think that missionaries’ lives are simply filled to the brim with glamorous and exciting cross-cultural adventures. I hate to disabuse anyone of that notion, but serious accompaniment means hanging with people even through the hard times of waiting, of which there are too many.

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