After attending “Revelation Opened” meetings by Evangelist Kenneth Cox, Gavin discovers new truths in the Bible. When Elder Cox invites people to make a decision for Christ, Gavin and Lindsey go forward to be baptized.
As Leanne came down the dark hall, suddenly from the bathroom
doorway a figure sprang out and grabbed her shoulders.
Her scream was paralyzing. When she opened her eyes and found Gavin doubled-over with laughter, she began to sputter helplessly.
“Gavin, stop this annoying habit–of lurking in the dark—waiting for innocent, unsuspecting victims—to scare!”
Before Gavin could recover, Lindsey had jumped on Gavin’s back and began tickling him.
“What is going on?” Mom peered around the corner. “Just when Dad and I try to have an adult conversation, pandemonium has to break loose!”
Gavin had succeeded in pinning Lindsey’s arms, and Leanne was suddenly curious.
“What adult conversation? You forgot to invite me,” she went to sit down in the living room where her parents were talking. Gavin came panting around the corner with Lindsey, who asked, “Panda—what?’
Dad had a twinkle in his eye.“Well,” he let the words come out slowly, “how would you kids like to go to the exotic Far East to live?”
“You mean like elephants, tigers, head-hunters, and such?” Leanne’s eyebrows arched. “Uh, no thanks!” she stated.
“Wait, a minute, Leanne, there’s a lot more to the Far East than that!” Mom objected. “Let Dad explain.”
“My company has given me an assignment in Bangkok, Thailand,” Dad continued, “I will be in charge of supervising the building and maintaining of the antennas for the communication system for the U.S. Defense Department throughout the Far East. Dad was a seasoned electronic engineer whose specialty was building and servicing antennas.
Lindsey was bouncing on the couch, “I want a monkey! A little capuchin!” Leanne watched her and made a face.
“What do you think, Gavin?” Mom asked. “You haven’t said anything.”
Gavin shrugged. “I don’t know anything about Thailand. Is there a scout troop there?”
“That’s a good question,” Dad nodded. “I can ask about it.”
A whirl of planning and then packing for a two-year trip to Bangkok, Thailand was put into motion. As it turned out, Leanne, decided to live with a girlfriend as she prepared for her high school graduation.
The orders to leave came suddenly in the spring, but the family was ready. After a 30-hour flight across the Pacific Ocean, Gavin and his family sleepily followed Dad through the airport. Even at 4:30 a.m. in the morning, he could feel the blast of sultry, hot air when they stepped out of the air-conditioned terminal.
Right away, Gavin was enrolled in the International School of Bangkok with several thousand students.
“I have classmates from Australia, Japan, Germany—everywhere!”Gavin
explained at the supper table after his first day of school.
Mom had wasted no time in finding the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There was one located on the Bangkok Adventist Hospital compound and one was at the Ekamai Adventist English School compound. She enrolled Lindsey in the little school for the missionaries’ children there.
“May we go to the hospital church?” Lindsey begged as Sabbath approached. Her newly made girlfriends lived on the hospital compound with their families. So on Sabbath, Lindsey and Gavin found themselves in the Junior-Earliteen room at church. Lindsey introduced Gavin to her friends and classmates from school, including Richard Smith. Instantly, Gavin liked this quiet but friendly guy.
Even after his baptism, Gavin had not been successful in “fitting in” with the kids at church. He had wondered at their conversations and actions sometimes. At times, there seemed to be little difference between the activities and attitudes of Seventh-day Adventist Christian teens and his classmates at public school. What’s more, his Uncle Jaden, who didn’t even go to church, treated him with more respect and friendship than they did. Maybe there was nothing to religion after all.
“Would you like to come over for lunch?” Richard found Gavin after church.
“Sure!” Gavin smiled.
Richard had two older and one younger brother. While Mrs. Smith prepared the meal, Richard went to the cupboard for a stack of plates.
“You can get the silverware,” he directed Gavin. Gavin was used to doing chores at home, and it put him at ease to help.
After lunch, everyone took their plates to the sink. Richard’s dad, the pastor of the church, looked at Gavin,“Every second Sabbath a group of us go up to meet with about four families for a branch Sabbath School. Do you want to come?”
Gavin was elated! He always wondered what other kids and their families did on Sabbath afternoon. They loaded into the sedan and drove by Jensens where Lindsey and her friend squeezed in to come along.
After a short ride through the crowded streets of Bangkok, they came to a dock. In Bangkok, the transportation system included the klongs or canals that ran throughout the city and led out of the city to the rural homes.
Carefully the young people and Pastor Smith balanced themselves as they stepped into the “taxi”, a long, narrow boat with a motor in the back. When everyone was seated, the motor revved up, and they were headed up the klong (river-canal).
Thatched homes on stilts above the water lined the klong. Children splashed and played in the water below the houses, waving as the boat buzzed by. Brightly colored laundry flapped in the breeze outside the homes.
After about twenty minutes, the boat’s motor slowed and suddenly cut off. The boat drifted up to a home on stilts. A mother with a shawl over her head and a baby on her hip came out onto the porch. Children came running out of the undergrowth and up the stairs. When he climbed out of the taxi-boat, several men greeted Pastor Smith. With hands clasped together and a bow, they murmured “Sawadee” as Pastor Smith and the young people returned the traditional Thai greeting. Children chattered excitedly as Pastor Smith spoke to the gathering group of old and young in Thai.
Before long, they were all singing familiar choruses, but Gavin and his sister were the only ones singing in English! His heart soared as he recalled Elder Cox’s strong voice reading from Matthew 28:19, 20:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations. . . .”
That’s what we’re doing right now, he thought as he listened to Pastor Smith read from his Bible and point to the picture roll they’d brought with them. Faces of the old and young were lifted toward Pastor Smith, listening intently.
On their way home, Gavin watched the sun setting through the draping jungle leaves. He was sure he couldn’t remember a happier Sabbath.
On Sunday morning, Gavin woke with excitement. Dad, the newly appointed scout leader, was in the kitchen packing their lunches for an excursion.
After a drive into the country, the troop of about forty boys came to the tropical paradise of Sirika Waterfalls in Nakorn Nayok. Water rushed over the 200-foot drop to a sparkling pool below the rocks, surrounded with lush tropical overgrowth.
“Last one in is a rotten egg!” one of the first scouts to reach the pool yelled as he flung himself into the cool water. The scouts were tired and sweaty after hiking up the trail. As a ninth grader, Gavin was now in the scout patrol. Along with the other high school scouts, he was in charge of a squad of six other younger scouts.
After assigning each of his scouts a buddy, he pulled his shirt off and dove in. Guys were yelling and climbing onto each others’ shoulders when all of a sudden, Gavin saw a movement coming from up above on his left. There was a resounding crack as it hit the water, creating a series of large waves. Every scout stood frozen with shock.
Where had that boulder come from? Was everyone safe? Gavin scanned the water with a sickening dread.