Who needs a real estate agent when you have friends, old nieghbours, acquaintances, and even strangers to show you around? We've been blown away by the kindness and generosity of the Thais around us as they've helped us in our search for a home to live in for this next stage of our journey. All we have to do is mention that we're looking for a house to rent and they're already offering to help us, whether it's our closest friend walking around the streets with us, an old neighbour taking me on the back of her motorbike, the father of one of the boys in the slum where we taught English riding around on his motobike with us sitting in his little Thai-style side-car, or the assistant pastor at our Thai church taking us around his old car.
Everything happens by 'word of mouth' so they'll take us to where they've heard of something available, and ask people on the street, who then will often join the search with us and take us on to another location. In one slum community a man with a bottle of whiskey in his pocket heard of our search and led us down a path to a house he knew of. In another, a street vendor drew a map for us and called ahead to his fellow coffee vendor to take us to see a landlord he knew of. In our old neighbourhood the mother of one of our previous English students who would have loved to have us rent her place that wouldn't be ready for another two months, instead took us to another neighbour who has a townhouse for rent. This one we are hoping will be the end of our search, funnily enough in the same street as last time.
We had been praying about living in one of the slum communities alongside the people we are working with and knew of several homes there that would be suitable for us to live in, but as none are available to rent at this time, it seems that God has other plans, perhaps because our vision is to reach into many communities not just one. We only pray that we'll still be able to share not only the Gospel, but our very lives with the poor in the communities around us. (1 Thess 2:8) Even though they may be poor materially, they are certainly very generous in giving of their time and the resources they do have. We have much to learn from them.