As some of you may know The Blues Brothers is one of my all time favorite movies. My brother and I (and yes even my mom and dad) could (probably between the four of us) quote that entire movie to you. With our move to Thailand and the strong calling God has placed on my heart to work at the orphanage, I can’t help but see some similarities in my adventure today and that of Jake and Elwood Blues.
The Blues Brothers synopsis: Two brothers, with a not so perfect reputation, go back to visit the orphanage where they were raised. The nun, affectionately referred to as “The Penguin” informs them that the school is going to be closed and the only way to save it is to raise $5,000 in 11 days! When they hear this, the good Lord speaks to them and they decide they “have to get the band back together” for one last show. They are convinced nothing can touch them because “they are on a mission from God.” If you haven’t seen this awesome 1980s classic, please do yourself a favor and watch it!
Today was our big trip to the Chatuchak Weekend Market to purchase the scarves for this mini fundraiser that Chris and I came up with to raise some baht for the orphanage. I had been meticulously planning this trip for weeks, with following up on orders, creating a color coded spreadsheet with a tab for each group of people that ordered, and my final handwritten list of the colors that I needed to purchase. You could say I was well prepared. One concern Chris had at first was carrying that kind of cash into an open market like that. This is a legitimate concern but I told him “don’t worry God will protect us, nothing bad will happen! Besides who will know what is in your pocket?” (Blues Brothers: “We are on a mission from God!”) More concerns came up here and there and we worried that we wouldn’t be able to get all of the colors that everyone wanted, how would we get them back to the apartment, what if I can’t get a good enough discount and do we have enough suitcases to bring them back to the states. Again, my fears would subside because I would remind myself that God has blessed this; there is no way that this will not work out (although I’m sure we will encounter a hiccup at some point).
We headed out early this morning, (insert Blues Brothers) we have the money, we have our BTS cards, we have the baby, we have snacks and we have chuggington on the iPod! HIT IT! We make our way to the stall where I purchased the last scarf; we have arrived very early in the morning because we were hoping we are her first sale of the day. The Thais are very superstitious about the first sale of the day and normally give a very good discount. They believe that if their first sale is a good one that it is “good luck” for the business for the rest of the day and many times, you will see them rub every square inch of their stall down with the money from that first sale. I walk up to her and ask if she remembers me, she says yes. I say “Good! I want to know how big of a discount I can get if I buy a lot of scarves today.” She says “30%.” I smile and say (in my best Thai) “ok I need 279 scarves.” She looks at me a little confused. I go on to explain, “The scarves I buy here today are for my friends and family back in America. The money that I get from these will go back to the orphans here in Bangkok. All of the money will come back to the community!” She smiles and says “OOO so good!” I explain to her that I have a list of the colors that I need and I start with the “Clemson color.” I tell her I need 30 of these and she says, “I no have. This color doesn’t sell. I think it’s bad luck.” O great…. “Ok I need the closest thing you have to that.” So starts the hour plus process of counting, gathering all the desired colors and packing them up into three different bags.
After it was all said and done, it was time to have the total. She gets her calculator and starts to crunch the numbers. I went into this situation thinking we would pay the full price of 150 baht, I have been praying all week that God would bless this and help us to get a great deal. Instead of paying 150 baht each, we ended up paying (the average) 86 baht per scarf! That is an additional profit of 64 baht per scarf, making it in total an extra 17,856 baht ($610 USD). As we leave to go find a taxi, I ask her if we were her first sale of the day. She smiles a huge smile and says “yes very good luck for me!”
How amazing is that! God had a plan to bless that woman and her shop this morning and the plan for the orphans is 25% complete! We still have to get the scarves home, gather the funds and deliver all of the scarves. Still a few more hurdles to jump but like the Blues Brothers, I am on a mission from God and nothing can touch me!
“It’s 11,000 miles to South Carolina, we’ve got suitcases full of scarves, a toddler, and some jetlag in our future.” “Hit it!”