Perhaps by now you have heard on the news about a bombing in Bangkok, Thailand, a week ago. When I first heard about it, my first thought was, “Well, Bangkok is a big place.” But then I looked back at the notice on my phone, and it said “Central Bangkok,” so the first thing I did was to check the Facebook page of Gary and Michelle Ford to make sure they were okay, which they were. But sure enough, they had heard the explosion from their apartment, along with the sounds of the sirens as the emergency vehicles passed by their location.
And then Gary messaged me to say that the blast was at the shrine that Adam and I had visited with Gary and Michelle when we were in Bangkok, just three months earlier. That was when for me it finally went from something halfway around the world to something that was very real.
A few days later, Adam said something along the lines of, “Is it just me, or is all of this just really scary?” It is definitely a strange feeling to recognize everything as they are showing photos with the news stories. And just a little surreal, too.
Here are a few photos from our visit to Erawan Shrine on a more pleasant day.
The shrine houses a statue of Phra Phrom, the Thai representation of the Hindu god Brahma. The fact that it is a Hindu shrine in a mostly Buddhist country was interesting to me.
Here, a young lady burns incense in a candle near the statute, while holding a plate of flowers to leave at the statue. Both acts are a way to please the Hindu god, and there are stands nearby selling the items to be used for worship.
A man prays in front of a group of dancers. The dancers are there to dance and offer prayers for those who have paid for them after having their prayers answered.
Workers arrange the flowers and other items around the shrine. It appears that Brahma is quite fond of yellow flowers.
This man is praying to the statue. Some people prayed for themselves, while others paid to have prayers said for them. There is in fact a long waiting list for paid prayers. A very different concept from Christianity, where anyone can talk to God anywhere and at any time.
Another look at the shrine, giving a better look at the statue inside. You can also see the smoke from the incense, which was pretty thick at times. And as you can imagine, the incense smell was pretty strong, too.
Yellow flowers, along with some purple and red flowers, surround the Erawan Shrine.
Another young lady lights her incense sticks, as others wait their turns. Visiting the shrine was a very interesting experience, showing some of the different religious practices in Bangkok, and I am sure that is why Gary and Michelle wanted to take us there, giving us a better feel for some of the things they encounter in their work there.
It was sad to hear about those who lost their lives in the bombing, because I am sure that most all of them were just normal people going about their regular lives. It is always sad to hear of evil in the world. They were able to reopen the shrine after just two days, but that doesn’t take away the loss of life, unfortunately.
Please continue to pray for Gary and Michelle and their work there in Bangkok!
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the herald, who proclaims peace, who brings news of good things, who proclaims salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!” - Isaiah 52:7
About the photo:
Each photo is a single RAW exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about the photo software and gear I use at the camera gear page.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus M.Zukio 25mm f1.8