Testimony of Ana & Steve Westhoek

Our stop in Thailand

Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves.

From relaxing on tranquil beaches, magnificent scenery, and colourful sites to putting on weight with the exotic Thai cuisine – we are happy the Lord led us to Thailand where we continued to cultivate our marriage and learn each other more and more.

Where did we go?

We flew from Sri Lanka to Phuket Thailand, with a short layover at Bangkok airport. Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, and arguably the most famous one. Its blue waters and sandy beaches attracted us to head over there. We stayed mostly in Patong Beach and moved after a few days to Rawai Beach, where we visited the overrated Coral islands and Banana Tree beach.

It was after visiting some of these tourist spots in the south of Phuket that we realised we needed to change our mindset and way of travelling. After almost a month in Asia, we learned some key principles to travel for longer periods of time We made sure we don’t get so tired or annoyed at each other and were able to save up. Steve and I, realised that we needed to slow down and not have that mindset of “be everywhere and do everything”. We decided to take it slow, appreciate spending time with each other and only make an effort to see whatever really interested us and we had peace with to do so.

So, instead of exploring all the so-called “do-not-miss” beautiful islands that Thailand has to offer, we chose to visit Koh Phi Phi only. Koh Phi Phi has turquoise waters and stunning beaches – it is like a little paradise. Although it is also famous for its party scene, we enjoyed spending time with God, each other and the FOOD. If you are like us and enjoy simply cooked food with Asian-Thai flavours, we recommend this restaurant called NANA. Every single dish we tried was delicious and the price was also super cheap. Our meals ranged from 4-7 €/person.

After Phi Phi, we took a ferry to Krabi. I really loved Krabi and definitely recommend it! If you head over there, make sure to check out Railay Beach – it is really beautiful!

We ended our journey in Bangkok. And although there is a big hype about this city and I believe it has a lot of amazing things to do, it was not very much to our liking. So, we chose to not spend energy or money exploring it too much. We took time to read the Bible, pray and focus on God and each other.

What did we learn?

I do not know about you guys, but I am a “want to see it all, do it all and not miss a thing” kinda person. I have never travelled for longer than a few weeks here and there as I was always busy with work or studying full-time. But when it comes to travelling for a longer period, you actually need to be wise and put a little more thought into it. Not only can it be expensive but also pretty exhausting.

This mindset is tiring, at least it was for me and consequently also for Steve. We started to get a little more annoyed at each other which was adding to the exhaustion. So we stopped! After praying, we realised that this mentality was not healthy and did not come from God, but on the contrary, it was very much planted on us by the world.

I believe that God is not upset if we would do all the touristic attractions and spots there are. But what really matters is our heart. Is God actually taking the first place? Are we stopping and asking Him if it is His will? Is it a good idea to go this way or that way? Do we feel at peace about it? Is it really something of interest that can add something of value to us? Or do we just want the perfect picture in the perfect spot so we can show to people?

It is so insane, but I do believe many of us can be caught in this mentality and completely miss the purpose of vacationing and enjoying God and others around us. And for Steve and I, being just married, this should not be the focus of our time and energy.

Travelling itself can be challenging and also make annoyances and conflicts rise up more often. And although conflict is a necessary thing in relationships as it makes us grow, we should be wise and willing to change our mindset, ways and behaviour for the sake of the other. As it says in Romans 12:10 devoting ourselves to others, that is putting my spouse’s needs before my own and pursuing his greatest joy, in fact, brought me a lot more joy and satisfaction than fulfilling my own ambitions and unsatisfying desires.

The outcome of this learning experience was altogether great – I learned to slow down and Steve learned to be patient. We started praying more about our every move and when there was peace and the possibility we would go for it and explore 🙂

God’s Appointed Time

We were in Kata Beach enjoying some sun and each other. We like to pray and read the Bible together whenever we can. This time we prayed specifically for God to take or bring us someone that needed to hear from Him.

As we kept enjoying our time on the beach some guys passed by us and one of them had just broken his foot. Steve boldly offered to pray for him. The guy’s face was actually pretty funny – he was looking at Steve like “what is this guy doing? He must be crazy”. He did not want to chat any further and went his way which could have been pretty discouraging, but straight after this a girl that was sitting a few chairs away from us just jumped up and asked us “what did you just do?” She was very impressed on how we offered to pray for that guy and our boldness.

We explained to her that this is something we do often and actually is Jesus’ commandment, namely for us to go out and heal the sick. She was very surprised and also curious to know more about us. After chatting for a while, she explained that she was from Egypt and also raised as Christian but that she was “confused” regarding her beliefs as she “prays and prays but God never answers”. She felt trapped in what she explained was a very religious country where women do not have many opportunities.

Asking God for wisdom we ministered unto her in Word and Spirit. We could see in her eyes how she was crying out to God and that meeting us was not only the answer to our prayer earlier on but also hers. We prayed for her and felt the presence of the Holy Spirit. We believe that she will find her way through all the struggles and questions and be a true worshipper of Jesus as she finds that God is looking for such ones who worship in the secret place – the spirit.

Please join us in our prayers for Erin! He hope that we will hear from her sometime 🙂

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By Ana
Testimony of Ana & Steve Westhoek

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