Thailand (A Summary of our Trip)

 I just thought I would write this blog summarising as best I can our experience in Thailand.  Scott and I enjoyed teaching ESL classes and getting to meet new friends. We had days to relax and enjoy some of the sites and area attractions.  We even took a trip by ourselves around Chiang Mai looking at different stores and visiting with different teachers and schools.

On Saturday mornings we traveled with Bro. Rusty and Sis. Susan, Carmen, and Pawn to the Karen village where some of Pawn’s family live.  Scott and I taught the kindergarten class, Carmen and Pawn the Middle Grades, and Bro. Rusty and Susan taught the High School age.  After teaching the English classes in the village, Pawn taught a Bible Lesson in the Karen language to the children.

We saw a beautiful Buddhist temple made of colorful mirrors.   We took pictures of some of the statues.   There were also spirit houses of different sizes that people set up for their ancestors.  We saw a lot of these houses with food and drink set in them for the spirits.

 Elephants hold a high place in Thailand. There are many statues of elephants and people put wreathes of flowers around their trunks and necks.  The elephant pictured here has 4 arms and hands.  I’m not sure how many legs since they are covered with all the flowers people bring to the temple. 

This Buddha statue was also given food and drink.  I’m not sure whether the statue beside the Buddha is his wife, but she also has food set in front of her statue.  I also have this picture of a larger statue sitting on the same flower as the woman in the picture of the Buddha.  I’m sure there are a lot of stories behind a lot of the pictures and statues we’ve seen over there. 

This last picture was at Antioch Baptist Church in Chiang Mai.  Scott was asked to give a devotional in one of the youth classes.  He spoke from Galatians 5 focusing on the 9th verse.  If we allow a little sin into our lives then it will affect everything in our life.  However if we allow the good things of God in our lives then our lives will be filled with His goodness. 

Scott also spoke about 1 Corinthians 15:33.  We need to be careful of what influences us.  We should only be influenced by the things of God and His word.  We do not want to be influenced by the bad things of this world, such as bad friends, t.v. shows, etc.  We should only be friends with people that we can have a positive influence on not with those that will influence us to do evil.

Galatians 5:9 “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”

1 Corinthians 15:33 “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” 

I like ending a blog with a little food for thought.  My next blog will be about our trip back to the States and our homecoming with our children.

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Thailand (Part 5)

At the Baptist Church in Chiang Mai.

 I just wanted to pick up where I left off yesterday before I go to bed tonight.  Sunday we had good services at the church in Chiang Mai.  I would have liked to stayed for the fellowship they had there but we enjoyed the picnic at the Waterfalls with Bro. Rusty, Sis. Susan, Pawn, Carmen, and Gam a girl that goes to their church and attends their English class at home.

 

Before we went to the waterfall, we had gone to the market to pick out the food we wanted to have at the picnic.  Scott saw fried chicken heads and decided to try one.  I mainly held it in order have a good picture for the kids.  I didn’t really want a fried chicken head.  It was a little eerie holding it, since it still had eyes in the head.  Scott said that it tasted like chicken.

And no, I haven’t eaten bugs that I know of on this trip.  We saw some interesting bugs but didn’t have to eat any.  I told our children that I wasn’t going to Thailand to eat bugs but if I had to I would.  Well, I didn’t have to so I didn’t. :)

The chicken that lost it’s head…

I didn’t take very good pictures of the waterfall but Scott did. I’ll be posting more pictures of that as I get the pictures from him. The falls were really neat because we were actually able to get in the water and climb up the waterfall.  We had taken our shoes off to walk in the water and I happened to step on a rock.  I didn’t realize I had actually had a small cut in my foot until we got back to the house. It wasn’t too bad, and my sweet, always prepared husband happened to bring neosporin and bandaids.  So I was able to doctor up my foot pretty well. 

After the waterfalls, we all went back to the house and changed into dry clothes in order to go to the Night Market. 

At the night market, we had supper at Duke’s restaurant.  We ate a really good pizza there.  After supper, we walked around and looked at several booths and helped Carmen find sun glasses for herself and her brother.  Then Scott and I decided to be adventurous and took a tuk-tuk to the Walking Street market.  Carmen let us take her phone just in case we were stranded.  We didn’t get lost and managed to get a tuk tuk ride all the way back to the house without having to walk any. I was glad that he took us home, since my foot was hurting.  Scott paid the man a little extra for taking us past where he thought we were going.

Monday, we had a good day of teaching. I enjoy teaching the younger children and the handicapped children the best.  We did have one class of kindergarteners that were not very well behaved but that was because their normal teacher had left the room. 

Scott and I also taught a class of teachers, that we have really enjoyed.

…or did it lose it’s body? Hmm…

We really like the Handicap school.  After the teacher class had ended we stood outside and talked with some of the students.  By talk I mean pretty much say, “Hello! How are you?”  And letting them respond and then asking their names and telling them our names.  One little boy asked my name and then he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a pink q-tip and gave it to me.  It may sound strange but I thought it was really sweet.  I’m going to bring it back home with me and maybe add it to a scrapbook. 

Monday evening, we went to a home of some church members and enjoyed some really good Chinese food.  It was delicious!  The daughters in the family all speak very good English.  Their father enjoys listening to them use their English with us. After we were done eating we visited for quite a while and then Scott pulled out his Saw-lu or whatever it’s called.  It’s a 2 stringed, Thai instrument that is played with a bow.  One of their daughters, Mimi, got excited and pulled her Saw-lu out.  They took turns playing different songs.  Scott said whichever one she played on sounded better.  She has had a little more practice.

Tuesday, we had been invited to visit with the pastor and his wife of the local church here in Chiang Mai.  They had some homeschooling questions for us, and we had been wanting to visit with them and get to know them better as well.  They planned to pick us up at Bro. Rusty’s and Sis. Susan’s house at 10:30 on Tuesday morning. 

Bro. Rusty was a little short handed Tuesday, since Carmen was sick.  Scott and I decided to help him out with the two first hour classes. Then after we taught the first hour’s classes we would catch a Green truck back to the road they lived on.

  Scott made up a line of a country song after that adventure.  Two green trucks and two hours later, still walking down the road…”  We could probably add a few lines now, about sunburns and heat rash, but we did learn a lesson from it all and Scott bought me an umbrella today.  From now on if I even think I’ll be in the sun, I’m going to have to either have an umbrella or sunscreen.  This young lady doesn’t handle the sun like I once could.

After we made it back to the house, I ran upstairs washed my face real quick, and then we got in the truck with the pastor and his 3 year old son.  That little boy was really sweet and reminded us so much of Jonathan.  Those two would have so much fun, even though they have different personalities, I’m positive they would hit it off perfectly.  Their family will be in Texas this fall on deputation and we are looking forward to visiting with them again and letting them meet our children.

A picture I took while standing in the waterfall.

Today, we had to get some money out of the ATM.  We have plenty in our bank, but didn’t quite bring enough with us.  We decided it would be best to pay a few dollars to get a little extra money out.  It was kind of hard to decide when and how to get the money.  We found out that Sis. Susan would be going into town to run some errands.  I had the idea of going with her and if it wasn’t out of her way, we could get some money out of the ATM. We did and were able to get a few little items to give the kids while we were at it. Scott also bought me an umbrella, and some lunch. 

I wasn’t feeling real well today and I think it was mostly because of my sunburn.  I kept getting real hot and then feeling real weak.  My skin still feels like it is being pricked by real tiny needles.  I’m pretty sure it will feel better tomorrow.  I felt the worse when I was hot.  Whenever I feel like that I know that I need to drink more water.  I’m feeling better now that I’m in a cool room and I should feel fine on the plane tomorrow, since it will be air conditioned and hopefully by then my sunburn will be just a tan and not hurting any more.

We are all packed up now, and will help teach two more classes tomorrow, before we get back shower and rush off to the airport in the morning. We should be flying out of Chiang Mai around 2:00 p.m.  It will be a long flight tomorrow.  I know Jet Lag will be a real problem when we get back home.  Hopefully I’ll figure the right times to sleep on the plane.  We will be arriving at the airport in Texas early Friday Morning.

I was reading in Romans just now and wanted to end this blog with a thought from what I read.  I was looking for a passage about walking, since Scott and I have done a lot of it this past week.  This is a passage I found. 

Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
I’ve often wonder what draws God’s people to do hard things. Why would we want to go somewhere hot, muggy, and be constantly sweating when we could have just as easily decided to take a mission trip somewhere with nicer weather, less work to do, less walking, less pain.  
I really think that it has a lot to do with walking “not after the flesh but after the Spirit.”  I really believe that if you really truly follow Christ, no matter how uncomfortable the situation may be to you, you’ll want to do whatever it is God is calling you to do.  Maybe it’s walking down a hot, sunny road with no shade in order to be an encouragement to a neighbor.  Maybe it’s simply being nice to a rude person in the check-out line, or forgiving someone that’s done you wrong.  It may be something hard, but if your walking after the Spirit, you’ll want to follow through and do whatever it is God wants from your life.  
Well, I’m going to be one tired teacher tomorrow morning, if I don’t go on to bed now.  I won’t be able to post anything while on the plane, but if I am awake enough, I’ll try to post something as soon as we get back to my parents’ house. Thanks for your prayers! 

 

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Thailand (Part 4)

A Thai Band playing the Marines’ Hymn.

 We have been doing so much during our stay here in Thailand. It almost seems like we’ve been here longer but yet it has gone by so quickly. 

Last Friday there was a band at one of the schools.  We watched them for a little while but then went to another area of the school to visit with some other people.  When suddenly the band started marching around the field playing an American song.  It was the Marines’ hymn,”From the Halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli.”

 I was so impressed by this band that I walked out and took pictures and videos of the band playing.  I made it around to where the band director was and told him that he had very good students.  He told me that it was their first year.  I asked him if when they made it back around from their march if I could get a picture of him with his band. 

A Buddhist temple decorated in colorful mirrors.

He didn’t quite know what I meant by band and I’m not sure if he understood much of any of what I said, but I could tell he knew I liked their playing.  After I showed him my camera and asked again if I could take a picture of him with his students, he understood and when they arrived back he had them all turn and face the camera.  Not only did they pose for a great camera shot and video they also started playing the song for me again.  I don’t think they would have stopped playing it either.  Scott finally made it over to where I was and told me that it was time to go.  I thanked the teacher and then waved good-bye to the band.  They were probably relieved that I left so they could take a break from playing.

Saturday we went to the Karen village again.  Scott and I taught the 4 and 5 year olds for about 45 minutes.  Then we sat in Bro. Rusty and Sis. Susan’s class of teenagers.

This Karen village is a Christian village, so we were able to actually talk about God and Jesus.  Pawn gave a Bible lesson and after the lesson she asked Scott to give his testimony which Pawn translated.

After we got back from the village we drove to another village where there was a Buddhist temple. 

The artwork was amazing.  It had to take a lot of work to put each piece of colored mirror all over the statues and the building itself. It was beautiful but sad at the same time.  It’s sad to see what a lot of people are basing their hopes on.

Scott giving his testimony in a Karen village.

Saturday, Scott and I were able to visit with the youth group of the local church in Chiang Mai. We had a fun time.  They started the time off with each of the youth asking me and Scott any question they wanted.  Everyone had to ask us a question and they couldn’t reask a question that was already asked.  The first question we were asked by one teenager was, “What time is it?”  Scott answered, “In which time zone?”  But then he told them what time it was in both Thailand and America. 

Then we played a charade game.  We had to teams.  Each team formed a line.  The person on the end couldn’t look back until it was his turn to guess what the action is.  At the end the first person did their action and the last person did the action that they thought it was.  I was laughing so hard.  They were taking videos and pictures but I hadn’t got a copy of it yet.  They said the one of Scott washing clothes was hilarious.  It was suppose to be something about cooking but somehow by the time Scott got the actions it turned into washing clothes. 

My team was funny as well.  The first person was trying to do actions to show something about a bicycle.  I was the last person in my group and by the time it got to me, it looked like, “Driving a car I saw 3 key rings.”  The point of the game was that we should not just believe something that we interpret ourselves but that we should find it out from the Source.  It’s very easy to misinterpret what others say or do, but if we read our Bibles we have a direct connection to the Answers to all of life’s problems.

Making Rotties…Yummy and easy to make.

After the game we divided up into two classes and Scott led a Bible study with the younger group where he talked about Galatians 5:9 “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”  He talked about how allowing even a little sin into our lives can ruin your life.  But allowing good things into our lives can cause us to grow.  He talked about friends and how that we should only have friends that we influence for good but stay away from friends if they influence us to do evil.

After the Bible study, we were taught how to make Rotties.  They were delicious and easy to make.  

Tomorrow will be our last full day in Thailand.  We will be flying out on Thursday. I’ll try to post a few more pictures about our the rest of our time here tomorrow night before I go to bed.  We’ll be needing to get some good packing done before then.  Thanks for the continued prayers.

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Thailand (Part 3)

Scott playing a time game in one of the ESL classes

We have a picture of Scott eating this same dessert last year.

 We made it through the city without getting lost.  I was a little afraid we might get lost in the mall but we didn’t have too much trouble.  The driver that took us to each of the places on our list didn’t speak English and we weren’t completely sure if he knew where one or two of our stops were, but he managed to find it and despite our communication barrier we were able to find our way and our driver didn’t lose track of us.
We visited a store that looked a lot like Wal-mart to me.  It was called Big C.  We arrived there a few minutes before 9 which was the time the store open so we walked around and looked at some of the signs on the building.  Then the store soon opened and we looked around and bought a few odds and ends we needed.  We spent an hour looking around the store then went downstairs to the bank.  The main bank didn’t open until 11.  We weren’t sure what to do since we needed to change some of our American money into Bahts. We really didn’t want to have to wait an hour for the bank to open.  So while we were thinking about it, we walked around the downstairs section.  Then we saw another smaller bank area which opened at 10.  It was only a couple of minutes until 10 so we went ahead and had our money changed there. We were the first in line.

These elephants could even paint!

Before the show all the elephants had baths.

The mall was a nice place and we found several things there.  Scott found a Thai Saw, which is not exactly what you imagine when you think of a saw.  It’s a 2 stringed instrument that is played with a bow.  I’ll have to post a picture of it once we get one.  It was only about $12.  I was glad we were able to get him a traditional Thai instrument.

We also got a few things for our children.  I think we’ve gotten all the souvenirs we had in mind for our family and friends.

After all our running around we returned to a school where Scott and I have been able to teach a class of teachers wanting to work on their English.  We’ve been teaching that class everyday from 4 – 5 p.m.  We worked on recipes today and how to give directions in English.  We also taught them how to give and understand directions if someone is lost or needs to know how to get somewhere in English.  We have been given a ride back to the house by some of the Teacher students each evening after the class is over and the teacher that took us back today was practicing  her directions while she was driving.

Saturday morning we will return to the Karen village that we visited last weekend.  Then tomorrow evening Scott was asked to speak at a Youth group’s Bible study.  It should be another full day tomorrow. 

We are having fun.  Even though the time seems to be going by pretty fast, we’ve been going so many places and seeing so many things that it almost seems like more than one day has passed in a 24 hour period.   I wouldn’t want it any other way though.  It’s nice to be able to serve and encourage those around us.  Thanks for your prayers. We really appreciate them.

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Thailand Part 2

Teaching in a Keren village.

 We’ve been in Thailand a little over a week now and I wanted to post a few pictures and tell a little of what we have been doing. 

Last Saturday we visited a Keren village and where Scott and I taught a class of 4 year olds.  It has been fun helping Bro. Rusty teach this week.  It’s gotten to where it feels pretty normal to enter a classroom and say “Hello, class!”  And to hear them say, “Good morning, Teacher!” or “Good afternoon, Teacher!”  Bro. Rusty has really been doing a good job with the children and built some good friendships with the teachers.

Then on Sunday, we visited the Baptist Church in Chiang Mai where Bro. Brent Rosendal pastors.  We really enjoyed the services there.

After the services we went to the Maesa Elephant Camp where we got to see an amazing elephant show.  The elephants were well trained.  They could paint, play basketball, soccer, and were even well trained at begging.  In these two pictures we posed with a few of the elephants who put hats on our head and were also well trained to beg.  :)  But we didn’t have any bananas but we were nice enough to give them a few dollars.

I told Scott we should bottle up some of that shampoo that elephant was putting in my hair. :)

 
After the elephant show, we road the elephants. Scott had taken those pictures on his camera. I’ll try to post them later. This week has been really busy and I plan to blog more as time allows.

Tomorrow Scott and I are going to be spending a day in Chiang Mai on our own with a hired driver.  I don’t imagine the driver will know much English, but we will have written directions of all the places we want to visit.  Keep us in your prayers!  

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Thailand

In the airplane.

June was such a busy month, that I spent my time living my blog instead of writing about it.  Now it is July and my husband and I are in Thailand and I hadn’t even taken the time to tell everyone through my blog of our plans to go. 

We left on the evening of June 27, which was Joshua’s 13 birthday.  It’s hard to believe that we are now parents of a teenager. 

Last year about this same time Scott went to Thailand to help the Missionaries here with an ESL and Basketball camp.  They had a very productive trip last summer and Scott wanted to bring me back to see the country this summer.

I have been really confused as to what days everything has taken place on.  I know we left on Monday night, June 27. However I was a little confused as to which day we actually arrived on since we gained 12 hours, I believe.  We arrived in Thailand on Wednesday, June 29, Thailand time.  Whereas back home it would be Tuesday, June 28.

We had a little problem with Jet lag but it really wasn’t as bad as I anticipated.  I think because I slept on the plane I was able to stay awake the rest of the day until bedtime.

The very next morning we went with Bro. Rusty, the missionary here in Thailand, to observe some of his ESL classes. We didn’t realize that we would be teaching on our first full day in Thailand, but that turned out to be good since I didn’t have enough time to get nervous.

Posing with a Lady dressed in a Peacock costume.

Scott and I taught 2 classes on Thursday.  That school asked us to come back each day next week to give the teachers an opportunity to practice their English with us.  This will be a great opportunity to get to know the teachers and not just the children.

Then on Friday, I believe we only taught one class that day.  We have really enjoyed the students of each of the schools.  They are very responsive and eager to learn. 

Today we visited a Keren village outside of Chiang Mai.  It was really neat to see the difference in country life as compared to city life.  It was a beautiful village.  Scott and I got to teach a class of 5 year olds in the village and after the time we taught them was up, we enjoyed sitting in on Bro. Rusty’s class and seeing how he taught the High School aged students.  Following the classes we watched as Pawn the Missionaries’ helper gave a Bible lesson in the Keren language to the children of this village which was her hometown.

The evenings had been full of activity as well.  Wednesday evening, we observed Bro. Rusty and his wife as they taught some children that came to their home for English lessons. 

Thursday evening, after their English class, they took us to a restaurant where we ate in traditional Thai style at a table while sitting on the floor.  We enjoyed watching the live entertainment of traditional Thai performers.  The above picture was taken at that restaurant with one of the performers.  She was dressed as a peacock. 

Friday evening, we went to an evening market and did some shopping for things to bring back with us to friends and family back home. 

Tonight after the time we enjoyed with the Keren people we visited a fresh produce market where there were all sorts of interesting fruits, some of which I had never seen before.  We also went to another market where we bought a few more souvenirs and ate a Waffle topped with ice cream.  The food here has actually been very good.  I hadn’t been faced with eating a bug yet.  That doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, but it just isn’t the first thing that people put on your plate.  We have enjoyed some very good meals of different types of chicken, rice, fish.  I guess the only funny incident with food was at the mall, I ordered a Vegetable Pizza and it turned out being more like a hashbrown with vegetables cooked into it.  It was really delicious though.

Teaching ESL at one of the Schools in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Right now it is night here and we will be getting up for Church in the morning.  I have really enjoyed this first week here.  It has been really busy and flown by very quickly.  I have more pictures that I will post in another blog. 

Keep us in prayer as we continue work here for another week and a half.  And keep the Missionaries here in prayer as they continue to serve the Lord in this location even as we go back home. 

 Romans 10:14-15 “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!”

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