Thursday, January 16
To be truthful it took some cajoling to get me on this trip. Traveling out of the country does not exactly “ring my bell.” But since I had promised Austin that I would come and visit him and his lovely family in Thailand I figured I might as well get it out of the way! Having said that once the commitment was made to go it was full speed ahead. We were going to be ministering to the Lahu people in the Northern Hill Country of Thailand. As with most everything there is a plethora of information available about the Lahu on the “Inter-web” (invented by one Al Gore).All told eighteen “Soldiers of the Cross” were undertaking to fulfill our part in the Great Commission by “Going to make disciples of all the nations.” Matthew 28:18-20.On Thursday, January 16 eight of us departed from Mississippi headed for Dallas, TX. Others were coming from Michigan, Texas, North Carolina and other places.
Theme Song for Trip – Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus
The airport in Dallas was pretty busy. It was a long flight from there to Qatar over 14 hours!
Friday, January 17
The airport at Qatar was very modern. It was a step into a different world for sure! Having never been to the Middle East or South East Asia this was a solemn occasion. Both of these areas have had an impact on the lives of the people of my generation. The war in Vietnam in the sixties and seventies and now the continuing war in the Middle East.
Finally arrived in Chiang Mai, Thailand about 24 hours for the entire trip.
Saturday, January 18
The weather was very nice. It is the dry season and hardly a cloud the whole time we were there. Highs were in the upper eighties and lows in the fifties. Lots of smog. Would assume not nearly so bad in the rainy season. The hotel was our first stop. NAME? Very nice and comfortable. Right in the middle of the city.
On Saturday we had our first up close look at life in Chiang Mai. It was pretty neat. Much different than in the good ole USA. Everything you have heard about driving in this part of the world was shown to be true here. Motorcycles were everywhere (see below) and they drive on the “wrong” side of the road!
The night life was amazing. Small booths selling all kinds of stuff were everywhere on the streets. Food “courts” were in abundance. I even ate squid!
Sunday, January 19
Sunday found us on our way to the first local church service. It was a blessing. They hope to see the property they are using become a training center for other churches and pastors.
Yes they are raising these to eat. Yummmmm…
Remember the motorcycle thing?
Monday, January 20
Monday was our first Medical Missions outreach was in the village that was our headquarters for this first week.
We will call this Village #1
Buddhist temples (actually most are wats) are everywhere. Over 95% of Thailand is Buddhist. Although the Lahu are mostly animist with some Christians. Beautiful country.
This village has a very nice church and a pastor and his wife. They take care of a number of orphans.
Tuesday, January 21
Village # 2
We tried to get an early start but it didn’t always work out. Lot’s of children everywhere.
This is the church’s pastor. He was our “guide” for these first few days.
All of these villages have names but it’s not easy to figure them out. The things were set up Coleman and Sai Hla (interpreter) saw those with medical needs. Zack and his crew took care of those who needed reading glasses. Cal, Peter (interpreter) and I prayed with the folks when they were through with their physical needs. Preaching the Word preceded every effort. Most, but not all, paid close attention. Our work would have been neigh on impossible if not for our Christian interpreters. As hard as it is to believe “some” of the people we were helping had never heard the name of Jesus! Many others who had perhaps heard His name knew nothing about Him. If the person we were talking to showed any interest in Jesus we would seek to share more about Christ with them. As mentioned above the Lahu are for the most part animist. They worship “demons” and are greatly terrified of evil spirits. Each village has one or more witch doctors and sorcerers. They seek to keep the people under their control.It was very interesting that “many” of the middle age people are believers. We had numerous “older” folks tell us that their children were Christians. But because of their own parents they could not become Christians because it would dishonor them! We encouraged them to listen to their children. Others said they would become Christians when the witch doctors died. The two men below are friends. The one with the Heroin shirt arrived early and was very disruptive. When Coleman examined him he could tell the man was drunk. As the day wore on he settled down and was actually pretty helpful. He had been listening to us pray with the other people. Finally he sat down and asked us to pray for him. The first thing he did was try to remove the string bracelets that so many of the Lahu wear to protect them from evil spirits. They tie them on there pretty good so I borrowed Coleman’s knife and the man cut them off. Cal and Peter talked to him for a good while. He was somewhat familiar with the gospel and said he wanted to become a Christian!!! He prayed, confessed and repented of his sins. He said he believed that Jesus was the Son of God. We are trusting that God has begun a great work in him. His name is Pawnet. As soon as he got up his friend said he wanted to become a Christian also! He had already dispensed with his “evil bracelets” before he came to the meeting. He also prayed to receive Christ as his Savior.
We were all pretty pumped! The day was almost over when the village “sorcerer” came to visit. He was having some physical trouble so Coleman saw him and shared with him. He had seen us pray with the other men and was interested in becoming a Christian too.(We did not find out until later that last year one of the local pastors had been to the village and was preaching. The witch doctor began to oppose him and fell dead at the pastor’s feet!!!)This man was very humble and seemed very sincere in his interest. He wanted to pray to become a Christian but would not remove his “bracelets.” Coleman explained to him very clearly you couldn’t follow Jesus and demons at the same time.The man was truly struggling with what to do. Finally he said he would have to talk to the other village elders about what they should all do.
Wednesday, January 22
Village # 3
You can’t tell everything you know but, this village had some very “interesting” things going on. I’ve been asked about living conditions in the villages we visited. Most of the places we visited would be considered remote. Compared to some other places I have been like Haiti I did not see “extreme” poverty. Did not see people who looked like they were starving. The villages had running water. Some of the houses had running water. That does not mean “plumbing” as we know it. Most had outhouses with running water. People cooked over open wood fires in their houses. (Already I wish I had more pictures.) Rice was the staple food. Which is alright because as we all know – “rice is nice.”
The reading glasses were a big plus everywhere we went.
Thursday, January 23
Village # 4
There are fish in this “reservoir” and I was offered a chance to try fishing it! But alas time would not permit. Maybe next time. What say Cal?
Friday, January 24
Village # 5
On Friday we had half a day to spread “the Word.”
The roads, for the most part, pretty good. Paved until you headed up into the villages where they were mostly dirt and very winding. Can only imagine how they would be in the rainy season.
Back to Chiang Mai.
Saturday, January 25
Chiang Mai Zoo.
We spent most of the day at the Zoo. It was over 200 acres and very nice.
This was one big crocodile. One of the “zoo keepers” would walk to one end of the tank and make some strange noise and the croc would swim to where the he was. Move to the other end and ditto. You will have to ask Coleman how it worked for him?
Sunday, January 26
Visiting another local church
Monday, January 27
Village # 6
We started the week off visiting a new village.
Tuesday, January 28
Village # 7
Wednesday, January 29
Village # 8
The one thing different about this village was a lot of the people were Christians! They had a church and most of the people we talked to had been there. Immediately noticed that very few people were wearing the “demonic bracelets.” Another thing in the other villages a lot of the people used some kind of crushed up red berry like people in the US use snuff. It provided some sort “mild high.” It also helped to rot out their teeth and made them look like their mouths were bleeding. Very few people in this village used it.
The people prayed when we were praying for others. They even “sang” and clapped as we sang. You might want to turn the volume down on this one. B. H, H, …
Back at camp for Wednesday night service
Thursday, January 30
Hot Springs Village # 9
Not exactly Old Faithful but it smelled just the same.
Once again headed back to Chiang Mai.
We made it back in time for Abigail’s baptism at Austin and Sara’s. Wonderful time of fellowship with some other full time missionaries to Thailand.
Back at the hotel.
Friday, January 31
Left out very early Friday morning for Qatar.
Saturday, February 1
Leaving Qatar for Dallas.
No way we could have done what we were able to do without our interpreters, Sai Hla (left) and Peter. These two men are relentless preachers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and eternal friends!
The missing part of the puzzle our third interpreter, Mint. Corrie had a special ministry to pregnant moms. Corrie being a midwife and all.
The people of Thailand are very friendly. They were kind enough to put up with a bunch of “Americans” who could not speak their language and (I am sure) at times seemed a bit pushy. It was a blessing to all of us and I hope to the people were able to interact with.