The last two days flew by in Chiang Mai. Our fearless leader, Norm Hall, had to leave for Beijing and was dearly missed by all. Regardless, Team Thailand was hard at work.
On Wednesday morning, we woke up and got in a Songthaew en route to a village in Maevang. We started our adventure in the village by doing an English camp for 1st-6th graders. We combined the English lessons we taught on Monday and Tuesday into one big lesson. It was remarkable how quickly the children caught on to songs, games, and English words, especially since this was the first time interaction like that had occurred between Phrongs and the students.
Of course, none of our success at the school would have occurred without our leaders. Quintin, Dream, Tee, Pat, Craig, and Renee were integral in translating and setting up the camp for the students. It was a huge blessing to be able to interact with the children and teach them about God’s love and Jesus Christ. Hopefully, Quintin, Craig, and Renee can find a group that can regularly go into the village for English lessons.
After the camp, we headed to our host family’s home in the village. We broke up into groups of two and stayed in different homes throughout the village. The guys stayed with the “neighborhood leader.” It’s a government position that is held to keep peace in the neighborhood and deal with any problems.
We also spent the day visiting the Thai countryside. We even got to work in the fields a bit. We picked tobacco leaves and got to see Thai cows… (they’re the same as Illinois cows). The country was beautiful and a reminder of how awesome God’s creation truly is. We ate dinner at the leader’s house, who was gracious enough not to make anything too spicy for us!
After dinner, we ended up having a conversation at another man’s house. The man, a Buddhist, even said that he would read a Bible. How great! We have learned that you must build relationships and allow them to talk about themselves before sharing the Gospel. The Thai people have truly been receptive and open to the idea of Christianity from our limited point of view. God is doing great things through the younger Thai generation!
We woke up on Thursday to our last fun-filled day in Thailand. We said goodbye and prayed with our host family. They were also very appreciative of the GC gifts that we gave them. There are probably over 50 GC shirts being worn in Thailand now!
After leaving the village, We headed to the Maevang Elephant camp. We got to ride and feed the elephants and view the beautiful mountains! After the elephants, we got to ride on a bamboo raft down a little river. Some of us had a little more of an adventurous ride. No wet, no fun! We also saw four live snakes on the raft! It was a lot of fun! It was also relaxing standing on a small bamboo raft surrounded by God’s beautiful earth!
We headed back to our hotel after the raft experience to pack and begin our trek home. As a last treat, we got to experience the Imaginary Jungle. It had great Thai food and was remarkable. It truly was like a restaurant you would find at Disney World! Everybody ended up coming to the dinner as well to say goodbye. We then were taken to the airport where we said our goodbyes, or as Dream said see you later. If we do not see our Thai friends in this earth, we will in heaven!
As we head back to the states, we look back at the past week with fires brewing in our hearts. We have seen the ways that God is working in Thailand. We have had the unique opportunity to play a role in showing Christ-like love to the Thai people. We hope and urge everyone to pray for the people in Thailand. They are people that are spiritually confused and trapped in a familial cycle of Buddhism. Fortunately, people like Tee, Pat, Sinn, and Dream have escaped that cycle and bring hope and light into a dark country.