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Update from Thailand :: June 15

Today was our day of worship with Tui and Pe Da's Lahu church. Tui has been our host for this trip and is the Center Director for UHDP. Before making the short trip to church, we had breakfast that included fried rice. Earlier in the week, Luke had requested fried rice. Seeing his request granted brought a smile to his face.

On our trip to church, Jason was able to put his Thai driving skills to the test while operating one of our vehicles. He did very well, although I believe the first turn threw him a little. Once we arrived at church, we made some introductions and then observed the children during their Sunday School. The kids sang and learned a memory verse. After rehearsing the verse a few times as a group, several were called forward to say the verse in front of the whole group. Some came forward individually and others in pairs. We could tell that the teacher corrected any who did not put their hands "down to their sides." After singing and learning scripture, we gave the children gifts of crayons, coloring books, and Playdo. We colored with them and helped them with building different models with the clay. Following Sunday School, we went to the worship service.

Their service was much like ours in terms of structure. When they sang from the hymnal, several of the ladies brought us hymnals turned to the right page. With the English pronunciation on a lower line of the music, we sang along. A few days ago, we had been asked to participate in the service by singing two songs and preaching the sermon. Our two songs included "Blest Be The Tie That Binds" that we sang as a group and "It Is No Secret What God Can Do" that Ed sang as a solo with the rest of us accompanying him on the chorus. Ed did a fantastic on the solo. It was beautiful. Eric's sermon was great, too. His message was "Be good, work hard, and have fun," and was based on three rules his mother gave him when he began school. Hearing the sermon in English, northern Thai, and Lahu illustrated how God speaks to all people groups around the world. After church, we were greeted with handshakes and kinds words in Lahu by numerous church members.

Following worship, we went to Tui and Pe Da's house for a traditional Lahu meal, consisting of meatballs cooked in banana leaves, a potato dish, and fresh pineapple and cucumber. Bryan presented Lek Lek with a waterproof journal for writing and drawing. Sabra and Cathy also presented Pe Da and their daughter Lek Lek with gifts that only women can appreciate.

After lunch and a tour of Tui and Pe Da's farm, we went to an open air market in Fang. Needless to say, some of the meat items for sale are not found at HyVee! We then enjoyed treats at Nine Cool Coffee, one of Jason and Christy's favorite hang-out spots during their stay in Thailand. With free Wi Fi available at the coffee shop, most of us spent time checking e-mail and connecting with friends around the world.

During our reflection time in the evening, we focused mostly on our wonderful worship experience at the Lahu church.


Posted by Kelsey Adams at Monday, June 16, 2014
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Update from Thailand :: June 14

Today we visited two sites-a Palaung village at the border of Thailand and Burma and The Royal Project. The border village of Roi Ankam is located at an elevation of about 1600 m at the southernmost edge of the Himalayas. The trip to this spot involved a steep climb along winding roads, including two 90 degree turns. Only two years ago, Burmese troops engaged in gunfire with a Burmese Wa tribe near this village. As we walked along the border, we saw entrenchments and two sandbag fortifications for heavy guns. Our host Tui explained that on the Burmese side, troops patrol a few hundred yards from our location. Also, beyond the fenced border, minefields are active. In Roi Ankam, we visited a local market where women sold jewelry and clothing primarily. Many of the bags and clothing were dyed with natural products. Several of us purchased items at the market.

After this visit, we made our way to The Royal Project, a national treasure of beautiful gardens, plant displays, and greenhouse research projects. In 1975 the King of Thailand eliminated the poppy fields in this region and created an ongoing project to build and maintain gardens and promote agriculture. We were all impressed with the magnificent colors and exquisitely manicured plant displays. Here we saw how dedicated people care for God's creation and help it to thrive.

For dinner we enjoyed the hospitality of several of the residents of UHDP. They prepared an amazing meal for us consisting of pad thai, a beef and potato dish with a perfectly-seasoned gravy, purple sweet potato and curry fried pie, and mango and sticky rice dessert.

As mentioned earlier, each morning and evening we have been doing daily office readings and reflecting on the past 24 hours through prayers of examine. This evening Sabra talked about how the return to natural agricultural practices here in northern Thailand parallels with how God wants each of us to experience the Christian life. By examining our lives and responding to God, we can bring our lives into balance. May we all look to God for that balance.

We appreciate your continued prayers!


Posted by Kelsey Adams at Sunday, June 15, 2014
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Update from Thailand :: June 13

*To keep up with images from the trip, follow Pastor Jason on instagram!

By bedtime last night most in our group were very tired. We had worked all day in hot and humid conditions, and, as Jason pointed out, we were still contending with the long flight and the drastic change in time zones. During the evening, a couple of funny things happened. In our tired states, our brains were not functioning very well, and we were saying some really crazy things. As we began our evening routine, a cat got into our eating/meeting room. Ed calmly picked up the cat and put her outside. To prevent the cat from re-entering we needed to put a chair in front of the door to keep it closed. Someone said, "Put a cat in front of the door to keep it closed."

As we were finishing our evening meal, we lost electricity. We used flashlights and candles for our devotional and readings of the daily office. The funny part was taking showers by flashlight before retiring to bed.

Today, we continued our work in the Palaung village of Huay Wai. We mixed cement with hand tools and helped lay a low cement block wall around the water treatment system. As Bryan pointed out, mixing cement on the ground as opposed to in a wheelbarrow was really taxing on the back. Before leaving, we presented several gifts to leaders of the community. Ben presented a multi-tool to one of the leaders who was also one of the workers on the project. Bryan presented a soccer ball with a Hawgs emblem, and Blane presented several t-shirts with William Jewell College logos. The leaders were very appreciative, and we could see the happiness on their faces. 

We also toured the village to see how the villagers were applying techniques they had learned at UHDP. Mr. Lam's backyard farm was particularly impressive. In the small space of about a quarter acre, he was raising a hog, catfish, and chickens and producing corn, beans, aloe vera, and lynchee and jack fruits. He was also making various kinds of soaps, using all natural ingredients. Amazing!


Posted by Kelsey Adams at Saturday, June 14, 2014
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