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Update from Thailand :: June 16

This morning Cathy, Tracy, and Sabra came up with some tag lines for life here at UHDP. Attire is Campie Casual. Hairstyle is Wash and Wear. Make up trend is Bare Look or All Natural. Daily fragrance is Ode to DEET.

Following breakfast we broke into three teams and each worked with UHDP and ECHO workers to plant banana trees, fish-tailed palm trees, and bean plants, that live up to 50 years. We dug holes for planting with large hoes and used compost produced on site. We enjoyed working alongside those who are so dedicated to developing sustainable agricultural practices here in northern Thailand. 

After a successful morning of planting, we gathered with the entire planting crew (staffs of UHDP and ECHO) for an exchange of greetings, prayers for each other, gifts, and a delicious lunch. We received cool t-shirts with UHDP logos.After lunch our host Tui took us on an excursion to a Buddhist temple, located at the top of a hill. The temple is trimmed in bright yellow and has a tall spire. Inside there are many ornate displays, including many Buddhas. We enjoyed coffee from a beautiful vista near the temple. 

During our evening reflection time, we expressed our great joy in working with everyone at UHDP. Our experiences here have impacted us in large and small ways. We will return to our homes in a few days with new insights and perspectives that will hopefully allow God to work through us in new and impactful ways.


Posted by Kelsey Adams at Thursday, June 19, 2014
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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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