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Update from Thailand :: June 20

From June 20

Today part of our group flew from Chiang Mai to their beach destination in southern Thailand for family vacation. We said goodbye to them before their driver picked them up around 10 AM. The rest of us finished packing and did some last minute errands before our flight to Bangkok. The night before, Bryan had wanted to get a Thai massage. There were no openings available, so he made an appointment for this morning. When he returned from his massage, his quote was,  "Thai massage--OMG!" Apparently,  the rest of us need to get one, too.

Our driver picked us up about noon for our 2 PM flight to Bangkok. When we arrived at the ticket counter at the airport, Jason discovered that our names were not in the system. It turned out that our travel agent had booked us for that flight on the following day. The problem was quickly solved by booking us on today's flight with seats still available. Later, Jason told us that his greatest fear was that our agent had booked us on the Sunday Delta flight back to the US rather than the Saturday one. That would mean that Jason would not be available to preach on Sunday. Thankfully, we were booked on the right one.

After our arrival in Bangkok, we checked into our rooms and discussed our plans for the evening. We learned that some of the sights of interest in Bangkok had closed for the day or were closing soon, so we opted for massages and dinner. By all accounts the massages were amazing! We met for dinner at one of the hotel restaurants specializing in Japanese food. After some ice cream for dessert, we retired for the evening to prepare for a 6 AM local time flight from Bangkok to LA with a layover in Japan (Narita).


Posted by Terri Soper at Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | 0 comments
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Update from Thailand :: June 19

From June 19

Today was intended as a time to relax and to process what we have experienced over the past several days. After breakfast, we boarded a van for a trip to Maesa Elephant Camp where Asian elephants are trained beginning at age 2-3. As we entered the park, we purchased bananas and sugarcane for feeding the elephants. Several elephants and their trainers were lined up for feeding. We held out the food in our hands, and the animals used their trunks to grasp the food and put it into their mouths. As we fed the elephants, their trainers called us over to pose with the elephants for pictures. The elephants  wrapped their trunks around our shoulders to give us gentle hugs. A little overzealous one made a mark on Sabra's neck. Tracy also experienced a little too much PDA. Oh, no! After feeding the elephants, trainers led the elephants into the water for baths, and we took more pictures.

Next, we went into an arena where the elephants played several games including soccer, basketball, and darts. They even painted pictures. The trainers dipped different brushes into the paint buckets and then allowed the elephants to grasp the brush handles with their trunks. The elephants then used very steady strokes to paint flowers or other natural scenes. Once we left the elephant camp, we made a stop at an orchid and butterfly park and another stop at a rug shop. After returning to our hotels, several of us went exploring in Chiang Mai. Five of us ate lunch at Duke's, a restaurant with plenty of Western food.

That evening we had our final meal as a combined group at The Riverside Restaurant in Chiang Mai. We enjoyed outdoor seating for 10 close the water. The temperature was pleasant with partial shade from the sun. We shared several dishes and had fun talking and laughing about our experiences.


Posted by Terri Soper at Wednesday, July 2, 2014 | 0 comments
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Update from Thailand :: June 18

From June 18

Today we departed the village of Hoi Pong to travel back to Chiang Mai. Along the way, we ate breakfast at a place that served American food. After many days of eating rice and soup for breakfast, several of us were delighted to eat fried or scrambled eggs or omelets. We made a sight-seeing stop at The Phra Non Cave for a guided tour. Within the cave were live bats, various Buddhist shrines, and many natural features resembling animals. A few "gates" within the cave required crawling on hands and knees for a few meters.

We arrived at our hotel (Galare Guesthouse) about 1:00 PM local time. We enjoyed a final meal with our host Tui before saying farewell for now. I believe that I speak for all in saying that Tui is being used by God in powerful ways. As mentioned before, Tui and those at UHDP are doing a wonderful job of developing and teaching sustainable agricultural techniques that help restore and sustain the Earth. They teach local, hill tribe farmers, pastors from various regions, and others interested in either using these techniques or learning to care for the Earth. Through UHDP's Creation Care Ministry, Tui and others have begun to talk about Christianity in non-threatening ways. We have committed to pray for them and to be advocates for what they are doing. We would like to encourage others to pray for them, too.

After lunch several of us went to Mengrai Kilns, a place that sells numerous ceramic pieces including vases, tableware, figurines, and nativity sets. We enjoyed this time to shop and to reflect on our time in Thailand. For a little taste of home, several of us ate pizza for dinner that evening.


Posted by Terri Soper at Friday, June 20, 2014 | 0 comments
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