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Update from Thailand :: June 17

After breakfast we loaded our luggage into vehicles and traveled to the Palaung village of Pang Dang Nai, arriving in time for lunch. We enjoyed a traditional Palaung meal and then went on a walking tour of the farm fields. In this region the farmers are using terracing and composting techniques to make the hillsides productive with corn and beans and various fruits including mango. The contrast between the land being managed using practices learned at UHDP and traditional practices is evident here. Traditional practices involve burning so that the land is more barren with plants and trees growing farther apart, whereas UHDP practices promote growing a larger variety of plants and trees together to more fully cover the ground. These techniques make the hillsides greener and the soil richer. Before leaving this village, Bryan engaged in some friendly bartering with one of the local ladies.

We then traveled to the village of Hoi Pong, located in hills near the mountains called Mae Jawn. We hiked up to the highest point in the village to the community guest house where we later slept. From our magnificent view, we could see one of the highest peaks in Thailand called Doi Luang. Before dinner our host Tui took the guys on a search to find machetes. We found two men who were willing to sell their personal machetes. Benjamin bought a machete with a long, thin blade and sharpened flat end for 1000 baht. Luke bought one with a shorter, wider blade with sharpened curved end for 800 baht. Before our evening readings and reflection, we presented Tui with a copy of Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours. He then participated with us in our evening devotion time. Later, we enjoyed the stories and seung (three-stringed instrument) playing of Mr. Kaeng, the owner of the guest house in which we slept and a local farmer. We fell asleep under mosquito nets with rain falling on the tin roof.

Two quotes for the day:

"Anything worth anything is worth the risk to do it."  -Sabra

"American toilets--a gift from God!"  -Benjamin


Posted by Kelsey Adams at Thursday, June 19, 2014 | 0 comments
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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 | 0 comments
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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 | 1 comments
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