Heading for Home

October 21, 2009

Yesterday was a fun-filled, wind-down touristy kind of day. We travelled back from Mae Sai via a 1300-year old temple site, a long-boat ride, elephant ride, snake handling and the American-Pie shop. Yum. Big dinner last night and then the Chiang Mai street markets. We are presently in the hotel lobby about to pack the van for the airport.

Thank you so much for your support and prayer over the last 10 days. It has been a brilliant 10 days. Most of the team will be flying into Perth around midnight tonight. We will see you soon!

Blessings!

Supote and Mam

October 20, 2009

Supote and Mam lead Peace Church and run the children’s home in Wiang Pa Pao. They have taken about 30 kids into their home with them – well, we say home, but they all live on the church property in cramped and in some places very unsatisfactory conditions. The building we helped construct is stage one in moving the children’s home. We built the first girls’ dorm which will eventually house about 20 girls. They plan a future boys’ dorm and a second girls dorm. A kitchen, storage, activity area also needs to be built.

Doug showed us plans and a model of the kind of house they will establish on the safe village land, with a church established at the centre of the village.

Some Fun Along the Way

October 20, 2009

There’s been lots of fun along the way. We managed to capture some of it here…

At the Village Home Church

October 20, 2009

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Sunday at Peace Church

October 19, 2009

Monday

October 19, 2009

Hi everyone,

It is late Monday night and I have finally both time and internet access to log-in. Sorry for the delay in getting comments up, and in bringing a report. The last few days have been busy and at times, quite emotional. On Saturday we started work a little earlier because we had to knock off a little earlier. So we worked a full day before going to a house church meeting in a little village about 30 minutes from Wiang Pa Pao. It was a good little group and great to be allowed to participate there. Murray and Kieran each gave a testimony and did really, really well. They both had powerful testimonies to share and they were a blessing to the little church. Monica didn’t come out to the village because she was doing a training session with some of the developing leaders back in Wiang Pa Pao. She also had good input and interaction with the group. They are a great group of young adults.

On Sunday morning the church has an adult Sunday school arrangement with two classes. Doug Higgins took the new believers class and I took the other class. The Sunday school lasts one hour and then church began. It is not a large church (maybe 70 or so?), but it was loud, vibrant, worshipful, energetic, mostly young, and mostly singing Hillsong kind of stuff. They danced, waved banners and sang with great enthusiasm. Supote is a nationally recognised musician, so even with only a few instruments the worship music was very good. After the service everyone hangs around for a shared lunch.

During the service Sue Waller, Josh and Mark gave very strong testimonies which was so great to see and hear. The stories they shared spoke deeply to God’s goodness and faithfulness even in the face of our own doubt or unfaithfulness. Then Josh and Mark got back up with Kieran to sing an item: Hallelujah. The local young adults performed a dance to Shout to the Lord and climaxed with a little sign welcoming us, and telling that they would miss us. The relationships which have developed while we have been working and eating side by side have been very precious, and I know we will all miss them as well. Several in the team felt the service was a highlight for them, especially worshipping together singing in different languages. Some bald bloke preached.

On Sunday arvo we went out to the land we had seen at LBC in the photo we used to publicise the trip. The land is very steep at the sides, though with some flat sections to build 30 houses. Doug Higgins showed us plans of the site that have been drawn up pro-bono by a Melbourne firm, and a model of the kind of housing they intend to construct. It is an exciting project, and perhaps we can say more about it when we get home. When we got back to the motel we each had a Thai massage, which meant we were pummelled for an hour. But it was a nice pummelling!

This morning we had another early start to finish off a couple of jobs, and get another one started. We only had 3 hours on site this morning, before going back to the motel to shower and check out. After lunch we jumped into the vans and headed out to Mae Sai, a town on the Burmese border. Doug told us it is a pretty wild place and one of the places on earth where many children are trafficed into prostitution and indentured labour. Here we had a brief visit to Emmanuel Children’s Home, founded about 8 years ago. It provided a fast-forward for us to see the kind of place that can develop to rescue, protect and raise vulnerable children. Hopefully the work the team has done in Wiang Pa Pao will develop in a similar way. This was a wonderful experience. The girls there tonight are safe, beautiful, being raised and trained, educated and encouraged. We also met two of the graduates of this house in Wiang Pa Pao. Both these young women were brought to the house from very vulnerable circumstances (the house only accepts girls categorised as ‘high-risk’), were raised, educated, seen through university training. Both now have degrees and a viable future. One is married and has her own daughter. Her sister had been sold into prostitution and died of AIDS.

Tomorrow we start heading back to Chiang Mai. It will be a day of travel and some fun stuff thrown in before heading back to Perth on Wednesday. It has been an amazing time. We hope the blog and photos have communicated a little of what has happened. We have lots of stories to tell and photos to show when we get home. We hope we have been a blessing to the folk here in Thailand. I know they have been a blessing to us. I know also, that God has touched our hearts and lives in quite significant ways. I would love to see LBC continue to build relationships here in Thailand in this important work. I would love to see more LBC’ers take the opportunity to come and see for themselves what is happening here, and participate in God’s mission to save and heal a broken world.

Let me finish by saying  just how proud I have been of our team – they have been truly an amazing team, and have done LBC proud. But we are also very very aware of the support base we have had back home from fellow LBC’ers, family and friends. Your prayers and your financial gifts have made a difference in this part of the world. Bless you!

Michael.

Saturday

October 18, 2009

Hi everyone,

We will try to get a proper post up later today – maybe! Very busy day yesterday on the building site, then a quick meal and out to a village (home) church. Church this morning (Sunday), then a visit to a future development site, then a quieter late afternoon – yay! Thai massages booked, I believe…

Anyway, here’s some photos

Friday

October 16, 2009

Hi everyone, Sue ‘2’ (nee waller) here, as distinguished from Sue 1; these titles bestowed upon us to help the Burmese and Thai girls when they address us. Fantastic day today and not because the breakfast menu changed. How can you complain about food when the lunch and dinner menus are so varied and flavoursome, fried insects are delightfully crunchy(seriously tasty too), and we are served by gracious and hospitable girls while we sit for the entire meal and then watch as the dishes are taken away and washed!! 

Highllights for team has been in discovering the student and teacher within each of us, some of us teaching ‘skills’ we have learned only the day earlier and trying to learn each others language as we spend an increasing part of each day together on site. Not only were many of the young guys tiling, digging trenches and plumbing with the team, but an increasing number of girls joined in. Working together and discovering we knew the same songs (majority from Hillsongs) was fantastic, even if we were singing different words – same heart and connection to the same God we love. Added bonus for me was the discovery that I love grouting – who would have guessed after putting that laundry off for the past 9 years.

Children at the church are absolutely beautiful and relax more with every visit, inviting us to sit on the swing, searching Marks’ bag for more bubble mixture, offering a rope to see if we can skip, loving seeing Mike crawling around in a wicker basket ‘cage’ built for chickens and getting some of the young guys to throw them in the air Josh is a particular favourite as they are nearly thrown into the rafters. Many of the older girls have asked how long we will stay and told us we have to stay a year. It is incredible how quickly we have built relatioships and ease of being with each other. Some of the Burmese boys have wanted to play soccer, so two teams were formed and they battled it our tonight, our boys in work togs and boots while the others dressed especially in soccer gear. Wise decision that it was a mixed team with some Aussies either side,  to prevent a thrashing ; they are good!!. Even as the game progressed, more locals added themselves to the teams.

Could go on but I won’t. Early start tomorrow as we would love to get into the grouting early in the second bedroom so on site shortly after 7.30am and having a breakfast purchased from the local markets. Hope the medication has taken effect Jacqui and you have a bulk supply on hand. Much, much love to you fourwallys and thank you for writing – I can hear your voices as I read. :-)

Sue W.

Thursday

October 16, 2009

Murray signing in from the Thai camp. Quality breakfast again not too much to brag about there — same again today. My coffee is cold and my whitener is not going in!

Big day on work site with tiling, plumbing and more electrical work. Quite productive in the end with lots of work being done by both Ausies and by Burmese boys. The team work was teriffic by the team and it was great seeing the local boys wanting to get involved. When the boys started tiling and painting it was great seeing their faces light up with excitment.

Shopping for hardware for myself and Rod was an experience indeed. Translation was a little tricky but we got there in the end. We managed to negotiate the price down which was well worth the effort. Myself and Sue D had nice experience with some small children in the hardware shop. They played some games with me, poking me and then hiding. Sue said one of them said ‘handsome’  to her which bought a smile to her face.

Meal times are always something to look forward to. The Bamboo grubs were something different. Good thing they were cooked and not moving because I’m not sure if I could stomach them other wise. The children at the church are always fun to interact with.   

I better sign off now I’m not a fast typer and Michael wants his lap top back.

Murray signing off.

Wednesday

October 15, 2009

Well, morning 3 of work on the house dawns and there are more bags under the eyes today than yesterday. But they could be smiling lines more than fatigue! Yesterday brought new experiences as the team delved deeper in the work on the building, with the painters going to town with pinks and greens in the bedrooms..and on themselves…I’m certain I saw Michael take a brush to Monica’s bottom somewhere there! Some of the men were buried in the technicalities of plumbing (we’re VERY experienced here:-p) and Rod Davidson found his expertise in all things handyman in very high demand.

Most exciting for me was the increased interraction with the local guys working with us over the course of the day. Thai people are incredibly courteous and eager to make a connection. I THINK we understood each other, but the greatest barrier to overcome is definitely that of language, and the team rise to the occasion, growing more confident in speaking some Thai. It was very encouraging to have the boys ask me to play some ball with them. I intend to take up the offer at next opportunity. I learned from Supote and Mam that the boys come from many different mountain tribes, and that Thai is not their first language. As they come to the school they are learning to speak Thai, beginning with a bible reading each morning. What amazing ministry! To watch them together is very special. Thai boys and girls alike show such open affection for each other. They are real family.

And how refreshing to see Sue Waller get right in there with the young girls at Supote and Mam’s church, in finding our Pastor Mike a hilarious ball gamer, and observing Buster Fourie’s attempts to keep the local’s electrical work, err, well, safe! The pace, the atmosphere, the progress is very different here, but the Lord is working in each heart as we commit each moment to His care.  And wonderfully, we have the very best of Thai cuisine to end the day with. Have a look at the photos to see the new delicacy Sue Davidson sampled with the team last night.  “My challenge of the day was eating something I would usually kill with mortein.” Nice work Sue! I thought they were good! Unless we want to stack on the kilos we better start practicing ‘Mai ow’ some more! (No I don’t want more!)

Sawa di cup

Kieran


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