Last week we spent our time visiting and serving in the village where Jo’s family lives. Once we left Chiang Mai and headed toward Chiang Rai we stayed in the city one night visiting with Jo’s youngest sister. We went to Big C that night (which is basically the Wal-Mart of Thailand) and we were looking for a power converter because ours went out! But by the grace we didn’t find a converter but even better a family from America! There was a white man on the same aisle as us so we didn’t hesitate to quickly speak to him and sure enough at the perfect timing, the Lord knew I needed some encouragement, it was a man and his family that had moved there about a year ago they lived in Waco Texas and then had some missionary training in Fort worth Texas! And the church they were working with is the same church our friend Jeffrey went to while he lived in Waco!!! They were a Christian family with two kids that share the same heart for the Thai people! It was so encouraging to meet them and to introduce them to Jo as well.
Before we left I knew the village was going to be a challenge for me, and when we arrived it indeed was very hard. It definitely took me getting out of my comfort zone! The first day I was able to just be in our room alone and spend endless time with God crying out to Him reading His word and reflecting what He is doing within me and through my life. I love our life in America, but I also know that God has broken our hearts for Thailand for a reason. And to do His will is far greater than any plans I can make for myself. “I’m not ashamed of the Gospel. I’m not ashamed of Jesus Christ. I will stand and boldly say that Christ IS my Life!” This has been the theme of this trip for me! Spending just one week in a village can really change your life! Getting away from the many distractions of this world and returning to the simplicity of life is really eye opening. Sadly for the first time ever Brandon and I hand washed an entire load of laundry, we used only a squatty potty, endured without toilet paper, climbed many mountains, worked like a farmer, slaughtered a pig and feasted on it, ate almost everything that grows, embraced using only COLD water, and enjoyed the Beauties of God! The village is surrounded by mountains so the weather is nice, it’s very cool (I actually had to put on a jacket).
On the way to the village we got dropped off by the bus at a stop that was a small market place for the villages to come instead of having to go all the way to the next city. And from there Brandon and Jo did some shopping for some snacks and supplies we would need for the farm. Then we waited until someone from the village came home from town to take us back into the village. Once we found someone going that way we joined them. The interesting thing is this guy had just come from getting what he needed from town, and his back end of the truck was packed with his stuff. He had a tarp over his stuff and then packed our luggage’s and everything on top along with the others that needed a ride too and then…. wait for it… yes we hopped on the back on top of everything literally just holding on to the rope that was holding our stuff on! (Don’t worry Jo informed us this guy would be a great driver!) Definitely wouldn’t make the safety laws in America though! Lol, but we constantly had to remind ourselves, it’s a different culture. So once we started this wild ride it was BEAUTIFUL Mountains everywhere! It was about an hour ride, and about almost half way we see rain on both sides of us and it looks like it is coming towards us the driver stops and then we hear him holler out something to Jo, he said “what should we do” lol we just burst out laughing and tell him we have poncho’s so we put them on and get a little rained on but not bad at all. Then we arrive and Jo goes in first to surprise his mom! She was so excited. He said he likes to surprise them because he is really the only one from his village that has ever graduated from college and they respect him a lot, so they would probably try to do something big for him if they knew he was coming. A lot of the people from the village can’t read or write, so they are left working all the time. They sometimes feel that they are lower because of that, but there is so much that can be learned from them. These people have taught us some much! I know far too often we take for granted the ability to read…we have our Bibles right beside us and neglect to pick it up and read and these people are hungry to love and serve God and yet they are unable to pick up and read the Scriptures.
We also got to work on the farm with Jo’s family and help them a little bit (They are serious workers! The two of them like tripled the work of Brandon, Jo, and I!!) We got to visit the church that is in the village. When we got to Jo’s house there were always random dogs everywhere so we just thought some of them had followed us around the house, and Brandon begins to shu the dog away yelling at it “get out of here” HAHA to his surprise Jo comes out and says actually that is our dog. Also while we were there Brandon got to drive a motorcycle…He was super excited!! We went on some adventures riding the motorcycle the three of us on the edge of mountains! Went “fishing” not the fish we expected, it was what we would consider bait that we caught and ate …of course, here in Thailand they eat everything! We got to see lots of interesting things! When I worked on the mountain with Jo’s family we picked tea leaves. We also got to visit a tea factory, I will never drink tea the same. I will always remember all the hard work that goes into enjoying a glass of tea.
|On the farm for lunch break we would get banana tree leaves and use them for plates and cups and then literally get sticks to use for chop sticks.|
We tried raw peanuts, climbed trees to try all kinds of fruit! Also we got a pig…we woke up to it being slaughtered in front of the house, and from that point on everything we ate was with pork!
The ride back to the city was just as interesting! We are headed back to Bangkok now; we will be waiting on a bus in Chiang Mai then 9 hours till we get there. We will keep you updated, continue to pray for us! Sorry we didn’t have internet to update you sooner!