Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Holidays

We’ve been running nonstop since the holidays! The holiday season in Thailand is a long one. Starting in early December with the King of Thailand’s birthday going off and on into mid February ending with Chinese New Year. Since we’ve been in Thailand for almost a year and a half now, being away from our families over Christmas and New Years was a bit harder this year. But it was a great time to connect with our friends and loved ones here. Our holiday season this year was an especially busy time for us as we took part in back to back ministry opportunities. 

B.U.R. Christmas

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This Christmas we wanted to do something special for the disadvantaged families here in Bangkok that we know. We were able to get special donations to help us purchase items to give out for Christmas to several families. We went shopping for everything, then on a Wednesday night after our devo, we put together gift bags to distribute to 16 families. We filled the bags with toys, Christmas treats and toiletry items. Then on Christmas week a group from our church went to their homes, caroled and passed out the bags to each of the families. In one building alone we know 10 families so while we visited them, we had a small devotional together and played a couple of games with the kids. Our visit was a big encouragement and surprise to them! So thankful to those who helped make this opportunity possible! 

Christmas at a Bangkok Elementary School 

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On Christmas day we met up with the rest of the church staff at 6:30 am to go visit a local elementary school to go take part in their Christmas program. We were pretty shocked that a Thai public school would make any plans for Christmas since so few Thais celebrate it. So you could imagine our surprise as we pulled into the school parking lot to see the entire school decked-out in red and white with each kid in the school yard looking like a little Santa. After Glome and Sam led the kids in a game, Gary told them the origin of Christmas and read the birth of Christ from the book of Matthew. It was a neat thing to be a part of! 

Somprasong New Year Party

1-Holidays Web Post PhotosClick here or on the image above to see more pictures from the New Year Party. 

In Thailand New Years is more widely celebrated than Christmas so each year the church throws a big New Years’ party. Michelle was in charge of decorating again this year. Bangkok is a such a huge place that you can normally count on it having anything you want, but whether or not you know where to find what you’re looking for is totally a different story. This is definitely the case when it comes to decorations and craft supplies. With there being no Thai equivalent to Hobby Lobby the best place to go shopping for crafts and holiday decor is Chinatown. The two of us and one of our good friends Lynne spent a a chunk of our day running around Chinatown looking for the items that we needed for the party. Just getting to and from Chinatown is a crazy ordeal especially during holiday time! To get there we walked a couple of blocks, took a canal boat, then a taxi. Since it was late in the afternoon by the time we were done shopping, the traffic in the area was too bad to take a taxi the whole way back so we walked to the riverside to catch a ferry boat, then took the sky train which stops a short walk away from the church building. Getting around is aways an adventure in itself in Bangkok! We always have to have a plan A, B and C for getting to and fro! The young adult group at church were a big help in getting things decorated and everything turned out great! That Sunday at the party we had a big turnout and everything was a lot of fun! It’s always a blast spending the day in fellowship with our church family here!

New Years in Maejantai

10885608_749656495108460_1956439102694823627_nClick here or on the image above to see more pictures from our time in the hill tribe. 

After Sunday’s party, early the next morning we hit the road to head up to the north of Thailand to celebrate the New Year. We were invited to join a group of coffee enthusiast led by the owners of Gallery Drip cafe in Bangkok to visit the Maejantai hill tribe in the Chiang Rai mountains. The Maejantai village is an Akha hill tribe community much like the Borseelium village that we did our Service Learning Project with last summer. Several years ago the people of Maejantai greatly improved the way they grow and process coffee with the help of Lee Ayu, the founder of Akha Ama Coffee, who grew up in Maejantai himself. Because of these improvements the Maejantai coffee is now considered a specialty grade coffee and is sold in specialty coffee shops across Thailand. Since the coffee is now sold direct trade (no middle man to take all of the profits) the village now receives a fair wage which helps improve the quality of life for the whole community.

Photo Credit to Kate Seehanate

Photo Credit to Kate Seehanate

We really enjoyed learning more about direct trade coffee here in Thailand and how it’s processed. It was awesome getting to spend more time with our coffee friends from Bangkok. It was a great way to ring in the New Year! To learn more about the Akha Ama Coffee check out their website at www.akhaama.com. 

Valentine’s Day and English Club

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With the holiday break being over, we started up English Club again. We did a Valentine’s Day and relationships themed class. We handed out Valentines’ cards to our students and in returned they covered us with little heart stickers which is a Thai tradition on Valentine’s Day. It was great to be back with our students again!

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Our church has been trying to be more intentional in our evangelism and outreach efforts. As a part of this, Gary made new business card sized gospel tracks for the members of our church to give out to those that they have a spiritual conversations with. With it being the season of love, the cards say, “What is Love?” and then explains how the Bible says that God Himself is the ultimate example of true love. And how He sent His Son to this world so we can come to know what true love really is. The cards also have a QR Code that, when scanned with a smart phone, links you to instal the YouVersion free Bible app. We hope that this tool is a helpful way to encourage others to boldly share Christ’s message with others in their lives.