There’s a First Time for Everything!

Thailand in Mourning

It’s been a little over a month since we’ve been back in Thailand and so much has gone on in Thailand and the world that we hardly know where to start! Just a day or two after we returned from the States, the King of Thailand passed away. We were glad that we were able to be back during this time as it is an important time in history for Thailand and we were able to share this hard time with our friends. King Bhumibol Adulyadej had been king of Thailand for most people’s lives here. He reigned for 70 years and was very loved by his people. After his death, Thailand proclaimed a time of mourning, and everyone was asked to wear black to show respect for the king. So for the past month we’ve only worn black. Many of the tv stations were canceled and replaced by videos about the King remembering all of the different ways he helped to made Thailand a better place through his Royal Projects. And most of the advertisements and internet pages went black to show respect. It’s strange to go out and see everyone in black or white and people have been more somber. To read more about this check out this article here.

 

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Trip to Borseelium

People that know us well know that we are more urban than rural people. But one of the things that we love about our work here in Thailand is that we continually have opportunity to visit and work in some of the most rural (and naturally beautiful) areas of Thailand. Last week we took a trip back to the Hill Tribe village of Borseelium in Lampang (northern Thailand) where we did our first medical mission with our ACU interns in 2014. This is also one of the places that some of our coffee that we sold in the States and will sell in our coffee shop comes from. We made the trip to spend time with Suwat and his family, to see more of their coffee production process first hand, and to help in whatever way we could.

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Driving Up the Mountain
They say that there is a first time for everything and on this trip we had several first time experiences. We met Ann and Suwat in the little town of Ngao (the bottom of the mountain) to make our way up the steep mountain to Borseelium together, since their village is a little tricky to find and hard to get to. Before heading out Suwat asked if Gary could drive a truck for them back up the mountain since Suwat needed an extra hand to drive a second truck and we would follow behind him. When Suwat mentioned it, we thought he was joking, then the next thing we knew Gary was being handed keys to the truck and shown how to work the stick. The thought of driving up this steep mountain in itself is a crazy thing if you’ve never experienced driving it before because it’s mostly a dirt road, very curvy and super steep. But it’s even more crazy if you haven’t driven on the right side of the car before and then adding onto it all driving manually. But Gary’s a good driver and off we went with not much time to consider. So Gary got to have his first driving experience in Thailand on an hour long trip up a crazy, steep mountain with windy dirt roads, with a left-handed stick shift! It was an adventure! The drive was actually quite nice and the views were beautiful!

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Gary Preaching In Thai

Another reason we went to visit Borseelium was to spend time with the church there. Out of all of the previous times we’ve been there we were never able to be there on a Sunday and the church told us how they would love to have us join them on a Sunday and to have Gary preach. Gary had yet to preach a sermon in Thai. When they mentioned Gary preaching before we weren’t sure if they were just being nice or if they were actually serious. But it wasn’t long after we had arrived that Saturday night that Suwat’s father and grandfather both told us how happy they were to have us back in Borseelium and how they were looking forward to hearing Gary preach in the morning. Apparently they meant it! Fortunately we knew this could be a real possibility and Gary came prepared with a sermon and stayed up going on over some of his verses in Thai that night. Joining them for worship was a unique experience. They conduct their services in both Thai and Mien (their Hill Tribe language). It was an encouragement and blessing to be a part of this small body of Christ on the mountain top. We hope to have more opportunities like this in the future where we can encourage local churches in their discipleship and ministry efforts.

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Picking and Processing Coffee

After Gary’s first Thai sermon, we had lunch and then went to pick coffee in Suwat’s farm. Traveling to the farm is an experience in itself. The truck ride was even crazier than the drive up the mountain. The road is steep going down and it’s just big enough to sqeeze the truck through. The road is so bumpy and just red dirt. If it rains Suwat can’t drive to his farm because of all the mud.

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Once there, right away you can see the beautiful stream that runs through the farm. His farm is in between two hills and so it’s more shaded and a tad bit cooler for picking. Our first impression of the farm was that it made us think of the garden of Eden! It is just beautiful and lush and so peaceful. Suwat grows oranges and coffee on the farm. That afternoon we picked for a few hours and then headed back to the village processing building to start processing what we had picked (Which wasn’t a lot! Picking coffee really makes you realize how precious each cup of coffee really is and how much hard work went into it!).

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We were excited to see Borseelium’s new coffee processing building. It is only 2 months old and had almost everything they need to process their coffee. Anyone from the village can use the equipment to take care of the coffee they picked from their own farm. After picking coffee that afternoon, we washed the coffee cherries, removed the defects, removed the pulp, washed the beans again and then took the beans back to Suwat’s house to lay out and dry as a honey processed batch. Normally, Suwat does a washed process but we thought we’d try the honey process to see how different it is to the washed. The honey process can bring out the beans natural sweetness. We’ve tried it from other places in Thailand and it’s really delicious so we’re excited to see how Suwat’s coffee turns out!  

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The next day Gary and Suwat went out to pick again. We went to the processing building to take care of that batch and sorted coffee and roasted a couple different batches. It was fun to get to see and work with coffee through several stages of the process and just amazing to see how much work goes into it! Suwat is one hard worker. That’s for sure! Definitely have a great respect for the people involved in the specialty coffee process to bring the world such amazing and cared for coffee! 

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Replicate Backer Box

We have one final prayer request for a special project that we’ve been working on, the Replicate Backer Box! In the very near future we’ll be launching a campaign with the help of our partners at The Well Coffeehouse and Lipscomb’s Center for Business as Mission where we’ll be selling a coffee themed box set to help raise some of the seed funding for our Business as Mission venture. The set will include an 8oz bag of our special Borseelium coffee roasted by The Well, a t-shirt, a new retro diner coffee mug, and a few other things! Look for more info coming soon via email and on social media. The Backer Box will hopefully be a way to not only help raise more of our seed funding goal but to also raise prayers and awareness for our future ministry efforts in a fun way. We’re super excited about all of it’s potential and ask that you keep the success of this project in your prayers as well!

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