Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Work Projects

We did a lot of different projects while we were in the village. The only constant one was bricks. In the picture below you can see the press that we used. Each brick was made entirely by hand. We dug the clay and sand, sifted them, mixed them with water in cement in the large bucket and measured and pressed them into bricks. The most we made in a day was about 225.
Nearly everyone spent some time at this project. It was ongoing. Right now, there are several temporary classrooms that have been created for the fourth through sixth graders until their final building is built. It will need close to 30,000 bricks. The contracter began pouring cement while we were there. This project was hard, tiring work, but so needed, and very satisfying. How many people can claim that they know how to make bricks from scratch? By the end of our time we had all of the measurements memorized. 

They recently opened  a youth hostel for the children who were walking 2 or more hours each day to school where they can spend the week and go home to their families on the weekend. We extended the floor of the house out and constructed squat toilets. 

The team also did some construction projects such as building workbenches for ITDP staff and shelves and counters in the kitchen.

Part of the team also worked on agricultural projects, such as planting and building a pig pen; unfortunately I don't have pictures of that. They even got to peel bark of branches using machetes. Jungle-style construction.

The only other major project was VBS. Our theme was trusting God in everything, from trials to salvation. It was so fun. We had a lot of kids, and we did all sorts of crafts including tie-die. 

Our Wall of Jericho

There were several miscellaneous projects - painting, organization, trenching, etc. But for most of the trip, the team worked on these things. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Home Again

Our flight landed at around 9 pm tonight, and we arrived here in San Diego at around 1:30 this morning...I will share more stories over the next few days. :)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

City Time

Hello! We arrived safely back in Chiang Mai yesterday evening without incident. After a whole bunch of nonstop rain on Wednesday afternoon, we were afraid that the mud might make it hard to get out of the villages, but the Lord was gracious and we were blessed with clear skies and sun for the time that we needed to leave.

The team is doing well...it was really hard to leave our friends in the villages. Roberto is also still struggling with illness, so please continue keeping him in your prayers. Today, we are taking an easy day to rest and recuperate. People are running a few errands, we have a team debrief, and then a traditional Thai dinner tonight, but for the most part, we are just chilling and resting. Tomorrow, we have plans to visit the tigers, snakes and elephants and spend more time at the ITDP offices debriefing.

There are so many stories to tell...we will try to share some of them over the next few days. Please keep praying for endurance for these next few days. Additionally, please pray for our time processing the trip and what we have learning. Thank you all!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mah Oh Jo

Hello everyone! It is Wednesday afternoon, Day 6 in the village. We have been blessed with beautiful weather - today is the warmest day yet, and it is only in the high 80's, and not humid. The nights have been cool, and the past two evenings have been clear enough to see the stars.
We've been working on a variety of different work projects, from kitchen reconstruction to brick making to building a pig pen to mixing cement to making a pizza oven. Everyone has been switching around to different projects to try new things and get to know other people. VBS has been going fantastic, as did church on Sunday. Everyone is tired at night, but the work is good.
Almost every day someone on the team has felt sick either with a cold or a stomach ache, but nothing has been too serious yet. Please [ray for the continued health of our team, especially because we still have another full week in the village.
The kids have won our hearts already. Some of the team has been playing tecraw (a cross between soccer and volleyball) with them every afternoon and we have been enjoying the chance to get to know our hut families.
We have 7 days left in the village, which can seem like a long time, so pray for strength and joy as we work, and that the Lord would be glorified in it all. Pray especially for the villagers and staff that we are spending time with, that we would be an encouragement to them. Thanks for your prayers!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


It's Thursday morning in Thailand right now, and both teams arrived in Chiang Mai around 2:30 yesterday afternoon. The Laos team arrived first, and when we saw them from the bag check, I don't think any of us could contain our excitement. It was so good to see them again and hear stories! It feels great to have the whole team together.

They had an amazing week...most of them took at least one spill off of their motor bikes, so they have some nice scrapes and bruises, but overall, they are healthy and rested after their day off in Laos on Tuesday. Laos is a closed country, so mostly they just prayed in preparation for ministries that are beginning in many of the villages. But they were able to witness a baptism and have several other really good conversations. They said that they all have left thankful for the openness we can have in the US, and even here in Thailand, and with a greater depth of understanding of the truth of spiritual warfare. Pray for openness in Laos - people really are in bondage there, and are blinded to the truth.

The Thai portion of the team had a surprise when we were waiting to board the plane - our one missing bag was found and had been checked on the plan! Our whole time travelling was such a blessing...we had a lot of delays and other issues, but we didn't have to go through customs (when we arrived in Bangkok at 4 in the morning, I don't think the guard at customs wanted to deal with eighteen 50-lb bags, so he just waved us through), we made our connecting flight to Bangkok, and our missing bag was found.

The Thai team was pretty exhausted by time night hit yesterday. Most of us had only 2-3 hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours, so after dinner, we just went to bed while the Laos team enjoyed the night bazaar for a few hours. Today, we are taking a slow morning to recover, and run a few errands, and then we will drive out to Om Koi after lunch, where we will eat dinner and spend the night. On Friday morning, we will make the final few hour trek out to the village.

One of the best parts so far is just how joyful everyone is. Even when we were tired yesterday, we are a team, and we are excited to be here. Pray for continued right hearts and unity on our team. Pray for those of us who just arrived to adjust to the time difference and the weather (it is HOT). Pray for the ITDP staff as they drive us out to the village and prepare everything for us there, and for the Karen, that they would have open hearts. Pray for continued health and safety for everyone, and that we would have a smooth trip out to the village. Finally, pray that the Lord would be glorified in everything. That is the ultimate end of it all.

For the team,

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

In Bangkok!

It's 4:30 am, and we arrived at our hotel in Bangkok about half an hour ago. We made it through security smoothly, but our flight from LAX to Taipei was delayed for a few hours. But the airline held our flight in Taipei for us and about 6 or 8 others, so we didn't have to spend the night in Taipei. Such a great reminder of God's providence and sovereignty! On the flight from Taipei to Bangkok, we got to enjoy a stunning lightning storm in the clouds around us.

Customs and immigration went incredibly smoothly, and even with the delay, all but one of our bags made it to Bangkok, and now we are getting some rest before heading back to the airport in a few hours to fly to Chiang Mai and meet up with the rest of the team and the ITDP staff.

The team is doing great - tired but in good spirits. Pray for rest, continued health, a safe flight tomorrow and that everyone would adjust quickly to the time change.

Continue praying for the Laos team as well, since they have had a long week of ministry and are now jumping into more. Pray for strength and energy for them!

For the team,

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Less than 24 hours...

Tomorrow morning, the Thai team meets at SDCC to head north to LAX. We will fly to Taipei, and then to Bangkok, Thailand, where we will spend the night and then meet up with the Laos team and fly to Chiang Mai. We are so excited! Please pray for safe travels, that we will make it through customs and for good health and sleep. Finally, pray that the Lord will be glorified in all things.