...it has been a very busy few days, but A LOT has been accomplished in the short amount of time!
Tuesday morning, Stephen, Tim, David, & I left for Nong Kio, which is the village we stayed at during the 2009 trip. On the way there, we stopped at a Lahu Training Center, where they teach Bible to people who range from church leaders to those who haven't attended any school. Stephen's forwarding agent from the states, Derek Voorhees, was there teaching! It was such a God-thing that Tim, David, & I were able to meet him here in Thailand...on Monday afternoon Stephen told us that Derek came on a last-minute mission trip to Chiang Mai & he was working on setting up a time for us to meet him. We were able to have lunch with him & get to know him for a brief while. He will be coming to Stephen & Mary's Friday, so I will be able to get to know him more then.
When we got to Nong Kio, it was just as I remembered it...except for a new gas station! Pulling into Yasa's house, where we stayed in 2009, felt just like returning to a second (or third) home. It was such a great moment!
We were able to sit & visit with Yasa for awhile before going to a Chinese village, which we also went to in 2009. We first went to a children's hostel, which is a place for parents to pay to take their children while the parents go to a bigger city to work, kind of similar to an orphanage except that the children still have one or two parents. We then went to a Christian church & school in the same village. The church is where we held a day clinic in 2009. On that trip they were working on a multi-story building for more class space. It is now finished & they were holding class there that night. Children come every night from 5-8 to learn Bible & other classes. They currently have around 700 students! We were visiting as the students were coming in & it was so great just to be able to sit & watch all of them playing with each other & staring at us trying to figure out who we were :) We also went up to the top of the new building & looked out over the village. It was so beautiful!
After returning to Yasa's we had supper before going to the church for services. The church & people were just as I remembered. The singing, praise, & worship were so beautiful! There were several little kids that kept coming up to me & just staring trying to figure out who I was. After awhile, they warmed up & kept running up to me & smiling & laughing like it was a game! They are SO cute!
Wednesday we drove back to Chiang Mai & rested in the afternoon. We had a Korean barbecue Wednesday night before going to the Night Bazaar. Tim & David hadn't been there yet, so I went with them to show them around. They were very overwhelmed for their first visit! We only had a little less than an hour to walk around, but they got some good deals in that short amount of time! It was fun to watch someone experience it for the first time & finally feel like I knew somewhat of what I was doing here in Thailand :)
Today, Thursday, we spent the morning finishing up some last minute things before Tim & David left. This afternoon, Stephen, Mary, & I took them to Doi Suthep, the Buddhist temple on the mountain, before taking them to the airport.
It's now 8:00pm here & I'm getting close to being ready for bed! Hopefully, I will catch up on sleep tonight because Stephen said we are taking a break in the morning! It's a holiday here tomorrow, so Johnny & Isaac don't have school, so we all get a break!
My list of things to get done on this trip has almost doubled in the past couple days, but I should get it all accomplished before returning home.
The more time that passes as I am here & preparing to move back here, the more it is evident that as Ephesians 2:10 says, "God has prepared in advance..." Looking back over the past few years, I can see how God has worked through every detail to get me to the place I am today. Even when I tried to do things my way & on my own, He always got me back on the right track to lead me here. God is good! I just need to remind myself everyday that it's much easier & quicker to follow Him than try to do things on my own :)