Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lahu Christian Camp

Last week, April 8th-13th, Thomas & I travelled to a Lahu Training Center outside of Chiang Dao to help with the Lahu Christian Camp. We didn't really know what to expect, but it was pretty similar to a church camp at home.
The first day was the arrival day for everyone. After checking in & settling in, there was dinner served in the evening followed by a worship service.
The first half of the week they were burning across the road from camp
The building to the right were sleeping rooms & under the tent were classes & worship services
 The rest of the week had the same schedule each day. The "wake up" bell rang at 5:30 every morning. There was a short worship service at 6:00  & then the teenagers would break up into small groups & have devotion time. Thomas taught during the adult devotion time each morning.

One group during devotion time
 After devotion time, breakfast was served. During the day, the adults would attend classes in the church building, teenagers would attend class & have activities, and the little kids would have activities. Something unexpected for me was that the teacher for the teenagers was Linda, who is the wife of Jim who went with Stephen, Thomas, & I to Burma last year. I didn't know Linda & Jim would be at camp all week, so it was really great to meet Linda & to see Jim again. There was also a group from Korea who helped with the camp all week. They brought a lot of fun things for the kids & performed special music at worship service each night.

Linda teaching the teenagers
Group of little kids
 Each afternoon, I taught a health education class to the teenagers & adults. Mai translated into Thai for me & she did a great job! I had the opportunity to talk to Mai about health education & gave her some materials to use in the future.

Me & Mai
 Besides doing the adult devotional each morning, Thomas also taught one of the adult classes on one afternoon. Bundit translated for Thomas.

Thomas & Bundit
 After classes were finished each day, there were soccer & volleyball tournaments going on all week. They were really fun to watch!

Soccer field
Volleyball court
 After supper every evening, there was a worship service. A man from Malaysia preached every night. It was really neat because throughout the week, there were people from 7 different countries all in one place with one thing in common - worshipping God! Very awesome! (The 7 countries were Thailand, Laos, Burma, Korea, Malaysia, Australia, & America.)

There were two little kids that would randomly come up to Thomas & me throughout the week. The little girl would just appear & sit beside me for the longest time each day. She wouldn't speak to me, but when I asked her questions in Thai, she would nod her head "yes" or shake her head "no". The little boy who became Thomas's friend was very ornery! He would say things to us all week & we thought we just didn't understand him and he wouldn't answer us when we would ask him questions. We found out the last day that he didn't speak Thai, only Lahu!

 On the last full day of camp, there were thirteen kids that were baptized! We all, adults, teenagers, and kids, walked a bit down the road from camp to a small creek. While the teens were baptized, the adults were singing hymns in Lahu. This reminded me of my first mission trip to Thailand when one of our team members was baptized & the Lahu people gathered around singing hymns.

This week at camp was really a great week! It was a good opportunity to share the gifts God has given me in teaching the health education class. It was awesome to see the Lahu church at work & their love for God and just to have the opportunity to worship God with brothers & sisters from 7 different countries! It was also really special because the camp was held just outside of the village Nong Kio, the village I stayed in on my very first mission trip to Thailand in 2009. That is when I first met Mai & Bundit. It was neat to have my last "work" trip before I leave Thailand in the same place and with the same people that I first met here three and a half years ago.

Thomas, Bundit, Mai, Me
 The end of this week was the Thai New Year called Songkran. It is basically a big water fight! This was our view most of the two hour drive home - people all along the sides of the roads throwing water on anyone who passed by.

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