From Thighland to Thailand

February 27, 2010

Thailand 3.8

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 11:17 am

Thailand 3.8

February 26, 2010-Friday-8th day

See Jennifer’s blog  at now with video! and

Happy Birthday19th Lindsey Lowe!! I hope you still have that star pillow you got for your birthday because you’re a shining star!  Don’t give it to Bailey.


Now that we have been fired its time for some R & R: Reflect and Regroup. I want to clarify my last entry and sign-off.  I must point out that “embarrassment” isn’t an accurate reflection nor the sentiments of the rest of team.  I felt embarrassed.  It’s a personal thing that probably goes back to my childhood as an insecure child.  Except for these set backs I’m getting better.  I felt rejected for unwanted for perhaps viewed as meddling in foreign affairs. I have been in a position of volunteer work before and “let go” and it is embarrassing for me especially when I don’t know why I’m being dismissed.  When you give of yourself of time, money, effort, and sacrifice along with the risk of health and safety and then get dirt kicked on you it’s humiliating.  We don’t go for appreciation or acknowledgment other than as Christians representing Christ.  We are humbly just volunteers for God’s sake.  We are just trying to help, but on the other hand did they ask?

A pole of the team reveal mixed emotions about what happened.  While some were disappointed there were also feelings of despair.  Pastor felt victorious and proud.  Proud of what we did despite being persecuted.  We were willing to share but now the doors were shut on us.  But we can be a witness to others for just being there in the first place.  It tells others who First Chinese Baptist Church represents and what we stand for.  IT tells about individual efforts of team members.  We still did a lot during our brief stay.

There are a variety of emotions that go through what we are trying to accomplish.  Our mission is two-fold: 1) to serve God by serving others though our God-given talents and 2) to spread the Good News.  #1 allows us the opportunity for #2.  This experience affected members in different ways.  For Kane it taught humility in that what we think we’re doing or why we are doing something may be different from God’s plan. “We are called to go and are still glorifying his kingdom and not just giving out medications.” It may just demonstrating obedience to God and trusting in our hearts.  Cindy said “It was a fantastic testimony of the whole group working together” during the evacuation.  Bob felt that it gave the people encouragement, fellowship, and education.  It would give the people the impression that people care for them and in fact, showed up, and not just sent in money.  That will have a lasting impression.  Pastor feels that we need to be the light of the world in this literally dark country.  On a lighter note, Dr. Tajiri felt it allowed him to appreciate the Golden Triangle Inn more!  Bill said that the Lord was with us all the time and took us into Myanmar and brought us out.  He said that the driver’s name was “The Lord” but we know which Lord he meant.

We are saddened for the untreated people that we could have touched and disappointed because we didn’t get to do what we set out to do; that is, go to three different venues in Myanmar and offer services to hundreds of people.  Only a few were treated. But a restricted country we are at their mercy and it is an uneasy feeling.  They can change their minds at will.  We are on their turf.  They play by their rules.  Sometimes there are no rules.  We’re never sure what to expect but we try to be prepared and prudently take precautions.  Even Rev. Dr. Roy Medley, General Secretary, American Baptist Churches (head honcho, the “Baptist Pope”) was invited to come to Myanmar a few years ago and was locked up for 2 weeks.

Something of note: Perhaps the local authorities were not happy that we did not take up their offer to give them $omething, in return for allowing us to stay and to be left alone.  Sounds like extor…, you know what it sounds like.

Several Myanmar churches welcomed our medical team and the Myanmar government knew we were coming.  The State department knew we were coming; (Big Brother is always watching. ) God is watching.  The team went into the country knowing that we might have restrictions but didn’t expect to be kicked out.  But at least we tried and got an “A” for effort.  Perhaps we have opened the doors for others.  As we prepare to leave they ask “When will you be back?”   Only God knows.  Even some people called their relatives to say “Come quick; the Christians are here.”

Thank God we are safe, we can learn from this experience and move on.  Personally, I was scared, I was scared for the safety of the team and in particular, my daughter Jennifer whom I love and have a great responsibility for watching out for her.  I know she can take care of herself, after all, she demonstrated that living in Paris for a year.  But as the father watches over his children.  God, our father, watches over His children.  And like children, we often don’t understand the meaning of things.

The eviction itself may have done more good than actually treating the patients.  We may have only treated 50-60 patients yesterday and 260 the day before but we probably impacted hundreds more by our exodus.  We could have quietly treated the patients but now it is known throughout the region that Christians came to help and that they were kicked out by the government.  People will hear and people will talk about those Christians. Maybe THAT was God’s plan. That can’t look good for the bureaucrats. The repercussions will be felt, even after we are gone.  The Christians were sent packing and went home. But we let the Myanmar people know that they are not alone.

A fourteen hour round trip and only 320 patients treated and a forced mass departure; so it was worth it?  The concensus: Absolutely!  We also traveled 35 hours and at the first clinic in Chiang Rai a student accepted Christ and seeds she will sew was worth the trip.  Until I wrote this, I missed the message.  I get it.

Now we had the Lord with us all the time.  He was one of the drivers.  He knew his way all around Myanmar.  I can’t pronounce his last name, but Lord I can remember.  It’s comforting that he was always by our sides.

We sleep in today since we are still recuperating from yesterday.  Bill says “Let’s go elephant riding.” Several of us are looking forward to riding elephants. But it’s a nice relaxing boat ride up the Mekong River so most of us go.  We first play hide and seek with the two vehicles.  In our van, we past where we think we’re supposed to get off but we are patient, especially because we don’t speak Thai. Arlene suggests that we will know where we’re going when we get there.  Luka’s truck is nowhere in sight.  “Boat river” Jack gestured with his hands.  The guy says yes but we don’t look like we’re going to the river.  Our driver doesn’t speak English and then shakes his head and says, “Oh no!” and points to his head.  I can’t believe Luka got lost but we found him.  We saw a garden and then went to the boat ramp.

Now the boat people must of heard what happened with the flat tire. So they decided to divide our group into two and we took 2 boats instead of one to lessen the chance and capsizing and eventual sinking.  Luka said we didn’t need life jackets because the river is not that deep. Yeah, right.  We donned our vests and loaded the boat.  We did not have any near sinking’s.  Leroy, Kane, Irma, Lynelle, Jennifer, and I rode the elephants.  Giddyup doesn’t work with these animals.  Some of the tusks needed cleaning and flossing to get those tree branches from between the tusks.  One elephant avoided me since I weighed too much last time.  An elephant never forgets.  Lynelle was training one to nod his head.  He’s no Dumbo.  Kane wanted to ride bareback.  We had a nice jaunt around the park and through the river.  Water seems to increase elephant GI motility.  My suggestion: Do not drink from the river.  Do not swim in the water either.  I’ve been there dung that.

Leroy is year of the Snake and was playing buddy buddy with this 50 lb. python around his neck.  No one dared tell him the snake loves Chinese food.  He’s like Indiana Jones and almost needed to be Indy to get back to Chiang Rai. Remember  the motto “No man left behind”?  Well, according to Bill, it depends upon if you are punctual or not.  We went shopping along the strip to support the locals and were to meet at 1 pm.  We loaded up the vehicles and the van and truck started to leave and we almost hit this guy holding shopping bag in one hand and videotaping in the other not watching where he’s going.  Someone pointed out that he kind of reminds us of Leroy.  “Hey!” Bill chuckles, “It’s Leroy.”  Bill’s accused of not doing a head count.  He said he did but there was one OVER and besides he says, “I’m off today!” So getting extra people I guess it’s standard practice not to see who’s actually there.  Ghan and Libby snuck on board. “It’s only 12:58 and you said 1:00!”  “Well, actually we were just about to go looking for you.  We’re glad we found you; we were worried. Don’t scare us like that, Leroy!”  CYA Bill.

So far we have lost anyone and no one got stuck in Myanmar.  We have had today to regroup and ready to move on.  I overheard Bill whispering to Luka.  Yes I was eavesdropping.  He’s already thinking ahead.  “We really have to work the team.  The team likes it when they work hard.”  Who asked you?  I thought this is supposed to be a vacation.  We are tourists aren’t we?  Make up your mind Bill.  Slave driver.

Medical Team International….Sponsored by Timex

We take and lickin and keep on tickin.

1 Comment »

  1. I so enjoy your blog. You made tears come to my eyes when you talked about finally getting it and how just being there would get the message out. You (the team) are truly witnesses and I am so glad you are out of Burma!!!

    Comment by Nanette — February 27, 2010 @ 5:03 pm

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