From Thighland to Thailand

March 4, 2012

Thailand 4:16

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 4:18 am

Thailand 4.16:  Mission accomplished

March 3, 2012- Saturday

!!!!!!!!!!!!!2386 total Patients seen!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am really glad that I am able to provide you with this blog since the team REALLY risked their lives today for our humanitarian cause.  We almost didn’t make it.  (Our children are glad we updated our will before for came on this trip.) We have done risky things before on these mission trips like travel during the monsoon season in rain and muddy roads edging the road just inches from falling off the cliff.  We traveled across rushing rivers hoping that our van doesn’t float over the waterfall 30 feet away.  We risk typhoid, malaria, worms, leprosy, tuberculosis, infectious diarrhea, sex-trade trafficking, and voodoo witch doctors.  But this was, unanimously, the worse, nail-biting, white knuckle, close-your-eyes, treacherous ride of our lives.  We rode in the school bus.  Twenty-one of us plus the driver crammed in the bus.  Usually there are about 60 children crammed into the bus and are bussed to school 5 days a week. It was scary.  Many did not want to go. We had no luxury vans today. We had to push members into the bus and then they tried to get out of the back.  Some of us took sedatives and Dramamine and had the barf bags as back up.  The bus is about 50 years old with worn tires, broken windshield and mirrors, with brake fluid on the dash to quickly add as needed.  The speedometer does not work.  Some, not all, of the fans are oscillating in place of AC.  The rust barely holds the sheet metal in place and we are uncomfortable with metal protruding through the seats, particularly to my recently injured tail bone, so I stand in the stairwell hoping the door doesn’t’ open.  I had the most room.  Steven straddled the tranny.  Those unfortunate to sit on the seats were squeezed in and they were meant for children about 50-00 lbs less than us.  We are about three times as large as them.  The engine overheated with this unusually large cargo.  My head hit the ceiling from time to time when we hit the bumps in the road.  Gi, the driver, waved the cars that were tailgating us to pass us as we were at a snails crawl up the steep hills.  We then enjoyed the gravity that helped pull the bus downhill as we picked up speed.  Some brave souls raised their hands yelling like in Disneyland.  We were lucky that we didn’t have to push the bus uphill.  The squealing brakes and the smell of hot brake pads gave us an eerie feeling.  Pastor opened up in prayer.  Bill yelled, “Where’s my seatbelt?”  Seatbelt, what seatbelt? We had memories flashing before our eyes.  We traveled with Godspeed and safely made it to the Akha Youth Development Center.  Until Lynelle, hit her head and fell while she was exiting the bus.  Cuckoo-cuckoo!  Folks, please think about raising funds for a safe new school bus for the Akha children.  Never mind about us, we have life insurance and travel insurance.  The children are not as fortunate.  I don’t want to have to use my and Lena’s insurance settlement to buy the bus.

Today was to be a slow day as we wind down at the Akha Youth Development Center.  We needed crowd control when we got there.  Adults even outnumbered the children at the center as they drove from neighboring villages coming in truckloads.  We saw 250 patients amongst the 100 resident children.  The children waited patiently but the adults were jockeying for position even yelling behind bars.  I can read their lips: “I was here first!”  Cindy, Yonnie, and Andy organized the triage and gave us a steady flow of patients.  Some repeat customers came from the Huaisan village and the school we visited the day before.  My excitement was taking off about 150 skin tags from the neck and armpits.  Kane had a patient showing off her kidney stones and one large one that she recently passed. Most of the children we see are either abandoned, orphaned, or the parents are incarcerated so the only home that they know is the AYDC.  Luka started this project in a grass house over a decade ago and has developed the center with two dormitories for 100 children and teaching facilities to help preserve their akha heritage.  This is the center where our First Chinese Baptist Youth group came last summer and help paint the tea storage building for the tea that is grown and harvested here.  The BYF also help build the rice storage shed where the rice grown on the field that FCBC help purchase.  They had harvested over 15,000 lbs from the field.  This rice helps feed the children and the surrounding village.  There are two fish ponds, one for Tilapia and one for catfish. They grow corn and have a large area for tea growing that they sell to help support the center.  A new bus/truck will help with transporting the produce and goods to market as well as bussing the children so they are in dire need of this multipurpose bus.  The Bull Ministry is also supported by FCBC and it was great to see the productivity from what our church help support.  We have also help fund and build a school in Laos.  All this has been done in the last six years.  Not to mention the four medical mission teams in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. On behalf on Akha Youth Development Center and the Thai-Akha Ministry Foundation, thank you all at FCBC for your continued support.

Tea field

Tilapia and Catfish pond

Harvested Rice field FCBC help purchase then placed in shed FCBC youth built below. Rice in bags ready for use and distribution.













We leave friends and family.  It is Farewell but not goodbye.  Our tears are of sadness but of joy that we were able to make an impact.  We take away fond memories and hope to see our friends in the future.  We treated 2386+ patients in the past two weeks, traveled hundreds of miles, worked 9 days at 8 venues, from the border of Myanar to the border of Laos, and as far south to Chiang Mai.  The team has contributed countless hours as well as given unselfishly untold resources and sustained physical and well as emotional stress on this trip.  By the grace of God we accomplished our mission, even exceeded our own expectations having dug down deep with the strength of the Lord.  We could not have done this without God’s blessing upon us and we return from this trip full of joy and thanksgiving.  As humble servants we will answer the calling.  What is God calling you to do today and tomorrow?  I hope and pray that you will be able to see for yourself one day how God works through his people.  Thank you God for this opportunity to serve you.



  1. Mark,
    Which number is correct? Headline number is different from within body of your blog. Which number was transposed? Still great number of patients served and treated. Welcome back safe and sound.

    Comment by Leroy — March 4, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

  2. Thanks Leroy, should be March 3

    Comment by markchinmd — March 5, 2012 @ 1:06 pm

  3. FCBC Youth and College folk! It’s good to see that the rice barn didn’t collapse or the paint on the tea factory isn’t pealing off. Whew!

    Comment by Michele C. — March 9, 2012 @ 6:42 pm

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