From Thighland to Thailand

March 7, 2014

Thailand 5.13

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 11:14 am

March 6, 2014-Thursday

 

Thailand 5.13

 

This morning, Pastor Jack, had a nostalgic moment and thought we might need more exercise and proceeded to play the “chicken dance” on his phone (yes I got it on video) while engaging my daughter in some moves that I actually might utilize at the wedding during the father-daughter dance.   She’ll probably not approve of it.  You know Jen. 

 

The team was going to see a prison today but for some reason, due to activity there (breaking rocks or making license plates) they were too busy to see us.  In the past mission trip we were able to see a number of patients living there and it was a unique experience seeing them confined to these walls, this home, with limited access to very little. The prison is all that they had and in some cases it was a life sentence. Once you’re inside a prison it is an eerie feeling because, you wonder what happens if you can’t get out.   The people that we have served over the past two weeks are also prisoners of their circumstances, such as poverty, starvation, limited or no health care, and loneliness. They can’t get out.  I feel that sometimes, we Americans are prisoners too, POW: Prisoners of Wealth.  We need to have this and have that, and we can, because we do indeed have.  We have our comfort zone and not until one gets uncomfortable and see those who don’t have will our hearts soften.  Participating in charitable organizations and giving back by serving make us aware of the needy and using our wealth to the benefit of others less fortunate allows us to attempt a prison break. God does not condemn the wealthy, only how we use our wealth and what our priorities are.  How can you make sure that you stay out or get out of prison?

 

We learned more or Luka’s ministry.  T-AMF started in 1995 to help the poor, orphaned, and youth at-risk (i.e. human sex trafficking). The team visited a nearby school, which many of the students from the AYDC attend.  It is one of four destinations in which the bus, that FCBC donated, travels to 5 days a week transporting students.  Another vehicle takes the children to two other schools.  We saw children in the classrooms where they learning English and they counted numbers and also recited the alphabet to us.  Interesting on the wall listed some words starting with certain letters; “Jesus” was the example for “J”. The team was not too successful is teaching our “ABCDEFG” song since no one could agree how it ended “tell me what you think of me’ or was it ‘now I sing my ABC’s.”  We only knew the words “ABC etc.”  How sad.  So the dental team decided not to teach ESL but to do what they do best and that is dental education.  Vicki and Lynelle handed out toothbrushes to the students and took out a tooth model and showed them how to brush their teeth the right way.  I guess I’m doing it the wrong way since I didn’t recognize what they were doing.  And what is dental floss?  The children were all glad to receive the toothbrushes and they also used it to scratch themselves like their foreheads.  There were sayings or proverbs posted around the school.  Some of my favorites were:

1. “Knowledge makes humble. Ignorance makes proud.”

2. “Who never made a mistake never mad a discovery.”

3. “Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.”

4. “Well done is better than well said.”

5. “It’s not knowing what to do, it’s doing what you know.”

 

 

Then we went on a tour of Luka’s compound, headquarters of the T-AMF (Thai-Akha Ministry Foundation) and the AYDC (Akha Youth Development Center).  We met the members that support the ministry and they told us of their involvement.  Jennifer and Allison have been volunteering there for the past two months and you can follow their blogs and photos at www.thatsthaight.wordpress.com and www.thatsthaight.tumblr.com .  They are helping with website development, grant writing to help funding, accounting, biographies of the students, and teaching English, amongst other things.  FCBC has been a proud sponsor for TAMF and AYDC as we have developed a relationship with them over the past 10 years.  We have been involved with helping them with a Bull ministry to help populate the cow population for the Akha families.  In California, great cheese comes from happy cows.  We’re hoping great calves come from happy bulls.  Now there are 100 cows.  We helped purchase four acres of rice field so that they can feed the 100 children and staff in the AYDC, which houses and feed the village students during school 10 months of the year, and the teenagers from BYF (Baptist Youth Fellowship) came over one summer and built the barn (also funded by FCBC) that houses the harvested rice.  Right now their rice crop can only provide rice for 5 months due to the limits of water available from their existing irrigation pond that doubles as a catfish pond.  At least $2000 is needed to excavate adjacent dirt and build a dam to hold more water in the pond so that 1½ -2 crops of rice per year can be possible.  Purchasing more acreage for farmland would help with the production of rice fields.  There is an adjacent field next to the rice field, currently growing tobacco that is for sale for about $39,000.  What a waste of money; that entire product is going up in smoke so it would be nice to purchase it and change it into a rice field.  Purchasing the rice field and building a dam would help feed the mouths of the students all year round.

 

Two years ago, FCBC raised over $45,000 to purchase a bus/truck to replace a dilapidated school bus, which transport the school children to four different schools and help transport goods to and from the center.  We got to ride in it this time and noticed the difference; our lives were not at risk. 

 

 

 

Projects that are in the works and hoped for the future are:

 

1. The church was expanded for more space but the classrooms need to be constructed for a school to teach grades 1-4.

2. The hostel managers take care of the children and their room needs to be completed (only a roof and foundation exist).

3. There is a tea ministry where 7-8 crops of tea are harvested and sold to help support the costs of operation of T-AMF.  However, a large building that was supposed to be a factory for processing the tea was built but the equipment costs were too much, so now, there is a desire to remodel it into a library and reading area for the children, along with a storage are for the tea and tasting area for prospective buyers.

4. AYDC dormitory to be remodeled into a 2-story structure.

5. Establish a water purification business to make bottled water for sale to support the Akha villagers.

 

 

Many donors throughout the world help or have helped T-AMF:  

1. H.O.P.E. Church from Maryland helped with a learning center at Huaisan Village Church complex with further funding needed for the classrooms on the ground floor. 

2. Christian Alliance, which started with T-AMF in 1995, helps provide funds for operating costs.  

3. A church group from South Korea helped fund the cow ministry and funded the building of a church in Baam Huaikeelet and Baam Tamluang Akha villages.

4. A local charity from Norway that established a program for at-risk children in Thailand donated money for a new learning center building at AYDC.

 

If you are interested in helping funding projects please contact First Chinese Baptist Church write directly to:

 

Mr. Luka Cheurmui, Administrator

Thai – Akha Ministries Foundation (T – AMF )

P.O.Box 66 A.Muang Chiang Rai 57000 Thailand

Phone: ( 66 ) 081 960 5805

E-mail: lukaghan@hotmail.com

 

What’s in your wallet? 

 

We visited some of the homes in the Akha Village.  Luka’s brother, Joe, was our host and showed brought us fresh papaya, bananas, tamarind, and taro and poured coconut milk right from the nut.  Lihn, Andy, and Kane were jammin’ on the drums.  I think Linh bringing one home.  Luka demonstrated using a bird catcher that the villagers’ hand make and use this live bamboo worm or caterpillar as bait.  Kane almost lost his finger in the demonstration.  Fortunately it was just a flesh wound.  I tried it out and got worm guts on me, as the worm didn’t make it.  Then Joe’s wife brought us out freshly fried bamboo worms for us to eat!  How can we say “No thank you?”  It’s like caviar to them.  In the mean time, Vicki grabbed some toothbrushes from her backpack (she’s always ready) and worked her way down the road and approached families hanging out side. “Avon calling!”  “Fuller brush man!”  “Mary Kay Cosmetics!”  No takers.   I’m surprised that they didn’t shut the doors when they saw her coming.  Well, some houses didn’t have doors to shut.  But her smile is what got their attention and as she approached them she found a way to communicate to them to give them toothbrushes; a simple toothbrush that we take for granted.  She said, “When you have something to offer something it opens the door to show that you care despite the language barriers.”  Likewise, Andy uses food and candy and when he gave out one candy bar to a child at the school that we visited, and then another came, and another.  When Jennifer was taking photos and giving them out to the children and patients in Myit Wa until 10 p.m., they were smiling and gathering, and then crowding to have their pictures taken and then were overjoyed to receive the very first photo that they possessed.  John commanded the attention of a Burmese crowd, “a sea of children” per Lena, making Origami animals, birds, boxes, and other objects out of simple pieces of paper.  They were amazed at what could be made and brought smiles to their faces. There are different ways that our presence may be remembered through our actions and these selfless acts of kindness.  As Christians, we want to leave the essence of God’s love.  If we can do that, our mission has been successful.

Mark

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