From Thighland to Thailand

February 26, 2017

Thailand-Myanmar 6.7

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 3:55 pm


February 25, 2017

I want to wish a happy birthday to my precious daughter Allison. I’m sorry that I couldn’t be there to celebrate your birthday but will make it up when I return. And to my lovely sister Daphne, I wish you a very happy birthday and for strength and good health in the months to come.

Yesterday was a travel day as we left the Isuta village the way we came.   The villagers were great in taking all of our supplies and luggage down the steep hill. Men, women, and children helped us down as well to the long-tail boats. It was a sad good-bye since we made many friends and shared our experiences and culture with one another. They were appreciative of our presence and efforts and we were appreciative of their hospitality and accommodations.   They had even built two toilet stalls for us. The dental team did a great job in education and prevention of tooth decay, which goes along ways for the children’s future since so many past mission trips were spent pulling rotten teeth and treating abscesses. Plus each child received their own toothbrushes and instruction on how to properly use it and how to protect their teeth. The optometrists saw many eye patients and although some patients had cataracts already, they were given sunglasses to prevent further damage while others will get their glasses at a later time. The medical team taught prevention, strengthening, and ergonomic techniques for musculoskeletal disorders, and treated ailments such as respiratory illness, GI issues including worms, rashes and skin conditions such as scabies and fungal infections. There was also time for monkeying around, fishing swimming, and for many, enjoying the camping experience. Now it was time to return to Chiang Mai.


I said I didn’t want to whine anymore so I want to have a positive attitude this trip and here is one exhilarating experiences I would like to share. It was a real treat to be in a car driven by a race car driver disguised as a pastor. So it was a really, really, exciting to experience a life threatening and harrowing ride back through the river crossing and back roads along the streams holding on to dear life to the ceiling strap straining my left shoulder in the meantime. Hey, but pain builds character and my frozen shoulder with limited range of motion will keep me from offending others with my body odor . Bring it! Where can you get that adrenaline rush?   WOWEEE! A Disneyland E-ticket would never come as close to this death-defying ride and a ride would have to be a Space Mountain, Star Tours, and Big Thunder rolled into one just to get close. For those who enjoy a good scare, you really missed out something. It was so cool to breeze by 5 cars at a time along blind S-curves crossing over the medium like a sports car in Le Mans. (I would have to get a Porsche turbo to do that and I still wouldn’t be as fast.) I found out was it was like to travel with Godspeed in a truck with no seat belts. It’s okay because Pastor K, as he likes to be called, has an angel as his wing man. The only thing we could have done to make it more exciting if we were to raise are hands up and scream. When Pastor K goes, “My God!” as he breezes by a scooter, it adds to the excitement and anticipation to the next curve. I found out that 140 kph is about 84 mph and you know how fast we went? Well, we were the lead car and we had time to stop at his church along the way so he could change his shirt, we could have a banana, meet his wife, go to the bathroom, and take some photos, and we still ended up the first to arrive at the hotel.   I am grateful for the two medications I took for the motion sickness, so PTL! No need to get that Tesla P100D with ludicrous mode now. Been there, done that, too. We all made it alive back to Eden Hotel with no casualties (I’m just a worry wart) for an overnight stay and packed up to travel to AYDC tomorrow to our old stomping grounds. I guess he likes his nickname Pastor K because we were going “Oh K!” the whole time.

A few setbacks have occurred.  A few team members have been under the weather with respiratory illnesses or GI upset and need some rest.  Some individuals started the trip with lingering illnesses and aches and pains and are digging deep to contribute so we lift up the team to God for healing and would appreciate your prayers.  We were also told this morning that our bins at the Chiang Mai airport have not been release and may not be until next week due to the weekend.  Yes, bummer.  But we will adapt and not think “what if?” and optimize the situation since that is all that we can do.  We will use whatever gifts and talents God has blessed us with and see what He is planning to do with us.  I know that I am personally learning how to have a positive attitude adjustment.

God has taught us patience with this trip and when growing impatient and becoming frustrated, based on our own desires and not His, He teaches us more patience and humility.  Sure, I’m a surgeon as is Leo and we like to “cut to cure”.  The dentists are surgeons as well and they salivate at performing procedures.  The optometrists have skill to correct and optimize one of our most important senses.  Society has placed these acquired skills at a respectable level though we are not better than our neighbor and fortunately for us, God didn’t limit us with only those skills.  Mark 12:31…”You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Our very presence here on the other side of the world is what makes this mission trip successful more than what we do or what we think we should be doing.  God will use us as He desires and for His glory.

Today it was an easy three-hour drive to Chiang Rai in nice air-conditioned limo vans.  We arrived at the AYDC-TAMF (Akha Youth Development Center of Thai-Akha Ministries Foundation) and were immediately greeted by old friends that we have missed for many years.  It was great to see Luka’a wife and children Ghan, Lin, Da, Wee, and Wan along with their friends and relatives again.  Ghan made us a wonderful lunch and we had a nice visit in their home.  We raided the storage are at the guest house and, although it was not quite a gold mine, we were brought to joy and excitement to find some old medical supplies and drugs that were left from prior missions so that we could do a few minor surgical procedures, give steroid injections, and replenished the pharmacy.  YIPPEE!  With these supplies, we were able to broaden our treatments as we treated staff and children from AYDC compound.

We were able to see some of the new buildings since the large 6.5ish earthquake in 2014 that rocked the buildings requiring major demolition and reconstruction.  FCBC helped the rebuilding by sending funds to help repair the church sanctuary, girls and boys dormitories, and homes).  The tea crop on the compound is flourishing as they are harvested to sell and raise funds to sustain AYDC.  The new bus that FCBC donated years ago to replace a dilapidated old school bus was seen in action.  We will always hold a special bond with these people of Thailand, as they are our sisters and brothers in Christ with whom we continue to bond no matter what the distance.  We look forward to the next week working side by side once again in Chiang Rai.

Ape, Luka’s mother is the matriarch of this Akha village.  She remembers you face no matter how much time has elapsed and she passed out bracelets to many of the team members and even gave a lucky bystander photographer a dongle for his camera.

It’s Saturday so you know what that means…night market and bazzaar shopping spree!

Time to go, Mark


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