From Thighland to Thailand

March 4, 2017

Thailand-Myanmar 6.11

Filed under: Uncategorized — markchinmd @ 4:23 pm

March 3, 2017

We had a day of R & R Wednesday to supposedly rest our weary bones. You know how that goes. Usually you do more strenuous activities than expected because you get antsy just sitting around. One of the attractions that we have enjoyed before has been riding the elephants. The Karen tribe has nicely commercialized this endeavor and we thoroughly helped support their cause and their way of life. I don’t know how many of you have ridden an elephant, much less petted or fed one, but these docile appearing creatures are quite massive in size and impressively strong. We climbed aboard stepping on its neck and went for a slow jaunt about 2 mph. We strolled through the river and village getting a little nauseous but I was afraid of dirtying the river until I saw what the elephants dumped in and then I didn’t care. There were a few floaters that we had to dodge but when nature calls, the elephants don’t hesitate. Anyway, I was a pleasant, if not rocky, ride and then we fed them corn, sugar cane, and bananas. One mighty beast grabbed and uprooted a banana tree and just held it in its mouth until later eating it as a snack. They also had an area to pet large snakes and lizards but no takers in this group as they slithered to the vendors.

Another group went to Mae Fah Luang Gardens in Doi Tung where the King’s mother (Princess Mother) helped the hillside ethnic tribes change from growing opium years ago in to teak, coffee, and fruit. It’s a beautiful garden to explore on the ground and in the air.

Our last day of work was at the Sahasartsuka School where Luka was a young student. An American Baptist Missionary, Cecil Carter, founded the school in 1957. There are over 2700 students of which 80% are ethnic hillside tribe and 20% Thai. Sixty per cent of the children are Christian while 30% are Buddhists, and 10% animistic. The children are quite polite and proper lining up their shoes outside and waiting in groups to be seen. The dental team did a wonderful job at screening and evaluating these children in their important time of teeth maturation and despite the lack of tools Lester literally did hands on manipulation on a child with a loose tooth. After looking around unsuccessfully for a doorknob and dental floss, he did it the old fashion way and just loosened a tooth with his hand until it came off. The child was comfortable without anesthesia and happy the tooth was out and anxious for the tooth fairy to come that night. Larry continued the oral examinations as Lynnelle gave out toothbrushes to the children and instructed them on proper use. The medical team dealt with lice outbreaks and treated dozens of children. Lice give me heebie geebies so I let the rest of the team deal with them medically otherwise they might have gotten a shave from me a la Snead O’Connor.   I just didn’t want to be nit picky.   My scalp itches just thinking about it. Does yours? There was a touching moment with Ghan was interpreting for a 14 year-old patient of mine and she thought she looked familiar. She asked a few questions and then realized it was one of the children who lived at AYDC when she was seven. Tears flowed with the reunion with Ghan just happy to see her growing up.

After the school clinic we headed for AYDC for a special ceremony. The children of AYDC wanted to thank FCBC for their donations and past support, which allowed the purchase of the bus that they have been using over the years transporting the children to school, and for building the new boys dormitory. As I mentioned earlier, the massive earthquake in 2014 destroyed several buildings making them uninhabitable. Both the girls’ and boys’ dormitories had to be rebuilt. FCBC help raise funds particularly for the boy’s dormitory and they had a program of gratitude and dedication of the building. Almost all of the children in various groups sang praise songs such as “All and All” and “How Great is Our God” for us and several gave a thank you speech. Ghan and Luka’s children and friends sang one of my favorite songs, “Give Thanks (With A Grateful Heart).” The medical team was presented with wreaths of beads, handmade bamboo cup, and bag of gifts.

It was over to an hour of song praise, and thanks followed by cutting of the ribbon and a tour of the building and coconut ice cream! It was really touching how this act of gratitude, which took a lot of time of practice and organization, was carried out for our benefit. No one expected it or anticipated it and it caught me completely off guard to show their appreciation for what FCBC, which includes not only the medical team, but also the congregation.   We should be proud that we are in a position to help those in need and less fortunate than us and be thankful for how God has blessed our church. I am a proud member of FCBC and I feel privileged to have an opportunity to be part of a wonderful team of professionals and caring, unselfish individuals who make financial sacrifices while risking life and limb. It has been a blessing to get to know these people of Myanmar and Thailand especially to know and work with the Akha people for over a decade. I am humbled by their compassion, thoughtfulness, and acts of gratitude. I believe that we are taught to serve without the need for thanks only because God is the very reason that we are able to serve in the first place.  God has been in control this whole mission trip and although we thought we had limitations because of the lack of supplies, it allowed us to be more reliant on Him, than on ourselves and showed us different ways that we can serve and glorify Him than we had thought.   I thank the readers and the supporters of the FCBC and their efforts to provide future mission trips. Your thoughts and prayers have helped us get through these difficult two weeks and many of you would have like to come on this trip. Willingness to serve is the first step and all these team members contributed to the success of this mission trip by showing up and I am proud to have served next to them. Thank you all for this experience that I will never forget. For those who can’t go on these trips but want to help out, please help financially to support future mission trips. There is still a need to build water towers for the dormitories so that the water supply and flushing system would work optimally and we will need to raise that money in the near future. Please think about giving to help this project come to fruition. If you would like to donate or need more information please contact me at mchinmd@aol.com. Thank you for your consideration.

I leave you with the faces of the future.

 

Blessings, Mark

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