“I don’t want diamond sunbursts, or marble halls…”

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve written, the reason? Travel! 🙂 Yep…went to a province in the east of Thailand, about a 6 hour drive. My team-mate and I went, as sort of an experiment trip, if you will. I found out about the trip only 2 days before we were to leave. The story? Five teen girls of the Hmong people group (in east Thailand) were coming on a mission trip to their Hmong people here in Thailand. They are from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and some had never been here before, some have been only once, and the two leaders, haven’t been here since they were young children, when they and their families lived in refugee camps during the Vietnam War. The two women, the leaders, were born in Laos, but had to move to a refugee camp in Thailand because of the war, for their own safety. 

So, my team-mate and I went…I was excited to see what the Father had to show me there. I was learning video, and he was learning photo. It went well, there was a time when I got frustrated with the video capabilities on my camera. I couldn’t, for the life of me, seem to keep the thing still enough for video. And, I really do think a “video eye” is quite different from a “photo eye.” It was hard for me to get used to switching back and forth so frequently. On the third and final day of the trip (yep, it was just a short and quick one) I finally began to get (a little) the hold of it. Now, this is also my first piece to produce. My team-mate is gracious enough to spend his time to teach me Final Cut Pro and to help me through “story-telling” in video. I’m excited….can’t wait to see how the Father takes this and makes it what He wants it to be. I hope that it will only show and share the things He wants it to, and nothing of my own desire…my personal hope is that it can in some way encourage young teens to go and share their faith but also, encourage the church in how we can better prepare our missionaries, before sending them out…making sure they are well versed in Scripture, able to share their testimony, etc…as opposed to sending folks out on “mission-vacation” trips. 

I got back the day before yesterday. Went to work yesterday and transcribed all the videos (the interviews). My throat was feeling pretty sore and such, but I figured it was just allergies. This morning? Ick…not fun at all. I didn’t sleep well, and this morning was sure proof of that. I stayed home today, I think I might have a pretty bad cold, not sure how I got it, except that it was rather cool in the mountains where we were…and I can tell you, I’m certainly not used to that word in reference to outside temperature. 🙂 At any rate, this is really the first “illness” I’ve had here…no fun…that’s all I have to say about that.

So, today I got to watch one of my all-time favorite movies…Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. One of my friends here, before she left to go home to Canada for a 6 month furlough, gave me a copy of the two movies. Ohhhhh! I love them! I get swept away in the wonderful story and adventure of Anne, how lively and dramatic she is, and lovely. I get lost in the language and also the clothing. I would love to wear gorgeous dresses like they did then. 🙂 Well anyways…I haven’t seen the movies in probably over a year…it was fun to watch. I guess that’s one “benefit” of being sick.

Much love to you all…blessings on you!

The Need for Speed…

Whew…time does go quickly…I find myself needing to update this blog more frequently…otherwise you just end up with a ton of random and unique images…making it hard to find a connection between them. 🙂 This post is easy…the connection? Speed…

A media team from Union came to Northern Thailand this past week. They had been in a few other places, finding stories from some mission work that’s doing amazing things, and creating stories with their eyes and equipment to share with folks when they get back home. They came to my area for about a week. Mr. Veneman was one of the leaders (my photo prof at Union). A true blessing to see him. Dr. Chute was also there leading. A few days were spent together with the team, we crossed the border into Burma, and had a small birthday party for one of the team-members. The next day the team went on to other villages, while Abby and I stayed behind. She’d gotten a little sick the day before, so we decided to stay behind to keep it safe for her. Her and I had met once before, but we really got to know each other over the next few days. Once she felt better, we went all over the place. Rented a car, drove up to Phu Chi Fa, a gorgeous place over looking Thailand and Laos, saw a completely white wat…it was actually really pretty and pristine. (I didn’t have my memory cards with me…no pictures… :(….oh the things you do and learn with photography). Then we drove a little further to a waterfall. We had to turn our rented car back in at noon that day, the waterfall was only 15km away, and we had an hour and a half. We decided to go for it…drove there…and had plenty of time. The sign said 1400 meter walk to the falls. Sure, we can do that, we thought. Well…not only was it much farther than I thought, it was really pretty strenuous. Once we’d gone 600 meters, we had only about an hour and 20 minutes left before the car had to be returned. We literally ran up the mountainside, in the middle of the jungle. What did we need? Speed! We made it…barely alive and saw a gorgeous waterfall, maybe 200 feet high, crystal clear water, gorgeous! Haha…we had time to stay for about 10 minutes, then back again…the 1400 meter run back to the car. Once we made it to the car…there was speeding (a lot) back to the city to return the car. We pulled in front of the place at 12:00 noon…whew. 

While up in the area, I was able to really use my Thai a lot. It was great practice. I made lots of dumb mistakes, but made some progress as well, learning some new vocab and such. 

The mission work going on in two of the cities we visited is quite amazing. I was invited back to help or even possibly do a story on some of the new work being done with a particular people group. I’m excited at what the Father might have in store there. The team in the larger city is getting 2 new Journey-girls…so they’ll have some more help. Maybe I’ll be able to get to know the new girls as well…it’s about a 3 hour bus trip from here. 

House church was last  night…and what do I learn about and sing about? Trust…that is something that has just been pounded into me lately. In my study I’m doing, in circumstances I go through each day. Trust…trust…trust. So, yet again….I’d love to have speed to be able to trust more, trust faster, and trust more steadfastly. 

Here’s some pics along the way with the Union team, as well as some other random shots. Enjoy!

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Overlooking a village in Laos…

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phuchifa

Possibly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been…

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Selling flowers and birds at a temple in Burma…

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The man kept taking Abby’s bird..she just wanted to free the little guy…

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Burma border…

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From the hip…I never really do this…I might start though…

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A little snip-pit from house church. There are usually 3 more families there with kiddos. This was right after a little activity, thus why the distracted balloon lovers. 🙂 Worship is always wonderful…grateful for that. 🙂 

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This thing was insane. So huge that it actually started to hurt holding it, even with 8 other people…

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Just riding an elephant with Mr. Veneman…common occurrence…ha! 

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The end…

Somewhere Over the Rainbow…

Memories…funny the things that a movie brings to mind. The script in this one movie that I really love…it’s captivating, so clever, and really touching. It’s funny and just makes me smile on the inside. I love the magic of words…the things we can express and share…or not share. Wow! It’s amazing…I guess English is on my mind a lot as I learn Thai, trying to figure out how to say what I want when English just does not translate into Thai sometimes. At any rate…back to the movie…the female character says, “So many times I experience things that remind me of a book, when really, shouldn’t it be the other way around?” She’s adorable and lovely. The movie…to relate to the quote, reminds me of home, of summer, of family, of roomies, of Barnes and Noble, lots of fun things…and even email and the words that we used to hear, “You’ve Got Mail…” 

I got just that the other day, mail. Two packages actually, one was a book from a friend who found said book while serving in the Philippines. So far, Bruchko is a very good book, easy to read, but hard to put down. Another Philippines link, my friend who just finished serving her year there, sent me a “Things I Miss From America” box…it had fruit snacks, Real Simple magazine, Yankee Candles, Chai Tea mix, and some other fun things. There’s something special about getting even small things from friends in America, something about receiving something familiar. It’s like the memories of a good movie, it brings a smile. 

Speaking of smiles…the randomness of the following should bring you a small grin. 🙂 Just some things I wanted to share…

Songkran, the water New-Year here in Thailand was almost two months ago, but I forgot to share a video from the “city-wide-water-fight.” 

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A trip home with my co-worker…so I wouldn’t get drenched with my laptop in hand. 🙂 

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Here’s what happens when you put dry-ice from your package of store bought ice cream into your sink…I never knew it would do such things…

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And finally, this is what my Sunday morning looked like…sleeping in at my co-worker and his family’s house, a walk around the neighborhood with the dog Lily, and Monopoly Junior, a game which I lost quickly…such a good Sunday morning, I felt like I was at home…

And one more thing to mention, there has been some severe attacks here on our workers and other believers…all dealing with health issues. One man has passed away, a worker’s mother passed away in the States suddenly, and a volunteer has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, all within 2 days. Please keep the family’s in your heart and minds. 

Oh and one more thing, I almost forgot to share, I spent a long time in Khun Nira’s shop today. It was fun, we just sat, talked, laughed, looked at pictures of her dog on her computer (a dalmation with brown spots), and just enjoyed each other’s company. Again, please keep our friendship in mind, whenever you think of it. She’s cute and fun…I’m glad to know her…and just hope I can be a support and good friend…and share Truth. 

Blessings to you all!