Monday, July 11, 2011

Ok, again, I am going to apologize in advance. Because I haven't had the chance to write since Wednesday, there has been so much that has happened and I want to tell you about all of it! Therefore, this is going to be a longer post, but I encourage you to read all of it [there are also a lot of pictures, so it probably looks longer than it is.] God is really working here in Thailand. It may not seem like a lot, but the smallest step here would be compared to one giant step in the States [because so many of the people here have never heard the name of God before, just getting one student interested in going on a Christian retreat is a big deal!] So, here I go...

Thursday: We were beginning the first of 3 jam packed days! It started by going to a ceremony that was going on in the auditorium at NEU to recognize the professors. This ceremony ended with an open mic karaoke session [very hilarious].

After we left the ceremony we waited for 2 girls to meet us at the student center and then headed over to Central [the best and coolest mall ever] to go see the movie Transformers 3. I had previously seen the movie in 3D and English earlier that week so it made watching it in Thai a little easier. However, having to watch a 2.5 hour movie in Thai is definitely something I probably don't want to do again. The 2 girls we went with, Bon and Blah, have already committed and paid to attend the Friends Forever retreat [I will explain more about that in another post].

Friday: This day could definitely win in the competition of most activities done in one day while we were here. After having team training in the morning, Sano, Stephanie, Ice and myself went and had lunch together. This is always a good time because we can encourage each other and talk about how ministry is going on a more personal level. After lunch we met up with a student named Jaa and her 3 friends [I am having trouble remembering their names] to go shopping at a market type thing called Prot Tu Nam [favorite/cheapest place to get clothes]. It was a very very hot and humid day, but we still managed to have a good time with the girls! Everyone was able to buy something, except for me... I was a little sad! Ha ha.

After Prot Tu Nam, we headed back to campus to watch several different faculties [majors] do different kinds of cheers and songs. We left the cheer early to pick up some of the Christian girls and head to Bon Tone, a village just outside of Khon Kaen. Jom, the student that we went with, is a 2nd year Law student who has been around Campus Outreach for over a year, but has yet to give her life to Christ. When we got to her house, we immediately went to the market to pick up a few things before dinner. While we were at the market, it started to pour [which was very needed, it had not rain for about 4 days]. So, we waited for the rain to calm down before heading back. Before we got to her house, we stopped in to meet her aunt. She was so sweet. She makes these mats that the Thai's use to sit on, sleep on and eat on. She offered to give us one as a gift and I was so excited because I was going to buy one anyway!

We finally made it to Jom's house for dinner. But before we started eating, Jom's Mom, Aunt and Grandmother wanted to give us a Thai blessing by giving us 3 different string bracelets. Even though I could not understand a single thing they said, it was very sweet that they wanted to make us feel welcome. After dinner we sat outside and talked with everyone. Sano was able to go back into a room with Jom and talk with her more about being a Christian and some of the challenges that Jom faces with making a decision like that. Sitting outside with Jom's family was so much fun. Thai families are so welcoming and hospitable. They did everything they could to make us feel comfortable. Jom's Mom informed us before going to bed that we would be getting up at 4:30 am to go see the sunrise. At first I thought she was kidding, butthen I decided that I would actually really love to do that. 4:30 am did not come quickly. I was definitely not use to the way that Thai's sleep, and was only able to get about 2 hours of sleep. But, I was still so excited to see the sunrise!

Saturday: So, at 5 am, we all hopped into the back of a pick-up truck and made our way to the lake. I don't think I can put into words how beautiful it was to see the sun coming up over the lake... IN THAILAND. I know that I have been here for almost 7 weeks, but I still can't help but think how crazy it is that I am half way around the world.

After the sun had risen, we began to drive around the town looking for a water buffalo. The Thai's seem to think we are crazy when we ask them if we can see the water buffalo, but I have never seen one before. Our trip was successful, and I have to admit, as excited as I was to see the buffalo... they are really fat and ugly animals! Ha ha. Altogether, the trip to Jom's was a blast. It was great for her to spend some time with Christian girls, but it was also good for us to be able to get to know her better! Pray that she will come to the Friend Forever retreat!Around 9 am, the CCP team plus Marc, Sherry and their daughter Sophia took a day trip to do and see things that are very unique in Thailand. The first stop was the King Cobra Bokzing [thats seriously how they spell it] Project. I have to say that this was BY FAR the weirdest/scariest thing I have ever seen. It was a bunch of men literally punching and kicking King Cobras.

I definitely do not want to ever go back there again. After we watched the fighting, we walked around a little zoo type thing where we were able to see more snakes, monkeys and peacocks! Very random assortment of animals. Once we left the King Cobra village we headed to a huge lake for lunch. We got to sit in little bamboo huts that were over the water. The view was beautiful! Everyone was able to eat together and fellowship with each other! After lunch, we split up into groups and took a ride on a banana boat.

It was definitely relaxing to be in the lake and rest in the bamboo hut. However, Stephanie and I were running on very little sleep. It made it a little difficult finding the energy to play around in the lake.

Because I knew that I would be exhausted, and I wanted to treat myself to an early birthday present, Taylor and I decided to check into one of the nice hotels in Khon Kaen called the Pullman. It was an amazing night! Even though we were the only 2 to stay the night, the other girls came and joined us for dinner. I love hanging out with the 3 other girls on my team. They are such an encouragement to me and we have grown to be very very close! After dinner, Noah and I were scheduled to Skype with the Summer Project [each week 2 different team members video chat with the Summer Project and just tell them about what God is doing here]. Afterskyping, the rest of the team joined us upstairs in the room and we were able to play games, talk and continue to get to know each other better.

Here is a picture of the view from the hotel room.. I forgot to take some of the entire room.. sorry].

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