Monday: Day #1 of AFB (Accountancy, Finance, and Banking), Art in Paradise, and Dinner with Bill Yoder
After an exciting first week teaching the MFN English Fun Camp, we were back at it on Monday morning teaching the first day of AFB English Fun Camp. AFB is the Accountancy, Finance, and Banking College at Payap University. This college is smaller in comparison to MFN but we are lucky enough to personally know the dean, Dean Wallapa, aka. Pook from Payap Church! We enjoyed teaching different content this week, starting off with Accountancy, Finance, and Banking vocabulary and content knowledge. When the camp had concluded for the morning we were taken out by the AFB staff; which was such a blast! Since it was raining, the AFB staff took us to a 3D museum called Art in Paradise. The museum was full of paintings that have a 3D effect when you take a picture; very Thai style. We enjoyed spending time with the AFB staff and taking lots of funny photos with the other volunteers. After a wonderful afternoon, we hopped in the red truck (our main form of transportation) and headed out to Bill Yoder’s house. Bill Yoder is a missionary from Ohio who has lived in Thailand for over 50 years. Bill is a very influential missionary in Chiang Mai and has helped many fellow missionaries assimilate to the Thai way of life. He is specifically known for his adoption of several Thai boys who have now given back to him a beautiful home to retire in. Bill opened his house to us and we enjoyed an evening full of yummy Thai food and conversation.
Tuesday: Day #2 of AFB (Goals), Sankampaeng Craft Road, Dinner at Patty and John’s
As we began writing the curriculum for AFB, we were instructed by the English instructors that the idea of setting goals was difficult for Thai students to grasp. We worked very hard to create a lesson that would help students understand the importance of setting goals and applying them to their future professional careers…and we think we were a success! Students learned about the importance of setting goals and the steps through vocabulary and different activities. It was a challenging lesson but all the volunteers agreed that many of the students took to heart the importance of setting goals. After we wrapped up an awesome day of camp, shout out to Kira and Missy for teaching us an awesome group game, Bang Pow Pow, we once again were treated by the AFB staff to a day of tourism. The AFB staff took us to a Thai arts factory and a Thai silk factory. At both places we were able to watch the items we have seen in the markets be created. It was interesting to see the process and watch the handiwork of the employees; so much detail! In the evening, we headed to Patty and John’s new house for a yummy meal and wonderful company. This evening was very special for our volunteer group because it was an evening that we bonded over hardships and struggles. We were able to share with each other and spend time in prayer. We have been blessed by this community of volunteers and the time we have spent together in nightly devotions.
Wednesday: Day #3 of AFB (Job Interviews), Baan Tawai Road, and Dinner with Dean Wallapa (Pook) and Elder Wallop (Tik)
On Wednesday we had our last day of teaching at the AFB English Fun Camp! We taught vocabulary words and useful English sentences with the content of Job Interviews. We discussed what their dreams and hopes for their future and career would look like – this is a difficult concept in Thailand as it is not integrated deeply in the Thai culture as it is in American culture! After the camp ended we toured the Baan Tawai road with our faculty and student friends. Baan Tawai is a wood-handicraft village that has a plethora of decorations, temple and spirit house handiwork, and a few coffee shops. It is always really nice to spend time forming a relationship with the students outside of class and to practice English and Thai amongst them! We were treated to a very special dinner with Dean Wallapa (our friend, Pook) and her sister Elder Wallop (Tik). Both of them are very involved with Payap Church! We went to a beautiful international buffet and indulged in waaaaaaay too much food. It was a real treat to spend this time with Pastor Pong, his family, Pook, Tik and their family, and all of the English camp volunteers!
Thursday: Morning at the Ton Lam Yai Market and Waroros Market with AFB students, Visiting the First Church of Thailand and McGilvary College of Divinity at Payap University, Spaghetti Dinner
To create more authentic conversations, the AFB staff decided to take us, volunteers, and the students to the Ton Lam Yai Market and Waroros Market to buy food for a lunch potluck. We had a blast! We were paired up with a small group of students and given the instructions to buy food to share at the potluck. The students took us to find their favorite foods and of course had us taste try everything they thought we would like. It was a great experience to get to know the students better and spend time with them, some of us even ate bugs! After the market, we all gathered in Payap Church’s “fellowship hall” and enjoyed a meal together. When we had finished our meal we headed out to visit the First Church, Chiang Mai and McGilvary College of Divinity. At First Church, an instructor from McGilvary and member of the church, Adj Tan, gave us a tour and background of the church. We learned about how Reverend McGilvary and his coworker Reverend Wilson started the First Church, Chiang Mai and its history throughout its existence. Afterwards we headed to McGilvary College of Divinity which is the theology school on Payap University’s original campus. McGilvary was the original university that Payap University developed out of to include now many more colleges. We had the opportunity to see the chapel and view Thai-style art based on Jesus’ life. When we had finished our time there we headed to Esther’s for our last spaghetti dinner. We enjoyed delightful conversations, sweet kittens, and watching the movie Poverty Inc. After viewing the film, we had lively conversations and discussed our thoughts and feelings about the film. It was an eventful but fulfilling day.
Friday: Worship Service for King Rama X’s Birthday, Seed Planting Ceremony for King IX, the Great, Visiting the Payap University Archives, Lunch with Payap University’s President, Dr. Sompan Wongdee and Administration, CCI, and Khantoke Dinner
Friday morning, we went to the beautiful Luce Chapel next door to Payap Church to attend a special worship service to celebrate the current King, King Rama X Birthday. Many faculty members of Payap University participated and we listened to our friend, Guy, give a sermon! After this service we walked to a field on campus to have a seed planting ceremony for the late King Rama IX. This is still a period of mourning – a historical time to be in Thailand as King Rama IX was the longest reigning King in the world – and we threw seeds of yellow tulip flowers in his honor. Although we won’t be here in 60 days when they are fully grown we are so excited to have been a part of this ceremony!
After seed planting we visited the Payap University archives floor in the library on campus. We saw many historical documents such as letters and session minutes from missionaries and churches from the 19th century. Everything is preserved incredibly well.
We were then treated to a special lunch with the president of Payap University (for a few more days until retirement!!!) Dr. Sompan Wongdee and her administration. Dr. Sompan is an incredible Christian woman who lived in Nebraska to earn her Master’s degree so we loved getting to know more about her time in America! We ate at the Vietnamese restaurant and, again, indulged in soooo much food (the Thai way of eating)!
Friday afternoon we were hosted by CCI (Christian Communication Institute) to learn more about their ministry and even have a special show featuring the parable the Prodigal Son performed for us! CCI has a close place in our hearts as they have come to Knox a few times and we have hosted members of the dance troop at our houses. Their ministry is incredible – they have made Christianity accessible to Thai culture by integrating the teachings of Jesus into local music and traditional Thai dance, a style called Likay, and tour Thailand and the world spreading their message about the Gospel!
Finally, we had a final farewell dinner with our AFB student and staff friends. The AFB students and staff hosted a special Khantoke style dinner. As we ate local Northern Thai food the students gave speeches and performed local Thai-style dance routines! We finished in one big circle dancing all together – a definite highlight of our time with them. Thank you, students, for being so warm, loving, and open to us!
Saturday: Payap Church’s Room Renovation and Thai Cooking Class
Saturday was a busy day at Payap Church! We spent the whole day cleaning two rooms and renovating with our Payap church friends. One of the rooms was turned into a nursery for younger kids and we decorated the walls with a Noah’s Ark and a flower theme. Downstairs, the youth room was cleaned out and will be remodeled as well with new furniture and decorated with a music theme! It was fun doing hands-on work to contribute to Payap Church. After we finished most of the renovation the Women’s Group hosted a Thai cooking class and we learned how to make Tom Yum Goong, Pad Thai, and Sticky Rice Balls in Coconut Milk dessert. After making so much food we were able to host dinner alongside all of the friends who had spent the day renovating the church, practicing music, and cooking food with us. Our hearts (and stomach) were so full. We love our family here in Thailand.
Sunday: Last Sunday at Payap Church, Love Party
Sunday was our last Payap Church service for this summer. During this service Kira, Marisa, and Kelsey sang with the youth, Dianne read a letter to the congregation from Pastor Tim, and Jeff gave his testimony on being a living miracle as a heart transplant recipient! It was bittersweet coming to an end but difficult to be sad when we were too busy PARTYING. Yes!!!! Thank you so much Jane, Tang, Pastor Pong, Riew, and everyone who helped host the huge “Love Party”. We took many pictures, ate so much food (anyone else sensing a theme for the week..???), talked about our summer and experiences, danced a lot, and spent the afternoon feeling so full of love. We sure will miss every single person here. And we LOVE you all so much!