Update #3

WE HAVE OFFICIALLY FINISHED OUR SECOND WEEK IN CHIANG MAI… AND WE ARE LOVING IT!

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Staying with Ebel Family

Christian Ebel and his wife, Ya, opened up their beautiful home to us for the last week. Christian is a missionary from Germany who has lived the last few years in Thailand. We enjoyed the company of his wife and daughter as well as the background noise of the Tokay gecko. They were everywhere and are known for the sound they make five to six times after eating something. We are also super grateful that we didn’t actually see one until we pulled up a picture for your viewing pleasure below. You’re welcome.

Campus Crusade for Christ on Chiang Mai University Campus and Maejo University Campus

Monday and Tuesday this week we had the joy of spending time with Riew on two different campuses that he mentors the leaders of Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU). CRU is an international organization that is on many college campuses to help spread the good news of Jesus Christ and mentor Christians across the world. Here in Thailand, CRU works to spread the good news and be the change since only 1% of Thailand is Christian. We visited Chiang Mai University and Maejo University, both of these campuses have strong CRU organizations and are constantly reaching out to new students. Riew took us around to all of the places where students and CRU leaders meet. There were many instances were Riew ran into students or faculty that he has made connections with, it was great to see the work that Christ is doing through Riew and through CRU.

Trying New Fruit — Durian

Marisa has had the experience of durian already from her trip last summer so this is Kelsey’s experience:

One of the first things anyone will ask us when they meet us is “Ohhh have you tried durian yet?!”. This fruit is a speciality and delicacy in Thailand as it is very expensive. It’s known as the “king” of Thailand fruits and the Mangosteen is the “queen”. Durian is considered hot and from everything I’ve heard it actually doesn’t sound very good for your body – you can actually get poisoned or die from eating a large quantity of this fruit or eating the fruit and drinking alcohol. To counter the “hot” effects of Durian it’s paired with the queen, Mangosteen, a “cool” fruit. Anyone who knows me knows how picky I am about fruit – I don’t eat very many. And I’m not willing to try it in America. But I’m here in Thailand and it’s fruit season and is offered at every single meal and snack. Durian has a texture that I can only describe as… stringy pudding. And it made my stomach hurt. And Marisa does not like durian either. I’m sorry Thailand.  However, mangosteen was pleasing and I did not mind it! Also I tried mango for the first time this week, yes I know huge deal, and did not mind the green mango! So yay for exploring my palate! (Mom, dad, are you proud!??!?)

McKean Rehabilitation Center and Hospital

A really incredible experience from this past week was the opportunity to serve at McKean Rehabilition Center at the edge of Chiang Mai. This center was founded by Dr. McKean, a missionary who saw a need for homes for people suffering from leprosy. People infected with leprosy were cast out of their homes and lived under bridges – when the water wasn’t too high. He built a whole community for these people consisting of villages, churches, a hospital, and gathering center where they learned craft trades and vocational skills to make an income. Leprosy has a history of intense stigma and many patients wouldn’t go home when they were better and have lived at McKean almost their entire lives. Today, McKean has an international nursing home that is for expats and foreigners who retired in Thailand and need a safe place to live and eventually pass on. They also have a hospital and outpatient clinic that we toured and many people with leprosy or other illnesses continue to live in the villages. We toured the first day and learned about McKean’s history. Later on, we took on the project of cleaning their museum boards. They have picture collages across a few boards showcasing the history of McKean that we cleaned and reframed. We also really enjoyed playing bingo with a group of the elderly residents which helped us perfect our Thai number knowledge! One of the coolest parts of McKean was spending time with the Pastor visiting church members in the hospital and at the village next door. Of course, all communication was in Thai but to witness the love and compassion between the church members and all people at McKean was inspiring to see God’s work in this place.

Package from Parents

THANK YOU TO OUR FAMILY AT HOME. What a wonderful, unexpected surprise that just brightened our entire week. We miss you all so so so so so so so much and can’t wait to be reunited in 6 weeks!!! Homesickness is a real thing but we’re feeling so blessed that we have such amazing family at home that makes saying goodbye so difficult to do. Love you guys.

Family Time with Riew and Dew

Our special friends, basically family, spent so much time with us this week and we loved every second of it. After spending Monday and Tuesday with Riew on campus we went to his house to play with Daniel, learn about their mission with Campus Crusade, and have genuine family time. They took us to the best restaurant ever called Gusto Site for some modern Thai food and a few days after we ate a wonderful American meal at Duke’s – our first time eating cheese since we left the States. This time spent with our dear friends was super special as they prepare for Baby Hannah’s arrival TOMORROW Monday, June 18th!!!!! We can’t wait to meet the little princess and for sweet Daniel to become a big brother! Riew and Dew are incredible parents, friends, and family in Christ. We are so blessed to be with them in Thailand and to spend time with familiar faces.

Dinner with Oh and friends

This Tuesday, we had the joy of spending another evening with Pi Oh and friends. We enjoyed some delicious Thai food – a special fish dish, dumplings, and mangosteen for desert. Since Pi Oh and friends work at the McCormick Faculty of Nursing at Payap University we were able to talk about our plans for the fun English camp in July. Also, we got a lot of tips and ideas for curriculum planning!

Thai Class

Third Thai class is in the books! We worked this week on asking questions, time, and calendar knowledge. Our Thai is slowly getting better with the help of many teachers! However, we appreciate all our Thai friends working on speaking English with us.

Youth Group Photo Challenge Activity

Saturday was a fun day spending time with the youth of Payap Church. The group ages range from about 16 years old to Kelsey’s age so it was fun hanging out with them! We started with band practice to sing on worship team and played for a few hours. Jane and Tu then drove us all to Chiang Mai Train Station and the Tonlamyai Market for a photo competition. Thai people love to take tons of pictures so this day was a big photo shoot. After lunch we split into two teams and were given challenges to take a pictures of loneliness at the train station and food at the market. We each took a picture and at the end lined up all of our phones and chose the best picture to award our team points. It was a fun way to interact and get to know our new friends. And before everyone freaks out – the train tracks we were standing on were not active that day so we were very safe, don’t worry.

Dinner with Wasanchai and Yuriam

This Saturday, we joined Yuriam and Wasanchai at the Baanrai Yarmyen for a wonderful Northern Thai dinner. We listened to great music, including a fantastic cover of What a Wonderful World, and had great conversation. The meal was fabulous with one of our favorite dishes, tom yum, steamed vegetables, many different Northern Thai appetizers, and fruit for dessert. It was a great end to our amazing Saturday!

Update #2

Dara Academy

We spent our first full week in Thailand at Dara Academy which is a preschool through grade 12 institution of 6,000 students. Dara was started by two Presbyterian missionaries in 1878 and remains a Christian led school today, however, only about 500 students are Christian. We spent Monday touring the entire school, learning about the history, and meeting the board of Directors who graciously accepted us into their fold and hosted us all week. We toured the school museum’s and *attempted* to learn how to make a flower for the King’s cremation ceremony (Marisa rocked this craft, Kelsey… not so much to the amusement of our craft teachers).

The rest of the week was spent observing classrooms of different ages. We taught the Lord’s Prayer in English to multiple religion classes and Kelsey visited a Buddhist funeral with the religion department teachers one morning.

God Moment (Kelsey):                                                                                                                      The best experience for me was having the opportunity to share my testimony to a grade 11 class on the last day. During one of the few question and answer sessions held with upperclassmen, a student asked what do I do when I get very sad.  It was a moment when I realized it’s time to share how deep my faith is and how I turn to God in a time of need. I’m not sure if any of it clicked with the students but if it touched even one then I am grateful for the opportunity. I’m not comfortable with evangelism, it is not a spiritual gift that God has blessed me with to be able to openly talk about my faith in effort to convert others. I am beginning to see that maybe my experience in Thailand is intended to learn this trait and be able to practice walking and speaking my faith to others and bring this home to America. How cool is it that God works in these mysterious ways?

Staying with the Promwangkwa Family

This week our hosts were the Promwangkwa family! They opened their home to us with welcome arms and we had an enjoyable time. We shared dinner with their whole family and enjoyed traveling to Dara Academy with them each morning, where they work and attend school. Also, we got our first experience of Thai laundry – in the rain! We ended our time with the Promwangkwa family by enjoying a competitive game of Skip-Bo with Tang Sai and Tang Mo; where Tang Sai beat us all!

Dinner with the Ritchie Family

Last Tuesday we left the city of Chiang Mai and traveled to a village next door where the Ritchie family lives! Graham and his son, Ken, have already left for Scotland for the summer so it was wonderful to spend time getting to know them for the evening. We decided some exercise sounded nice and walked to the local Northern Thai restaurant. This 45 minute walk was through the winding roads of multiple villages and we learned so much about Thai culture, village life, and soaked up the beautiful scenery. And yes, we were dripping in sweat after this walk. We are still adjusting to the intense humidity here but it’s hard to complain at all when you’re surrounded with beautiful landscape! The local food was probably our favorite meal to date and we left with our bellies and hearts so full of conversation with Graham, Pom, and Ken.

Dinner with Pi Oh and friends

Our sweet friend Pi Oh, and her nursing friends, hosted us for dinner (again, best food yet, yes we say this about every meal!) for some homemade Thai food. We love that every single meal with Thai friends is community style. All the food dishes are in the middle and shared with everyone; whether we dine at home or at a restaurant. We think this is the best way to eat because you get to taste everything and oh do we love Thai food!

Spaghetti Dinner at the Wakeman’s

Thursday evenings in Chiang Mai are always exciting — it’s spaghetti night! During the day on Thursday it poured in Chiang Mai which caused some flooding; especially on the Payap Univerity Campus: Kaew Nawarat. After exploring and taking some pictures of the flood, we dined on a wonderful American style meal of spaghetti, bread, salad, and ice cream at the Wakeman’s. We enjoyed relaxing conversations with other native English speakers and learned more about Chiang Mai.

Friday Night Group Prayer

Every Friday evening at 5pm we go to Payap Church for group prayer time. We begin with a hymn – which Pastor Pong loves to make us sing alone in English – and follow with reading a devotion from the Upper Room and correlating bible verse. Pastor Pong speaks about the verse for a little bit (Thank you Dr. Wakeman for the interpreting!) and then he assigns each of us a specific prayer request. We always pray for revival of the church, Thailand, our missions, Knox Church, and then for various other requests depending on the week or personal needs. The fun part is next – we stand in a circle and pray out loud for our assigned request at the same time. We really enjoy this, it’s an intense couple minutes of us all speaking to God and we’re never distracted with what others are saying because we’re not that fluent in Thai. After the prayer, in a very Thai way, we always take a selfie! It’s a fun community event that is a constant in our busy weekly schedule that we look forward to.

Thai Language Course #2

We are getting better at our Thai because of our amazing teacher Kru Pong! We learned about nouns, verbs, clothing, and places but it is obviously a little tiring…

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Nong Pla Mun Church

This Saturday we had the opportunity to visit the Nong Pla Mun Church. We had heard many amazing stories about this church, how Knox and Payap Church volunteers had helped rebuild it, and we were excited to finally visit the community! Pastor Pong, Prow, Sunisa, and us traveled up to the mountain village which is about an hour outside of Chiang Mai. When we arrived we were welcomed with open arms and ushered into the church. There we were told about the history of Nong Pla Mun Church and the help that Payap Church has provided to the community. Afterwards we were able to visit with the church members and talk with them about their experiences. During this time, we met a brand new addition to the church, a family that had converted through the church’s piano outreach. Back story of piano outreach: Nong Pla Mun Church had invited the children of the village to come and receive piano lessons at the church. This family’s daughter fell in love with playing the piano and convinced her family to come to the church with her. Now her family has converted to Christianity and is enjoying being in the church community. Best of all, Nong Pla Mun Church has a new piano player! She sounds great!

After visiting with the church community we visited the houses of the current pastor, Chaiporn Panya, and a friend of Pastor Pong’s, Bird Ke Re Jung. At both houses we were greeted warmly with food and newborn puppies. When we left the village our hearts were full of love from the community and the cuteness of puppies!

 

Dinner at Sushi by Yoshi

Yo is a good friend of Pastor Pong’s and a very successful sushi chef! We ordered a ridiculously awesome amount of sushi and went out of our comfort zones trying many different fish. We weren’t quite sure what we ordered but it was delicious regardless; even better was the company for the evening. We enjoyed time spent in a lot of laughter with our dear friends – Pastor Pong’s wife, daughters, niece and Sunisa! We are so grateful for this community and family we have been surrounded by over the last two weeks.

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Presentation of Mission at Payap Church

During church, we had the privilege of sharing about our mission and our excitement of being here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Thankfully, Guy was our interpreter, we shared with the congregation about the history of Knox Church, the history of Payap and Knox’s Partnership, and the goal of our two month mission. This Sunday Dr. Boonratna Boayen, founder of Payap Church, gave the sermon. He discussed scripture from Malachi 1:6-11 about how to honor the Lord each day. He talked about how only serving Christ 99.9% of the time doesn’t work, we need to do everything 100% for the Lord.

Chiang Mai Walking Street

We had the wonderful opportunity on Sunday evening to spend three relaxing hours at the main walking street in downtown Chiang Mai. For the first hour we sat with some iced coffee outside and were able to enjoy some alone time. Once the market was set up and bustling, we walked for two hours resisting the urge to buy everything and taking in the culture. Also we enjoyed people watching and being surrounded with many other foreigners. In the middle of buying a t-shirt, the Thai national anthem came on the overhead speakers. During the national anthem everyone must stand completely still and pay your respect and end the song with quickly bowing your head. It was entertaining to see a few farang’s (foreigners) who clearly weren’t getting the message when everyone came to a complete stand still. They continued to walk quickly until they slowly realized what’s going on — don’t worry, we weren’t those foreigners. We enjoyed using this experience to practice our Thai on locals and shop around!!

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Update #1

Women’s Group

Chiang Mai has 58 First Presbyterian Churches that all take part in the Women’s Group, a time for women of all ages to socialize and worship God together. Last Saturday we attended a special workshop beginning with hymns and a sermon. This was all in Thai but we understood the bible verses they were referencing! After, there were five craft workshops to choose from: knitting pot holders, making bead keychains, paper Christmas decorations, basket weaving using recycled milk cartons, and making flowers using recycled material as well. Tang led us to the keychain class and we struggled our way through five keychains that turned out well thanks to our patient teachers! Despite a thick language barrier the day was spent full of laughter, community, and many, many, many pictures!!!

Payap Church — Communion

Our first Sunday at Payap Church was very special because it was their first Sunday with air conditioning! After many years of prayers and hard work they were blessed with air conditioning so we prayed over this and blessed the church. We are so grateful to God for this because the heat is dangerous at this time of year.

Pastor Pong’s sermon, titled Jesus is the Best Companion, focused on Hebrews 9:23-28 and understanding how we can carry on our life with Jesus as our best friend. Living life through actions that honor Him, leading by example and having the heart of Jesus are a few characteristics Pastor Pong mentioned about a person who has Jesus as their best friend.

We took communion at Payap and ate lunch together following the service (after many pictures, of course!). It was so humbling to walk around and meet every person there. We feel so blessed by their incredible hospitality and love that they pour out onto us. Also, we met so many new friends that we are looking forward to getting to know more over the next two months!

***personal shoutout to our friend, Sunisa, for the interpreting from Thai to English during the entire sermon***

Thai Language Crash Course

First of all, if you want a good visual summary of how this experience was, please scroll to the picture below and zoom in on Marisa’s face because it is golden. Thai is a beautiful language that is known for its singing tones, but it’s so difficult to grasp! Our patient, kind, fun and encouraging teacher (Kru) Pi Pong taught us greetings and food for our first of four intensive “Thai Survival” language courses. It’s impressive that we have been here for four days and already know a few sentences, phrases and about 100 vocab words! It’s all thanks to our teachers. We have some homework to do with practicing but Thai people love to hear us try it out so we have some encouraging friends helping us along the way. More to come soon with our language skills…

Dinner with Session at Organic Farm

*cue Kelsey, the vegetarian, squealing with excitement*

Ohkaju Organic Farm Restaurant grows every ingredient they use for their meals on site. This was a more Americanized place with many different options for food and, oh my, did we feast! We had a community style dinner with all of our friends on session sharing a bit about ourselves and enjoying how excited we are to finally have this time together!

Staying with Tang and Guy

Our first host family was with our friends, Tang and Guy. They picked us up from the airport and we spent a lot of time together sharing stories, walking around Guy’s beautiful garden, playing cards and singing karaoke. They also have a cute bunny named Money (a Thai word meaning “come here!”). Tang is the chair of the committee for the Knox Partnership while Guy is a Pastor with his Doctorate in Ministry and he works at Payap University. Guy and Tang both worked so hard to arrange everything for us to come here! We are so grateful and love them both so very much.

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We made it!!!!

Good morning friends in Thailand (and good evening friends at home). We were overfilled with joy to leave customs at the airport and be welcomed by our loving friends, I am so thankful that they stayed up until midnight waiting for us! Marisa and I arrived at our first host home with Tang and Guy and enjoyed “lunch” at midnight eating fresh lychee fruit and veggies and rice. I think we are on the right track to getting adjusted to the complete opposite time zone!

We are so thrilled to see what God has in store for us this weekend and especially excited to meet all my Payap friends. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers during our two day journey! It was stress-free and smooth sailing 🙂

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Sunday at Knox

Our final Sunday at Knox before leaving was filled with praise, prayer, blessings and many hugs! I sang on worship team a special song in my heart that has really spoken to me as I prepare for this trip:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Let me walk upon the waters wherever you would call me

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander

and my faith will be made strong in the presence of my Savior

Wow! These words give me chills every time. We are called to trust in our Lord with all of our hearts and when we are called, we go. Marisa and I are so excited to be heading to Thailand tomorrow and cannot thank everyone at Knox and Payap Church enough for supporting us, praying for us, and hosting us!

We hope to use this blog as an easy way to communicate about our summer in Thailand to our friends and family at home, especially the community of Knox Church.

Over the next few days we will be leaving the comfort of our home, fly for over 26 hours, and make a new home in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Marisa visited for the English Fun camp last summer but I have never been to Asia! This move is exhilarating, exciting and terrifying all at the same time. However, I take comfort in Psalm 61:2

When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I. 

Thank you for visiting our blog! Please leave a comment, share with your friends, and visit again for our next post on Sunday!

God Bless,

Kelsey Campbell

A little bit about us!

Kelsey Campbell:

Hi! My name is Kelsey Campbell. I’m very excited to spend this summer with everyone at Payap Church and the opportunity to learn more about Thailand while serving God. I was born and raised in Kansas by my parents Craig and Lisa Campbell as well as with the Knox Church community. I currently live in Lawrence, Kansas studying Neurobiology at the University of Kansas. I work at a hospital right now as a nurse technician and am working towards practicing medicine! My favorite things to do include practicing yoga, playing with dogs,  singing, dancing, going on hikes, and learning about global health issues. I can’t wait to get to know everyone at Payap Church, spending time worshiping the Lord, working on projects together, being part of the English Fun camp at Payap University and meet many new friends through it.
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Marisa Jarboe:

Hi, my name is Marisa Jarboe. I was born and raised in the Kansas City area and have attended Knox Presbyterian Church since I was five years old. My family consists of my dog, Riese, my mom, Jane, and my two sisters, Makena and Madison. Currently I am a second grade teacher but will be teaching fifth grade starting in August. In my free time I like to run with my dog, hang out with my friends, craft, and travel. This will be my second time in Thailand, I am excited to spend an extended time with Payap Church to strengthen our partnership along with participating in the English Fun Camp at Payap University.

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