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