S: Thailand 2006
FC: January 25 - February 6, 2006
1: Thailand 2006 | Thailand Team 2006 | Mark & Crystal Egland Jeremy & Jessica Low Gary & Alice Roath Ken & Lene Schaefer | God has called us to go to Hua Hin, Thailand to teach the children of missionaries who work with the Navigators in China. Every year around the Chinese New Year they gather somewhere outside China to share experiences, get encouragements from one another, and get refreshed for their ministry. They can't gather as a group in China. Our ministry is to take care of the children and youth, teach them, and enjoy some fun experiences with them, while the adults get together to share and plan. | Preparing for the Ministry
2: With 14 suitcases and lots of carry-on luggage loaded into the trailer,. we are finally off to do the job God has called us to do in Thailand. | Commissioning the Team | Destination Hua Hin Thailand | Susan Muyskins and Rich Neerhof drive us to the airport in Minneapolis. We arrive about 2:30 pm, with lots of time to spare, since our plane is not scheduled to leave until 5:15 pm. | Pastors Scott, Patrick, and Nick, and elders Jed Rood, David Hanson, and Bob Stevens, commission the team with prayer.
3: Check-in is quick as we have e-tickets, except for Crystal. Her ticket seems to be lost. She has a receipt and seat assignment, but without a ticket they can not let her board. It takes over 2 1/2 hrs to resolve the problem because no one wants to take responsibility for the lost ticket. With minutes to spare they walk us to the front of the security line, and to the gate to make the flight which is boarding when we get there. | This is the kind lady who does everything in her power to help us. For a while she is talking on two telephones at one time..
4: We are settling into our seats, looking forward to checking out the devotional that Charlie Stevens has prepared for the team
5: We fly from Minneapolis to Hong Kong via LAX. Gate 105 is very crowded with Asians, probably going home for Chinese New Year. | Hong Kong | Minneapolis
6: Bangkok | Jessica's pillow goes all the way to Thailand and back home to Iowa
7: Flying into Hong Kong | Finally arriving in Bangkok. Notice we are taxiing right through a golf course where people are golfing. They just stop, wait for the plane to go by, and then continue their game. | Cathay Pacific Airline | It is the Chinese Airline. The service is great!
8: Bangkok | We are happy to clear Immigration. What a 'zoo'. Several 747s land at the same time. People are everywhere. It takes us 1 1/2 hrs. We are tired and hungry and still have to find our luggage. | Destination: Rama Gardens Hotel. Taxi's are small. Each couple must have our own. We are concerned following Jeremy and Jessica's taxi, as their luggage is held in the trunk by a bungee cord
9: Rama Gardens Hotel in Bangkok
10: It is the Chinese Hew Year. The hotel lobby is decorated for the occasion
11: Rama Gardens is a beautiful spot, with pools and flowers everywhere. We enjoy dinner hosted by David & Karen Anderson, leaders of the AIS Team (Asian Intercultural Seminar). We are in bed by 7:30 pm. having been up for 42 hrs.
12: We travel by bus to Hua Hin - 120 Miles. | Buses are fancy with curtains and light fixtures like you might have in your home | We travel south on Hwy 4, crossing the Chao Phraya River as we leave Bangkok
13: Statuettes of mini- Selling flowers in the middle Crowded apartment buildings Lots, and lots temples and Buddhas of the freeway so people can with balconies filled with of TRASH decorate their vehicles as an laundry, or is it their closets? offering to Buddha | Bangkok is a City of Contrasts with 7 million people | A business under the freeway | Housing development | Shopping Area | Modern Skyscrapers
14: They do not have corporate worship. They bring an offering of incense, flowers or food to alters all over town or to the temple when they feel a need to. | There are temples everywhere, but many need repair and upkeep. They were fancy at one time as you can tell. | Being a Buddhist country, they work 7 days a week. No time off for worship.
15: The strange looking wind mill draws seawater into flat beds where the water evaporates so they can harvest sea salt. The areas that are lighter in color are where more evaporation has taken place and the salt is about to be harvested.
16: Majestic Beach Resort
17: We share a 2 bedroom suite with Gary & Alice. The living area is where Ken and I teach. | We have a view of the Gulf of Thailand
19: Hotel grounds, pool, dining room, and view of the Gulf of Thailand
20: Jeremy Chang Caleb Chang Ethan Slater Abby Slater Joel Atella Sarah Reed Megan Reed Mia Craven Jordan Pine Marcus Wakefield Noah Chang Michael Craven | Toby Craven Joshua Pine | These are the children God has placed in our care.
21: We are getting our rooms ready and practicing our parts.
22: Our mornings consist of singing, Bible lessons, drama, science experiments that relates to the lessons, and a time to show their creativity in arts and crafts. They are very attentive and interested in learning.
23: They love Ken's science lessons. | Fun with Science
24: Crafts are fun; they get to take something with them every day.
25: Group Picture - One goofy one and one great one. | Jeremy is writing their names and the numbers from 1 - 10 in Chinese
26: Gary made tops for everyone. They enjoy the competition to see whose could spin the longest. | Gary & Alice and "their kids"
27: At a morning session for the adults, we are introduced to the rest of the group. Hearing familiar choruses sung in Chinese is amazing, and makes us realize that no matter what our native tongue, we can worship the same great God together. | We see military ships in the Gulf of Thailand every day and night. We are told that the King and Queen are in their summer palace in Hua Hin | We feel safe and guarded.
28: We play games at a park next to the resort. It is a beautiful park, only it is too hot, and we soon need to go back to our air conditioned room. | Notice the potted plants that have to be watered daily.. | At the hotel we drink 8 bottles of water in no time. The hotel is supplying us with plenty of water.
29: The 'little's'' enjoy the resort sandbox and playground. | Megan enjoys the pool
30: We have Sunday off, so we decide to go to Elephant Village. We are hoping to see some elephants. However, everyone who visits here rides an elephant. It is an experience we will never forget.
31: We ride for almost an hour. It is a slow, lumbering, rocking ride; very gentle, and not scary at all, except when the driver leaves us alone to take pictures of us. We ride on Lily, the smallest elephant; she is 45 years old, and she knows where to go without her driver.
32: We ride on flat surfaces, up and down hills, and through a lake. That is a bit scary. Lily behaves well and takes us to the opposite shore.
33: The village where the drivers and their families live. These are very primitive homes
34: One of the baby elephants
35: Jeremy and Jessica feed bananas to the elephants | The weather is really hot, so we appreciate the fresh, cold coconut milk, pineapple and watermelon we are served at the end.
36: Elephant Village is also a temple area with monks and statues for worshipping Buddha.
37: Notice: Even though they live in primitive shelters, they all have tall TV antennas.
38: T R A N S P O R T A T I O N | Vans Pick-up Trucks Motor Bikes and Tuk-Tuks | Eight of us 'fit' in the back of this pick-up.
39: I N T H A I L A N D | 'Tri-cycles More motor bikes on narrow streets Motor cycles doubling as food stands, Trucks as 'people movers'
40: The blue truck is a school bus, and the green one a city bus. More colorful Tuk-Tuks
41: Tuk-Tuks can accommodate 1 to 4 persons.
42: Our trip to Monkey Mountain in the back of a pick-up truck | Jessica does not like the smell coming from the fish market. It is absolutely awful. | Room enough for 8?
43: Monkey Mountain | Monkey Mountain is another temple area. Monkeys are everywhere hoping to be fed. If you do, they tend to cling to you for more.
44: Fancy statues and temples where people offer food, flowers, and incense to Buddha.
45: Everyone must remove their shoes to ascend the stairs.
46: The Stairs. 130 of them ends at a temple at the top. We are not sure if it is a challenge or a dare, but apparently the 'youngsters' think that we 'oldsters' won't make it. But we did! | The monkey is still following Jeremy. | Just look at the things they worship .
47: A temple where incense is offered
48: Ceremonial bells, elephants, and yes, another monkey. All part of their worship and sacrifices
49: Views of Hua Hin from Monkey Mountain - The green roofs below are the fishing village - we have to pass it again.
50: There are even souvenier shops in the temple area. | Passing through the fishing village again
51: The hotel serves a typical Chinese New Year's dinner our first night there. The AIS Team does not think we would enjoy the types of food they serve, so they show us how to get downtown where we find a pizza place. | After dinner we look around at all the souvenir shops and stores. All stores are open late, as it is more comfortable to shop in the evening
52: Narrow streets with motor bikes everywhere. You are always dodging them. They think they own the road. | Crowds of people and stores jammed with merchandise.
53: This vendor pulls his cart with a small motor scooter | Selling eggs | Dried Squid | Silk worms, anyone! Yes, they eat them!
54: Drying laundry on the side walk | Gary's new 'friend'
55: The King and Queen have a summer palace in Hua Hin. Their pictures are all over town. However, the King is very old, but must not have had his picture updated for a long time.
56: Temples all over town, some very beautiful, others needing a lot of repair | Offerings of food left for Buddha
57: Construction zone - mostly manual labor, no large machines around
58: When you order shrimp tempura, they prepare all the foods that way, including the vegetables: lettuce, beans, carrots and what else is on your plate. | Thai foods are basic: fish, beef, fowl, & seafood. Variations come from use of herbs and spices.
59: At the City Beach | These trees are growing on a wall; how they get nourishment I don't know | Fun with Henna
60: Hotel Sofitel | A very stately looking hotel | Beautiful Flowers
61: Trees and bushes are sculptured in various animal shapes
62: Night Market | What an experience. We are told not to eat any of the food, except ROTI. Believe me we have no intention of trying any of the rest. There are bugs, worms, larvae, cocoons, pigs feet, duck heads, weird noodles, and boiled silkworms (what is left after the silk is spun off).
63: ROTI is made like a pancake batter, spread on a griddle. During cooking he spreads cut up bananas on it, folds it up, and pours sweet and condensed milk on it. It is very tasty. | His stand is attached to his motorcycle, so when he closes shop, he can just drive away.
64: More Street Vendors
65: Swensen's Ice Cream Parlor Ken has chocolate & coffee ice cream. Lene has vanilla ice cream with Jack fruit, palm seeds, and corn. Yes, corn, and it wasn't even sweet corn. | Flowers in Sofitel's gardens
66: Cocoons before they are cooked and spun into silk threads. (Gary: tell us about your cocoon!) Colored silk threads
67: The cocoons are heated so the silk threads will be released. It takes about 100 strands from the cocoon to make up just one strand of "Thai Silk"
68: Alice & I try our hand at it. The threads have to be guided together so they end up as a single thread to be wound up on the spools above.
69: The weaving process is very intricate and time consuming. The white threads on the fabric below are tied in a certain pattern. They bleach and dye the fabric until they have the desired colors. Then the white threads are removed to reveal the pattern.
70: It's time to say good-by. It is done with a Farewell Dinner, celebrated like a Chinese New Year's party. The entertainment is by the children and youth. Awards and scholarships are given out, and ends with a Chinese 'Lai-See' ceremony. | The Thai wait staff
71: Ken is thanking the AIS Team for inviting us and trusting their children to our care for the week. We then sing some of the songs we have learned and invite David Anderson to join us on 'Father Abraham', which became his name after that.
72: THE RED ENVELOPE We are now at the point in the evening every unmarried child and servant is waiting for. The giving and receiving of the Red 'Lai-See' envelope. The envelope contains 'good luck' money. The child bows in respect to their elders, who make a statement and give the envelope with both hands. The child must receive it with both hands. | The Slater Family with Ken & Lou Choat who as The Chang children with us ' 'grandparents' gave out the Red Lai-See evelopes
73: Kris Slater thanks our team for being there. We receive a gift from them and a very nice note. The picture obove - David & Karen Anderson and our team.
74: Beautiful Costumes and Special People | Peasant costume
75: One last pictures We are waiting for the bus to take us back to Bangkok
76: A Last Glimpse
77: Cute Kids
78: Back in Bangkok | We are leaving Bangkok, but look back one more time. | The long trip home begins. | We fly over the Mekong River in Viet Nam on our way to Hong Kong.
79: It is now time to leave Asia behind and fly home | After waiting 3 hrs 45 min in a NorthWest plane in Los Angeles, we are finally on the way to Minneapolis. We will arrived at 9:00 pm. Bambi Carberry and Bob Stevens are at the airport to meet us, and we are excited to be heading home, for Mason City. | We are flying Cathay Pacific again. Is it duct tape at the bottom of the door? | We are so thankful to be home in the USA again safely. It is wonderful to experience other cultures, but there is no place like America. We thank God for the opportunity to minister to the AIS Team in Thailand | Minneapolis
80: Pictures from our Thank You letter to those who support us in so many way | Seed packets. Used in a lesson on growing. Prepared by Lori Stevens.
81: Sunset over the Gulf of Thailand