Mark in Chiang Mai September 2010
New Beginnings in Northern Thailand Since I arrived in Chiang Mai, on the night of August 20th, my life has been going nonstop. Robert Reagan, the missionary that I will be working closely with for this next year, picked me up and let me sleep for a few hours at his house before beginning a busy day. That morning I met the other interns that I will be working with for most of the time I’m here and a group of students from Iberaki Christian University in Japan that were in Chiang Mai for a short visit. We packed the day full of amazing food, a Thai massage and bowling with the group from Payap Christian Zone. After an uplifting time of worship on Sunday and a trip to a night market, on Monday morning the interns, along with Robert and the group from Japan, traveled to Doi Pui, a mountain close to the city, for a one-night retreat. It was a great time to relax and get to know each other more as we enjoyed God’s beauty on the mountain. The following days we started our nor-
mal routine with quiet time in the the morning and teaching in the afternoons. We were invited to teach English at the district court in Chiang Mai so we prepared a few lessons that included polite phrases and directions. After our last class we took our students to
Teaching directions - Amanda teaching English at the district courthouse.
eat Mexican food so they could have a taste of some “American” food. It was fun getting to know some of the people at the courthouse and we are continuing those relationships even after our classes are over. The next week we took a trip up to visit a newly planted missions team in Phayao. They have just passed the one year mark for being in Thailand, and it was encouraging to hear the stories of their first year. Their city is located on a beautiful lake, and the above picture was taken nearby. Recently we have had many new students come to the Zone because four ladies with the Let’s Start Talking program have been offering more English classes. I hope we can continue the new friendships even after the ladies go back to the states. It has been less than three weeks, but I have learned so much and I’m already starting to create new relationships. I pray that God will use me this next year in His plan for Chiang Mai.
Meet the Intern Team
Intern team - Amanda, Mark, Hilary, and Ball enjoying time on Doi Suthep.
Prayer Requests • •
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Pray for unity within our intern team that we can grow to serve God more here in Chiang Mai. Pray for growth within the church here so that the church doesn’t rely on foreigners to keep the church going. Pray for the students on campus at Payap University that they might become open to learning English and studying the Bible. Pray for God to open our hearts that we can serve him with our whole minds and bodies. Thank God for the work He is doing here in Chiang Mai Thank God for this opportunity to serve here in Thailand
Find Mark Online: Facebook: facebook.com/markinchiangmai Blog: markinchiangmai.wordpress.com Videos: youtube.com/marky.doug
For most of the time I will be working here in Chiang Mai I will be working closely with three other interns at the Payap Christian Zone near the Payap University campus. Amanda Shoemaker and Hilary Crowder are recent graduates of Texas A&M University and members of the Aggies for Christ (AFC) Serve Abroad group. They have both been to Thailand before with different AFC groups so they had been to the Zone before. The fourth member of our team is a Thai Christian from Northern Thailand. Ball, his Thai nickname, was studying English at the Zone last time I was in Thailand and became a Christian this past Spring. He has been a great help getting around Chiang Mai and encouraging us to meet new students. To give you an idea of our work in Chiang Mai, here is a somewhat weekly/daily schedule for the interns. Sunday we have church and class from 9:30-12 and usually spend the rest of the day fellowshipping with church members. Monday is our day off so we can travel, rest, or both. Tuesday-Friday we have morning quiet, or group Bible study and in the afternoons we teach English or hangout at the Zone so that we can get to know new students and make connections. Saturday we usually spend with students doing what they like to do which could be traveling, shopping, seeing movies, or simply staying at the Zone and playing games with one another.
Plant Rice to Feed Many
My first Saturday here the members of several churches went to plant rice in a village just outside of the city. One of the ladies in the church here works for Compassion International that helps children all over the world. Someone with land to offer said that if our friend could get people to plant and harvest the rice she would donate it all to children in an orphanage in Chiang Mai. We were glad that we could “help” in any way we could. First of all, none of the people at the church knew how to plant rice because they have almost all lived in a city their whole lives so we were all kind of nervous about our four hours in the rice paddies. When our truck arrived we were quickly shown our work area, a muddy, wet field. We took off our shoes and stuck our bare feet in the very thick mud and started pulling up rice to be replanted in other parts of the field. The people explaining what to do were speaking
Thai so I just watched others and followed by example. After a while some of us started to take the rice we pulled up and start planting it in other parts of the paddy. Again I just watched others and tried to do what they were doing. When you see in the movies how all the rows of rice are straight and look perfect...well, our planting was far from perfect, but they said it would still grow. It was not long before we could see the rain clouds starting to form in the distance and soon enough
it was pouring down rain where we were. We were all pretty sweaty so it was actually very refreshing when the rain came, so we just kept working. By the end day there were about 100 people working together in the field. The experience of our planting the rice together with so many others while enjoying God’s scenery gave us a taste of the variety of ways we can serve the people of Thailand.
Rice Planting - Hilary, Amanda, Mark, P’Pui, Nathan, and Oi pulling up rice to plant in other paddies.
Update newsletter about my work in Chiang Mai