We clutched our thin raincoats around us and shivered in the cold wind.
The kids had an unexpected day off so we had traveled to Doi Inthanon, the highest point in Thailand. It was a drive of about two hours or so, but we were sure it would be worth it. Paul and I visited there seven or eight years ago and were amazed at its beauty. Stunning waterfalls, beautiful gardens, amazing views. It was a trip we will never forget.
We’ll never forget the one we took last week, either, but for a different reason!
The rain came persistently down, but we were hopeful it would clear in the mountains. Nope. The higher the road rose toward the mountaintop, the foggier it became. When we stepped out of the truck we recoiled in shock. Cold air bit through our thin clothing and the rain felt like needles of ice! It was 13 degrees according to the large digital thermometer on a nearby building. Celsius, that is. That’s about 55 degrees Fahrenheit. For those of us who have adapted to the 90s with high humidity, it felt below freezing.
The wind whipped the icy rain around us and we jumped back in the truck. One of the kids spotted an enterprising person selling raincoats. We purchased the light plastic wraps and struggled into them. After coming so far, we were determined to see the sights.
Well, we tried. The gardens were invisible. The stupas, or monuments, honoring the king and queen were blobs in the mist. The kids assured us they had no interest in trying to see a waterfall. We climbed to the highest point and took a picture, then hurried down.
So we headed back home. But in spite of disappointment and discomfort, sounds of songs and laughter floated into the cab from the back of the truck. They all seemed to have enjoyed the day in spite of everything, and we did, too. What a blessing that we can laugh at our mishaps and can just enjoy being together.
Perhaps the fact that we haven’t been traveling as much lately made the hours on the road easier to bear. Usually we travel that far every Sunday to minister to the villages. We are used to it, but the kids do get tired of the long trips. We’ve had more services here in Chiang Mai lately, though. It’s harder and more dangerous to get to the villages when the rains wash away the roads or make them as slippery as ice. Also, our interpreter, Bro. Ai Donkham, has been very ill. He has heart trouble and is facing a serious surgery within the next few weeks. So we have been meeting in our office nearby. William has been doing a great job interpreting into Thai.
God has blessed our meetings and we wish we could be in two places at once! We have a good nucleus for a church here in the city. Besides our family and staff plus Rusty and Jemelle, we have two Lahu families who come whenever we meet nearby and almost always a visitor or two. The week before last we had a children’s home from across the city come to worship with us. The missionaries are from Mexico and their girls speak Thai and Spanish. What a blessing to have a special in song sung in Spanish!
It was truly an international day, with representatives from Australia, the Philippines, America, and Mexico, as well as Thailand.
The group last Sunday was not quite so diverse, but was just as great a blessing. Lahu friends who had lost their homes to our old adversary surprised us with a visit. They are living in a village close to our new property and were excited to hear we would be moving near them.
They told us that there are around twenty Lahu villages near the town of Mae Sauw where we will be living. Many of them are unreached with the Gospel. We can’t wait to get there and get busy!
Also, please pray for Bro. Ai Donkham. His doctor gave him the okay to go with Paul to preachers’ training next week, but we are all a little nervous about it. Please pray that he will be able to have his needed surgery soon and that the Lord would restore him to health.
And please continue to pray for us as we raise and educate our seven teens and two college guys. Things are immensely easier on the school front lately. Denise has been a wonderful help and is a natural teacher. The kids already love her.
Thank you for your prayers. The Lord is faithful and answers!