Burma at Last!
Ouch! My head banged hard against the roof of the jeep as the bump threw me into the air. Wouldn’t have been so bad, except for my hair clip that rammed into my skull. But no matter. We were almost there. Almost to the property in Myanmar, or, as the locals call it, Burma.
Christmas had slipped past almost unnoticed, but the New Year came in with a definite bang! It is the big holiday here and is celebrated for more than a week. New Year’s Eve was a celebration at home with gift boxes filled with stocking-stuffer type things for the children. (Next year I will know this is coming and do a better job with the gifts!) They stayed up and played games (or slept on the floor in some cases) and had snacks. They obviously enjoyed it all.
Then on New Year’s Day we traveled to two services. Paul preached and we had meals with the churches. The kids were pretty good, considering they had been up late the night before. And especially since they spent much of the day traveling in the back of the pickups and the rest of the time sitting still in the church services.
But Thursday was the big day — the day we went to see our new property in Burma and take pictures. The truck was loaded, again. This time Di Se, the cook, and her fiance, Tua, rode in front with us. They will be getting married in a few days and Di Se won’t be back. Little Gracie, who looks on her as her mother, is bound to have a rough time, so please pray for her.
The back of the truck was full, too, with people who had traveled here to visit for New Years and were catching a ride back home.
At long last we reached the border and got through immigration with a minimum of trouble. (Only were passed back and forth between officials a couple of times and told three contradictory bits of info.) At last we were in Burma. Our truck isn’t registered to go out of the country, so we walked across the bridge and a lady from a church there picked us up in Tachileik. It was a squeeze, with two other ladies who came to greet us and visit with Bro. Anond. They are his “adopted” family, and were eager to see him. That made four of us in the backseat, and we didn’t fit so well. We survived the squeezed journey, though, and made it to the Akha village near our property. The whole town was turned out to play games, celebrating New Years.
The church which sold us the land is eager for us to get our school started. They offered us the use of their building until we can get one built. We have a Bible conference scheduled there in April and will start the Burma preacher’s school sometime in late April or early May, if the Lord wills. It will run for three or four months. The exact schedule hasn’t been determined yet.
Here is the church building. I’m not sure what the scaffolding is for, or why the upside-down stools, unless they haven’t cleaned up yet from bringing in the New Year.
Here are Paul and Bro. Anond at the Akha preacher’s house.
Solomon, a young church member who speaks English, took us up on the mountain to see our property. He and a church deacon took Paul and Anond on their motorbikes, and the young lady who drove us from the border took a carload of ladies, including me. That’s when I flew through the air and banged my hairclip into my brain. That bumpy road, which is crossed by a stream of water and blocked by a herd of water buffalo, is the main road to Laos. If you follow it back the way we came, it leads to the International highway that runs from Singapore, south of Thailand, all the way through China, Russia, and then to Europe. I decided we will have to take a road trip that way some day! A new highway is slated to be built along that wretched Laos road and will run right by our property.
We walked off the rough road, and took a path across a wooded field. Our property starts at the edge of the clearing behind the guys.
Along the way we passed the village well. Here it is.
We got back in (and on) our vehicles and went to view the land from another side. That’s our mountain! Well, one of them.
We drove again, then walked across a rice field to get to another side of the mountains. Solomon said, “Better cross the bridge one at a time.” A l-i-t-t-le bit scary. However, on the way back I rode on the motorcycle behind the deacon and, to my dismay, he drove right across it. Guess it was sturdier than it looked. And felt.
Here is another view of the mountains. The first two are ours and our property starts at the edge of the rice field.
My plans to walk all over the property and take pictures came to a screeching halt when I saw the jungle. This is what the whole property looks like. You could easily envision Tarzan swinging out on a vine. Bro. Anond proudly told us that there are lots of wild animals here. Solomon said he had killed five wild hogs on the mountains. We were not quite so thrilled with that news as they expected us to be!
Bro. Anond has made arrangements for a family in the church to clear some of the underbrush so we can have access to the land. We did get a good idea of the surroundings, though, and the amount of land. It is around 100 acres, but there are three mountains on those acres, so we have lots of space. We saw also that there are a lot of bamboo and banana trees growing there. The “river” turned out to be what we would call a creek. However, it is spring-fed and clean, so we shouldn’t have any water issues at all. Here is Paul trying it out:
Of the three mountains, one of them is fairly flat on top. That one will be the site of the school and the dormitories.
There are still a lot of hurdles to get over before we build, though. Right now we can’t stay on the property, because of the immigration red tape. We will have to stay in the big border city of Tachileik. Bro. Anond has property there, but no house yet, so we will probably stay in a hotel. That will change, though, when the Southeast Asia Union takes place in 2015. There will be good roads built connecting all the countries and less complications at the borders. One visa will work for all the countries, so we will be able to come and go freely.
We are looking at traveling there every Monday and having classes on Tuesday through Friday. On Friday night we will drive back here to Hoi Nam Rim. That way we can keep this ministry going, too.
But for now, we have to deal with the rules. We hurried back and made it across the border into Thailand just minutes under our deadline. We only had a day pass, so had to be back across the border before they closed for the night.
Today (Friday) was an “easy” day. Paul only preached once. He is gone now to preach at the New Year’s celebration at Hoi Sum Suk. I became so carsick yesterday that I have stayed sick all day today. I was ready to go again, but Paul insisted I stay home and go to bed early. I wish HE could! The air conditioning in the truck froze him out yesterday and he has had sinus issues all day today. Please pray that he will feel better soon. Tomorrow is a big day with many churches coming here for festivities and services. Then tomorrow night we travel to Long Khoad and Paul will preach for their celebration. We’ll be traveling again on Sunday. Paul thinks he may be able to take a couple of days off next week to rest and regroup — but I will believe it when I see it!
*Health and strength, especially for Paul.
*That the Lord will bless and the property purchase will be completed smoothly.
*That the Lord will send exactly the right men to be trained.
*For the school here which starts again a week from Tuesday.
*For wisdom in training the children and bringing them up to God’s glory.
Blessings from Thailand,