A Sweet New View: Chiang Rai

Sawadee-kah from Chiang Rai!

Yep, we’ve moved again. And honestly for the better. Our team was getting a bit restless in Phuket. We left by bus on Monday evening, and traveled through the night, arriving early morning in Bangkok.

I’m not sure if you would remember this, but Ted and I traveled seperately with a group of 4 students, who originally were doing outreach to Mexico, but all of that changed after the tragedy in Denver. Anyhow, Ted and I traveled to Thailand with their flights, and when we arrived we were told we needed to get visas about a month into outreach.

So once again the team split, this time for only two days. All that to say, our whole team arrived in Bangkok together, and then the 6 of us, traveled on in daylight for Chiang Rai. Justin, the outreach leader, wanted time for the rest of the team to rest, so they actually just arrived today.

Ted, myself and the four students traveled to the boarder of Chiang Rai, and Burma to get our visas renewed. It was quick and easy, so not much to share there.

Today, after the rest of the team arrived, we were given a tour of Home of the Open Heart. It was incredible to say the least. I knew a lot about the ministry before we arrived, but I didn’t realize just how large the ministry is.

Home of the Open Heart is a home for children and mothers living with AIDS. Right now they have 11 children, some of whom they have had since they were babies, and now are a few years older. As of right now they have three single mothers living on sight. One mother has one girl, another mother has two little boys, and the newest mother brought from Pattaya with her 3 weeks old baby Brenda or as the Thai would say Bendaih. I was able to see her right as we were leaving the grounds, and she was so tiny. (for more about the children staying at HOTOH or the ministry click the Thailand link on the page next to this > )

It’s hard to imagine the life that Bendiah will have to live. It’s a really bittersweet thing to meet the children, and I am looking forward to this, but also getting my heart as prepared as I can for what we see. Last time, in Phuket at Life Home Project, I honestly was not ready to see some things.

We were told today, what we will be doing here in Chiang Rai and it is A LOT of manual labor, which the team is pretty thrilled about…weird huh? Mostly because we have not yet really done much, other than paint. At Home of the Open Heart, our team will be helping lay concrete, landscaping some areas, laying “sidewalks” of gravel, and digging a hole or two for a septic tank, I believe.

Beginning tomorrow our team will split in half. One team will go to HOTOH and the rest of us will go to the boarder of Chiang Rai and Burma to help deep clean a home for children/women in need. I don’t really know a lot about this ministry, or how it was started, but when I do know I’ll be sure to share. Ted and I will be heading this project up for Friday, Saturday, and Monday and then be joining the rest of the team for the other project.

We will be staying here in Chiang Rai for two weeks, and then be heading back to Bangkok for debriefing students, and some more outreach opportunities.

I’m not sure if I’ve shared this before, but Ted is actually friends with the guy that is working with the two projects here. His name is Casey Wright and he went on outreach with Ted to Bolivia in summer of 04. Casey has been in Thailand for a little over three years, speaks fluent Thai, and is married to a beautiful Thai woman named Pirateh. He was married a month after Ted and I, and they are now expecting a baby! So it has been pretty nice to see Casey again for Ted.

A few quick prayer request for Ted and I, and the team…
Please pray forTed and I for time to spend with each other and really be able to talk about the trip.
For our future plans. We have A LOT of plans, and a lot of time for them all I’m sure. Please pray for more guidance in when to go where…
For our team, please pray that we would be more focused, not getting to distracted with things.
Please pray for team unity, which is good, but we all could be more loving and selfless…
Also for sickness, our team has had random sicknesses, and spreading them like wildfire.
I am still not doing the best, stomach is a little better, but now I have a cough and fluid in my lungs. Which is the last thing we expected to get in Thailand…a cold!

We love you all and miss you!
Jami Joann (&Ted)

Fun fact; public display of affection is not common here in Thailand, even with a husband and wife. Hand holding is okay, but usually the most loving thing for a Thai to do in public, to show affection, (which i think it incredibly adorable) is to lean over and slightly sniff the persons cheek! Ted and I have been putting this to practice and most of the time end up just laughing…

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