The Chang Village.

Oh golly, where to start. . .

Today began with our team heading to church/ministry. This church was specifically designed for the college students from the surrounding areas. This morning Ted led worship, and a student on the team spoke on ‘Holy Love’. I loved the simplicity, once again. He spoke of love, and when we do things, whether it be a large or small, if in love, it is pure, holy. He did great.

Our adventures began as we headed to a Chang (Thai for elephant) Village. We hopped on small boats and headed up river to the village. It was a beautiful 40 minute ride! I’ll post photos as soon as I can, so you too can see the beauty! The mountains here in Chaing Rai are incredibly stunning. True Asian mountains, if you’ve seen the pictures, you know what I mean! In the morning when we travel to work, the mountains are covered with a fog or sometimes smoke from the Thai people burning the rice fields. It is unreal, unlike any of the Rocky Mountains, as amazing as they are.

As we traveled up river, we saw a few elephants in the grass beside us. It was incredible to see such a gigantic beast roam wild! Unbelievable, and f r e e. When we arrived at the village, I didn’t even know where to rest my eyes! There were so many things to see at once. Elephants, large and small, waiting to be ridden, our team checking out these large snakes, and finally, the view.

I personally love the more authentic Thai homes,the covered roofs, the huts and bungalows. Seeing that was amazing in and of itself. We have seen so much of the westernized Thailand, so this was “a sight for sore eyes”.

Before we (Ted & I), could make our way to the Changs, we were stopped, (and stunned), by pythons, boa constructors, and an anaconda. I am not too fearful of snakes, but these were massive! Ted, the manly man he is, wanted to get a photo with one in our arms and around us. At first I stood still, staring at the snake, watching it’s every move as it climbed up one of our brave students. And, then I said, yes. Can you believe that?

As they put the snake on our shoulders, I couldn’t believe the weight of it! And the way the skin felt…um, not too amazing. We stood and smiled for a photo, I was breathing heavily, and we both were doing the “awkward” laugh…you know, the one where you laugh rather shortly and sporadic through your teeth? Yup, that one. I wasn’t too frightened, until the head rose up and came face to face with Ted. Then I kind of panicked, we actually have it on video, and it’s really funny to watch! So if you’re interested…

The best part about watching students hold the snake, was of course, the reaction. One girl in particular, the entire time, was freaking out. I loved her response when someone asked her, why she even did it. She said, I wanted an experience! I think sometimes, it is just fun to step, be brave, and try something new. Even if it’s frightening. I’ve always been somewhat of a daredevil, just ask my family! But Ted, he even frightens me, with the ideas he has!

As Ted and I walked away from the snakes and students laughter, we arrived in a clearing where they had the elephants. I once again, stood stunned. They too were massive. Ted then told me, I want to ride the biggest one they have. Again, I agreed.

As we waited in line, I watched as our students each two by two, got onto the magnificant animals and “took off”, their bodies sliding from one side to the other at the movement of the elephants steps. We waited like children on Christmas morning, no joke. We were the last ones in line, and the elephant that arrived for us to ride, was in fact, one of the biggest ones there.

To me this was no coincidence. God even loves blessing us with the things in life that seem meaningless. Haha! Ted was thrilled, because this one was not only very tall, but it had large tusks.

As we rode, back and forth; back and forth. We videoed the land around us, the people (mostly children), and finally ourselves. We laughed when we watched the video. We are trying to explain the experience in mere words, our bodies moving in the motion of the elephant. It’s rather funny. If we can somehow post the video, we will!

We rode for about 30ish minutes, through a part of the village, and then they took us through the river and back around the the begining. I would most definetly say, that each person on our team, enjoyed this day immensely. Everyone had huge smiles when it was all said and done.

We have learned a lot here, during this past month and one week, in Thailand. We’ve experienced the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ve experienced the times to laugh, the times to cry, the times to pray, and the times to rejoice. Today was a breath of fresh air for me and for Ted personally.

I’ve really been weighed down with what my eyes have seen here. Many of you know, I have a heart and passion for the broken women and children. I long to see them with a light in their eyes, and a freedom in their hearts. It was hard for me to move on from Bangkok, when I wanted to do so much more to help the four girls we met. And the thought that there are more women, than the four broken and missused ones we met…well, it just makes my heart heavy.

Ted and I are planning on bringing an outreach back here, hopefully this summer or in September. Please, please pray for this opportunity to become a reality! We have such a heart to come back, especially now that we have experienced these times.

Well, I need to get going. I’m sorry it’s so long. Thanks for baring with me!

Much Love to you hours away,
Jami Joann & Ted Harlan :)

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