International Ministries

Sandy Michael Volunteers in Thailand

April 6, 2009 Article


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Update January 7, 2009

Happy New Year!      Or      Sawadee Bee My!

I spent Christmas break in Bangkok one week and at Pataya Beach on the Gulf of Thailand the second week.  Larger cities provide more international choices, museums, historical sites, and cultural events.  English is spoken much more than in the north.  I still found people willing to listen to my stumbling Thai and wanting to try to learn more English.  In Chiang Rai speaking some Thai is needed for daily life and not a hobby for leisure time.

            Impressive Thai structures, historical perspective, kings I-IX, mythology as fascinating as that of the Greeks, Thai dancing, and a lifetime quota of Buddha statues filled the first week.  Theres a great zoo with elephant, dolphin, seal shows and a drive through World Safari.  The safari entrance looked like Jurassic Park and the lions, tigers, and bears were really close to the car!  Oh, my!

            Sunday service at the International Church was inspiring.  So many welcoming people and activities planned there that I was wishing I could spend more time with them.  I met Jeff and Annie Dieslberg, ABC missionaries in Bangkok.   I was able to get wipe-off markers and some craft supplies in the city. 

            Since there had not been TV or movies for two months, I really enjoyed the new Disney Bedtime Stories at the theatre in Pataya.  Its just like the one in Bedford with these differences: 1.) choose your seat from an electronic map 2.) stand to honor the King during video review of his good projects 3.) pay only two bucks.  I even had popcorn and a coke! 

            My favorite memory will be a delicious New Years Eve dinner and fireworks on the highest point in the city.  We ate outside watching major fireworks all over the city.  They began at 11:30 and continued 10 or 15 minutes into the New Year!  Hearing English, Thai and German exclamations of Happy New Year from fellow revelers, added to the thrill. 

            As I look at weather on the internet, I see you are mostly cold and sometimes icy.  Here there is no weather to talk about.  Its sunny and comfortably warm each day, all winter.  No rain in winter.  Sorry you are suffering.  

            More bad news for you; the fruits are great here.  There are tangerines, tangelos, and pineapple more tasty than what Ive had back home.  And they are inexpensive.  Less than 25 cents per kilo.   

            Chiang Rai had its annual Flower Festival with landscaped gardens using all sorts of tropical plants including creative uses of water fountains, falls, and wheels. I cant decide whether the lilies, the orchids, or maybe the tulips were my favorites. There were the usual booths with food and each hill tribe had a large area for buildings and displays.  All of this was outdoors, of course, and free.   It was enough to make the Indianapolis Flower and Patio Show jealous..

            I was happy to be back at school teaching these kids!  Respectful, hard working, happy kids!  Now I know you wish you were here!

            The Christian Education Foundation of Chiang Rai is ready to purchase land to build an International Christian School pray for Gods will and leading as they talk with the bank and fill out paperwork for the government.

Update January 3, 2009

The Christmas Party, 2008

Update December 18, 2008

Christmas in Thailand

The Fourth and Fifth Graders

Update November 4

Our school staff and their families enjoyed a retreat at a remote hill country resort that deserves to be featured on the travel channel.  There was a balance of team building activities for the adults with separate fun for the children.  Everyone played in the extra large pool.  There was room for water polo, swimming, or just floating around.  A bonfire for roasting marshmallows was an unusual treat.  You see, you can’t get marshmallows in Thailand.  (I brought these in my suitcase.) We had praise and prayer worship.  The Lord is creating unity in diversity. We enjoyed being together and everyone feels closer. 

Pray for:

Our witness to all students, especially ones from Buddhist families.

Our team working on the paperwork to create a Christian International School here in Chiang Rai

Our committee working to write curriculum

“The LORD you God is in the midst of you, a Mighty One, a Savior who saves!”  Zephaniah 3:17

Update November 6

The elementary department of Family Learning Center of Chiang Rai, Thailand went on a field trip to Doi Tung and the cottage industries.  The King and his mother began a project of reforestation, elimination of opium production in 1988, and creation of legal work for the people that continues to the present day.  So the children explored the garden, learned about weaving, coffee production, pottery making, and paper making industries.  I’m sending a photo of us getting some hands on experience in preparing the spools of yarn for weaving.  The next photo shows my first grade class.  Yes, they are as adorable as they appear! (see slide show above)