Today marked another early day taking off on the road at 6:45am. We headed up to a Karen village that is actually the village where Starbucks primarily takes coffee from for their Muan Jai blend. The nickname for the village is “Starbucks village” since Starbucks helps the villagers a lot with machinery and repairs among with other things. Starbucks CEO’s and employees have made the trek to see the village and the farmers.
The trek was a windy one up a mountain and it took ~4.5 hours to get there. Given that we had 6 people, Becky volunteered to sit in the back cab (they have a shell with bench seats in the cab). I thought I’d keep her company and it was fine until we headed up the windy road. That along with the diesel fumes and occasional rain made me queasy. I thought for sure I was going to hurl at the next stop but seven-up and some snacks did the trick. That and going back inside the truck. Poor Becky had to sit outside all by herself. What a trooper! She didn’t mind at all but I still had to apologize for being a weak American.
Early morning today, we read Numbers 14 and prayed that we would know the right timing for our ministry in Thailand because if God is not with us, we’ll fall flat on our face. That may mean waiting until God calls us or acting quickly if God is prompting us. In praying, we felt that we should be seeking spiritual fruit in the ministries we observe and also that we should see spiritually clean waters conducive to spiritual growth in these ministries rather than murky waters. Also, I felt we should look into the eyes of the people, especially the children and see if there is hope in their eyes and also if God was there.
Becky Mann picked us up and brought us to the Integrated Tribal Development Program (ITDP) office. Becky is a strong woman, supportive of her husband’s ministry and displays a strong mother’s love to her children and my sense, is to the teams that come through. Mike and Becky have a neat story with Mike waiting seven years before being able to go to the missions field. His heart was for Thailand. Becky’s for Hong Kong. They got on their knees and surrendered their desires and asked for God’s will. The next day, they got a call telling them that they were able to go to Thailand. They had to make a difficult decision staying in Thailand despite raising a special needs child. Their story is a great testimony of faith.
The Mann’s have been in Thailand as missionaries for 21 years now. It was amazing seeing how their ministry has really exploded. Their vision is to bring people to Christ through development. Their target are the hill tribe people and their work is to bring clean water, toilets, schools, clinics, evangelism and micro-credit enterprises to these people so that they would break out of the cycle of poverty that leads to drug addiction and being exploited for human trafficking. Their ministry is holistic, what Mike calls a ministry of “presence”, meaning that they are there with the villagers for the long haul. The have done projects with multiple villages and with various hill tribe people. There is not really another ministry that does what they do.
They create schools with Christian teachers and send evangelists to these villages to evangelize to the parents and families. They also have a sponsorship program to sponsor the kids to go to these schools. Their clinics are staffed by Christians. Their staff is comprised of hill tribe people who are Christian with many living in the villages to be with the people. Continue reading “Thailand Vision Trip Day 3”→