Missions Trip Day 1 & 2: The Journey

So blessed to have been on this medical missions trip to Thailand and the Philippines. Follow the team on Facebook.

We met at the airport on Tuesday, May 21st at 8:30pm. Our flight was actually after midnight on Wednesday, the 22nd. To make matters more complicated, we lost a day (Thursday) during our travels.

We were awakened at 1am by dinner service. Philippine Airlines pilot Captain Percival a.k.a. “Mr. Sunshine” was making his final flight after 35 yrs. of service. He nailed the landing perfectly, to the cheers of the passengers.

After a 10-hour flight to Manila, we had a 3-hour layover before a 3-hour flight to Bangkok. We were greeted there by Pastor Goi and Yo. We were also greeted by the most incredible humidity that I’ve ever experienced in my life. It felt as if you were standing in the sun with a hair dryer blowing on your face.


Soon we arrived at the Kantary House Hotel just outside of Bangkok.


Thank God Bang Kapi was not as hot and humid as Bangkok. Only 99˙. We rested and had our team devotions.


Here’s a street vendor outside of our hotel. I was advised not to eat the street food due to parasites. Bummer….


We walked across the bridge to the Bang Kapi Mall. Here’s a water taxi.


I had sour spicy noodle soup, chicken rice (khao mun gai,) and braised pigs feet. So ono. Tomorrow we travel to Mae Sot. Can’t believe I’m here. Thank you Jesus.

Missions Trip Day 3: Road Trip

After devotions, we had breakfast at the hotel (included.) I really like Thai rice soup w/ pork bones & spicy toppings. I especially like the fish sauce that has garlic, chili, cilantro, and lime. I’m also learning to eat with a spoon in my right hand and a fork in my left.


Here is our bus for the 7-hour drive to Mae Sot. And here is our team (L to R:) me, Lisa “LT,” Tracy, Janine, Steve, Jeannie, Sam, and Jeremy “Jerms.” Sawadee Kha!


This is what most of the drive looked like. We would occasionally come across rice fields and skinny cows.


This is what I had at each rest stop. Cha yen! This is iced Thai tea with condensed milk. Hits the spot on a 98˙ day. The first Thai phrases that I learned were cha yen and hong nam (toilet.)


Here is our driver “Joe.” He drives much like Indiana Jones. He overtook buses and played “chicken” with oncoming traffic.


We arrived at the Poonnagunn Hotel in one piece. We were greeted in the parking lot with great service.


Dinner was at the T. Corner with Pastor John Somphon, President of Foursquare Thailand and his wife Pastor Sara, Pastor Dear, Pastor Neil, and his wife Diana. The food was incredibly flavorful. Although Thai food is spicy, it is always balanced with sweet, sour, spicy, & savory. Not all chilis have heat, but they all add flavor. This Yin and Yang style of cooking is so delicious!


Later, our team went for a Thai massage. It cost around $7 for a full hour. I knew that I was in trouble as soon as I got “grandma.” (I assumed she was like a kung fu master, and I was right.) She pulled, stretched, and yanked me in every direction. It resembled jiu jitsu armbars and omoplatas. Her hands were so strong, she could’ve taken my life at any moment. Thank God she showed me mercy….

Missions Trip Day 4: Never Be the Same

Saturday was our clinic day. After breakfast and devotions, we headed over to Foursquare Church Maesot. No, we traveled by van.


Here is the outside of the church. Our clinic serviced the children and families of the surrounding neighborhood.


We set up stations to treat wounds, take vitals, and pass out medicine.


My job was to make party balloon animals. As you can see, I had no idea what I was doing.


Fortunately, the kids didn’t seem to mind.


After lunch, I had my first taste of the dreaded durian fruit. I couldn’t smell it that much. It tasted fine. It sort of tasted like mango. What was disgusting was the texture. It oozed between my fingers like organ meat and left a residue like pond scum. Still, I’d take durian over vegemite any day.


We then toured the church grounds. Here is their school, the Elpis Center. I was stunned to see the fencing and the concrete floors.


Then we visited the safe house. This was when something inside of me broke. And I’ll never be the same again.


There are not enough beds for the children. They each have only two sets of clothes. They have been rescued from something far worse than poverty, but have not yet been rescued from poverty.

When we prayed over the girls, the word that God gave me was “princesses.” Though the world has discarded them, they are God’s precious daughters. They are princesses, and that’s the word I prayed.

Missions Trip Day 5: Pressed on Every Side

….but not crushed. 2 Corinthians 4:8

We were awaken at 5:30am to learn that our team leader Sam and team member Tracy were sick. They were taken to the hospital by our driver Joe. Our team immediately prayed. Steve and Tracy returned at around 7am. Later, Jeannie accompanied Sam back to Bangkok via airplane. Our team continued on to Foursquare Church Maesot for Sunday service.

Photo courtesy of Pastor Mike Arter.
Photo courtesy of Pastor Mike Arter

I was blessed to give my testimony, along with Tracy and Janine. Pastor Dear served as our interpreter. I learned that jokes don’t always translate smoothly….

After service, the church fed everyone. The home cooked meal was great. We also listened to Pastor John’s amazing testimony. That was a definite highlight.


After lunch, we visited the Home of Hope Orphanage.


Again, it was very emotional to see. Our team donated money to fund an additional bunk bed.


Janine led an arts & crafts activity, and we passed out donated clothing. They sang a beautiful song for us. This pic says it all.


Later in the afternoon, Diana took us to a marketplace along the Myanmar border.


There was a variety of cultures, goods, and smells.


We had dinner at CasaMia. I had Burmese curry with potatoes, seafood pad thai, and a plate of rice. All this food cost about $3.25.

Team continued to pray for Sam as Lisa kept us up to date.

Missions Trip Day 6: Head for the Hills

The team decided to continue the mission to serve the Hill Tribes. We met at the Foursquare Church early Monday morning. The drive was about 3 hours, most of it off-road.


We passed a few villages along the way.


Here is the new church where we did the clinic (and slept over.)


Not quite the Ritz-Carlton. This hong nam is quaint to say the least. The shower? What shower? We used baby wipes.


Our clinic serviced the entire village. Everyone walked over.


My job was to assist with the pharmacy.


Pastor John took us up to the top of the mountains for cell phone reception where we received the good news about Sam’s condition.


Pastor Sara and the students prepared all of the meals in the hills.

The sweet pork on sticky rice was wonderful.

I led devotions today. The word I received (prior to the trip) was “authority” from Matthew 28:18 (the verse before the famous Matthew 28:19.) “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth.” We are not in enemy territory. If Jesus has all authority, then the enemy has none.

An injured villager came by with a gash on his head from a fallen post. Lisa and Steve were able to care for him. Without proper supplies, our prayers were answered in the form of a tube of DermaBond.

Pastor John’s students set up the lights and chairs for the evening’s evangelism service (variety show, testimonies, etc.) in no time flat. Love those fluorescent green chairs. At the end of the service, it began to rain hard. I crawled under a tarp along with some of the Hill Tribe kids. We shared a laugh together. It was quite a moment.


During break down, our friend Rahchon started collecting bugs. This one bites. We were looking for crickets (cicadas) and beetles. The crickets sound like a cross between a coqui frog and an airplane. They’re unbelievably loud. Kids catch them and play with them like toys.

Sleeping in a jungle is tough. With all of the bugs, monkeys, and commotion, it is nearly impossible. Imagine sleeping with your alarm clock going off all night. At least it was a little cooler in the mountains.