By Dawnita Franklin
Sunday started out like any other morning in Beung Klung, Thailand; a cold bucket shower, instant coffee and a bountiful breakfast prepared by our kind hosts…What happened the rest of the day was entirely unexpected. Our team packed overnight bags and piled into two trucks only being told we were going to a house church before going to the next undisclosed location. Being led by our host Eliya on bumpy dirt roads into the jungle we became more perplexed the longer the ride became. Pretty soon we realized that the rest of our team took a different turn, we were assured they would be OK and continued our trek observing the beautiful creation all around us but still unsure where we were going. Eventually we ended up at a house where our Karen friends starting gathering things and packing up the truck. It was clear to us that they had a plan and we trusted them as they led us further and suddenly Eliya came out in front of us in a tractor.. What? finally we reached a creek, where our friends got busy setting up camp which included moving bamboo and clearing brush with his tractor. We were still quite baffled as we attempted to catch crawdad and tiny fish assuming we were working for our dinner.
This is when the rest of our team drove up with shouts of joy and tales of running a church service, not knowing where we were, and dusty roads. Before we knew it our Karen friends had built us an elevated wood floor with bamboo poles holding up tarp for a sleeping area, a circus tent for our dining area and they even made us a bathroom!
For dinner we had chicken soup made with a chicken that we had seen alive with feathers and all just 2 short hours before. The night ended with singing around the campfire drinking birdie (instant coffee) Out of freshly cut bamboo cups. At first I felt super out of my comfort zone but then as things unfolded I began to realize these people were going out of their way to give us a spectacular last night in the jungle and live a little more like them…What serving, kind hearts these people have! We all went to bed feeling thankful and very loved. Something that was a fun adventure for us is many of these people’s lives, running from the enemy making camp wherever and sleeping restlessly. Really puts things into perspective.
Monday morning rolled around and once again we were made a huge breakfast, including fried banana flowers, crawdads and frog. Frog legs really do taste like chicken!
We packed up camp and stopped at the house to pray before making the long trip back to the village. We made several stops at little schools in the middle of nowhere where they had never seen white people before!
We sang songs and prayed with those children. We had a chance to make a lasting impression on them, I am praying that that impression was one of love and that they will grow in the knowledge of Christ. At long last we made it back to Beung Klung, exhausted and hungry but hearts full. Soon we sang one last time with Eliya and his family and said farewell, and made our way to Umphang, our first leg of the journey HOME. I am so thankful for the people here and back home and all God is doing in and through this team.