By Kaylan Randall

His mercies are new every morning…that is a theme that has been on my mind over and over again throughout our outreach. We went on a twelve-day road trip from Chiang Mai, all the way to Laytongku, Thailand. One of the towns that we stayed in was called Umphang (“oom-PAHNG”). We stayed for two nights on our way to Laytongku, and I was continually amazed by the kindness of our hosts and their friends during our time there. We stayed with Oswald and Sriporn, a sweet couple who opened their home to us and helped us translate into Thai and Karen for the duration of our road trip. Their willingness to open their home to twenty-seven foreigners was amazing to me! Not only did they open their home, but they went out of their way to make us comfortable. The first morning, they were up very early to make us a wonderful breakfast that we were all privileged to be able to wake up to. After breakfast, we went to a small village called Cherta (?), where we were able to meet and talk with some of the villagers. They made us a delicious lunch, and after that, they led us to a giant waterfall, and we all had a blast swimming in the pools, and climbing up the falls there. The scenery was so different than what we’re used to, and it was amazing to have some time to soak in the beauty of God’s creation. We hiked back up to the village after that, and we walked down a path that ran through the rice fields, and it was so beautiful. The sun was hitting the fields in the perfect way so that they were just shining.

Once we got back to the village, we put on a kid’s program for the kids who had just arrived home from school. We sang some songs and dances, told them the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den, made lion puppets, and played whack-a-mole. It was such a blast! The kids had so much fun and there was so much joy there. My heart was so full when we left Cherta.

The next day was Thanksgiving! Oswald and Sriporn took us to their neighbor Ning’s house early that morning, and we all spent the day there. Ning and her niece Prim, and Ning’s mother all spent the day cooking a massive Thai meal for dinner. They poured their hearts into serving us and wouldn’t even let us help wash their dishes. The food was amazing, consisting of sticky rice (only made on special occasions), chicken, a sweet coconut soup, coconut mochi balls, pad Thai, french fries, passion fruit, and so many other delicious foods. They also showed some of us girls how to make sticky rice, and Ning’s mother did a Thai dance for us. We performed our drama and Dan presented the gospel to everyone who was there. We ended the night by sending off lanterns with them. It was such a sweet time of celebrating and I was so humbled by all of the time and effort that they put into blessing each of us and making us feel loved and at home. It was a good time of rest and reflection on the trip so far, and it is definitely going down in the books as one of my favorite Thanksgivings! I loved Umphang!