Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thailand Mission Devotion

"Good News in Thailand"
Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

The new United Methodist congregation in Chiang Rai province is in an Akha Tribe village set in the hills of the far north of Thailand, near the border of Burma. There is not a flat piece of land to be found, with huts and small homes clinging to the hillsides.

The Akha village has many seniors and many children, but not many of the middle generations, who must live in the city to work. They are very hard workers; farming in the hills is difficult work. I saw many of the seniors there carrying heavy loads on their backs as they trudged up the steep hills to their homes in the late afternoon.

The older women wear their traditional hat with coins attached as well as traditional Akha clothing. But the older men and the younger generations no longer wear Akha clothing, and instead blend in with Thai culture.

Eating Akha traditional food was an exotic experience. I saw the mother of Pastor Guy going to a tree next to her house. She began scraping the bark from the tree. When I asked what she would do with the bark, everyone told me we would be eating it. Later, one of the dishes, called “Lahp”, was a mixture of bark and meat. It was actually quite good. They don’t use many sauces in their food like Thai people do. Instead they rely on strong natural flavors. One vegetable dish was quite bitter, but was delicious when eaten in combination with other foods.

One thing that interested me was an archway at the side of the road. Pastor Guy said this was the “ghost gate” (see the picture with this article). It was believed by the Akha people who are not Christian that evil spirits would be tricked into going into the Ghost gate, rather than using the road into the village. The Akha people put much effort into protecting themselves from evil spirits. The Akha who are Christian are freed from this fear, because they know Christ is more powerful than any other spirit.

A report from the United Methodist work we sponsor in Thailand as Pastor Guy establishes a church with the Akha.

Prayer Request
Pray for the Good News that is shared in Thailand, for the missionaries and ministers, and for the pastor and church Trinity on the Hill supports.

Trinity Outreach Celebration
February 2-6, 2011
The Trinity Outreach Celebration is held each year to celebrate the giving and service of the church during the previous year in mission and to hear the challenges and opportunities of the coming year in outreach. During TOC 2011 you will hear inspiring messages, uplifting music, mission updates and reports and receive information on ways you may become more active in outreach in 2011.

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