Creston Team in Thailand – Days 10-13

Today started early as the Lutheran Hour Ministries Thailand (LHMT) team and the Creston team loaded everything into the 2 vans and started their 90-minute trip to the Udon Thani airport.  In addition to checking in at the airport by 10:00 a.m. the teams planned to stop at a market where they could buy some souvenirs and Thai-style clothing.  All of the Creston team members found good bargains on beautiful clothing that will be good memories of their time serving in Thailand.

After arriving back at TK Palace Hotel in Bangkok in the middle of the afternoon, the team had free time.  Some took advantage of the time to catch up on some much needed rest.  A few of the team members walked to the Into Light Center to help with the afternoon English classes.  It was great to see them continue to have energy and interest in doing ministry activities in addition to those on the schedule.

DAY 11

The Creston team during worship

The Creston team during worship

Creston team with Concordia Into Light Lutheran Church members

Creston team with Concordia Into Light Lutheran Church members

The members of Concordia Into Light Lutheran Church enjoyed having the Creston team join them for worship this morning.  Vicar Kyle preached the sermon and shared an encouraging message about what his team learned about serving during their time in Thailand.  During the lunch that was provided by the congregation following the worship, the Creston team had a chance to talk personally with some of the church members and to share some of their experiences at the eyeglass clinic and schools in Nong Khai Province during the previous week.

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At 4:00 p.m. the LHMT director and her husband met the Creston team at their hotel to take them to the Siam Niramit culture show.  The evening began with an opportunity to feed 2 elephants and several team members took a short ride on one of the elephants.  After walking through an area designed to give visitors an idea of what life is like in traditional villages in the different regions of Thailand, they sat down to an extensive international buffet.

After the dinner and a short program of Thai traditional dancing outside, the team joined several thousand other visitors in viewing the 80-minute cultural program in a large auditorium.  All of the team members appreciated the high quality of the program that demonstrated many cultural aspects of Thai society and gave a brief review of Thailand’s history.  As the team arrive back at TK Palace Hotel about 10:30 p.m. they were tired, but excited about all that they had seen and learned during the culture program and all that they had experienced during their time in northern Thailand.

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DAY 12

From mid-morning until early afternoon the Creston team had an opportunity to do some final shopping for souvenirs and gifts to carry back to their family and friends in Montana.  The shopping mall they visited is filled with small shops that mostly carry handicrafts, clothing and other items made in Thailand and that reflect Thai culture.

During the afternoon the team members rested and began the process of packing their suitcases in preparation for their trip back to Montana.

At the end of the farewell dinner

At the end of the farewell dinner

At 6:00 p.m. the Creston team and LHMT team met together at the LHM Thailand building to share in a farewell dinner.  During the meal and the conversations it was easy to see the close bond that has developed between the Thai hosts and their visitors from the United States.  In spite of some language barriers they enjoyed lots of laughs together and even shed some tears together as they expressed their appreciation for each other and the love that has grown between them.  Many fond memories were shared from the time the Creston team arrived in Bangkok, through their time in Nong Khai Province, until this final activity together.

The connection of Christian love and the personal relationships that God had blessed them with were very evident throughout the evening and saying goodbye was very difficult.  As the Creston team and LHMT team looked back on the ministry activities of the previous 2 weeks, it was easy to identify many ways in which the Lord had blessed their time together, had used them to be a blessing to the people in Nong Khai and had worked through them to proclaim God’s love.  Many of them also expressed how they had been blessed, how much they had learned and how much their faith had been strengthened through their time of service in Thailand.  Everyone was unanimous in their agreement that they hoped they would have a chance to see each other again someday.

 

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DAY 13

At the Bangkok airport

At the Bangkok airport

As the vans were packed at 6:00 a.m. for the trip to the Bangkok airport, it was easy to see that they were bulging, but surprising that none of them was over the weight limit of 50 pounds.  Everything went smoothly as the Creston team checked in and received their boarding passes.  All of the LHMT team members were there to say their final farewells and to receive hugs from their new friends from Montana.  Many laughs and humorous antics were mixed with the sadness of separation as the Creston team disappeared from sight.

As our Creston friends endure the long, tiring trip back to their homes, our prayers go with them.  We very much appreciate their time in Thailand and thank God for all that He accomplished through them.  We look forward to seeing how God will use the connections that were made through the eyeglass clinic and school visits in the future.  We already have received contacts from students and adults in Nong Khai with some asking to study the Bible Correspondence Course and to receive additional Gospel tracts and booklets.

We pray for God’s blessing on the Creston team and on their pastor and fellow members at The Church at Creston – Lutheran, as they continue to serve God there.

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