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Thailand June Trip Update June 7

Every day we identify more things we take for granted back home. Today we realized how easy it is for us to take the time to drive somewhere for the mere pleasure of a restaurant, sporting event, museum, or another similar outing.

The women on staff at UHDP have all of their basic needs met, access to computers, and jobs that require them to interact with people from around the world.  Compared to many women in this country, they are  "well off," but they still work tirelessly - day after day - like so many women across the globe who serve as missionaries or local aid workers. Spending time and money to do something special just for themselves is rare.  Our presence here as solely a women's group has provided a unique opportunity for the UHDP women not only to assume leadership roles but also to enjoy the luxury of planning and PARTICIPATING in a day trip merely for pleasure. They have been giddy about it for weeks!

After a walk through the weekly market in the nearby city of Fang, we stopped at a 7-11, where they bought a bag of American chips (with sushi, shrimp, and seaweed flavors?!) for the road.  We introduced them to the phrase "It's a Girls' Day," which they found humorous, and we headed farther up into the mountains to Maesalong. This is an area with much Chinese influence and a higher standard of living... not to mention STUNNING views!  The air was much cooler after a hard rain, which was a wonderful relief. We ate a family-style lunch at a Chinese restaurant and then drove to the beautiful grounds outside of town where the restaurant's owner grows her own tea. (Perhaps the highlight of that spot was teaching Loulla how to take a selfie!)










Our next stop was a resort with beautiful gardens, followed by a visit to a factory where award-winning Chinese tea is grown and processed. While we couldn't enter the factory, we walked through the fields, were shown exactly how to brew the tea leaves, and sampled several kinds of tea.  We then drove to a museum/memorial that honors Chinese soldiers who have sacrificed their lives on behalf of Thailand in its war against Myanmar.












On our way home we walked through a small vineyard as the sun began to set, and our special day ended with dinner in an open-air restaurant on the Makos River. After dinner Pi Maow, the woman who had planned our day, told us this is the first time they've ever had an all women's, Christian group come to UHDP, and she felt God had brought our two small groups of Thai and American women together.  There were moments when we Americans felt a little guilty calling an entire day of pleasure "mission work." But Pi Maow's comment and the chatter and laughter of the Thai women all the way home reminded us that "Sabbath" is necessary - not a guilty pleasure, and we were so honored to be a part of these special ladies' Sabbath experience.







As with any group trip, we are adding daily to our list of "behind the scenes moments" and funny memories. One that brought us the hardest laughter today was our group effort in finding and eliminating an excessively large spider from our room. We're willing to put up with a lot of critters here, but this was NOT going to be one of them!

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