Follow the Journey Team to Thailand
Just to put a bow on it, we’re back! We thank the Lord for a smooth trip back. Other than fighting jetlag, we’re each ready to take on the summer. One last time, thanks SO much for your prayers for the team!Dr. Ed
It’s now Saturday night here, our last full day in Thailand. We spent the day debriefing the trip and having fun at a limestone waterfall and the “houseboats.” It was a great way to wrap up a fantastic trip. Tomorrow, we’ll go to church, finish packing and head off to the airport. We depart at 5:45pm (6:45am on the East Coast in the USA) and land at JFK late Monday morning. Please pray for safe and uneventful travel.
What a blessing it has been to have these nine precious students with Carol and me. Today, we talked about how to make this part of a process and not an event in all of our lives. You who have been praying for us can continue to be a part of what God is doing in each person’s life through your prayers and encouragement. Thanks.
In this together for God’s glory, Ed (aka Dr. Ed)
Sawasdii Kha! Greetings from hot and sticky Chiang Mai! I am Carol, Dr. Ed’s wife, and it has been my privilege to introduce this team to a place very dear to my heart.
We carried 300 lb. of “goodie’s” over here for missionaries, and today Ed and the guys delivered the last of those items. It included things such as homeschool curriculum and books, vitamins, deodorant, sippy cups, clothing, underwear, peanut butter, pretzels, and chocolate chips. We even carried the original birth certificates and wedding license of a couple in order for them to get a new visa. This carrier service is a valuable ministry to foreigners working here. We were on the receiving end many times and were glad that we could return the favor this time. The guys also loaded up boxes with 300 lb. of items to carry back for a missionary family that is relocating to another country, but needed to get some things back to the US.
While the guys were sweating away, I decided to take the girls for pedicures. Mani/pedis are inexpensive and common here, so this treat was a nice cultural experience. We spent 3 hours in the family owned salon and chatted with the various family members who were coming and going. And we learned the Thai word for ticklish!
While the team spent the afternoon and early evening serving again at Garden of Hope, Ed and I took the time to visit with some very dear friends. We first stopped by the grilled chicken stand at a local market to see our former house helper, Pii Jon Thip, and her husband. Pii Jon Thip was in our home almost every day for 12 years and likely had the most realistic picture of our family. She served us faithfully and we love her dearly. She came to Christ during our first year in Thailand and is a strong believer sharing Christ with everyone she can. Tears came quickly as we said goodbye again. We pray that Pii Jon Thip will be able to see fruit from the seeds she sows.
We then spent a few hours with dear American friends that have become like family to us. We spent many years together in ministry and even though we hadn’t been together for almost two years, it was like no time had passed. After a few sweet hours it was time to say good bye again. This is a tiny peek into the emotional ups and downs of missionary life.
We met up with the team and introduced them to Indian food. We had a fun time around the table and have come to really enjoy each other. These students have embraced life here and are now able to get around on their own, use a little bit of language to shop, and understand some of the beautiful, but spiritually lost, Thai culture.Thanks for praying. That is our lifeline!
Hello friends and family! My name is Marisa Biddings. I’m so grateful to be on this trip especially because I am no longer at student at LBC. I actually graduated from LBC (with a TESOL degree) just a few short days before we headed off to Thailand.
I was so excited when I found out that I got to do the update for today! For any of you who know me at all, you probably know that I love animals. Today we had a relaxing and enjoyable time hanging out with some furry friends (and some animals too! …haha).
We awoke rather early in the morning and were on the road by 7am. Our destination: Elephant Camp. We decided to kill two birds with one stone and beat both the heat and the crowds by heading out bright and early. Although some of us were a bit “bright eyed and bushy tailed” during the van ride over, we soon awoke completely when we saw the gigantic elephants. The best part is – we were the first ones there! We had front row seats to watch the trainers bathe the elephants, and we also were able to feed them bananas and sugar cane. A few of us posed for pictures as well when the elephants wrapped their big trunks around us like old friends. Next, we paired up to ride the elephants. Two people were able to sit in a seat strapped on top of the larger than life elephants. We all climbed aboard and went on an adventurous trek around camp. My elephant was very slow because he kept stopping to eat. I wasn’t too impatient because honestly I would do the same thing if I were him. They always say that “slow and steady wins the race” and although my elephant didn’t win, I definitely enjoyed a chance to admire God’s creation from a different height and at a different pace. After our ride, we went to the elephant nursery and saw two babies who were around a year old. Let’s just say that they ate a LOT of bananas today. Next, we got great front row seats for the elephant show. We smiled and laughed as the elephants played kazoos, played soccer, and even painted pictures right in front of us. The day could have ended right there and we would have been beyond happy.
The day continued, though. Our next stop was Tiger Kingdom. Please know right now that after a day of playing with elephants and tigers, your children are all safe. So read on in peace J At Tiger Kingdom we were able to pick a size of tiger that we wanted to observe and pet. While Simon picked the biggest tiger, the rest of us were suckers for the babies. We went to the “smallest tigers” and were able to pet them, lay down with them, and pose for plenty of pictures. Again I reassure you – we are all safe. I can’t promise that we won’t smuggle back any baby tigers back with us though.
When we returned back to our guest house, we were thrilled to discover that we had a few hours before we were to be anywhere! We all got some much needed rest and were rejuvenated when we met up a few hours later.
Around dinner time we headed to the home of Hamme family. It was really nice hearing their story and also discovering that they are LBC grads like myself. We were joined by two other missionary families for dinner. Dinner was delicious, but I am not even going to try to remember the name of everything that we ate. The food was actually prepared by the Scheuerman’s helper from when they lived in Thailand. Now I see why they were in Thailand for 12 years! Just kidding, but in all seriousness we were all beyond full. After the meal, we were able to hear more from all of the missionaries and their families. It was great getting advice from them, and it was especially neat because all three families were in different stages of life but were all able to give very applicable advice to all of us.
Once we got back to our guest house, a few of us decided to head to the night bazaar. While we were at one of the stalls, the vendor approached us and pointed to Olivia’s shirt (it said Lancaster Bible College on it). He told us that he went to a Bible college here in Chiang Mai. We were so excited to meet a fellow believer randomly on the street and it was a great closing to our night.Thanks for praying for us – your support means so much to us all. Tomorrow is our last day of ministry so your prayers will be much appreciated. Please pray that we finish strong.
Sawasdii Kha! My name is Beth Kerstetter, and I just finished my freshman year in the Intercultural Studies program at LBC. This is my first overseas missions trip, and I am so excited! We are all having such a good time experiencing the culture and seeing God work not only in our lives but also in the lives of the people here.
Late last night a group of us were up playing cards in our free time and eventually we started talking about our testimonies and what has happened to us in the past. Although we have all had different struggles in the past we were all able to relate to each other. We were able to encourage each other and pray for one another. We have built such good relationships here it is almost like we have another family. I can’t wait to see what it will be like when I am on the mission field more permanently and have a team that I will be with for a longer period of time. Last night was probably the most encouraging part of the trip for me.
Today we went to tour Grace International School. This school is mainly for missionary kids mainly so that the family can stay on the mission field and also have their children get a good education. The students’ parents are doing all different types of ministries in many different countries. This school is such a blessing for many families. Later this afternoon we went to the home of Lowell and Debbie Stutzman who have been missionaries in Chiang Mai for 12 years. We did a prayer walk around their neighborhood and heard their testimonies. They were able to give a lot of advice for all of us as we are preparing, God willing, to go on the mission field.
One of the main things I have learned on this trip is that Testimonies are such a powerful thing. You may think that yours is plain or boring but there is no such thing. You were once lost and by the grace of God now you are found. There is nothing plain or boring about that, so don’t be afraid to share your story, you never know what seeds might be planted or who you might affect.Please continue to pray for the team. We all seem to be in good health now so pray that it continues and that we are able to get good rest so we can keep doing what God has called us to do. Thanks so much for your continued prayer and support! God Bless.
Beth KerstetterP.S. Miss you Dad, Mom and Kenny! And don’t worry, I am in good health! Stop worrying!
Sawat dee ka! My name is Sarah Alderfer, and I am studying TESOL at LBC, which is ‘Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages’. I just finished my first year there, and I am looking forward to sophomore year! We have all been having such a great time here in Chiang Mai. It is so amazing to experience the culture and also see the city’s need for Christ.
Hello everyone! My name is Kayla Weaser, and I am currently a high school senior at Middletown Area High School, about to graduate on June 6 and then attend my first year at Lancaster Bible College in the Intercultural Studies major. I have been on two mission trips in the past, one to Quebec, Canada and one to Miami, Florida with my church Cornerstone Baptist Church. It was on those two trips that I really saw that God was leading me towards missions, even after only being a Christian for two years. God helped me get past my fears and I now have a passion for reaching the lost and also ministering to people who are already Christians. So when this opportunity opened up to go to Thailand, through much prayer I realized that God wanted me to go on this trip, and while here God has opened up so many doors and has also opened up my eyes to some life changing things.
Today was a very reflective day for me, and for much of the team. In the morning we went on a prayer walk around the old city walls of Chiang Mai and prayed for the city, people we saw on the streets, for women involved in prostitution in the Red Light District, the lost people who are stuck in emptiness of Buddhism and more. We walked for a good hour and it was a special time for us as we were in our small groups, reflecting again on the needs of the city and of Thailand in general. Later on in the evening we went to Im Jai Orphanage where we split up into groups and taught some English to the staff, children, and teens that live there.
Today was especially impacting to me as we did our prayer walk and we prayed for many of the needs of Chiang Mai and the people of Thailand. In America we have so much, and like anywhere else there is crime and immorality and pain, but we have so much in the States that we take for granted. It’s like we know that we ought to be thankful to God for all that we have because we have so much more, but we block that out and allow ourselves to get wrapped up in our own little world and that becomes all that matters.Thank you all for your interest in our team, and thank you to all my supporters as you allowed God to use you to make this trip possible for me. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. Please continue to pray that God would use us to sow some seeds and make an impact in this short time that we are here. I’m learning the complexity of serving in a country where Buddhism is so prominent, and it takes much time to reach people. In America, most people know who God is and they know that there’s a Heaven and Hell, so it’s easier to explain the Gospel and be a witness. Here, most people are brought up in Buddhism and have no idea. Please continue to pray for safety of our team, the health of us all as it is common for foreigners to experience a twenty-four hour sickness while adjusting to a new country, and for God to work in us as individuals.
Sawat di khrap! Hello everyone! My name is Drew Grove, and I have just finished my first year in the Intercultural studies program at LBC. This is my very first trip overseas, and I am so touched by what God is doing in my life here in Thailand as well as everyone else’s. Today, we went to the church in Wiang Kaen. This allowed me to see that no matter where you are in the world, you can still praise God.
Dr. Ed was given the opportunity to preach at the church today while being assisted by one of our translators, Carla. It was very neat to see the people react to the message, especially three of the other college–aged translators that came along with us for the time in the village. This was their very first time in a church, so it was a blessing from God to allow us to reach out to them as well as the villagers.
We left following the service in the van that we rented. We got to make a great connection with the driver, Dan, and he was able to give us insight on some Buddhist traditions. Throughout this whole experience, not just the village trip, I have been able to see how empty the Buddhist religion is. There was a temple that we saw yesterday that had hands coming out of the ponds to symbolize the people stuck in Hell. If only they knew that they are all facing the same exact fate.Tonight we were able to go to Walking street market and get some really neat things! Please continue to pray for God to show us his will while we are here. Also pray for the team tomorrow as we pray around the city moat and visit an orphanage. Again, thanks so much for your prayers and support as we could not make this trip happen without them!
Hello! My name is Jess Hoffard, and I’m now a junior in the Intercultural Studies program at LBC. This is my first trip overseas, and I have to say that God is totally working in everyone’s life! Today we left bright and early for the village of Wiang Kaen, where we spent a lot of time playing with the children and teens of the village. It’s about a 5 hour drive, but it was a bit longer since we were stopping every once and a while for pictures along the way. It was a great team bonding experience on the way to the village!
While in the village I was totally pushed out of my comfort zone, and it was incredible! The villagers knew very little English, so we had to rely on translators as well as gesturing what we were trying to say. The team did a lot of sports with the children, soccer especially. It was such a blessing seeing the little boys of the village play with the guys in our team. I got to make friends with a little girl in the village, and she had a blast taking my picture and photo-shopping funny images into it. It’s amazing how universal some things are! The weather was nice and cool in the evening, and there was a barbeque celebrating Dr. Ed’s birthday at the end of the day. We were very tired but filled up with joy by bedtime!
For those who are praying, please continue to pray for the general health of the team. The weather is a lot hotter than it is at home, and it’s safe to say that most of us have been feeling some minor effects. We’re fine, but keep praying! Also, please pray for us that we are able to be good communicators to the people we are in contact with, and that we (myself especially!) will have the courage to get out of our comfort zones!
Again, thank you for your prayers, because we couldn’t do it without them! -Jess Hoffard
My name is Simon Wilhelm, and I am a freshman in the Intercultural Studies Department. Today was a VERY full and busy day. The guys’ day started off with a bang when two of the girls came to our room asking us to kill a giant cockroach that had invaded their bathroom. After this lovely morning wakeup call the whole team headed over to Dr. Ed and Carol’s room for breakfast and devotions. One of the main points of the bible studies so far is that God is a missions minded God. He wants to spread His name over all the earth and will aid those who are willing to follow his will.
It was with this encouraging word that we set out into the day before us. The first thing on the agenda was to visit two of the main markets in Chaing Mai. The food markets are a true experience of Thai culture, meat hanging in the open air, exotic fruits in enormous piles, and even some lovely crunchy bugs to be tasted (not everyone’s favorite). The fruit here is so fresh and juicy it will be hard to find something to compare with it back home. I think I can say that everyone really fell in love with the markets here along with everything else, I’m not sure that anyone will want to come home!
After the markets we came back to the guest house, freshened up a bit and then walked to a small restaurant down the street for a wonderful Thai food lunch. Then we started to prepare for the main focus of the day. Before the team had even gotten to Thailand it had been planned that we would have an “old west” themed party with some students from Chaing Mai University. Preparing for the party was a little bit stressful at times like when a few of us went on a shopping run for supplies and found that we had forgotten most of the money. However, we made due and everything turned out all right in the end.
We prepared several different games and activities for the students to participate in and everything went wonderfully. They all started to trickle in at 7:30. They warmed up to us very quickly and were able to speak a fair amount of English so we could actually communicate pretty well. We started into the activities, and it was wonderful to see the smiles and hear their laughter as they threw themselves into everything we gave for them to do. Square dancing was a big hit, and they were all pretty good at it too. After all the games had been played there was a time where we could simply hangout with all the students and talk with them. They asked so many different questions about us and our homes and there was a general sense of joy in the air. We finished off the evening with a couple rounds of Wii Just Dance which really wore everyone out. It was a truly amazing experience that I don’t think I can adequately explain!
We all go to bed now with full hearts and minds eagerly looking forward to what tomorrow may bring.Thank you all once again for all that you have done for us through prayer and financial support.
Hello, my name is Bradley Wilcox. I am an Intercultural Studies major and one of the many freshmen on this trip. Today our team had a rather packed day. We started out doing team devotions on Joshua 3 before we started our day.
Next, we had breakfast at the Dailycious café near our guest house. Many of us agreed we could tell how fresh the food was and how much better we felt eating it.
Next was our tour of Chiang Mai and some of the major landmarks such as the Chiang Mai University, the oldest Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai, and one of the city gates. (photo)
Then we helped out at the Garden of Hope with children who were at risk of being recruited into the sex industry. We had a blast with those kids! Lastly, we finished the day going to the night bazaar and tried our best at the bargaining method which each Thai booth uses.
In all of the busyness, I was struck with many thoughts today, especially on our tour of the city in the tuk tuks. When we visited the temples, as you walked in you could feel the emptiness of Buddha worship. As you see in the picture, they are merely serving and bowing to an idol made by man. You could not help but feel a burden for those people so lost in idol worship and tradition. Another of my thoughts was at the Garden of Hope. Something Dr. Ed said to us after we had a little fun warming up to the kids stuck with me. He said “See, you don’t need a language.” He was right. Hand motions and facial expressions were just enough to show these kids love, not to mention the love they returned to us. So as the team ends the day and finally gives in to jet lag, please be praying that tomorrow’s ventures and events occur how and when God would have them to and for the strength of the team as we hopefully are done fighting jet lag. Blessings from the team and thanks as well for the prayers.
Sincerely, Bradley WilcoxP.S. Happy Birthday Dad! Thanks for all the support in me chasing my dream even if it happens to be halfway across the world right now. Couldn’t have done it (or anything else for that matter) without you. Love you!
Greetings from Chiang Mai, Thailand!
My name is Olivia Brokenshire, and I am an Intercultural Studies major. This is my very first time overseas, and I am so excited, it doesn’t even feel real. But, it all started to sink in a few hours ago when jetlag was hitting me pretty hard, but we were all told in order to fight back with it, we would have to stay up until 8pm, I even stayed up an hour later!
Our trip started Sunday evening around 5pm where we gathered at the Scheuerman’s house. There, we weighed our luggage and prepared our ministry event that we would be throwing. I know for me personally, it stated to really sink in that I was going to Thailand when we stated brainstorming ideas for the activities. One of our themes is a Western theme, and I am so excited to see how that will be put together for the University Thai students. Fast forwarding a little bit, while flying we made a few friends along the way. While our layover in Frankfurt, Germany, Simon who was not like the rest of us trying to put in a power nap, was laying down across the chairs making faces with a young boy. It was fun to see them exchange facial expressions while waiting for our flight to Singapore. Then again on our flight, Drew made friends with a young boy and despite the language barrier; they were able to come up with really neat handshakes with one another. From seeing Simon and Drew it made me realize that you don’t always need words in order to communicate with one another, sometimes you don’t even need words.
Now, fast forwarding some, we finally arrived in Chiang Mai after a total of about 26 hours of flights and layovers we had finally arrived! We loaded up our luggage and made our way to our guest house, which is very awesome! After getting washed up and everything we started our journey to a Buddhist temple up in the mountains. After having only realized that we needed to fix a window on the truck that we were borrowing, the passenger window had shattered, but had not yet fallen out. So, we had to find a place that would replace the window, and having no appointment, we were able to find someone who did it very quickly and did not charge us much, praise the Lord! After the window was fixed we then headed out to dinner at Off’s. There we had very delicious food. After filling up our hungry bellies we then made our way up the mountain to the Buddhist temple. The temple was very neat to see, having never seen one in person before. While there we walked around and prayed for those people there and for our remaining time in Thailand.
I am having a great time, and I am excited to see how God will use everyone on this team the next two weeks. Thank you for those who have been praying and are praying. Please continue to pray for us as we fight back with jetlag, some worse than others, and for our time tomorrow as we do a scavenger hunt with tuk tuk’s and our time at Garden of Hope.
Please pray... The passenger window on the vehicle the team is using is cracked and ready to break. Pray we can find somewhere to get it fixed quickly so that it doesn't eat into our schedule.For everyone to get over jetlag and to be ready for all that God has for us.
This team of nine students and two leaders left JFK Airport this morning at 8:50 am
Please pray… That the team would continue to grow together in unity and love for each other.
For safe travel over the next couple of days. The team arrives in Chiang Mai, Lord willing, just before midnight Tuesday night PA time (Wed. just before lunch in Thailand).That the Lord would work in each person's life to draw us closer to Him.
5.12.13 - 5.27.13
Leaders: Dr. Ed and Carol Scheuerman
Team Members: Sarah Alderfer, Marissa Biddings, Olivia Brokenshire, Andrew Grove, Jessica Hoffard, Elizabeth Kerstetter, Kayla Weaver, Bradley Wilcox, Simon Wilhelm