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Burmese Refugee Camp Visit

One week before The Feast of Trumpets the Legacy student body president (Moe Palel), a Legacy Employee (Surachai) and myself (Chris), one of the teachers at Legacy, set out to the western boarder of Thailand to visit with Noh Blay Paw, a lady who is unable to attend the Feast of Tabernacles this year. Noh Blay Paw is the mother of one of the students at Legacy and she lives in a Burmese refugee camp with her husband.

Surachai, Moe Palel and I left Chiang Mai around 8am, and the drive to the town of Khun Yuam took about 8 hours. There we stayed in a hotel that was managed by a friendly Burmese woman with very good English and she was able to give us directions from the hotel to the refugee camp in the mountains. It took us an additional 3 hours of driving from the hotel to the camp, not because of distance, but because the road leading into the camp was extremely bumpy, and if we had not had 4-wheel drive, the truck would have never made it.

(Photo of the road leading to the refugee camp)

(Photo of the road leading to the refugee camp)

Once the three of us made it to the gate of the refugee camp we were greeted by Noh Blay Paw’s husband and he walked us through the camp to the hut where they lived. The hut was quite small. It only had one main room and two small bedrooms.

Photo of Noh Blay Paw’s hut

(Photo of Noh Blay Paw’s hut)

Noh Blay Paw and some village girls served us lunch; which was white rice, a chicken curry dish, noodle and cabbage soup, spicy fried fish and watermelon. After Lunch Moe Palel and I held a bible study with Noh Blay Paw and about 8 other Burmese refugees that came and sat in to listen. Moe Palel spoke about The Feast of Trumpets and I spoke about The Day of Atonement, and Moe Palel translated for me into Burmese. After the bible study we visited with everyone for about two hours, they showed us around the camp, and then we had to get back on the road.

Photo of Myself, a refugee girl, Noh Blay Paw and Moe Palel

(Photo of Myself, a refugee girl, Noh Blay Paw and Moe Palel)

Everyone at the refugee camp that we came in contact with was very friendly and hospitable towards us. They were shy towards myself and Surachai, who is Thai, but seemed to be completely comfortable with Moe Palel, who is Burmese, even though they had never met him before either. Overall, I feel like this was an incredibly successful trip without any major problems. On our way home Moe Palel and I were talking about how much we had each been praying in our heads for God to help us not get stuck on the road leading to the camp, or to not get lost and also for our safety. I think God heard our prayers and he answered all of them.

Photo of Moe Palel and me in front of the Refugee Camp

(Photo of Moe Palel and me in front of the Refugee Camp)

This journey was a learning experience for Myself, Moe Palel and Surachai. None of us had ever seen anything like this refugee camp and the people living there seemed, for the most part, to be very happy with their lives. It really made the three of us appreciate so much more what we have in our lives, and to be thankful for what we do have even though at times we may feel like we could have more.
Happy fall holy days,
-Ajaan Chris

 

NOTE: Chris Collins is a volunteer teacher at Legacy Foundation Leadership Training Project in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He teaches Bible and Public Speaking. This was Chris’s first opportunity to visit the border area of Thailand and Burma.
T. Leon Sexton

Legacy Letter September 2014

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Legacy Letter September 2014

Legacy Letter September 2014

Legacy Letter September 2014

Legacy Letter September 2014

 

Farm Faith

About a month and a half ago I was in the middle of our corn field doing a happy dance. The corn was taller than me and looking so strong! All our hard work had paid off and the corn was growing taller and faster than we had hoped. The following day we show up to the farm and a great amount of the corn had fallen over! I was devastated! The previous night there was a huge storm. The rain flattened out the mounds that the corn root buried itself into and with no foundation; all 7 feet of the corn had fallen over. Also there were some casualties just because the wind was so strong as well. Upon seeing the damage that was done I knew that we needed to fix the problem. So I cancelled planting beans and tending to our other farm in order to keep this corn alive. We went through each row and created stronger rows and mounded them up.  We went in the jungle and cut down 10 foot long sticks to dig in next to each plant and we tied the corn to the stick so it could stand up straight. This process took 3 days to accomplish.

Lacee and Corn Stalk

The students were so excited that the corn stood taller than me!

Students and corn

Hser Nay Paw and Hser Nay Say harvest our 3rd batch of corn. 60 kilos!

During those 3 days I had many different thoughts. I was upset that we had to do this extra work but I was also mad at myself because I had looked at the corn a few days before the storm and noticed some of the corn’s root out of the bed it lay in. I saw that some were flimsy and needed a stick to support it if it was going to get any taller. Instead I figured we could do it another day. I kept putting corn maintenance on the back burner. After I was done with the frustration stage I began to think of the spiritual lessons I am learning as I work on this farm. The day of my happy dance I was amazed at how strong the corn looked and glad at how tall it was getting. It looked great on the outside and we were happy. I felt content even though I saw that the foundation needed help. It looked strong so I thought that it didn’t need any help or encouragement. How wrong I was. Just like in my life, I can fool myself into thinking that I am living a godly life and the way that he wants it. I can pretend to be strong and grounded in His faith, but in reality I know that I have a lot to work on. We all do. We can look so great and godly and strong on the outside but God doesn’t care about that at all! When we see a slight character flaw in us, we aren’t supposed to ignore it for another day! We need to fix it right away or else we are not only going to fail in that part of our life but that character flaw will bring other positive things in our life way way down. When one weakness continues to hinder us, we will see more and more weaknesses creep up and creep up fast! At that point we don’t have one thing to work on, we have a huge web of weaknesses, trials, character flaws and hardships coming our way all because we decided that since we looked pretty righteous on the outside, bettering ourself wasn’t a top priority.

Corn twelve feet

The corn now stands up to 12 feet high!

I am happy to say that today we have harvested our corn 3 times already. The biggest harvest so far was 57 kilos! As we are harvesting we can’t see each other because the corn is so tall and thick. I would say they range from 8-12 feet tall which is great since we were estimating them only growing to about 6 feet! Thankfully we all love corn and are enjoying corn in a lot of meals and corn on the cob late night snacks. All our other crops are doing very well. We have sweet potato, long bean, bush bean, winged bean, cucumbers, squash and watermelon that are truly thriving. We have tons of other plants and veggies that are doing very well too.

Working in the garden

Everyone working hard at the “Old Garden,” clearing a path for more rows

Play in the gerden

Managing to have fun on the farm too!

It is just so amazing how much faith you need to put in God, that He will provide rain, good soil and nutrients and protection. Without all of that, the farm would fail. The land Sabbath begins for our land when the sun goes down for the Feast of Trumpets. That’s tomorrow! We have been doing a lot of extra work on the farm and making sure all of our crops are strong and healthy before we put the farm completely in God’s hands. It will be up to God’s amazing protection and I pray that myself, the other Ajaans’ and the students remain faithful and trust that He will let our crops produce within the next year’s rest! God is good and has delivered so much to us here already! I had no idea we would be harvesting cucumbers everyday! I didn’t know that the corn would produce that much! I didn’t even think that the watermelon would be able to successfully grow here. We are being blessed by God with our farm work and it makes me so entirely happy.

Happy Feast,

Ajaan Lacee Hilgen

 

 

Note: Lacee is a volunteer teacher at Legacy Foundation Leadership Training Project in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  She is the organic gardening teacher even though she has had little experience as a gardener.  But she does have a green thumb and loves to garden.  We all love Lacee’s positive can-do attitude.

T. Leon Sexton

Legacy Letter August 2014

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Pope Francis, Australia, France and England Get Involved

Jerusalem Old City from the Mount of the Olives

Jerusalem

Luke 21:20
And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.

I know that the armies are not yet at Jerusalem’s doorstep (Hamas being the closest so far), but things are beginning to gel for the end time conflict of armies in the Holy Land.  ISIS, now called the Islamic State, is continuing its advance and ethnic cleansing efforts in northern Iraq.  The attacks on Christians and Yazidi minorities continue.  The men are killed.  The women and young girls enslaved.  Children are being beheaded.  Those who do not convert must flee for their lives or die.

The Kurds have opened a corridor to Kurdistan in northern Iraq which they are defending so that the Christians and Yazidis can escape.  But they are outgunned by the more sophisticated American weapons of the ISIS forces that were captured in Mosul, Kirkuk and other areas defended (I use that word loosely!) by the Iraqi Army.  I wonder whose brilliant idea it was to leave all those weapons behind when the U.S. pulled out?  Why didn’t they just blow it all up so it wouldn’t fall into the radical’s hands.  Obviously, the Iraqi Army was incompetent or even complicit in the loss of billions of dollars of modern weapons and ammo.  We are not talking about antiquated M-16s.  ISIS got howitzers, armored Humvees, rockets, and enough arms and ammunition to supply an army of 200,000!    Now U.S. arms and ammunition are being used to murder Christians and other minorities – men, women and children.  Contrary to all logic, the U.S. arms its own enemies.  Thankfully, the Kurds are there to help save some.

The U.S. has been dropping food, water and tents to those surrounded and trapped on Mt. Sinjar.  Then the U.S. planned a rescue mission – then they didn’t.  But at least half of the 40,000 Yazidis trapped on the mountain have escaped through the Kurdish corridor into Kurdistan.  The Kurds crossed over from Syria and fought their way to the trapped refugees and created the escape route.  We should thank God for the Kurds.  Old men and young boys have taken up arms and joined the Kurdish Peshmerga regulars to fight ISIS and save the fleeing and starving refugees still trapped and not yet able to make it to the Kurdish Corridor.

(Please see http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/10/kurdish-rebels-yazidi-iraq-isis for a very good update on the situation in northern Iraq entitled, Iraq: US plans rescue mission for besieged Yazidi refugees.”)

The British joined the U.S. in dropping supplies.  The French have decided to now join[1] and are preparing to also airdrop supplies of food and water to the fleeing refugees and those who have already made it to Kurdish cities.

The U.S. has finally started ratcheting up it’s, up until now, pin-prick bombing strikes on some ISIS targets[2] and is weighing the option of sending Special Forces to fight ISIS.  The problem as usual is the U.S. administration has dithered around “weighing options” while children have been getting their heads chopped off, little girls getting raped, and ISIS’ power continuing to grow.  It will be much harder to deal with them now.

The U.S. Congress should be outraged that we have not done something sooner.  What if the U.S. would have helped stop Hitler at the beginning?  Thousands of young American men and women would not have died.  What if the U.S. would have stopped Hitler before the extermination of the Jews of Europe really got under way?  Where have been the intense and non-stop cries to save these poor children?  Doesn’t anyone care anymore?  As a people, it appears we have lost our moral compass.  Could that be because we are too busy removing Bibles from Navy desks and the 10 Commandments from our government buildings and parks?

Wake up America.  This is what happens when you kick God out!  Women and children are butchered, Christians are crucified.  Innocent people are dying, and the President and the U.S. Congress waste time “weighing options” or go on vacation.  Now the evil has grown exponentially and looks unstoppable with billions of dollars in financing and modern U.S. war weapons.

God help us because we have lost our way.

Pope Francis I

Pope Francis I

Pope Francis[3] has called for the world community to fight the ISIS terrorists who are committing demonic atrocities in Syria and Iraq.  I suspect the power of the Pope’s call will bring a reaction from especially the Europeans.  The French Foreign Minister has already flown to Kurdistan.

Please pray for the innocents and pray for Jerusalem, the stated goal of the Jihadi Islamic State.  And please pray that God open the eyes of the leaders of the United States of America, and the people who put them in power.

In Jesus, the King of Jerusalem’s Holy Name,

T. Leon Sexton


[1] http://english.cntv.cn/2014/08/11/VIDE1407721442906402.shtml

[2] US Strikes Iraq With Land-Based Bombers, Newser, http://www.newser.com/story/192589/us-strikes-iraq-with-land-based-bombers.html?utm_source=part&utm_medium=united&utm_campaign=rss_topnews

[3] Iraq: Pope Francis Urges World Action Against Islamic State
https://uk.news.yahoo.com/iraq-pope-francis-urges-world-action-against-islamic-163202091.html#metksvF

Photographs:

Jerusalem:

Description
English: Jerusalem Old City from Mount of Olives.
Author Wayne McLean


Pope Francis I:

Description
English: Pope Francis, Private audience of Centesimus Annus Pro Pontifice CAPP at Clementine Hall, Vatican City
Date 25 May 2013
Author Christoph Wagener