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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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