View, Download and Print here: Legacy Letter November 2014
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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