Our Mae Sot Trip

Our Mae Sot Trip

Posted on 02. Jul, 2009 by in Missions, Thailand

elpisthumbs

Kids at Elpis School

Well, the past two weeks have been packed full! Last Monday, we drove up (ok, Kelly drove, we just rode in the truck) to Mae Sot, located on the Thai/Burma border. We stayed for a week and observed and learned so much!

Our first order of business was to meet Pastor John, the National Leader of Foursquare Thailand.  He is also the pastor of Mae Sot Foursquare church.  We were so impressed with his heart for helping people.  If there is a need, he tries to find a way to meet it, even if there doesn’t seem to be available funds.  And he is so friendly and willing to answer any questions we had.

During our week, we learned about and took video of three different ministries the church is involved in.  The first, which we mentioned last week, is Elpis School, a school for migrant children.  The second is a safe house for teenage girls to escape trafficking.  Currently there are 6 girls living there with a Filipino missionary.   The third ministry is Home of Hope, an orphanage that currently houses 18 at-risk kids ages 5-15.  Neill and Diana Gilbert are working closely with the orphanage and are currently raising money for a new building to help more kids.  They also run a coffee shop in town that connects people with help and hosts a weekly fellowship for English speaking foreigners in town.

With Pastor John and his wife, Sarah

With Pastor John and his wife, Sarah

Among these ministries we heard so many sad stories and so many needs.  It was easy to feel overwhelmed, helpless, or guilty.  Still, it was good to see something being done to help, and meet people serving with Christ’s love.

Our time in Mae Sot also made us more aware of the situation in Burma.  Studying “Intercultural Studies” in Fort Wayne and teaching in the public school system, I had some previous knowledge of the situation in Burma (Fort Wayne has the largest population of Burmese in the US: 4000-6000 people.  Learn more about their resettlement to FW here).  Being next to the border and hearing first hand of the human rights atrocities taking place nearby put it in a whole new light.  A lot of what happens seems totally unbelievable.  But, there are so many testimonies, and even pictures to confirm the horrific stories.  We read part of this book while we were up there that gave a lot of insight into the situation.  You can also watch this video to get a taste of it.

jwithkid

Jason with a new friend at Home of Hope

Since we were so close to the border, we decided to have our passports stamped (not just for another stamp- we have to leave the country every three months as part of our visa).  So, Neill and Diana, the missionaries we were staying with, drove us to the “Friendship Bridge.”  There, we did the paperwork to leave Thailand, we walked across the bridge into Myanmar (Burma), paid the fee, got some stamps, walked back across the bridge, did our paperwork to enter Thailand and had our temperatures checked (for swine flu, you know).  Pretty painless.  As we walked across the bridge, we watched a group of Burmese board a big inner-tube, float across the river, and get off on the Thai side.  It’s very easy to cross the border.  No barbed wire or anything.

Overall it was a great week.  We enjoyed seeing another part of Thailand, and the hills around there made for beautiful scenery.  There was also a lot to process.  As we get the videos produced about the different ministries, we will get them up for you to learn more about the stories in Mae Sot.

The Border- Thailand on the Left, Myanmar on the Right

The Border- Thailand on the Left, Myanmar on the Right

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4 Responses to “Our Mae Sot Trip”

  1. Dad and Mom Ruggles

    03. Jul, 2009

    Sounds like you two had a full week. We can see how these children can pull at your heart.that picture of that young boy with Jason is so touching. You just don’t know what goes on in this world until you see it first hand.You two are doing a great job. We are proud of you both.

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  2. Eunice

    15. Jul, 2009

    I’m Eunice from Canada. A friend from the church in Bangkok gave me the Thai nickname Fah (meaning: SKY and blue)

    Yin dee tee dai ruk jak (Nice to meet you)

    I’m guessing it must be the Mekong River separating Thailand and Burma. Let me know if it isn’t the Mekong.

    Reply to this comment
    • Jason

      17. Jul, 2009

      Hi Eunice,
      Friends gave me a Thai name too, but I think they all forgot it! :)
      It’s actually the Moei River that separates that area. The Mekong separates Thailand and Laos.
      When were you in Thailand?

      Reply to this comment
  3. Heidi Philbrick

    28. Jan, 2011

    Hi Jason,
    my name is Heidi Philbrick met you and April at Our Home Chapel. I got back from a 2wk mission this month and got
    to go to Mae Sot. I was blown away when I saw your picture
    with that boy. I met him at Home of Hope, i think his name is Lawsaa and I cannot get him out of my mind. He is so precious, he actually sang me a song. Brought me to tears…..

    God bless the both of you and baby on the way!!!!!!

    Heidi from Hawaii

    HE>i

    Reply to this comment

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