REFUGEE OUTREACH - December 2010
Page 2

We flew to Lampang the next morning and my good friends, Rudy and Tay, met us at airport and drove us to their home. They had invited us to stay with them whenever we weren't traveling and it was going to be wonderful to have a "base" and not have to haul three big suitcases and two back packs everywhere we went. They welcomed Rick like they had known him forever and made him feel right at home.

Before we left the states, our church had donated enough money to buy eighty Karen language Bibles to take into the camps. I had ordered them from the Thai Bible League in Chiang Mae and the pastor I spoke with agreed to have them ready for us when we arrived in Chiang Mae. We decided to take the bus to Chiang Mae to pick up the Bibles so we could take them with us to the border town of Mae Sot. When we arrived in Chiang Mae, we checked into the hotel where I always stayed. After we got settled in, I called the pastor at The Bible League. He agreed to meet us at our hotel the next day and deliver the Bibles.

I wanted Rick to experience all the things I have been doing for the past eighteen years. We walked around Chiang Mae and I showed Rick my favorite spots. This photo on the right was taken at the Umbrella Factory!

When we stopped for dinner, Rick was amazed at how many non-Thai people were walking around the city. He was really surprised that he saw more tourists than Thai people. There are a tremendous amount of Germans, Australians and Americans traveling around Thailand. Chiang Mae is listed as the 3rd most popular place in the world for retirement.

While we were eating, I got the local paper to read. On the front page were huge headlines: "THOUSANDS FLEE FIGHTING. KAREN REFUGEES STREAM INTO THAILAND AS BURMESE TROOPS, REBELS CLASH"
This photo of the headline shows a Thai soldier with a rifle guarding Karen refugees who had to flee into Thailand for safety. The fighting had broken out in the border town across the river from Mae Sot, on the Burmese side of the river. An estimated 20,000 to 30,000 people sought refuge across the river in Mae Sot. A few grenades and rockets landed in Mae Sot, injuring at least three people, one of them a border policeman. A renewed offensive had been expected after the sham elections in Burma. Everyone knew it would not be a fair election. The Burmese people have to do what they are told by the ruling military junta, or suffer the consequences. We had planned on heading to Mae Sot in the next day or so, but this would definitely delay things. Even if we got to Mae Sot and the fighting stopped, there was no guarantee we could get past the Thai check points to make it to Mae La refugee camp. I did what I do best... I started worrying! Rick immediately reminded me that God was in control and we would go to Mae Sot in His timing. He also reminded me that we had a lot of prayers from the USA covering us for this entire trip. What a blessing to have a Godly man at my side when I travel outside the U.S.