REFUGEE OUTREACH - NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2008
Page 2

We asked a friend to take us to bus station in Lampang at 6 am on the 24th. We got there just before the 6:30 bus was leaving for Chiang Mai. We got the last 2 seats on the bus. It was very uncomfortable, no leg room and very hard seats. Fortunately it was only hour and half trip. We got to Chiang Mai at 7:50, giving us just enough time for Lucky to buy us tickets to Mae Sariang and a snack to eat on the way. It was a hot 4.5 hour trip. Lucky had lots of questions about the Karen in the camps and the time passed a lot more quickly than I expected. He had never had any contact with the refugees in Thailand and was anxious to see firsthand what the situation was. I have found that to be true of many Thai. They know the Karen are being offered sanctuary in their country, but a lot of them do not have firsthand knowledge of what they have endured and are still enduring.

I called Po Po and told her we’d be there about 12:30 but she misunderstood and thought we were leaving Chiang Mai at 12:30 so there was no one at bus yard to meet us when we arrived. It was really hot and we were very tired and thirsty. I called Po Po again and she arrived on motor bike with 2 friends. She had called driver and he would be there shortly to get us. I was shocked to see her. She had been very sick and in hospital for a kidney problem and had lost 9 kilos since I saw her last trip. She said she only weighed 43 kilo’s now but was feeling better.

Her friend, Larry, arrived in a brand new Toyota 4-door truck. He spoke a little English and said he would be taking us into camp the next day. I told him I really wanted to spend the night in the camp and he said “no problem” he would stay in camp with us. Po Po’s mother, sister and brother in law live in Mae Rah Moo camp and she will also go with us and we would stay with her family. I was surprised at how easy it was. In the past I have had to meet with the city Umphur (clerk) and get special permission to travel to camp and stay, but Larry is in charge of all the supplies that are distributed to the refugees in the camp and he had already made all the arrangements for us. I was surprised at how nice the truck was and the soft seats. Some of the trucks we’ve used have been pretty old. It is a brutal trip up the mountain roads into the camp and in the past we have been pretty beaten up by the time we got there. Larry said the truck was only 2 months old. God was truly looking out for us for sure! He dropped us off at Po Po’s house and said he’d go get our camp passes and come pick us up. He took the copies of my passport I had brought with me to take to the refugee office to get the passes. It was so nice not having to spend the time getting my own pass. It would give me more time to relax and visit with Phu and Po Po. We asked him to pick us up at 5 a.m. the next morning so we could buy fresh fruit and vegetables to take into camp with us.

It was so good to see Phu again. He is showing his age a little more each time I visit, but he still rides his motor bike to market for fresh fruit and vegetables. He is always full of stories and jokes and he kept Lucky and I entertained all evening. Po Po had made up 2 cots for us. I was in front entry room and Lucky was in side area outside their bedroom. I told Phu we wanted to get up at 4:30 and leave at 5:00 and he said he would wake us up at 3 am. He said he was writing a book and always got up at 3 am to work on it. I thought he was kidding about getting up that early, but found out he was serious!

We went to bed after visiting with a couple teachers who had come to see if I could find sponsors for her child and 3 orphans. I told her I had dozens waiting for sponsorship, but never turned any child away. I explained some had been waiting over a year for sponsorship. She said the orphans were not with her but she could get them. I told her I could take their pictures when I came back from MRM in 2 days. She left and I expected to see her when we came out of the camp. We went to bed and I fell asleep immediately.

At about 10:30 pm Po Po came out and flipped on the overhead light and said “Pee Pee, there are people here to see you” I sat up in bed and the teacher and her husband were sitting on the floor with 4 children all looking at me! They were all bundled up and had on wool stocking caps and jackets. Phu said they had taken 2 motorbikes and ridden 1.5 hours one way to pick up the children and the 6 of them had ridden in the dark back to Phu’s so I could take their pictures and get family history. I was so touched that they would go to all that trouble; I of course took their pictures. I tried to explain to them that just taking the pictures did not mean they would automatically be sponsored and they understood, but were trusting that I could find someone to help them. I felt so inadequate and knew that I would have to really pray for the Lord to bring more sponsors to us.

They left about 11 pm for the long cold ride back. Once again, I felt so spoiled and fortunate that I was born in a free country. I had a hard time getting back to sleep, knowing that tomorrow in the camp I would be facing hundreds of families looking for help and trusting that I would find sponsors for them. Once again I had to remind myself that I CAN DO NOTHING without the Lord’s help!

 

 


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