Missionaries' Home and our Home Sweet Home in Nam Khem
Short Mission Trip to Ban Nam Khem, South Thailand
Day 1 - 17 Mar 2008
Departed Sibu on time by Airasia to Phuket via KL. The ride on Airasia is hussle free except the usual rush for seats. Airasia should seriously consider investing seat allocation system at least it avoids the ugly kiasu scene.
We were met by a prebooked friendly driver who took us to Ban Nam Khem in about an hour and fourty five minutes. The missionaries' house was comfortable though the weather was unbearably warm and humid like any other tropical dwelling. Elke is from Germany, Helen is from NZ while Maria is from Switzerland for just barely a week. Our ladies stayed with the missionaries while the men stayed next door in the chapel. The house and the chapel were located by the main road to Namkhem township opposite BNK School which housed both Primary and Secondary Students.
Day 2 - 18 March
The day started off with simple breakfast - coffee and bread. We went to a local market for some marketing. We got some fresh vegetables, fish and fruits before visiting the BNK Tsunami Memorial Park. There's a
Taken at Tsunami Memorial Park
long wave-like wall signifying the tsunami and there are memorials made up of photos and names of the victims. We visited the Memorial Museum in the park where photo illustrations and brief accounts of the unfortunate incident were displayed. We were briefed by Ban who was had a personal encounter with tsunami on that fateful day. He lost his son though the wife and daughter were spared. I was surprised that he was the one who operated the Namkhem.com website which was one of the few websites on Namkhem. He operated a tour agency in Namkhem. We met and shared with a group of Thais who were having picnic at the park before having a Chinese style lunch at a road side restaurant. It was delicious especially the fried pork which I suspect would be dearly missed for the rest of the trip.
After a brief nap, we followed Helen to nearby settlements to look for opportunities of home meeting and gatherings. The locals were living in small and shabby houses though there were some reasonably lavish ones. There was even a ship building yard by the river who forbade us taking any photographs, probably assuming that we were
Group of Thais
A group of Thais picnicking at Nam Khem Beach Front. Chatted with them.
some NGOs coming to track down illegal workshops.
Day 3 - 19 March
At 330pm we went to a village of Sea gypsies near BNK school. We gathered a group of about 30 kids for games, songs and handicrafts. The kids enjoyed themselves and received some surprise souvenirs from us. The gathering ended around 5.30pm.
After shower we headed for a resettlement scheme ‘Grongan Song’ mostly for the tsunami victims. We helped a sister named Nuan to fix curtains for her new home followed by sharing together with her sister Kat. We were touched by their faith in the Lord. Need to pray for one of the so called 'Christians', Li who had not shown good examples for Christians.
Day 4 - 20 March
We helped the missionaries to organise the messy wires overhanging against the living room wall. A new extension was pulled from the mains for the socket near the computer which before this was provided through an extension from Elke's room making the door unclosable. She was happy with our help - ‘I can finally closed my door for some privacy’. After dinner, we visited an old couple named Wisit and Chelau.
Sea Gypsies Settlement
A glance at the Sea Gypsies settlement
They were spared by the Tsunami as they were away with relatives during the disaster. We noticed that Christians we met had the sign in Thai meaning ’This is the House of the Child of God’ above the main door. That’s a noble way to proclaim God’s Grace in a village where Buddhists are the majority.
Day 5 - 21 March
We helped the missionaries to make two new crosses for the chappel. One by using wood and the other by small PVC pipes! They will be ready for the coming Easter Sunday. We also prepared some pictures for the easter messges.
We visited the gypsies village again in the afternoon and we dropped by Yin's house along ‘Sol Sepan’. The house was partly funded by the missionaries. She stayed with her husband Den who is a businessman. Yin was touched by her son who went to sunday school who kept reminding her not to tell lies. Upon finding out why the kid said such, she tried to find out. She went to the missionaries to find out their purpose for staying among the locals. Found Christians praying in tears, which was rare in Thai culture.
Fun time with Children
Having Fun Time with Children at Sea Gypsie's settlement
She started to question who the God is? ‘Ask and you shall received...’ and many other bible verses raised many questions in her mind. She started to attend cell groups and indulge in bible reading. A drastic change in her life was that she was no longer fearful of darkness and evil spirits anymore. She persuaded her husband who is a strong Buddhist. Den started t feel like God was comforting him like a child in arms after his first Sunday service in church. He slowly discarded Buddhist spells which are supposed to make his sales of fish good. God answered his prayer to have good sales even though discarded spells. However he seemed to rely too much on what God can do for him instead of the other way round. Let’s pray for him.
After dinner, we split into two groups one going for family visit while another went for prayerwalk at Bang Muang town. Bang Muang town is a separate administrative district from Nam Khem. We were amazed with the width and the quality of the main thoroughfare that ran through the township of several rows of shophouses. Thanks to the massive foreign aids and funds coming
See what I mean? Beautiful lonely beach all yours at Nam Khem (Dimon Beach)
in for the Tsunami relief in 2004/5. Many shop proprietors were of Chinese origins identified through the display of altars at their five footways and living room. There were two 7 Elevens at both end of the little township.
Day 6 - 22 March
After preparing some handicrafts for the congregation tomorrow, we went to the Dimon Beach. It’s a nice and long stretch of beach but there’s nobody there? What a great beach front. Spent time there until we captured the best sunset I have ever seen. We found many species of shells which were rare along the beach.
Day 7 - 23 March
We woke up pretty early on Easter Sunday. The men cleared the mattress and the luggage from the chappel followed by arranging for the altar and seatings. Meanwhile the ladies prepare for the meals for the congregation.
Easter Church service began at 10am with singspiration. A leader then took over for some scripture reading and sharing. There were at least six to seven verses recited together with everyone reading from his or her own bible! What a great encouragement.
Then the children were brought outside for Sunday
Visiting and sharing at one of the Thai Chirstian family
Day 8 - 24 March
We headed for Phuket Island for a night before we return home. Phuket island is a tourist area. We noticed that the foreigners actually outnumbered the locals, at least from a quick glance across streets and beach fronts. It is pretty commercialized just like any other tourist spots. We realized how much we missed the beachfront at Nam Khem where we were practically left alone to enjoy the entire beach front.
Day 9 - 25 March
We departed from Phuket around noon time and reach Sibu around nine in the evening.
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