Saturday, August 26, 2017

Trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand (August 2017)

Amanda came to visit with us for a week. Unfortunately, I had a conflict with Freedom Business Forum for three days. So Kristin and Amanda went off to the Phuket Island for three days. Prior to that, however, we had a few trips together.

We visited: Night Safari, Massage, and Elephant Sanctuary.

Night Safari is a safari to see animals at night. It was cool to ride a tram or to walk around, but it was too dark to take any good pictures. We saw a show for lions and tigers... Probably a best show for the safari. But, on the other hand, it was sad to see the animal kings act like domesticated cats for the rewards of small snacks... Wild animals should be living in the wilderness.

We also saw raccoons traveling on a wire and eating food on spotlight.

On a tram, we  saw several animals, but it was impractical to take good photos.

On a plaza, several women were standing to allow tourists to take photos with them, but their voices revealed that they were all lady-boys.

Thai Massage ... One of the greatest benefits of living in Chiang Mai, I think, is Thai massage. It cost us approximately $6.00 for an hour of Thai massage or foot massage. For two hours, the cost would be $12.00 and with the tip, the total cost would be $15. Where else can you get this type of deal?

We went to our regular Thai massage place with Amanda and Kristin. We normally receive the massage for two hours each time we visit in every 3 or 4 days. Not bad at all. I greatly appreciate this special treatment that we would not enjoy else where.

Elephant Sanctuary is one of experiences that a tourist should not miss. Asian elephants are smaller and more tamed than their counterparts in Africa. Asian elephants were living with humans peacefully. They are quite well domesticated. Their African friends would not allow that to happen.

Riding elephants on their bare backs... As soon as we arrived in the village after an hour-long songtaew ride, the guide told us to get on the bare backs of elephants. Naturally it would be less comfortable than riding on the saddles placed on the elephants. But, in order to avoid the abuse of the elephants, we were riding on bare backs. Understandable. Also, they claimed that they were not using hooks or chains not to abuse them.

The village was for the Karen long-necked tribes from Burma or Myanmar. They wear various sizes of brass rings around their necks and their legs. Obviously, these are for their sense of beauty and a serious side effect I was told was to pressing the collar bones on their shoulders. They were selling their cultural artifacts.

Washing the elephants in the river... was one of the traditional experiences that a tourist pursues. You go in the river together with the elephants and you wash them with the river water. They love to play in the mud and dirt. At the same time, they love to get washed. So they lie down in the water and play with tourist by spraying the water on them. When we pose to take a photo, the elephant raises his trunk to pose. How cute!

We ate pad thai and pancakes for lunch. We also ate some fruits. The owner was a Christian and she was glad to meet with us as Christians. She called me Azan or Teacher or Missionary with good respect. We enjoyed meeting them also.

Hiking to a small waterfall was another part of the tour. The waterfall was small and low, but quite a few people were playing in the water, even sliding on the waterfall. It was fun watching them. The short hike reminded me of the hiking frequently done in the outskirts of the mountains in Seoul or its surrounding areas in Korea.

Rafting on the river was also included, but we skipped this part since we did not think it included any exciting journey on the water. We saw a couple of swift currents, but in general, the water was calm and gentle. At least we took a white rafting in the wild Colorado River... was our excuse.

On the way back, we stopped over at an Aka village, another mountain tribe. The street vendors were all old ladies who pleaded for our purchase. But the stuff they were selling were of poor quality and none looked attractive enough for purchase. I felt bad.

I found a fancy motorcycle at a shabby house. It must be one of their valuable assets. The village scene was quite similar to one you could find in Korea 40-50 years ago.

I also found a church located at the foothill of a mountain and another church right in the village. I could see the evangelism that has entered deeply into the mountain tribes.

Before we went to spend time with the elephants, we stopped over at an orchid farm and a butterfly farm.

Orchid farm had several colors of orchids but the types of orchids were not so diverse.

The butterfly farm must be at its infant stage. We did not find too many butterflies. Also the scale was quite small.

By the time we arrived at our home, we were pretty exhausted. Good to be back home! - Jeffrey

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trip to Korea (July/August 2017)...

I had a privilege to travel to Korea.

This time, I stayed at my mother's house in Osan. It is a bit inconvenient due to a distance, but it is good for me to spent time with my 87-year old mom. I wanted to lessen her burden by not eating lunch or dinner at home, but she served main meal for breakfast.

I had an opportunity to share the Word with the PK's whom Pastor Alex Hong is ministering. The theme was Christian in the World. I shared the Word and a little bit of my testimony. I prayed that they will find hope and rest only in the Lord and produce excellence as well as integrity in what they do wherever they are.

I participated in the first board meeting of SfK Korea on August 3. The meeting went well. Three board members agreed to inject Won10 million each so that SfK Korea may be considered a Korean company rather than a foreign company. Rev. Dongho Kim, Elder Chan Jung Kim and Prof. Wonmin Son all agreed to inject the capital. Praise the Lord!

Also, the board resolved to close the current subscription to the first BAM Fund by September 30, no matter what the amount may be. So that we may explore the possibility by investing the fund before we seek additional fund for the BAM Fund II.  More paperwork needs to be done, but we are very close to wrapping up the deal.

I got together with my family, without Mintae. I am not sure what is eating him up, but he has disconnected all relationship to us, our family. I pray that he will be faithful to the Lord no matter what his circumstances are. On another day, we also visited Chung Ah Park where my father's remains are bestowed. I was grateful that he has lived his life to bring us up to the point of independence and further interdependence.

By the way, the Korean government recognized my mother's physical strength as the first class in this certificate signed by the Minister of Culture and Sports. Wow... I was impressed. I believe her attitude of being positive and optimistic is responsible for her health. Thank God for her good health!

I met up with ministry partners or potential partners. They included Rev. Sunki Bang, Rev. Jaechul Jung, Pastor Chang Sun Moon, Min-Young Jung, Hana Lee, Soonjib Baik, Alex Hong, TaeSoo Kim, HyeSung Shin, Seung Won Lee, Rev. Dong Jin Kang. They all are precious people for whom I am deeply grateful to God.

I also spent time meeting up with friends. Agape Club friends, college friends, high school friends, H2H friends, SBS Rwanda friends, Jiyoon Shin. Friends are always wonderful to hang out with.

Whenever I travel to Korea, my main transportation is public transportation: bus and subway. Riding subway gives me a lot of benefits, such as punctuality, predictability, affordability, walking opportunity etc. Another benefit is reading poems posted at almost all stations. Here are some:

I was grateful that I had a chance to travel and also that I came back without being sick this time. It is a wonderful blessing. - Jeffrey