Today was our first full day in Mae Sot. After much travel & working our way here, we finally arrived last night. The morning started slowly....some of us slept right through breakfast only to find out that if you arrive in the dinning room too late that at least you get a glass of grape koolaide for breakfast. Late morning Marci Haigh Toe (the nurse missionary we will be working with), her husband, & 2 children came to greet us & give us a little tour of the town. First stop was a coffee shop, a very welcome site after my grape koolaide breakfast, yes I was one of the sleepy heads. Then we headed on to the Friendship Bridge which crosses a river & joins Thailand with Burma. There was a lot of activity with people crossing the boarder - both "official" and "unofficial." Many of the people are headed home to Burma for the coming week, which is a national holiday that is celebrated by an excessive amount of water throwing - more details (& I'm sure pictures) to follow in the coming week. For these people, who work in sweat shops, work 6-7 days a week & are paid very little, this is their only time off from work all year. While we were there we walked along the river, visited a market & had lunch with a sweet time of fellowship & getting to know Be Soe Toe, Marci & their children.
They brought us back to the hotel so they could head onto a family obligation. Some of the team tried to catch up on that ever elusive jet lag sleep & the rest of us headed to the market to get some wash basins to do our laundry in & 200 bars of soap to distribute when we have our Community Health Evangelism lesson on hygiene. There were children along the way already practicing the water throwing skills & Rusty became their target. With the temp up into the low 100's he was probably the most comfortable one of us walking back to the hotel.
There are many sites similar to those I have seen in other countries in Africa. There were boys being boys swimming in a river with a lot of trash floating by & on the river bank; people going about their daily lives which, for the most part, entailed poverty & a struggle to survive; a mix of development & squalor so closed together that you mind wonders how such opposites can exist together. In it all you see the human spirit searching for some meaning or purpose. There are a lot of shrines here & I'll post info on the religious beliefs here tomorrow to give more background.
This evening Rhonda, Priscilla, and myself went to get more airtime for my phone. As we walked through a market area there was a man, missing his left leg & arm, scooting himself along the pavement. As we passed, Priscilla felt called to pray for him. We backed up & she knelt by him, placing her hand on his shoulder & prayed for him. With the language barrier there was no way for him to understand what she was saying. But the look on his face when she finished said it all - there was a change in his expression as he looked at her.
We don't know what all God has in store for us here, but prayerfully we will see through HIS eyes & love these people as HE does, fully with grace & mercy. Our prayer is to serve HIM fully & unconditionally every minute that we have the privilege to be here.