Coming out of our foursquare missionary retreat in Chiang Mai we spent a little time in the village before it was back to Chiang Rai to welcome Lori's parents who came to visit us for two weeks (see our photos page). They came up and spent three days with us in the village. They were real troopers, sleeping in our hut and even eating the Akha food. Our village has given and taught us so much and we have been to many feasts for marriages and other celebrations. Now, with Jan and Gary's arrival, we finally had the occasion to throw a party for them. Everyone from our village came, along with many others from surrounding villages (news travels fast when there is a party). So many people came that we had to have the meal in three shifts. We bought 10 kilos (or 1 pig butt) of pork and along with 3 chickens and tons and tons of vegetables there was plenty of food to go around. Lori even made her "Texas Rice and Bean Skillet" so everyone could sample a little bit of American food. We had a great time and it was an experience we will never forget.
Our language was stretched so much in those three days. Everyone wanted to share something about us or about the Akha and we were the only ones who could even attempt to translate. Coming out of that experience we realize how much (basic) Akha we have learned in our short time here. It was a real collision of worlds for us, especially getting a glimpse of how we must have looked six months ago when we first arrived in our village. Our vision and our love for our village was renewed as we tried to share every story and every friend that we have gained with Gary and Jan.
We spent the remainder of our time touring Northern Thailand. We went to Maesai and across into Burma (Myanmar), spent a few days in Thaton at a little Northern Thai hotel, some time resting and talking at home in Chiang Rai and a few days seeing the sights and fighting off the floods in Chiang Mai.
All in all, it has been a good season for us. We are getting used to dealing with the unexpected. The culture and life that we are living is a constant collision of worlds. We are back to the village tomorrow where we look forward to the seeing our village again, and then it is down to Bangkok for the Foursquare National Convention and some more surveying and engineering work, this time for the Good News Study Center. Never a dull moment.