the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia

Filtering by Tag: video

My Girls Eat Worms

Life with our Akha friends has been full of adventures, from arriving at a funeral covered in mud to extracting teeth, from naming children to burying loved ones. Each of these adventures has been a part of the history we have built here over the past seven years. As we have patiently earned relational equity, God has continued to change and challenge us in ministry, and most recently He is challenging us to oversee production of Akha language media - movies, clips, music - and empower the Akha people to share their own stories and lives. We're doing this in partnership with Project Video and Akha Outreach Foundation under the banner of Akha Outreach Media. We are in the middle of dubbing a major production, the Book of Acts, into Akha, but because it is the season for bamboo worms we paused the Acts project to put together a short video to teach the lesson of James 1 which teaches about our path from Preperation to Pain to Perseverance to Perfection. The video is centered around a typical Akha experience: the gathering of bamboo worms in the early fall.

Our entire family went up for a weekend to work on this film with our Akha team of actors and production crew. In our 7 years here, we have grown comfortable eating what we like to call "exotic" foods, but can still relate to the many people who would simply call them "gross". Intestines, fat, skin, hair, blood, fermented meat, raw meat, birds, dog, bugs and worms have all become common encounters. A few of these items have become favorites, but some still require a big breath before I dive in. Bamboo worms fall in this last category.

But our girls have grown up in a world where a bamboo hut is more common than a skyscraper, and where bamboo worms are as much of an annual experience as a turkey at thanksgiving. So it is through their eyes that I want to share with you the joy of eating bamboo worms:

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VernonVidcast #1: Furlough, Family and Framerates

It has been over 2 months since our return to Thailand and we've hit the ground running. The soundroom is nearing final completion and the Akha Outreach Media projects are beginning to take off. These projects, along with homeschooling, family events (2 birthdays and an anniversary) as well as our village ministry, pulling teeth, and designing book layouts have been keeping us busy. Take a look and listen to our video update for a few of the highlights:

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Thanks for taking the time to catch up with us, feel free to drop us a comment below or a message on facebook so we can stay connected to you!

Life with the Akha (Video)

As we're wrapping up our first furlough since beginning our service as Foursquare missionaries, and our first trip to America in the last 3 years, we want to say thank you to all of our family, friends, pastors and partners that we've been able to see over the past 3 months. We've really enjoyed our time here and are amazed at the way God continues to provide for our daily needs. Although we are sorry we couldn't spend more time with each of you, we are looking forward to going back to Thailand and moving forward with our vision for future ministry. For those of you who haven't heard the update on the direction we will be moving in ministry over the next few years, please view our update card, or contact us on facebook. We've done a number of presentations over these three months and wanted to share with you this slideshow of images of our work and life with the Akha people of Southeast Asia.

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Paul and Lori Vernon Media Light Documentary

A documentary created by a Media Light team in 2010 that gives a little bit of a glimpse into our lives with the Akha in Southeast Asia.

A short 5-minute documentary style production by the 2010 Media Light team in Chiang Rai, Thailand.

Paul and Lori Vernon are serving the Akha people in Northern Thailand by ministering to physical, spiritual, emotional and educational needs. This documentary, produced in 2009, gives an outsider's view of their ministry and connection with the Akha people.

You can learn more about Paul and Lori and their ministry with the Akha people at

More information about the Akha people may be found at

Our Trilingual Two-year Old

We've told many of you how great Abi's language skills are in the 3+ languages that she is surrounded with. Her English and Akha are by far her strongest languages - and her Thai is not far behind. She also has about a dozen other words from other languages that she has picked up in her travels - Chinese, Burmese, and German (Prost!). For a while now, we've been trying to capture on film her nightly ritual of counting to ten in her three natural languages: English, Akha and Thai. Unfortunately, our video camera has terrible audio - so we finally got her playing with the microphone @ Dad's computer. So, for those of you interested in seeing a two-year old counting to ten in three languages, check out the video below!

(and those of you who would rather see some ministry posts & updates, why don't you look here)

Just Like Pulling Teeth

Dr. Luce working on a Bible Student at House of Joy For the past 6 years, Dr. Luce and his staff have been giving of their time and skills to come to Chiang Rai and care for the dental needs of Akha children and Bible Students at Akha Outreach Foundation, as well as the occasional village dental clinic.

Last year Dr. Newman and his family joined the dental team, and the village aspect of the dental ministry began to really take off.

Dr. Newman teaching proper injection techniques.

Both dentists have been encouraging us to learn how to anesthetize a patient and perform simple extraction techniques, but we've been slow to respond to their urgings (Lori once had a mild fainting spell when watching an oral surgery). Earlier this year, however, Dr. Luce was at a meeting for the Christian Dental Society and saw a presentation training nationals to do rural, village or jungle dentistry and his heart was really stirred to see the young Akha leaders trained in dentistry as well. Dr. Newman, who has also used his skills to minister in Africa, was equally excited by the vision and the two of them prepared a 3-hour training to supplement multiple days of observation, along-side training and hands-on extractions.

Joe was very sympathetic as he watched the teeth being pulled.The training was a wonderful experience. These young Akha leaders jumped right in to the action, and Lori and I got up the courage to join them. After learning about the root structures of different teeth, safety and cleanliness precautions, and what types of teeth are within our skill set to extract we all practiced administering anesthetic to each other. You know you have a good trusting relationship as husband and wife if you can let each other practice sticking needles into your gums. After the training day, we had a village dental clinic in Doi Chang and we 6 trainees (and our pastor Joe, who couldn't stomach the shots, but trained as an assistant) treated a majority of the 40 patients we saw that day.

The trainers and the trainees.In total, the Dental Team (Bill, Rick, Jana, Lisa and Pam) put up some very impressive numbers in the short week they were here.  In the villages, over 200 teeth were pulled. At House of Joy, 40 wisdom teeth were pulled, 40 fillings were given, 2 tooth repairs were made, 13 additional extractions and 137 cleanings filled their week. In addition, they trained a team of 7 locals to continue dental care for remote villages as we are traveling in and out of them. Pray for M, Nuey, Anm, Adeu, Lori, Paul & Joe Akha as an assistant, that we might have opportunities to continue to minister to the needs of the Akha wherever we might go.

Two Minutes for a Two Year Old

We celebrated Abi's second birthday last month with a great crowd of people. Aje and Nancy hosted the party, the Chanda family was in from Kazakhstan with their three girls, and our missions supervisor Kelly was in from Bangkok with fellow missionary, Chris. For Abi, new friends and people from all over the world is normal life. She's a real sweetie at 2 years old. Sure, she's learning how to throw a temper tantrum as she learns that she doesn't always get her way, but she's a sweet little girl who loves to play and loves her friends, especially Mali and Apaw. She can say her "ABC's" and can count to ten in three languages - English, Akha and Thai! We'll try to get some videos up for all of you family & friends who might be interested to let you see our growing little girl, but for now here's a two minute clip of Abi's birthday - and the beautiful Elmo birthday cake that Lori made for her.

Rice, Bamboo and the Akha

The Akha way of life is centered around rice. It encompasses every aspect of their lives.  Preparing the fields, planting, harvesting.

every meal every day every month every year

It's no wonder that rice is the center of religion, culture and celebration in the Akha world. But, if there is a secondary symbol of importance in the Akha community, it is bamboo.

Bamboo provides tools and toys. Secular and sacred objects.

If rice is the focus of the Akha way of life, bamboo is the function of that life.

In our village the children learn at a very young age how to turn scraps of bamboo into functional creations. Boys of three and four years old create woven masterpieces to complete the homes and tools of their minor kingdoms. Their education in the vegetation and animalia around them is extensive, any Akha child of age can easily forage a meal while walking through the jungle.

This interaction with the world around them builds a community and identity among the Akha people, and will continue to be important to them wherever the evolution of their culture leads in the years to come.

Akha Dental Clinic (Video)

At the end of this month (August 2009) our annual dental team will be arriving in Chiang Rai. Dr. Luce and Dr. Newman will be with the team to provide free dental care for the children's home, Bible students, and various Akha villages. Dr. Luce has been coming out for years, and Dr. Newman joined him last year - spending some extra time with us in our village running a village clinic. This year will be a whirlwind trip, just one week, but we are all looking forward to their visit. It's incredibly late, but I've gotten a video up from last year's village clinic.

The video is of a removal of an oral cyst (at least I think it was an oral cyst, Dr. Newman you can correct me in the comments if I'm wrong) from the lip of an Akha teenage girl. It's a graphic, bloody video, so if you are one of our weak-stomached viewers, here's a happier video for you.

Spinning Cotton

Living in an Akha village is a constant discovery of talents and craftsmanship. Whether it's a man making a bamboo ladder, women creating ornate Akha stitch work, or the simple, pure skill of the machete as a daily tool. The other day while Lori was out in the village she came across another incredible sight. Our Akha grandma had picked cotton off of the tree behind her home and was spinning it by hand into yarn.

Here are a few moments of her incredible skill:

It's truly a blessing to live among these people.

Building a Home with the Akha (Video)

Our director is off to Singapore tomorrow to teach on the subject "Communicating the Gospel in a Pluralist Context" for Haggai Institute. I have had the privilege to help him prepare for these 8 lectures: we have been working on the powerpoints for months, and intensively over these past two weeks. The time is upon us, however, so ready or not (hopefully ready) he is off to teach leaders from around the globe.

We have visitors and teams coming beginning tomorrow through the remainder of this month, so that gave me today to get caught up on some of our communication to all of you.

We mentioned a few months ago that we were building a new home in Mae Salong. The home that was built for us upon our arrival was built to last 3-5 years. With our three years up, we decided to build a home that will last us closer to 10 years as we continue to live and work with the Akha.

Once again, our village was incredibly generous, donating their time and expertise to our need. Our new home features such ammenities as cement on the floors (it's not level, but it's not dirt!), an indoor bathroom, indoor running water (when available), and electrical outlets and lights in each room. These modern conveniences are still coupled with bamboo walls and a grass roof, which we love and will probably never go away from (it's so much cooler!).

It's a huge blessing for us as a family and also for the village who are now using our first home full time as the village community house.

We have a video of the entire construction process - take a look...

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For those of you who are wondering, the song (Big House by Audio Adrenaline) is an homage to our old Campus Crusade days at the Colorado School of Mines. Good times, good times... but you probably had to be there.

I'll get a video tour of the "lived-in" house up on the site next (who knows when, but it's my next project).

Thanks for following our lives here at the Vernon Journal!


A Day With My Sister

Last week I took my sister Esther to Myanmar without my parents. She did very good and walked exactly where I told her to. She didn't cry and neither did I.

After we gave money to the policeman for a special stamp we went back to see my parents in Thailand.

They were very excited to see me again, but I was indifferent.

I think I will take Esther to Myanmar again next month. Maybe my dad can make a better movie about that trip, because the only thing I like about this video is the song.

Goodbye, I love you all! -abigail

Entertaining Video

I needed an entertaining video to use for my test as we make the switch over from Google Video to YouTube for our Video Hosting needs. I understand some of you have been having troubles with our old videos. I am assured by Google that Google Video will still be supported, so be patient when viewing our old posts, but here's the way new videos will be posted.

OK GO - Here it Goes Again (Treadmill Video)

We really enjoyed this wonderfully choreographed video from Swedish band OK GO's hit project Oh, No where four guys, eight treadmills and one remote control add up to a lot of fun. Some time ago, Lori was reading through some of our favorite missionary blogs and came across this light hearted post from RelevantGirl (Mary DeMuth).

Upbeat sounds, radio mix distortions and beautifully unmatched clothes are reminiscent of bands gone by (where have you gone Room Full of Walters?) and this video should get your feet tapping and your eyes smiling. Apparently, this song was also featured on the Scrubs season six premiere, so you will probably hear more of it soon. (AND, while I'm thinking about it, thanks again Andy Engdahl for Scrubs season three!) Hope you all enjoy...

Preparing the Feast

It's the season to celebrate the new rice harvest in Akha villages. It is difficult to describe all the sights and sounds and smells that you experience in the village, but we wanted to show you a small glimpse into the festival at Mae Salong. Here we have some of our neighbors preparing one of the dishes for the festival meal. They do everything in community, and here they are gathered around on a salah chopping up vegetables. Look at that young boy go! He's only about 11 years old, but he knows his way around a knife.


Akha New Rice Festival : video

Funny :: Beware of things made in October

October! The greatest month of sports is upon us. Football, basketball, hockey and baseball's fall classic. How sweet it is. I want to commemorate the kickoff of this month (and the launch of the newest addition to The Vernon Journal media suite) with a commercial that has had a special place in my heart for many years now (yes, it's because it celebrates a Yankees champoinship). Enjoy!

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