Thursday, April 23, 2015

Videos from Senior Specialized Training

Area around Hotel

 More Area around Hotel
Sister Meeker being Kissed
 Elephants entering the River for a Bath
Bathing Elephants
Scrubbing the Elephants
Playing Soccer
Starting the Painting
The Finished Painting

Senior Missionary Specialized Training 2015

24 Full time Missionaries, 2 District Missionaries and President and Sister Senior
Once per year - Our mission President gets all of the Senior Missionaries serving in the Thailand Bangkok Mission together. We have Senior missionaries in Bangkok, multiple cities in Northeast Thailand, in Lao and Myanmar so we enjoy this yearly opportunity to be together. This year President and Sister Senior selected a location outside of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.

The Resort was called Panviman Resort.  The resort is literally located on a hillside about 45 kilometers outside of Bangkok.  Picturesque! and also good for exercise.  It was a hike between the main building - restaurant, reception and conference room to our actual hotel room up about 200 feet in elevation. It was quite a logistical feat to get all of the couples from their respective locations to arrive near the same time.  I arranged all of the airline tickets and the transportation to meet them at the airport and take them to the resort.  I also brought the cash to pay for the group hotel and the activity costs.  We as senior couples were responsible for our room costs.

Picturesque setting in the hills northeast of Chiang Mai - yes we swam in that pool behind us

We were at the resort for 3 days (2 nights).  On the first day we had training session and then had dinner together at the hotel restaurant.  The second day had a morning session and an afternoon activity time.  Most of the couples selected to go to a nearby elephant camp along a local river.  We fed the elephants watched them bathe in the river and then they put on a little show. That evening we had a Thai dinner a local restaurant a short walk from the hotel.  After dinner we had a FHE activity together in the hotel conference room.  Fun fun. We played a form of gospel oriented Pictionary . We had four teams,  Some of these senior couple are amazingly quick.  We had a closing session on the Third day where we had the opportunity to share our testimonies.  Then most went immediately to the airport.  12 of us traveled to the city of Chiang Mai and stayed the night.  We had fun with them and did some more souvenir buying (shopping). 

The LARGE deck outside our room

Sister Meeker chilling on the deck

View of Main building

Pool and waterfall area shot taken from main building
Chilling after swimming
Artificial Cave area below the pool

Watch your head walking in there
Entrance to Elephant camp
Mahuts bathing their elephants
Yes that is an elephant painting

Some of the finished product - All painted by different Elephants

Quite stunning in their ability to paint
The elephants put on a show - played soccer, twirled hula hoops and moved logs

The group that attended the elephant camp with us
Big strong hug

Placing the hat

Capping off the elephant experience
Papaya tree with fruit - notice the lack of branches

Feet up - King Size Chair
Rock Paper Scissors - deciding who gets to translate1st  for the Native Thai Senior Missionaries - I won
Local resident often made loud cackling comments outside conference room during the training
Getting to know you game prior to dinner - note the scenery thru the windows
Nice hotel with beautiful company in Chiang Mai

Shopping for Wood carvings - left this one - but two others are currently sailing home - surface mail

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Water in the Streets of Bangkok

There are three seasons in Thailand hot, rainy and not as hot (they call it the cool season). It is currently the hot season in Thailand.  However it occasionally rains even in the hot season. Last week we were blessed with a down pouring of moisture from the sky.  I had to go to two banks on the way to the office. So Lois went with me to the first Bank and then went on to the office.  As I was waiting for the Bank to open (8:30 AM) it started to rain, I stepped around the side of the building to get out of the direct path of the rain.  Once I got inside to do my business, it really stated to rain.  After that transaction was complete I had to walk down the street about 200 feet to another bank.  I used my umbrella to try and keep me dry.  I carry a small folding umbrella in my bag 6 months of the year.  The umbrella put up a good fight but it was no match for the amount of rain coming down.  When I was done at the second bank 20 minutes had elapsed from the start of the rain.  The streets were beginning to flood.  Meaning that the rain was coming down faster than the streets could carry the water away to a nearby canal.  I grasped my bag and carried it close to my chest attempting to keep the contents dry.  Since I had a 9 AM appointment at the office - Meeting with Church headquarters and Hong Kong regarding the new Vehicle Management Software called CARS, I could not just wait out the rain.  So I started off towards the office, getting wetter with every step. 

There is a location where the sidewalk narrows and the street is close.  The water was deep in the street.  I have been doused there before by passing cars - so I checked my 6 (rear view) it looked clear. As I got close to the narrowest spot I met some ongoing pedestrians so I slowed down.  Unfortunately that slow down allowed a big bus to douse me above my waist.

When I got to the last street there was no choice but to step out into the street into ankle deep water in order to cross.  When I reached the office I was soaked from above the waist to my toes.  I took off my shoes and socks. I rang out my socks and put them on the un-interruptible power supply for my desktop PC to try to get them dry.  So for most of the day I walked around the office in my bare 
feet. One of the Thai employees teased me about my white feet.

I was dry enough by 6 PM to go out with the Branch President and 1st counselor to visit members in their home.

The pictures below are from another rainstorm about a week prior. Very similar results as far as he depth of water in the streets.  That day I walked back from the office  - your mother was already at the Condo and was oblivious to the rain outside.  I only got partially soaked that day.
These pictures are taken by your mother who went outside after it stopped raining to see the flooding.