Thursday Jan 12: Today was the beginning of our study of Christianity in Thailand. Once again, we met with an ordained woman in the Church of Christ in Thailand, Ajaan Chilipan, who works in prisons and brothels and with the “least among us.” She is an amazing woman and someone in whose presence it is a privilege to be. (Greg, she was deeply appreciative of your book and of being remembered by you.) We joined the chapel service at McGilvery Seminary and had lunch with some of the students. We also visited a Catholic Spirituality Center, which is progressive, inspiring, and beautiful. Several among us walked an exquisite labyrinth there. We also visited the Henry Luce Chapel, which has a unique architecture, having been built in the shape of a lotus flow floating over water and open to the air above and below.
Friday Jan 13: We began our day with a lecture on Islam in Thailand by Ajaan Suchart, the Director of the Ph.D. program in Peace Studies and a sociology professor who is also a Chinese Muslim living in Thailand. His presentation not only introduced to Islam in Thailand but also to a project he is working on training Muslim youth in Southern Thailand in Peace-building.
We then went to a mosque in Chiang Mae, Masjid At-Tagawa, where we had a lovely lunch prepared by the women of the community. We observed Friday Prayer and then had a conversation with Ajaan Pam about Women in Islam. That generated a lot of discussion later in the evening when we got together to process the day. Today was the beginning of our introduction to Islam. We will meet with Sunni and Shiite Muslims when we are in Bangkok. Our group found the day to be very informative and an excellent learning experience, especially for those who have not been exposed to islam “up close and personal” before.
Tomorrow is a day of fun as we go to the elephant camp! Everyone is excited about this outing.