Saturday was a welcome day of pure leisure. We spent the morning at the Maesa Elephant Camp, where we watched the elephants and their mahoots (caregivers/trainers) bathe (the elephants bathed, that is, not the mahoots); enjoyed a very entertaining show that highlighted the intelligence and humor of these magnificent animals; and took a half-hour ride on the elephants.
In the afternoon, several folks went to a Celedon factory. Celedon is a form of pottery for which Thailand is known. We say many beautiful pieces of art and some purchased a few small things. We also visited the Umbrella Village in Chiang Mae, where there is an annual festival highlighting the beautiful handmade and painted umbrellas the area is known for. Shopping, of course, happened. Some of our group went on an excursion into the city with Raylena Fields as their guide, and others stayed home and did laundry or just relaxed.
Today we are splitting into two groups to go to two different churches. One is in a rural setting and is the site of the first Thai Christian martyrs. The other is in a more “suburban” setting – a rural church that has grown over the past several years. This will give us further experiences of Christian practices in Thailand. Each community will host us for lunch, giving us an opportunity both to accept their gracious hospitality and to get to know them better.
Here’s hoping your weekend is going well. We pray for you daily.