Eleven from Redlands traveled together from September 14th through October 4 in Thailand. There were seven from Community, two from First Presbyterian and a couple of interlopers from the United Church of Christ. Fortunately they were Presbyterian friendly.

The whole gang even got to church in Chiang Mai. Several of the main line denominiations (including Presybterians) joined together in the 1930s to create the Church of Christ in Thailand. First Church in Chiang Mai is a part of that denomination. The service was in the Thai language, but with simultaneous translation. The hymns were all familiar as were the sung responses. If it weren't for the humidity, (and the Thai language) it would have been like home.
We got to do a lot of touring and saw many of the MOST BEAUTIFUL TEMPLES in Thailand (Inside joke for those who were on the trip.) We also got to visit hill villages, nature preserves, drift liesurely down a river, and take a couple of walks through the country where we saw how the Thais deal with death.
These three pictures make it look like all we did was have fun. The last one is planting a tree for the birds at the elephant camp. But "au contraire." Pastor Sylvia organized meetings with hundreds, if not thousands, of agencies so we would have no free time to get into trouble. ;-) There was the Seminary at Payap University, the Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture, a Buddhist Monk college, a rehabilitation center, and many more. She also arranged dinner and lunch with Presbyterian missionaries who had lots of stories to tell..

The elephant camp was a highlight of the trip. Riding for an hour through the jungle on the back of an elephant. Crossing rivers and going up and down hills was certainly a new experience for all of us. At the end of the ride, we were picked up by Ox carts and taken back to the camp for lunch. This was really uncomfortable. After lunch, the tree got planted and the group rafted down a swift river on two-person rafts made only of bamboo.
On October 3rd, Pastor Sylvia invited all the members of the tour group to come to a communion service in her room at the Rama Gardens Hotel. A large number of people all showed up (All the ones from Redlands,of course) and we were able to celebrate Worldwide Communion Day on the same day as those in Redlands did. We couldn't make it at the same time, as that would have been 11:30pm and we had a 4 am wakeup call the next day to catch the plane back to the USA

Rev. Sylvia Karcher, Pastor
e-mail: pastor@redlandscommunity.org

Web address: http://www.redlandscommunity.org

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