Mission Thailand (Part 1)

If you don’t know much or anything about the strife of the Karen people and/or the strife of their current life in Myanmar (formely known as Burma), I implore you to do some research. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about the terrible strife before going, and I am still learning more and more myself. The reason, we discerned, that God was calling us there was to continue our partnership with the people of the Hpa-an Diocese. The following chronicles our trip.

Day one, January 16, 2023. Now besides the fact that I and my companions, Father Fabian Castillo (Colombia) and Deacon Marti Isler (Colorado) would embark on a mission nearly half-way around the world, it also happened to be a milestone for me…My 50th Birthday. Turns out it would be the shortest birthday of my life, as we would jump ahead to the 17th of January once across the International Dateline.

Our trip began early in the morning at the Peoria, IL airport. That first flight consisted of a short jaunt to Dallas where after a short layover, we headed off to Tokyo. 13.5 hours later, we landed. I did meet a wonderful young couple on the flight, seated next to me, who were headed back “home” to Japan to celebrate the Chinese New Year. They were kind enough to order 3 glasses of red wine so that we could begin the glass on my birthday, ending the day after (Insert Date Line).

Our trip took a very odd and whimsical turn in the Narita Airport in Tokyo. After 3 passes through passport verification, Covid Vaccine verification, Customs, and an issue with Father Fabian being from Colombia (apparently racism is worldwide), we finally were able to go to our gate and await the next flight.

From there we happily left Japan enroute to Bangkok, Thailand. We wre greeted there warmly and lovingly by a member of the local Anglican Church who went by “Henry”. Henry whisked us off to our hotel for the night, where we rested from a long day (or two) of travel.

Early the next morning, we boarded a twin engine Prop Plane and took a one hour flight to Mae-Sa, Thailand, where we were greeted by Richard, a postulant student soon to be a Priest. He and his companion, Kleeger, took us from there on a 2 hour car ride to the “Guest House” where we would stay for the next 6 days.

Stay tuned for more, as this is just the beginning…

In His Name Father Jason Bowden

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