This year, Camp Wycliffe brought us to a little village nestled in the beautiful mountain ranges of Chiang Mai. This mountain village is home to a total of just 16 households from the Kool* tribe, so it is a relatively small village. A simple wooden house serves as the church building for this cosy community of less than a 100, all of whom except one household are apparently believers in Christ. The most beautiful feature of this humble church building is that it is symbolically perched atop a hill, at the far end of the sloped dirt road which runs through the village.
In this little village, we stayed for three days and two nights. All of us campers were divided into groups of three or four, and were assigned to stay with different host families in their houses. Although the villagers were from the Kool tribe and spoke the Kool language with each other, some of them also spoke and understood standard Thai. As such, every group had at least one member who could converse in Thai with our host families.
On the first evening we arrived in the village, our hosts met us at the village church and brought us back to their respective houses. We enjoyed the pleasures of cooking (weak attempts), dinner, and warm albeit largely nonverbal conversation together with our host families, before taking a quick splash of a shower and putting on our Sunday best to head back up to the village church.
Daylight was already waning and a light shower had formed by the time we started walking up to the church. My group’s host family waved us goodbye from the house as they told us that they would not be joining us at church due to the rain. It was slightly disappointing as we had rehearsed a special song in their Kool language as well as a skit about Jonah’s story to present to the villagers that evening. Many other villagers also could not make it because of the rain. In the end, only a small handful showed up. Nevertheless, the few villagers and us campers (and a host of insects!) were blessed to be able to worship together in the little church that evening.
Picture this: a tiny wooden house surrounded by the darkness of night and pouring rain; huddled together inside the dimly lit house is a group of people of different colours, speaking different languages, worshipping together – a preview of Heaven… One church, one faith, one Lord.
Written by Anonymous Wycliffe camper, 2019