Please read reflections of the last day of the trip from participants Seiichiro Natori and Kinu Okubo.
Today was the last day for us in Chiangmai.
After the closing worship service, we spent the day with the Hmong children. We went to the flower garden and the Hmong village and I was able to spend the day with my "buddy".
I felt that this visit to the small Hmong village was a valuable experience that I will never have again. I learned so much about the everyday lives of the Hmong people. Even though their living standards were much higher than I expected, they had difficulties such as the distance and unpaved roads between the village and the school and Ban Hmong's Hope. I learned that because of the support of those working at Ban Hmong's Hope, the children from the village were able to get an education.
My buddy was a 14 year old who looked like an adult so he was was like everyone's older brother and acted tough. Even though we could not speak each other's language, there were many moments when we felt a deeper connection. It made me sad to think that this may be the last time I ever see him. However, there was a mysterious feeling in the air that there would be a time when we all could see each other again in the future. I felt a sense of peace that the children were surrounded by the loving and caring people that welcomed us when we first arrived from Japan.
Today was our last day in Chiangmai. After checking out, we went to Ban Hmong's Hope and had a final devotion time. After that, the BMH staff gave us words of thanks and sang songs for us. They also gave us hand-made gifts from the Hmong people.
After eating lunch together, we went to the flower garden and spent a wonderful time together. Some of the children left from there and the remaining people went to visit the Hmong village. It was a peaceful place with many lychee trees stood on a mountainside. There were several houses lined up and while the smaller children played outside, the adults made traditional crafts. It was a valuable opportunity to experience the traditional lives of the Hmong people.
Though this trip, I was able to meet new people and become good friends with my fellow participants. My circle of good friends has gotten bigger thanks to the people I met a BMH - through sharing meals, talking and singing I feel that our hearts have connected and become one. Even though we live in a different country and didn't know anything about the Hmong people, I was touched by their kindness and warmth. I believe that through the guidance and love of God, we were able to feel immeasurable love.