Palm tree spikes, bananas and termites

It’s been quite a full week here in Thailand. It’s rice-harvesting season here, and it looks just like the pictures. It’s beautiful, watching the people work in this lovely land. It is truly a land of smiles and I love it here.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

However, we’ve learned that the land can also be extremely harsh. Here’s proof: yesterday I got stabbed in the bicep by a palm branch. Um, really? Yes, it’s possible. Take a look at these bad boys.

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

They’re nasty! Who knew some palm trees had thorns? Apparently in Thailand, watch out. Part of our job while clearing the land has been to hack away at these palm trees and get the branches out of the way, which is great, but our bodies are feeling the repercussion of multiple stab wounds. We discovered that once stabbed by these beasts, it is necessary to make sure the tip hasn’t broken off inside of our skin, since that gives the poison (yes, I said it) a chance to linger and spread. Ha!

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

Today I helped uproot and replant 30 banana trees (we planted a banana orchard, how cool is that?!), and next week we’re going to tackle planting some pineapples.

Sidenote:
I’m enjoying working on the land a LOT more than I thought I would. There’s such a purpose to it, and it’s so fulfilling to see all the work we’ve accomplished at the end of the day. By nightfall every day we’re exhausted, but our bodies feel so good and satisfied.

After working hard all day today, we walked up to our tents, where I proceeded to discover (with great joy) that termites had chewed through the bottom of my tent and had started to build under my big pack. Thank the Lord I discovered them today and not in a couple days, because they would have completely overwhelmed my pack and gotten into everything.

Thankfully, because of His grace, my backpack is now “sunning” and my tent airing out, temporarily patched with duct tape. Poor Becky has ants nesting in her tent, Ashlee already fought with the ants a couple days ago, and all the girls have moved their tents around to avoid their stuff getting chewed up and infested by either ants or termites. Because there’s been a lot of rain (even though we were told it doesn’t rain this time of year *wink wink*), the insects have had a heyday with our stuff.

My teammate Jessica anointed my tent with oil (all the tents, actually) and prayed over it. Lord, no more water in our tents from thunderstorms, no more ants or termites in our tents or in our stuff, we declare in Jesus’ name. Thank you, we trust You!

We’re definitely learning a LOT.

I’m going to try and write an advice blog and compile a list of do’s and don’ts for future racers who will camp here. We’re paving the way on this land, which is great, but it comes with a lot of learning curves!

Praise the Lord that He has given us the ability to laugh about this, to go with the flow, to help each other and share our space and gear, and ultimately still praise Jesus at the end of the day, regardless of what has happened.

[ By the way, I absolutely love the kids here. They have stolen my heart and I already know it’s going to break my heart to leave them. ]

Tomorrow we get to spend time at an elephant park (pictures to come later!) and then this weekend I get to meet up with some very special missionary friends 🙂 Needless to say I’m really happy and extremely excited. The Lord knows what I need this month and He is bringing me such joy and teaching me so much about myself.

It’s crazy how this journey is as much about serving wherever we’re needed as it is about growing in leaps and bounds in our faith, delving deep into community, and learning how to let God love us the way He’s always wanted to.

In the land of smiles, this “smiley” girl is:

  • Smiling a TON 🙂
  • Finding joy in manual labor (which I didn’t think was possible before this!)
  • Discovering more of who I am and becoming okay with “me”
  • Getting close to my teammates and getting lots of hugs from them, too 🙂
  • Learning to find rest not in the physical but in Jesus (learning to ABIDE)
  • Falling in love with Thailand just as I expected I would

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org


That’s all for now, folks! More later! I love YOU!

From jesseischens.theworldrace.org,
Jess 🙂

Your thoughts would look GOOD here :)