|During their missions trip to Thailand, the group from Central Bible College was able to experience some of the local culture and native species, including posing with this large python.|
Representatives of the Central Bible College (CBC) Spartans athletic department recently returned from a 12- day missions trip, March 14-25, to Chiang Ria and Bangkok, Thailand.
CBC men's head basketball coach, Kirk Hanson, led the group of 14 - which included CBC basketball and volleyball players and others - to Thailand to work with CBC alum and missionary, Rev. Terry Waisner who is the field representative of Asia's Little Ones, an Assemblies of God ministerial outreach.
After an 18-hour flight, the group arrived in Bangkok on March 15, followed by a flight to Chiang Ria in the northern part of Thailand the next day. For many of the students, it was their first time out of the United States.
Ministry for the group included preaching at Abundant Life Community Church, assisting at the Chiang Ria Children's Home, interacting with Mae Fah Luang University staff and athletes followed by a basketball game, and holding basketball clinics. The basketball team also played a pair of games against a Province all-star team, winning both contests, and the group visited a number of iconic cultural locations.
Caleb Willis, a 2012 CBC graduate, commented, "It was really a special thing to compete against university students so far from home. While the game was not that competitive [CBC won 101-69], we had a great time and enjoyed the camaraderie. The Thai people are very friendly and hospitable."
Joey Kreuter, a current Spartan basketball player, said, "This was my first opportunity to visit outside of the US and traveling to the Golden Triangle was an awesome experience. To see a life style that I could only imagine was life changing for me. On one hand, we saw the very rich and then almost right next to this wealth, was abject poverty. I will not take anything for granted again in our country."
The second Sunday of the trip, the team ministered in Bangkok, at the International Christian Assembly, pastored by Rev. Kevin Barner, a 1979 graduate of CBC and former player.
Hanson preached the morning message to a congregation of over 500 in two combined services. In the service, there were over 20 countries represented.
Hanson commented, "This trip was special for these students as they were exposed to a culture/society that is predominantly Buddhist in their religion. The Thai people are very respectful and kind. During many of the visits to the schools and university, we were treated like royalty. For many in our group, this was a trip of a lifetime and hopefully they gained a worldview of life, recognizing that not everything in our world revolves around America.
"It is my hope," Hanson continued, "that some in our group will return to Thailand to make a difference in that culture and maybe others will gain a greater appreciation for the missions work for our church."
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