Easter in Phayao


Happy Easter to all! This year we had a very special weekend celebrating the death and resurrection of our Christ. It was our first Easter in Thailand and our first Easter in 102 degree weather!  We started our Easter festivities with Palm Sunday, and the kids reenacted Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey (little red wagon). Tonya simply went out and cut some palm branches down from the tree in her yard–that didn’t happen in Texas!  The kids loved it. Even Meg got into saying “Hosanna, Hosanna”. Absolutely precious.

I’ll break here to insert a quick story from the week prior. My sister Amy sent us some “Resurrection Eggs”, little plastic eggs with tokens of the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection to use for kids to learn the Easter story. Brynn and Meg loved opening them and listening to me tell the story. We did this several times a day after we got them, and it was a special time for all of us.  However, all special times come to an end, and after the 100th time going through all 12 eggs, I was ready for a break and needed to get some things done. Brynn started crying and throwing a fit, and I muttered something under my breath about her needing to be quiet pretty quick. My frustration was close to the boiling over point when through her tears she cried out, “Mommy, will you teach me the truth about God?”  Derran loved that one! I mean, what’s a mom to do? I chuckle just thinking about it. It was a humbling moment. And yes, I did tell her the “the truth about God” yet again after supper. She has a beautiful heart, I might need to work on mine just a hair more! 🙂

On Friday night, our team had a special service to focus on the death of Christ. I’d never been to a service like that before on Easter.  Chris planned it for us, and we all showed up that evening at 6. It is key to point out that it was still 101 degrees at this point. We walked into our office building to candles all around the room and mats on the floor.  No A/C. One open window. One fan. Make that one fan that we didn’t turn on at first because of the candles. That lasted just a few minutes, then we just didn’t care anymore and that fan was turned on full blast! We shared a simple meal together of fruit, sticky rice, grilled pork on a stick, and water. We shared communion together. We took turns trying to keep the kids from a) climbing out the window, b) blowing out the candles, c) drinking all the grape juice, and d) catching themselves on fire. It was quite a sight. Right as I’m partaking of the cup, Meg jumped, lunged rather, into my arms and sent sticky purple liquid all over my face, neck, and shirt…there is nothing like trying to be contemplative when one is hot, sticky, and sweaty–surrounded by candles and small children. I tried to gracefully pull myself together and instructed Meg that if she knew what was good for her, she would find another lap to sit in.  🙂  The service continued as we read Scripture to one another and were able to remember the darkness that Friday so long ago. We left in silence longing for Sunday.

Though I make it seem quite trying, it truly was a powerful time for us. We want our children to be a part of these worship experiences with us, even if it means things are a little crazy, and not so contemplative, at times.  We could have easily put on cartoons or something, but I’m so glad we didn’t; it was a shaping time for all of us.

On Saturday night our team spent the night together at the Fikes’ house. It was as if we were traveling to be with family for Easter weekend, and also so we could wake up and have an Easter egg hunt with all the kids together. We shared a delicious meal of Suki (boiled veggies and meat in broth) and good fellowship. Chris suggested we wake up early to have a sunrise service on Sunday. I must admit that we took a vote, and I was the only dissenting vote. I like my sleep, what can I say?

So after a night of little sleep, we awoke at 5:45 to have a sunrise service out in the front yard before our kids woke up. I was so blessed by that time of quiet and celebration before the day started with the heat and frenzy of getting things done. We sang together, prayed, worshipped, shared communion, and praised God for the empty tomb. It was a powerful moment for me to realize that we live in a country that we are able to sit out in broad daylight and worship God freely, while in the silence between the songs and Scripture readings we could hear the Sanskrit chanting of the Buddhist monks coming from the temple a block or two away. We long for the day that those we love all around us also will celebrate with us the beauty and hope the Easter story brings us.

We had a fun Easter egg hunt, with the only mishap being a stray dog marking his spot on an unfortunate egg. Oops! The kids loved the hunt and we loved watching them. Tonya and I had packed bags of plastic eggs last summer on the shipment, and we were so glad that we did that. We went inside and had Bible class for the kids focusing on the resurrection. By noon we were all ready for naps and recovery time from the Easter Extravaganza weekend. A good kind of tired.

It was a blessed weekend being together. Through the sweat, heat, candles, eggs, and all, we were reminded in a powerful way just how great our God is. He is present all around us. I can’t tell you the joy that fills my heart as I watch Brynn open that last plastic egg, which represents the tomb, and she stands up, stretches her arms out and dramatically yells, “He’s A–LIVE!”

We look forward to many more extremely hot Easters to come in Thailand. Enjoy the pictures!

The kids before the big egg hunt.

Meg and Lane got a head-start.

The post-hunt tallying of eggs.

Kids’ class and a reenactment of the empty tomb.

We watched a video from two Easters ago. The girls loved watching themselves.

The girls made some Easter crafts.

On another note, we ask you to be in prayer for the political situation in Thailand. Tensions are high, especially in Bangkok, but all over the country really. We feel safe being here, but we hurt with this nation that is in political turmoil right now. Please pray for peaceful negotiations between the two feuding groups and that this time will pass quickly.



  1. ok…i have laughed, felt like crying, and gotten goosebumps ALL during reading this post. i THOROUGHLY enjoyed it. i LOVED reading about your story about brynn crying over the resurrection eggs (your frustration level reminds me of how i can be…did i just admit that in a comment on your blog??), and the descriptions of your team worship times almost makes me cry because of how much it is like ours. so many times it can feel like the kids are “in the way”…like when candles are being blown out and the kids are all whining for “MORE JUICE!” as if it is just part of their “bread and juice snack at church”. But…you are so right, we are teaching them, and it is a formative time for us all. I feel so connected to you even with the miles between us as i read about how life for you seems SO similar as it is for me. thanks for sharing! (sorry…i totally should have emailed this to you…i am notorious for writing WAY too much!) take care, friend!

  2. Thank you, my dear, sweet daughter! You made me feel like I was right there with all of you. I love you and am proud of what God is doing with and among you all.

  3. Ann, I am with Allison. I laughed and got goose bumps as I read that. You are such a great story teller! But, I knew that. And maybe the goose bumps are from my a/c being up so high. Sorry about that. 🙂 Just kidding. It was a marvelous post. I love Brynn’s truth-telling exclamation! I wish we all had that same passion for wanting to know the Truth 100 times a day.

    I’m glad you had a great Easter. What forethought to bring plastic eggs! Great idea. I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve for Memorial Day.

    Campbell and Gabe say hi and wish you a happy spring! Love you all!

  4. Hi Ann!

    I really love reading your posts. It just makes my day but makes me miss you all the more!! Amy and I were laughing so hard at Brynn’s expression in the picture with you, Meg, and Brynn. Fantastic! (Meg’s is pretty funny, too!)
    Love you lots!!

  5. I love that picture of them sitting in the chairs with their arms around each other!! Precious. They are getting so big 🙂

  6. sweet, sweet Brynn…awww I love all of the pictures, both girls are getting so big. I am glad you had a great Easter it is so fun to read your stories !! I am praying that things straighten out in Thailand but very glad that you are safe and feel safe, it worries me when I read about what is going on. Kiss Brynn and Meg for me, they are so precious and so are YOU !! love you all.

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