Today began very early for us, as we were up and off to the 'Thanksgiving' festivities arena by 6:30am. Jocelyn had been asked to speak at the 7:00am church service, so we were up and walking our mile-hike a little after 6:00am. The service lasted until about 9:00am, with several choirs singing in between speakers, and we then returned to the guesthouse for breakfast and a short rest. We then repeated our mile-hike to the festivities arena for the 11:00am church service, in which Rick was asked to speak. He was the first of three pastors to share the message. There was also a Korean pastor, as well as Pastor Geoffrey from Cristos Mission who shared messages. The second service lasted until 2:00pm, and we retraced our steps to the guesthouse for lunch and a nap. Brandon and Hosanna and Deborah (of Partners) were asked to attend the 3:00pm youth service, so they quickly made the mile-hike back to the arena. They each shared a personal testimony, Hosanna performed a ballet dance, and she and Brandon played their instruments. None of us had ever attended such long church services before, much less three of them in the same day!
After dinner we had the opportunity to meet some very special visitors to the guesthouse. We were joined by thirty-three IDP (Internally Displaced Peoples) pastors. Some had walked for many days to arrive at the 'Thanksgiving' celebration. We learned that these men and women are like circuit preachers who consistantly travel between several villages to minister the Gospel and pray for their flock. However, their shepherding job is very dangerous, as they trek through Burma, and can be shot on sight by the Burmese army. We had the honor of meeting them in person, hearing some of their experiences, and prayer requests, and then presenting them with gifts from Partners.
Then it was off to bed for our final night in the camp. We all slept very well since it had been such a long day for us.