Missionaries help in humanitarian projects

Missionaries in the Thailand Bangkok Mission recently helped members of the Utah Army National Guard in providing medical and dental services to residents near Ubon, Thailand.

The B Company, 1st Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group was in Ubon, nearly 300 miles northeast of Bangkok, for a month earlier this year on special missions including humanitarian projects in villages surrounding the city.First Lt. Kimball Hewett, chairman of the group's humanitarian civil assistance committee, explained that the missionaries, who worked in Ubon, helped translate for doctors and medics working at medical/dental clinics set up at five elementary schools in the villages. The missionaries, including two sisters and five elders, also translated for the villagers who sought the services at the clinics.

"The missionaries seemed excited to help us," Lt. Hewett related. "We certainly needed their help. We were short of translators, so they were a lot of help."

The missionaries who helped at the clinics were Elders Daniel Bishoff of Snellville, Ga.; Kleete Harris of Sandy, Utah; Suthep Lualai of Sweden; Robert Behrmann of Colorado Springs, Colo.; Sombat Sukrat of Lampang, Thailand; and Sisters Aimee Dunn of Spanish Fork, Utah; and Jennifer Homer of Carlsbad, Calif. Elders Bishoff, Harris and Lualai were serving as one companionship.

Mission Pres. Larry R. White said during a Church News telephone interview: "The missionaries felt good because they knew they were doing something in a concrete way to help the people. It made them feel good they could bestow a benefit not only in a spiritual way, but in a physical way. It gave our missionaries a good warm feeling in helping the people they love."

Pres. White related that some of the personnel serving at the medical clinics were from the Thailand military. The mission president added that they were favorably impressed that the mission could "muster that many people in a single place who were bilingual."

The mission president explained that the Army National Guard contacted Church headquarters before the trip to Thailand and requested the missionaries' help. He said he was then contacted by Church headquarters and was given permission to provide translators for humanitarian projects.

Lt. Hewett related that he made arrangements for the missionaries to be picked up in Ubon and transported to the medical clinics. He added that the missionaries did not all help at once. A different companionship was picked up each day of the five-day clinic service.

While helping with the service project, Sister Homer said, "The Church is about service. We haven't expected to get anything from this except to learn how to give." - Julie A. Dockstader

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