Thursday, December 26, 2013

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas in Thailand - Thoughts

A quick shot while out exploring the Thai
It is hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone, and in a few short days it will be 2014. A lot has happened for me in 2013. And probably the biggest is learning about human trafficking, and then moving to Thailand to try to help do something about it.

It's been an exciting year, and looking back on it I wouldn't change anything. It is so much fun to be in Thailand and involved in things that are making a difference in the lives of people who are facing desperate situations.

I would encourage you to find ways to make a difference in the lives of others, if you don't already, because it is very rewarding not only for them, but also for you as well. Perhaps it can be a new year's resolution, that you actually follow through on.

Human Trafficking in 2013

There have been a lot of big strides in 2013, with many organizations involved in fighting modern slavery growing, and others (like Stone in Shoe), getting started.

I want o share a few resources I have found that came out this year and may be of interest to those who want to learn more about human trafficking.

The Walk Free Foundation released the Global Slavery Index 2013, which contains trafficking information and rankings for the majority of countries in the world. It is a very thorough index with a lot of information, but it is presented in a visually appealing way.

The Polaris Project created another valuable resource, compiling a rating of each state in the US on Human Trafficking Laws. This is a fascinating document to browse through as it provides a lot of information on each state and what laws they have or don't have for human trafficking. Perhaps you can take a look, and see how your state is doing.

Finally, the US government also put together a 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report with individual reports and information on many different countries around the world. Take a look, and see these detailed reports for yourself.

These resources provide a deeper look into the numbers and location information regarding human trafficking. While trafficking is much worse in some countries and regions, the sad fact is that it exists worldwide, in practically every country. But 2013 saw a big increase around the world in awareness, and even in arrests and other anti-trafficking efforts.

Back to Christmas in Thailand

Well, anyway, it's Christmas, and I hope everyone out there had a wonderful time, and hopefully enjoyed friends and family.

I enjoyed a fun Christmas afternoon hike with my housemates and some of their families, and managed to snap a few pictures of interesting things we found along the way.

We hiked up a dirt trail, up a mountain called Doi Suthep, and stumbled across a secluded temple sitting next to a small waterfall with a great view of Chiang Mai. It was a relaxing place, although it was impossible to miss the strange, and somewhat creepy, Buddhist statues and structures.

Hiked past this unique collection of structures that made up a temple and other buildings.

We eventually made it to the top of the mountain, where there were many shops and another temple. Apparently most people preferred to ride a motorcycle or drive a car to reach the top, rather than hike through the jungle.
Shops on the stairs that lead to the temple at the
top of the mountain.

It has been a unique experience being in Thailand for Christmas, because, while the stores and malls put up lots of holiday themed decorations, the Thai people don't really take the day off, and most business are open. It reminds me of Christmas in Japan, where many of the people like Christmas, and enjoy the decorations and gift giving, but have no idea what the holiday is about, or any traditions that go with it. It is a good reminder that not everyone in the world thinks the same, or celebrates the same things.

I am really looking forward to what 2014 holds, and I am confident that it will bring new adventures, challenges and fun. I am also excited for what can be accomplished in fighting human trafficking over the next 12 months.

Enjoy the last few days of 2013!

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Quick Drive into the Hills Around Chiang Mai

Thailand is Fun (And Different)

I took advantage of a quiet Saturday morning to drive out into the Thai countryside. It is a popular road that winds up and around some of the mountains that hang on the edge of Chiang Mai.

thailand countryside
Stopped on the side of the road to snap this picture
Some people take motorcycles, racing up and down the winding hills, while other highly motivated individuals challenge themselves by riding a bicycle. I just went on my moped, maintaining a leisurely pace and enjoying the the many interesting sights along the way.

thai cafe
A fun coffee shop along the road
It was incredibly refreshing, and not just because I was out of the city's usual dust and car fumes, but just taking the time to explore and enjoy some beautiful mountain views helped me remember how blessed I am to be able to live in Thailand and do what I do.

The road flows up and down over the hills, with jungle vegetation all around. At times you are riding though little valleys with houses and small shops along the road, and then you ride up another hill, and get a great view of other hills and quaint valleys tucked around. It seems like the perfect place for anyone who needs a few days of absolute peace and quite.

On the way back I also stopped at my new favorite coffee shop and happily sipped a latte, warming myself up from the ride (apparently it's winter here, and is getting down into the low 70's (sometimes 60's) at night and in the early morning!).

I've been reading some books lately on injustice which have helped me be reminded of how important it is to be involved.

Coffee shop thailand
A fun little coffee shop with great Latte's
One of the books, called The Exodus Road, gives a wife's perspective of what it is like for her husband to do undercover investigations into human trafficking in many of the countries in Southeast Asia. This book details the true events and situations that exist right now, and how some people are working to combat injustice, one victim at a time. I highly recommend it if you are willing to be challenged. If you do buy it and read it, I would enjoy talking about your thoughts, so send me an email or leave a comment.

I didn't quite expect to find Thailand so full of adventures and fun new things, but I'm trying to enjoy them all. I am thankful to be able to live in Thailand, and help fight injustice in the ways I can. But you don't have to go to Thailand to do that, you can fight for justice wherever you are.

I want to encourage everyone to take more opportunities to enjoy the fun and interesting things around you. And if you can't find any new or exciting things, why not move over to Thailand, where you will find plenty.

Thanks for stopping by and reading, and thanks everyone who made this adventure in Thailand possible. There are certainly challenges, but there are also so many things to enjoy and thank God for. I'll be sharing more about Stone in Shoe, the company I'm helping start, in the near future.

Leave a comment with any questions or thoughts!

Friday, November 22, 2013

More on the Projects I am Working On

Life Gets Busy Sometimes

burma border
Had the Chance to Stop in Burma, so I did.
Interesting place.
Well, I was hoping to avoid this, but it looks like it happened. I got busy with some exciting projects  and adventures and forgot to write any updates on here.

But, let me make it up to you by sharing some of the neat things I have already been able to get involved in and some of the fun things I've been experiencing.

Stone in Shoe

I am here, in Thailand, as a volunteer with Stop Slavery. A unique and exciting project I am able to join with is Stone in Shoe, an artwork company that sells canvas prints to spread awareness about human trafficking as well as raise money to directly fund anti-trafficking operations.

street sign in thailand
A main road in Thailand, with very decent
It is a new company, with just a small crew of talented young professionals volunteering their time and effort to get the company going and make a difference in the world.

We have been working on developing the website, which always seems to take more work than expected, and setting up other aspects of the business.

The artwork is composed of images that are emotionally grating or irritating, photos of trafficking situations or other injustices. Our goal is that people will put the artwork up on the wall, where others will see it and be motivated to learn more about modern slavery.

I have been able to step in and help with the various tasks that must be completed to launch this venture. It is very exciting for me to be working on this project which we hope will raise support and a lot of awareness about human trafficking worldwide. Your prayers as Stone in Shoe get's going would be very appreciated.

You might enjoy reading a recent post I wrote on the Stone in Shoe blog with some news about the site and other announcements.

On the Ground

Being here in Thailand has given me the opportunity to get firsthand accounts and stories of trafficking situations across Asia. It is very saddening to hear these stories, but it also gives me extra motivation to continue working in the ways I can to support ending modern slavery.

While I don't have any contact with victims in the work I'm doing, I have begun to meet people who are involved in that side of things and it is very encouraging to hear how they are working at not only caring for and building up victims, but also working on prevention through reaching out into rural communities with information.

More on Living in Thailand

thailand night market
Night Market in Chiang Mai
Living in Thailand is an incredible adventure. There are so many new sights and sounds. There are tons of new foods to try, unique trinkets to check out, strange cultural differences to be surprised
by, and so much more.

Typical foods include a wide variety of stir-fried foods served over white rice. They also have plenty of fried rice, and many different kinds of noodle soup dishes.

Roadside food stands are very popular, and these places will sell anything from mango's over rice to chicken organs on a stick.

The Thai people are generally friendly and willing to work with my lack of language skills. I have been trying to learn a little of the language, but it is both difficult, and I don't have too much time to devote to it.

I recently had the fun opportunity to go to a very popular festival held here in Thailand where thousands of paper lanterns are floated up into the air. It was a magnificent sight when all the lanterns rose in unison from the extremely crowded location the festival was held at. For the entire weekend lanterns were continually drifting skyward making for a very entertaining night scene.

Thai lantern festival
Lantern Festival held every year with thousands of lanterns released at once
Being close to the action in Thailand has helped develop my understanding and knowledge of human trafficking, both in Asia and around the world. I don't think it will ever be possible for me to forget some of the things I have learned, but hopefully my last memories will be positive, consisting of the eradication of modern slavery.

Please be praying for the victims of human trafficking, for the people working at ending it, and especially for the investigators, and ongoing investigations throughout Asia.

If you have thoughts or questions, leave a comment, or contact me by email, or on the contact page. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

P.S. If you wanted to help, one big way would be to go to and follow us on social media to help spread the word.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Thailand: It's a New Adventure

An Update with Pictures as I Settle in to Living in Thailand

Over the last few days since arriving on Thursday night, life has been a somewhat hectic dash of activity as I have been trying to settle in, get through jet lag, and learn how to function in a new country where I can't read or speak anything.
peter vanosdall in thailand
Typical parking outside a small market
moped in thailand
And I even like the color

Touring the street markets and sampling local foods has been an awesome experience. Paying around $1 for a Thai lunch, but finding bedding for $50 and up, has been interesting. The cost of most things in Thailand are either significantly cheaper, or more expensive, than what I am accustomed to.

Traffic is another unique aspect of Thailand that takes some getting used to. Lane lines are seen as a mere suggestion, and lane changes are done by slowly sliding over into the other lane, whether or not it is occupied already. Traffic lights are rather long, or at least it feels that way because they have timers on most of the major lights that show you how long it will stay green, yellow or red. It makes for a convenient race start countdown when waiting at a red light...

I have been blessed with a moped to use while here, which is the preferred mode of transportation for most Thai people. It is quite entertaining to see how many people or things, or both, are able to fit on one small moped. Already in a few days I've seen small families using a single moped to get around, or what looks like moped delivery services with several large boxes stacked precariously around one small deliveryman.
thai kitchen
The Kitchen Setup - Gas Cook Range!

This week's primary focus will be settling in, and getting the house I'm living in, with Alex and Jess, painted and put together. It is a great house with lots of space, although the walls could use a color other than the current greenish-white. Accommodations in the kitchen are nice, but for those accustomed to American kitchens, it might feel a little different.

I want to thank everyone for your prayers as I traveled the 28 hours to get to Thailand. It was a long trip, but went very smoothly and the only residual affects are jet lag which I am quickly getting over.

I also want to thank everyone who helped me get here through financial support, what a blessing!

Please be in prayer as I integrate into the team at Stop Slavery and we work together at developing and accomplishing several exciting projects which I will be learning more about (and sharing more about on here) in the next few weeks.

Here are a few additional pictures of the house I'll be living in, and the plane that brought me here  For all of the pictures, if you click on them you can see them full sized.

Thai House
This is my house in a small quiet neighborhood a little south of Chiang Mai. It is amazing the houses you can rent in Thailand at great prices. This place was especially inexpensive, however, the inside needs some painting and small renovations. But with great space and potential, it is hard not to love it!

Korean Air
The Korean Air flight that brought me across the Pacific. It was as comfortable as 14 hours in a seat could be I guess. I was able to catch up on some movies, nap, read, and then realize I wasn't even halfway to my destination.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoyed the pictures. I will try to post more in the near future as adventures unfold!

Leave a comment with your thoughts, questions, or other pictures I should post.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I'm In the Airport!

As I write this, I am waiting in the Mobile, AL airport to board my plane and head to Thailand, I am so encouraged by the many people who have generously partnered with me and helped make this trip happen. I am excited to say that my trip is more than 4/5ths fully funded!

The support from so many people makes me even more excited to get to Thailand and focus on the challenges and opportunities in fighting human trafficking.

A huge thank you to everyone who is praying for my trip, and for those supporting me financially!

It is very exciting for me to be on my way to Chiang Mai, a big step towards joining the fight against human trafficking.

I will be flying into Atlanta, then on to Seoul after a long flight across the Pacific. Then one more flight and I arrive in Chiang Mai Thursday evening, local time.

For those who might be interested in learning more about human trafficking, and more broadly, injustice in the world, I would recommend a book I recently read called Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen. It had some pretty good information covering the different injustices that exist, including human trafficking, why they exist, and how we can be involved in fighting for justice.

Prayers as I travel would be appreciated. I look forward to posting more on here as I arrive in Thailand and begin working. Leave a comment with any thoughts or questions.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

One Week Until I Fly to Thailand

In Less Than one Week I Will be on My Way to Thailand

I am amazed and humbled as funding for my trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand has begun to be supplied in several ways, and through many different people. What generous people God has raised up to join with me in fighting human trafficking!

I have also been amazed at the connections I have been able to make, meeting people who share a passion for combating modern slavery around the world. What an encouragement it is to know that there are people in many different places with different skills and abilities, but all engaged in the same goal - setting free those who are kept against their will.

I can't tell you how excited I am to get to Chiang Mai. I am looking forward to the opportunities and adventures that await me in the coming months.

With just a week to go, I am working at getting all the little details together - funding, gear, paperwork, and lots of other little things that would be good to do before leaving the country for over half a year!

But I can enthusiastically say that nothing is keeping me from going to Thailand, I have all the 'important' details together! My plane ticket and visa are paid for, and I have saved some money for the first few months of rent/expenses. If you are interested in supporting the work I'll be doing with Stop Slavery and keeping me in Thailand, visit How to Join in Support.

I am looking forward to sharing on here the adventures I'll find in Chiang Mai, and some pictures of the unique things I'm sure to find. Leave a comment if you have thoughts or questions. Visit the Contact Me page if you want to contact me more privately through email. You can also sign up for email updates at the bottom of the right sidebar.

Thank you for all your support, prayers and encouragement!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Two Weeks...

Two Weeks Left Until I Fly

Visa clipart
Got my Visa for Thailand!
In just two short weeks I will be on my way to Chiang Mai, Thailand to begin working with Stop Slavery.

I received my visa back just a few days ago, which was the last major step in the process of going to Thailand. It went through without any problems, and it is very comforting to know I can check that box off my list of things to do.

I am amazed as all the details that are coming together, which is very nice since there isn't much time left! I am really looking forward to getting to Thailand and starting on the projects that need to be done.

Many generous friends and family have stepped up to support me, both in prayer and financially - what an encouragement! If you want to know more about joining with me to help stop human trafficking, visit how to join in support.

As my departure gets closer, I find myself stopping and thinking, 'Why am I doing this?' Then I am reminded of two things: First, I am encouraged because God loves justice, and He wants us to love justice as well. He also wants to use us to enact justice in the world. We are responsible for helping those in desperate situations, where they think no one can help them. My hope is that I will be able to accomplish this while working in Thailand, and that my efforts will make it easier for others in the future to bring criminals to justice, and bring hope to the hopeless.

Second, what an opportunity and adventure this will be! There will be plenty of challenges, but there will also be plenty of rewarding and memorable experiences, so I am really looking forward to the next 8 months.

I will be posting on this blog as often as possible, keeping it updated with news and adventures. Leave a comment if you want to share your thoughts. You can also subscribe by email to receive these updates in your inbox. (just enter you email in the box at the bottom of the right sidebar)

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Tickets and Visa for Thailand

Visa is in the Mail!

I am excited to share that I got plane tickets to Chiang Mai last week, and sent my visa application off earlier this week.

Two steps closer to Thailand and working with Stop Slavery!

The visa application will now be approved and returned to me, hopefully in the next 2 weeks. Prayer that it goes smoothly would be appreciated!

The plane ticket and visa cost just under $1800 altogether, which was over a hundred dollars less than I budgeted, which is great. But I am still in need of individuals willing to partner with me in doing something to stop human trafficking, both in prayer and in support. If you would like partner with me, or learn more about it, just visit How To Join In Support.

The plane flight will leave Mobile, Alabama, stop in Atlanta, then Seoul, South Korea, and finally arrive in Chiang Mai, Thailand 28 hours later.

Here is a picture to give you an idea of the flight path:
peter vanosdall
Flight Plan for my Trip to Thailand - Flying halfway 'round the World

I am getting more excited everyday for this opportunity to combat injustice, and help the Stop Slavery organization become more effective in its role of funding and developing anti-trafficking operations.

I don't know all of what I'll be doing, but I know that everyday I am in Thailand will be a new chance to make a difference and make progress in ending slavery.

Thanks for stopping by and reading, and visit again soon when I post my thoughts on injustice in the world, and what we as individuals can do about it.

Leave a comment with your thoughts or questions!

Friday, August 23, 2013

More Info About Stop Slavery and What I'll Be Doing

I want to share a little more information about what Stop Slavery is, and what I will be doing with them while in Thailand.

Peter vanosdall stop slaveryStop Slavery is a mission organization created with the simple goal of fighting human trafficking.

They are based in Chiang Mai, Thailand, but operate in many of the neighboring countries.

Stop Slavery is involved in or developing a number of projects to help fight modern slavery.

One of the ways Stop Slavery combats human trafficking is by providing funding and support for the prevention and intervention of trafficking crimes.

They also support an orphanage in Cambodia, have plans for a coffee shop for victims to learn new skills, and possibly artwork to promote awareness and raise money for anti-trafficking.

I will be joining to help with a variety of these projects, and perhaps create some new ones! With my experience in Marketing, I will primarily focus on promoting and creating awareness, but I certainly won't skip an opportunity to visit and help out at the orphanage (or other opportunities that arise).

I know that no matter what I am working on, it will be bringing justice, maybe only in small steps, to the millions trapped in modern slavery.

You can keep reading by visiting the page, What I'm Doing or you may want to go to How to Join in Support to learn how you can be directly involved in the anti-trafficking movement.

Thanks for visiting, you can always leave a comment with any thoughts or questions, or visit Contact Me if you want to connect.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


A Short Video with a Brief Introduction for this Blog

I wanted to make a short video to quickly introduce myself to anyone who might not know me, and give a little intro to this blog.

As mentioned in the video, I am heading to Chiang Mai, Thailand for about 9 months to join the Stop Slavery Mission Agency and help fight human trafficking.

Use the links at the top of the page to read more about this adventure I am taking, and also consider if you would like to join me in ending modern slavery.

I need people who are willing to pray, to support, and to spread the word about modern slavery.

Thanks for visiting, leave a comment with your thoughts or questions!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

First post - Getting Underway

It's been slow going at first

I have felt that going to Thailand to work with Stop Slavery is what I should do, for the last few months, but I have been slow to actually make progress in that direction.

But perhaps I am reaching the top of a wave, and will accelerate down the other side, that's my goal anyway!

So, welcome to my blog that will be covering my adventure to Chiang Mai, Thialand where I will be working with the Stop Slavery mission agency to fight human trafficking.

I will be posting more information and news updates in the near future, so stay tuned for that!

Thanks for visiting, and be sure to browse through the pages located at the top to learn more about what I am doing, and how you can even help.