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"President of Legacy and Wife Invited to Attend Royal Audience at Grand Palace"

King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand is the longest reigning monarch in the world. He has been on the throne of the Thai kingdom for over 60 years! This year, numerous special celebrations were held because the king turned 80 on December 5. But by far the greatest was the Royal Grand Audience held at the Chakri Throne Hall of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. My wife Gloria and I were sent an invitation from the king to attend. Attending the Grand Audience is a particular honor because only the highest ranking government officials, army and police officers; and ambassadors of foreign countries are invited.


Crowds line the streets in the thousands awaiting the arrival of His Majesty King Bhumibol.
Legacy Foundation Photo


Colorful uniform of military officers.
Legacy Foundation Photo

People traveled from all over the country to line the streets in yellow shirts (the king’s color) to wait for the king’s royal cavalcade. King Bhumibol is highly revered in Thailand and for an ordinary Thai person to even catch a glimpse of the king is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Even with the special car pass we had been given by the king’s secretariat, we still were delayed as traffic started jamming up because buses were parking on the streets around the palace to disgorge the thousands upon thousands of faithful subjects.

I was required to dress in formal white tie and tails for this occasion. Gloria calls it my “Penguin Suit”. She was dressed in a yellow Thai silk traditional dress. We were ushered into the formal garden area in front of the Chakri Throne Hall by palace servants and then led by the Chief of Protocol to sign the official guest book. We were the first to sign!

Later we went out to the formal gardens to look around and take pictures. Government officials, military and police officers dressed in full-dress uniforms with medals and decorations began arriving. The ladies all wore either uniforms or full length traditional Thai dresses. The ladies also wore all their medals and ribbons. In Thailand, different regiments of the army wear different color uniforms. As more and more arrived, the gardens in front of the Chakri Throne Hall where the royal audience would take place became a sea of bright red, yellow, purple, green, blue and even pink! The Prime Minister and other government officials wore white, again with all their medals and royal decorations. What a colorful event. Gloria and I met royal ladies in waiting, the former President of the Senate, the Queen’s doctor, General Prem Tinsulanonda, former Prime Minster and now the President of the Privy Council (King’s advisory council) , and many other dignitaries and officials as they took their assigned places before the king and queen arrived.


Leon and Gloria Sexton in front of Chakri Throne Hall.
Legacy Foundation Photo


Government officials gather to honor the King.
Legacy Foundation Photo

Around 10:30 AM the royal anthem was played and the king, queen and all the members of the royal family arrived by motorcade. The king, queen and crown prince came outside onto the balcony overlooking the garden area. A special throne had been set up on the balcony with the royal garuda insignia on a flag draped over the banister in front of him. Cannons fired a 21 gun salute and officials gave their congratulatory speeches. The king gave his formal speech of gratitude to the assembly and all of us shouted, “long live the king” several times.
This all took only about an hour but it was accompanied by much pageantry and royal ceremony. It was all an incredible opportunity to honor the king who has done so much for so many years for his people. Dr. Herbert W. Armstrong was a good friend of King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit and the royal couple have never forgotten that relationship.


Palace guards line up to receive the King.
Legacy Foundation Photo


Fisheye view of assembled dignitaries.
Courtesy, Bureau of Royal Houshold

Legacy Institute is blessed to have the favor of the king and queen and they look out for us as their guests in the Kingdom of Thailand. It was a great honor to join the many hundreds of thousands who joined as one voice in shouting, “Long Live the King!”

Leon Sexton
President, Legacy Institute

 

 

"Legacy Foundation Gives Thanksgiving Treats to Local Chiang Mai Orphans"

Thanksgiving is an American tradition where families come together with parents and grandparents to eat a very large traditional meal and give thanks for their blessings.

At Legacy Foundation vocational training center, most of the volunteer teachers come from America and like to host a traditional Thanksgiving meal for the Legacy trainees.

Last year (2006), Legacy Foundation decided to do something different for Thanksgiving. Instead of having a big


Legacy trainee Lal Beka talkes with orphans.


Orphans enjoy one cone while waiting in line for another.

Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to take the money we would have spent on the meal and use it to provide a special treat for local orphans. It was so successful last year that we decided to do it again this year.

The orphanage that was chosen was a nearby boy’s orphanage with over 300 orphans. Legacy staff brought a large container of ice cream and cartons of cookies. After dinner that day, Legacy trainees passed out ice cream and cookies to all the orphans. There was enough for many to come back two and three times.

We even had some left over for the Legacy staff and trainees!

This kind of program teaches our trainees the way of GIVE. Rather than feed themselves on turkey, stuffing and mashed potatoes, they sacrificed and gave to others less fortunate. The experience was even more emotional for our Legacy trainees because they come from poor hill tribe families and over half have lost parents to war and disease. One young girl trainee burst into tears at seeing so many parentless children.

Many of the children there had lost parents to drugs, disease, prison and some were even abandoned. They are


Legacy trainee Jay (r) passes out ice cream.


Thai orphans happily devour ice cream and cookies.

provided food, clothing and an education by the Thai government. We spoke with the staff there and discovered that many had volunteered their time to take care of the orphans. It was clear that they really cared and it was not just a job that they had to do. They do what they can to provide warmth and role models to the parentless children.

 We have decided to make this an annual Legacy program every Thanksgiving. It is rewarding to give to the unfortunate, especially when they are children who are at the mercy of unkind circumstances. It also makes us more thankful for our own families and the blessings God has given us.

 

 

"Sixty Years Leading by Example"

On June 9, 2007, Legacy Foundation President Leon Sexton and his wife Gloria were given a special honor. They were invited to attend the ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s accession to the throne of the Kingdom of Thailand.


King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit greet cheering crowds.
Thailand Public Relations Department


Following are comments by Legacy President Sexton:

“The ceremony was held at the Ananta Samakom Throne Hall located at the Royal Plaza in Bangkok. The dress was formal so I was required to wear a white tie and tails tuxedo and Gloria wore a long Thai-style formal dress.”

King Bhumibol is the longest reigning monarch in the world. In recent history, only two have reigned longer than 60 years; Queen Victoria of England and Emperor Hirohito of Japan. Kings, queens, princes, emirs, and sultans from all over the world came to Bangkok to honor the king. The guest list included Emperor Akihito, Sultan Bolkiah of Brunai, King Abdullah of Jordan, the King and Queen of Sweden, Queen Sophia of Spain, Prince Albert of Monaco, Prince Andrew the Duke of York, and many more. Over 25 monarchies or their royal representatives gathered for the festivities held in the Grand Palace and the Ananta Samakom Throne Hall in Bangkok from June 9-14. Leon and Gloria Sexton were invited by the king to attend the June 9 anniversary ceremony.

“On June 9, we joined government officials, Royal Guards, military brass, and all the elite of Thailand, dressed in full dress uniforms of many colors with decorations and medals, at the throne hall. We were seated inside. From our seats we could see what was happening outside on special monitors the palace had set up. It was a spectacle unprecedented in Thailand’s history.

“We looked on a sea of yellow (the king’s special color)!

“It is estimated that over 1 million people, all dressed in yellow, had gathered in the Royal Plaza in front of the gate to the palace grounds. There were so many that they were backed up far down the avenue leading to the great square. Many had waited all night, sleeping on the sidewalk or in the square, saving a place to share in the great occasion.

“The royal anthem heralded the arrival of the king and queen and all the members of the royal family. After performing ceremonies to mark the event, the king and queen went to the balcony to appear before the people. Meanwhile all of us inside the throne hall were escorted outside to line up below them on the audience lawn.

“First Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn gave an address honoring the king. Then the Prime Minister, President of the Senate and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court all gave speeches. This was followed by a 21 gun salute and the playing of the King’s Anthem.

“Then King Bhumibol Adulyadej gave his anniversary speech. Standing on the lawn below the king we could see that he was obviously moved. He said that he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of honor given him by the people. Then he went on to admonish them to pursue moral conduct and service to others.”

Below are a few excerpts of His Majesty’s speech:

“…firstly we should be compassionate to each other in our thoughts, speech and actions in order to achieve progress. Secondly, we must come to the aid of each other and work for the mutual well-being of ourselves, others and the nation as a whole. Thirdly, everyone should think and act with honesty while staying true to the rules and respecting equality. Fourthly, as everyone strives to ensure their thoughts and views conform to righteousness and remain steadfast to reason, their minds and conduct must be in tandem with virtuous resolve. If this is achieved, there can be no doubt Thailand will stand proud and tall forever.

“I urge everyone in this congregation and Thais from all walks of life to cherish and firmly uphold righteousness and moral integrity. This dedication to moral security should be undertaken without interruption, so the country can live on with happiness, now and in the future….”(emphasis writer’s throughout)

After the king’s speech, he was joined on the balcony by his wife, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit. Once again the royal anthem was played and all joined in choruses of “Song Pracharoen” (“Long Live the King”).

Here are some more of Legacy President’s comments:

“All this time we could hear hundreds of thousands of voices outside the gates shouting in waves of emotion as they too joined in wishing King Bhumibol a long life. Palace people all around us were in tears as they honored their king. We too, could not keep from shedding tears as we experienced the outpouring of love and honor as the king waved to the crowds.

This was a great honor for Gloria and me. We greatly appreciate the kindness of His Majesty the King to graciously invite us to attend. It was an once-in-a-lifetime experience”

Why do the Thai people love and revere their king?

What is it about him that causes so much love, honor and poured out emotion by people of Thailand from all walks of life?

What is it about this king and queen that bring the kings and princes of this world to Thailand to honor them so greatly on this occasion?

Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam, as the longest reigning monarch among the guests, he spoke on behalf of all the royal guests at the royal banquet on Wednesday, June 14. Sultan Bolkiah toasted King Bhumibol with these words,

“In recognizing all these accomplishments some accounts of your reign have accorded you the title, ‘The Great’. We can all understand why. “But for us who have come to honor you here, a simpler title expresses our feeling. It is a dear and very special title. You are Our Friend and Our Most Respected Colleague. You inspire us all and we, Your Majesty’s peers and admirers, honor you most deeply for this.”
 


Leon and Gloria Sexton in formal dress for ceremony.
Legacy Foundation Photo

In every home or business in Thailand, you will find a picture of King Bhumibol hanging in a place of honor. The honor and respect shown for this monarch is unique to Thailand. It is found in no other nation and with no other leader on earth.

Why? What makes this king any different than any other king or prime minister or president? It is simple - righteous character.

The King and Queen of Thailand actually LIVE their lives according to what Jesus the Christ taught in Mark 9:35:

"If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”

Over the last 60 years, Their Majesties have served the people of Thailand with all their hearts and with all their might. It would take volumes to record all the good works and personal sacrifice that has been done by this king and queen. No one has been left out. They have traveled the length and breadth of the kingdom; even high into the mountains by horseback and on foot when there were no roads, to visit the poor and underprivileged and find solutions for their problems.


King Bhumibol has initiated over 3000 royal projects all over the country to help and serve his people. The people know that he loves them and sincerely cares for their welfare. He and his wife the Queen live blameless lives and set examples of righteous conduct for their people and for leaders in the rest of the world. Does that make them perfect? Of course not! They are human beings like the rest of us. But they strive to set the highest standard of righteous leadership.

Dr. Herbert W. Armstrong used to say that there are no better examples of righteous leadership in the world today than King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit. And he was right. That is why the royal houses of this world came to honor them.

Quoting Leon Sexton: “The King and Queen of Thailand have shown us much favor over the years. Last year Her Majesty Queen Sirikit sent 2 young Karen students to study at the Legacy Institute Training Center in Chiang Mai, Thailand. We are honored that she would do so. We will do our best to train them to become leaders who serve their people.”

____________________
1. NKJV
2. Founder and Chairman of Ambassador College and Ambassador Foundation. He died in 1986 at the age of 93

 

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