With the recent affirmation that I will be going back to Thailand for an ENTIRE SEMESTER, I have decided to take a look back through the journal I kept during my time there in August of 2015. Below I have included a summary of my time there as a way to remind myself of why I am going back:
As the last month of summer approached, I set off on an adventure to Thailand with a team of 17 companions and a great God that led us all there. Our church has supported Ban San Faan, a children’s home in Thailand for years and finally getting to meet these kids I had always grown up hearing about really motivated me. As we entered into a new culture, each with our own ideas of what might happen and the shared hope that God would do something great through this trip, little did I realized just how much I would be blessed by a God who desires to grow my spirit each day and the believers in Thailand that have committed to follow Him while ninety-eight percent of the nation follows a different path with their religion.
The first day of the trip, our goal was simple: unplug from the lives we are used to and learn about the culture that would temporarily surround us. The first couple of days after we landed, we tried to dive into the culture as much as we could, including learning a little about Buddhism and wandering through a large street market, but nothing compared to the times we really connected with those kids. However, no matter where or what we were doing, God’s spirit was continuously at work in every aspect of His mission for us in Thailand.
The first time I really clearly saw Him at work was our one night trip up north when we took six of the older Ban San Faan girls with us. The first place we stopped was at another children’s home called Mercy House where many kids live and are able to get an education. Though they may not have had an abundance of material wealth, God provides for them and the joy and sharing personalities that they have are worth far more than anything the world has to offer. Though we could not communicate that well linguistically, just being with them and watching the Ban San Faan girls lead them in song was a sweet moment that taught me more about just how big the god that we serve is. He knows no boundaries! This was just the beginning of God’s many blessings and lessons He had waiting for us.
The next morning was a time that was very moving for myself and I believe for other members of the team as well. We went to a church called Khaodee, another children’s home with over 100 kids of many ages living and learning. I had the privilege to be a part of the band that led worship that morning, but the best part was that their voices flooded that upstairs room so loud that they seemed to overpower our own microphones and instruments! There would be many more memories, but one thing in particular that their leader said that will always stick with me is “We have nothing to offer you but prayers, here we live by prayer!” God has started to show me that just like this church, it is always better to depend on Him instead of myself for everything I need. After that, the kids there all prayed for us out loud all at once, I felt undeserving of that blessing from them, but I knew it was a gift from God, His spirit is alive and at work!
That weekend was a perfect preparation for spending even more time with the kids in Chiang Mai and at Ban San Faan, seeing God use the six older Ban San Faan girls and learning how our team fit with them and into the culture. The Monday after we arrived, our team got to start helping out with teaching English at the elementary school down the road. Even though their energy had somewhat of an exhausting effect at the end of the day, it was a blast seeing their smiling faces excited to see us and to learn. While I started to get tired after those school days, I think God was showing me that I need to remember to rest and relax in Him. He should be the source of my energy, not my own strength. After all, the goal of a mission trip should not just be to do a bunch of good activities. It is about being intentional with connecting with those that God puts in your path, and to truly grow and learn in Him more.
When I thought about being intentional, one verse in particular popped out to me; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who dies for them and was raised again.”
We must be intentional in our lives to live for God’s agenda and spend time with Him so that He can fill us up to do as He desires for us!
One time I felt that God really wanted an intentional heart was one simple night at the Chiang Mai night market. A group of us decided to pray over the market, the city and that we would be able to see the opportunities that God would choose to place in front of us that night. Later on that night, I ran into a begging woman on the street. It was only by God’s grace and guidance that I was led to just go out and speak with her. I gave her a small amount of money to this woman named Dalia who was missing an arm and then later on, we prayed for her that she would be able to know that she is loved and beautiful in the eyes of God. Though that moment was short and I don’t know much else about this woman, I feel that it reached something deep within me because God was continuing to show me his greatness with the way He led me to this woman.
After that night, we were blessed to spend more time fellow-shipping with the Ban San Faan kids and taking them out for the day where we were blessed to afford to buy them each their own Thai Bible. That day and the joy those boys and girls filled my heart with each time I saw them and we got to know each other more will always be one of my favorite memories. And though it was very hard to leave, I know that I will get to see them being used by God and growing and that is worth everything!