Outreach Week 6
Last week had a pastoral visit from our senior staff, Flavia and Betty Ann! Every DTS team has a pastoral visit mid-way through outreach. It was refreshing to see faces from “home base” (Vancouver) and also to know that the visit was part of caring and checking to see how the team was doing. For the first few days they valiantly struggled through jetlag J They also attended most of our activities, met with our staff Jaron and Sarah, and had one-on-one meetings with each of the team members. Their encouragement reminded me of Hebrews 10:24, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…”
Week 6 marks the end of teaching english at the Trimark Elementary School and Tetsaban Anuban Kokkloi Kindergarten. We found it difficult to tell our students that we won’t be coming back next week, because we will miss them. I am so proud for the team members who have found the experience challenging, since they little or no teaching experience. However, with the help of online teaching aides, shared ideas, and willing hearts I know that our students have conversational english to practice with classmates and family. I found myself getting teary-eyed at one of my third-grade classes, so I silently prayed for the students: that they would come to know God’s purpose for their lives, come to know Him as a personal God, and grow up to contribute to nation-building.
Volunteer teaching has given us opportunities to know some of the teachers and administrators from Trimark Elementary. One person we see almost everyday is Kru (“teacher”) Ying, who heads the English department at Trimark. Her cheerful heart and tireless spirit have encouraged us in our goal to to serve the students well. She regularly checks in to see how classes are going and even bring us Thai tea to refresh our parched throats! One of her passions is the English Club, a group of about 25 students who want to be fluent English speakers. We had a special date with Ying and she brought along her co-teacher Ko (math teacher). Over coffee, cake, and pad thai we talked about their families, hometowns, dreams, and work challenges. We were so happy at their willingness to be prayed for, so with Peng’s translation we prayed for God to reveal His love for them, peace and joy in their work duties, and the desires of their hearts – children for Ying and her husband, and a future husband for Ko.
On Friday night we attended a Bible Study at a Burmese home, which is shared by two families. Because the electric lights weren't working they went to buy candles so we could start our evening. And so by candlelight our Burmese friends hummed along to our english songs...we hummed along to their Burmese melodies. By candlelight we shared testimonies about human injustice, God’s provision and faithfulness, and the hope in Jesus that we all share.
Christian led a study on "hearing and doing the Word" and we had two translators - Peng (Thai) and Jay (Burmese) because we had a mixed group. People listened patiently between the three languages spoken because they were hungry for God's word - this hunger for God’s word never ceases to amaze me. I felt God's sweet presence among us and I long for the day when "every nation, tribe, people and language" will be standing before God's throne and worshiping together.
Coincidentally the home is located near an area where tourists go on elephant rides during the day. The elephant owners tie the elephants down for the night, so while waiting for Bible Study to start we petted a mother and baby elephant who were feeding inside a pen. After Bible Study we walked the path alongside a rubber tree orchard and saw 5 or 6 elephants sleeping under the trees. They were about 50 feet from our path, and looked like huge sentinentels that were spaced apart every 100 feet. These gentle giants remind me how small I am and how big my God is!
Pray for the team because some of have been battling cough and colds (including me), and some have experienced sunstroke and severe exhaustion. We are just trusting in God’s grace and the Spirit’s strength to carry us through for the next 11 days until we get back to Vancouver. We are also praying that we continue to be mentally and spiritually present for what God wants us to do for the rest of our Thailand outreach.
Kap Khun Phra Jao! Kap Khun Phra Iesu!
Phrase God! Praise Jesus!