Outreach Week 7
We are on outreach Week 7 – our last week in Thailand! The first highlight of this week was seeing God’s wonderful creation on the Andaman Sea. We took a whole-day tour on local motorboats to cruise around islands near Phuket. Out motorboat pilots anchored on the beach of four small islands, and we walked on the shore and through caves carved by erosion of limestone. We also frolicked in the warm seawater, enjoying Southeast Asian temperature…knowing that we’d have to return to cold Canada soon!
The topography of the islands is unique to the area and is called karst topography. The landscape is shaped by water dissolving carbonate bedrock (usually limestone, dolomite, or marble). This geological process over many thousands of years, results in unusual surface and subsurface features ranging from sinkholes, vertical shafts, disappearing streams, and springs, to complex underground drainage systems and caves.*
The team also went for another nature treat on Samed Nang Chee, a popular sunrise lookout for locals and tourists alike. The trip took an hour including a steep climb onto the top a hill. The pictures don’t do the experience justice, but seeing the sunrise over the islands was breathtaking! God’s hand and creativity are evident in nature and we were all in awe at the opportunity to joyfully soak it all in.
On February 13, we joined Christian organizations like World Race, Finding Freedom International (FFI) and YWAM Phang Nga/Phuket in preparation for Valentine’s Day outreach ministry to the red light district in Phuket. We spent time in praise and worship, evangelism training, and packed 1000 giveaway bags containing makeup, Christian tracts, and information for free ESL (English as a Second Language) lessons, and a “hair and nails” fellowship that meets regularly and is run by missionaries/church workers based in Phuket.
On Valentine’s Day evening, the outreach teams walked assigned streets to give the goody-bags, share the gospel, and pray for individuals. A second main group stayed on the beach for volleyball ministry, attracting tourists and passers-by. We ended and started our outreach with praise and worship on the beach. It was funny to hear comments like, “Is that a flash mob? How do they all know the lyrics to the songs?” What an awesome night of faith and sharing the love of our Savior!
Our last day of official outreach was on the 14th and on the 15th we spent three days debriefing as a team. We recounted what God had done in the various ministries we were involved in, and what God had done in our lives to change us. Another important part of debriefing was listing ways to improve or enhance the outreach/ministries, especially for future YWAM teams in Phuket and Phang Nga.
We got these encouraging words on our Facebook group from DTS Vancouver’s leader Betty Ann Cyr:
Praying for you. Continue the good work, you are almost done, finish strong. Make sure you reach out: go fishing, play soccer, invite the teachers for dinner, etc. Share the gospel! You guys are doing great. You can do this!
It is normal for people’s energy and spirits to start flagging down on the last part of mission assignments, outreaches, and even races. Bodies that have run on adrenaline start to feel tired and immune systems fail, leading to sickness. Or people start to look forward to the comforts of home, focusing more on future plans, lose connections with teammates, and thus missing out on the Holy Spirit’s prompting and on what God has planned for the rest of of outreach. Betty Ann’s encouragement was very timely but it also reminds us that outreach is coming to an end. We are now preparing to return home to Vancouver for another week of re-entry debriefing. Please pray for our safe travels from Bangkok to Vancouver!