I had no real details when I went to the village. They just told us there was an opportunity to go stay in a Buddhist village with a family, to help them in the rice fields and however they needed.
All I heard was an opportunity for an adventure with God.
So I went. I didn’t even need to think about it.
We took an awesome bus through the mountains to a rural area called Chiang Dao. Half of the bus ride I couldn’t stop smiling, God didn’t just give me a spirit of adventure, He fulfills it, taking me on adventure time and time again. Beautiful green mountains, rivers, rice fields: The beauty in Thailand is very real, and i drank in every moment of it. I had no idea what would happen, but I had this sense of security that everything would not only be okay, it would totally be worth it.
I expected to stay in a Buddhist household in a crazy remote village but the village stay was honestly not what I expected at all. It was perfectly unexpected. We stayed with a Christian couple, the only Christians in the village. Let that sink in for a minute. Imagine being the only Christians in your whole town? We walked around the neighborhood and the wife shared about the heavy darkness that is so present in the neighborhood. A 23 year-old boy had hung himself from a household we passed just that last week. You can feel the heaviness in the air but despite all that, It was amazing to be an encouragement to this light amidst the darkness. To pray over them and prophecy joy pouring out from their home into the rest of the neighborhood.The couple have two small children and 4 months ago they started a children's home taking in 6 kids all about 9-12 years old from a hill tribe village, who were orphaned or didn’t have a good situation at home. The fact that these kids now have a safe environment is wonderful, because their life could have turned out way different if this couple hadn't taken them in. the sad reality is some of these children could have ended up working in the very bars i am doing ministry in full time. a lot of the girls in bars are sold by their families from villages like the ones the kids came from. not only are they sold by their families, they are forced to provide for their families by selling their bodies. this may seem impossible. how could you sell your own child a child you love? but it not only happens, it happens regularly here. It was awesome to see these kids taken out of a situation in which they could potentially be trafficked and brought into a safe home, where they can learn about the love of christ.
besides spending time with the kids, We also got to work a day in the rice fields, tying the grass into bundles with reeds to be replanted again. let me tell you, It was a lot of hard work, but it was such a fun day: it was fun listening to the Thai people laugh at the crazy “falangs” or foreigners as we made a fool of ourselves in the rice fields when bugs were crawling all the way up our legs, it was fun when they gave us weird and crazy hats to wear so we wouldn’t get sunburned, it was fun working hard to accomplish something to help this family. They keep half of the rice for their own family at home and sell the other half to help out with expenses. After working hard in the fields, we got to relax in a bamboo grass hut, right in the midst of the rice fields and enjoy a delicious traditional Thai meal with the amazing view.
besides the rice field, Most of our time was spent with the kids, helping them with English, and playing silly games with them. They barely spoke English and I only know “hello” and “thank you” in Thai, but it was so fun! I fell in love with those kids. On the Friday night, the kids had free time, which meant no bed time. I was absolutely exhausted from working in the rice fields that day, and all I wanted was to sleep. It didn’t even matter that I had to sleep on the floor, I could’ve slept anywhere at that point, but the kids wanted to play. They all crowded around us in the living room (our sleeping room), asking us to sing with them and to play games. Looking into their precious little faces, I realized that’s why we were there. It was so special for the kids that we were there, we got to bring joy, to make them feel special. investing quality time with these kids was such a simple and easy thing, but 100% worth it.
We can have our own ideas about the way things will go, but God will almost always have different ideas. He always gives us exactly what we need.
you see, It's all about surrendering to the journey,
whatever it may look like.
so get out there and enjoy the adventures God is calling you to.
It may involve squatty potties and bucket showers, sleeping on the floor and eating fish to be polite even though you don't like it, but let me tell you it is worth it. It is so worth it to jump into what God is calling you to. To jump in with complete trust and faith that He will take care of everything. Let me let you in on a little secret- He really does take care of everything. It may challenge us or push us to think outside of ourselves but he is always there in the midst of the adventure, walking through it with us. I had barely any details before I left for the village, i simply felt drawn to the adventure. I thought I was going for the buddhist village, to share about Jesus, and I did, but I was really there for the kids. he loves those kids so much, and wanted them to have a special weekend.
I was there to share life with that family for a few days: to pray for the kids, to laugh with them, to teach English, to eat every meal together on the floor, to play silly games, to be repeatedly asked to mime for them (who knew I had that talent?), to get sunburnt after a day of working in the rice fields, to eat the world's most delicious pineapple together in a bamboo grass hut in the yard. The mother of the family kept repeating how happy the children were, how special it was that we were there. 6 kids who are still learning what it means to have a loving family and two little ones adjusting to having 6 older brothers and sisters, all so excited to simply have some crazy "falangs" stay with them.
Just a few days out of my own time spent doing what is valuable:
going on an adventure to invest in relationships.
The family took us to visit a hot springs before we left the village. We rode in the back of the truck together with all of the kids. something really struck me, as I sat in the back of the truck with a bunch of precious Thai kids:
how is it possible that I've fallen in love with these people in just two short days?
God made us all unique, culturally different,
different looking physically,
but really we’re not so different.
God created us all with a fundamental desire for relationship. We may be different in every way but we are the same. We thrive when we are in real, positive relationship.
I am so thankful for this crazy life journey God is bringing me on. I get to adventure around the world, I get to spend time investing in relationships with crazy diverse groups and in the end I get to have a family all over the world. I may not see this precious thai family ever again but a piece of them will always be in my heart. the experience i had with them is priceless.
lets not miss this anymore: relationship, quality time is something to be valued.
we need to start valuing what is really important.
we need to start valuing relationships Because once we do,
we really start to live life the way it was intended.