What an amazing time we had in Thailand! After spending a few days at Liberty University in training, getting to know each other, preparing to share our testimonies and perform dramas, learning about the culture and some of what we would be doing to minister in Thailand, our team of 14 boarded a plane for the other side of the world! After close to 20 hours in the air and a few hours at an airport in Korea, we landed in Bangkok! We then drove about 45 minutes to the city where we would be spending most of our time, Nonthaburi.
For the next two weeks we taught English to over 1,000 different students, from at least 10 different schools. Some days we traveled to government schools, other days to universities, some days the students came to us at the school we were staying at, and one afternoon we got to volunteer at an orphanage. My husband, Marc, and I thoroughly enjoyed the 12 students that were part of our team and saw God work in and through them in wonderful ways.
Some highlights of the trip:
o Seeing our team’s hearts break as we sat with a group of 60 university students and saw only two of them raise their hands when asked how many knew who Jesus was. It still blows my mind that there are people who do not even know who Jesus is, let alone believe in Him.
o A teacher asking why our team was so happy. (That morning we had prayed for the joy of the Lord to shine out of us!)
o Having dinner at the top of the tallest building in Bangkok and afterward spending time outside on a special floor of the tower that revolved around the city. Our team sung God of this City as we prayed for the people of Thailand.
o For many team members riding on elephants was notable! And even though I’ve ridden a number of times, it’s still fun to climb up and ride atop these huge creatures!
o Getting to minister to a group of university students who had just lost a friend to suicide. Some of our students were able to give them Bibles and tell them about the hope that Jesus offers.
o Seeing some of the students on our team have confirmed to them that they are to go into full-time, overseas missions when they graduate.
o Getting to speak Thai and eat delicious Thai food again! I think the most interesting thing anyone ate was a fish eyeball!
o Loving on a group of children with special needs at an orphanage in the area. There was a precious little girl there that stole my heart!
o I got to take a quick day trip up to Chiang Mai where I use to live and see many of the people that were part of my life up there: the staff at the orphanage, the pediatrician who cared for my foster children, and many dear friends. So many that I have relationships with up there still do not know Jesus as their personal Savior and my heart continues to be burdened for them. It was good to be able to hug them and let them know that I still care about them!
o Worshipping with Thai believers and realizing that our God hears and understands every language!
o Performing a drama that told the story of creation, fall, and redemption at a two day English camp. And later finding out that one of the students at the camp accepted the Lord as her Savior!
Before we left, I wrote that I wanted our team to be able to spread everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Jesus (2 Corinthians 2:14) and truly, I believe, we did that. Our prayer is that doors were opened for future ministry and that students we taught will come to future English activities hosted by believers in the area, that they will check out the local church and come to know for themselves what, or rather Who it is that makes this group of American English teachers so full of life and joy!
~Rachel Curley, FLS Adoption Caseworker