Sunday, October 19, 2014

Thailand Recap

     So I've finally processed my journals and thoughts from Thailand.  This is just a glimpse of the multitude of writing I have composed from this trip.  Now I'm not an expert by any means.  All I am is a person with a big heart who has hated injustice from a young age, being nicknamed a bully to the bullies.  I can see, and most of the time, for whatever reason, the bigger picture of what I see is usually revealed to me, sometimes without my asking. 

     When I went to Thailand a couple weeks ago, I went with a closed heart.  I just wanted to get away from Korea, see my friends, encourage them, and laugh my head off (which is so easy to do with this bunch "circle!" =]  I don't know why I'm so afraid of Thailand but I am. Unfortunately for my selfishness, God didn't allow my heart or eyes to remain closed for very long.  Within the first 24 hours I met some amazing, funny, adorably cute Thai Christians, (one in particular who wouldn't leave me alone, until I finally gave in, even though I tried to pretend I was shy). In the same day I also saw a sketchy looking scene at a McDonalds between an old white man and a young Thai girl. It was something that I've only seen in the movies but I can't erase that girls face out of my mind and the look of horror in her eyes. Angela and I didn't know what to do but walk away and that choice still bothers me. Needless to say, the first day opened my heart and eyes wide for the rest of the week.

     So I have a heart to prevent trafficking and have ever since my time in Brazil in 2010. I'm not knocking the rescue, it's important, but I believe that if we don't focus on the prevention aspect then trafficking will never end.  We can rescue women and children all day everyday, but if we don't get rid of the root, the issue will continue to come back and grow and women and children will still need to be rescued.  So what is the root of trafficking? Well, that has been something I have been asking God for a while now. While I believe there is more than one factor causing trafficking I do believe a big player in this issue is the family, (more so than ever after my trip to Thailand.) 

     Another thing I noticed through research and my time in Thailand is the tiny flame of Thai Christians and churches who are established and have been for several years.  They have built relationships with the community and it shows that the gospel is making its way through Thailand, penetrating the hearts of this extremely Buddhist nation. I really believe the gospel is ready to explode in Thailand. Thai Christians just need resources to help them be more effective in the spreading of the gospel.  They also need the large Christian bubble in Chaing Mai to pop leaving their comfortable Christian bubble by going to other parts of Thailand. Church planting is important, but I think church planting in Thailand needs to wait for this explosion to happen so the weak church isn't spread thin.  It needs support and accountability.  Build up the Thai Christians that are already there.  Disciple them, train them, and equip them to take the gospel to their own people.

     Lastly, drug abuse seems to be an issue in the region of Thailand I went too.  I'm still doing more research on this but there seems to be a lack of extra-curricular activities and programs to help Thai people.  If the opportunities aren’t available, spare time and money are being used on drugs instead of cultivating talent and developing skills that could help improve their future. Again, still doing research on this.

     So, what does all this mean for me? Well, I'm still not sure.  While in Thailand I asked God to close doors that were open and pick for me since I obviously can't choose.  Now I'm down from five to two choices.  God has definitely given me a vision for Thailand while I still hold on to the vision I received for Brazil 4 years ago.  Both visions are similar but attacked in different ways.
     As of now I'm inquiring with Liberty University about getting my Masters online in marriage and family counseling while on the field.  This would be extremely beneficial for me because I have never been one that learns by reading a book.  Application and hands on experience is the best way for me to learn and this would definitely be that sort of learning.  From the things I learn I would put together programs that I would share with church leadership, training them and equipping them to bring healing, wholeness, and restoration to the families in Thailand (which is my biggest heart break from this trip.)

     I pray my decision is finalized by the end of the year.  I'm really excited about the vision I've been given for Thailand and it continues to grow. I'm waiting to speak with some people about it to see if it lines up with the need there so I don't want to share too much yet.  As I know more I will share.  Also, I will be coming back to America in March to raise support and awareness on the trafficking issue. 

     For now I ask for a prayer of guidance as well as peace about everything.  As I have said before, it only took me 2 1/2 months to get to Korea when it wasn't even on the radar, God can move fast and I trust He will take care of everything but I want to make sure I cling to this trust and hold it near.  I'm very excited to think I can finally be on the mission field next year after 10 years of praying, waiting, and training.  I’m so grateful for the training I have received in Korea through various non-profit organizations (in particular Pastor Choi and his ministry) and my church, Onnuri English Ministry through Hope Be Restored.

Anne and I with some of the students from a nearby poorer school where the Isaan team goes weekly to teach English.

Angela with some students.

Udon Thani is the place I went.

Jacob and one of the cutie pie students.

Jonathan and that same cutie pie student.  I love the look on both their faces.

Nhing! <3