Friday, May 23, 2008

Thailand pictures

Here are a few pictures to help you get a idea of what it is like here. I have a lot of pictures, so these are just a few. I also haven't been able to edit these yet either, so consider these just samples.

Thailand Update 5/24/08

Hello once again from Thailand,

Right now I am sitting in Ozone Net paying 12 Baht an hour for Internet (that comes out to be about 36 cents per hour). I am also drinking a 12 Baht Coke from a glass bottle (we all know that Coke from a glass bottle is way better). Today is our Sabbath day, so I am taking the time to rest and catch up on things like this news letter.

This last week has been even better than the first week. As before, there is too much to say about what we have been doing here. In a lot of ways, last week was a introduction to Thai culture, Thai language, and the mission of the Garden of Hope (GoH). This week we were able to actually do things on a more profound level. We spend the whole week working with the GoH Drop-in-Center (DIC) which is in the heart of the red light district. We all had different tasks as the week went on, so I will let you know what I was doing through most of it.
On Monday we took the kids to a movie and then to dinner and ice cream. It was nice to start to love the kids they way they were made to be loved. We didn't know it at the time, but Monday is when the relationships with the kids were really started.
Then Tuesday we started to work at the DIC exclusively. We would have different shifts where people from our team did different things. Sometimes we would play with the kids, and other times we would go out and try to interact with different people. On Tuesday I played with kids in the after noon and then we all had dinner together at the DIC. The house keeper for the GoH is a wonderful cook, and she made out dinners for the week. On Tuesday evening I went a few of us went out with the GoH childrens coordinator Faa to do childrens outreach. This time normally looks like Faa trying to find kids in the red light, and building relationships with them in order to either get them to the DIC, or to get them to stay at home at night. We ran into a few kids and played soccer with them.
On Wednesday a few of us went out in the blazing sun to collect garbage in the red light. Brittany thought that it would be a good idea to try and redeem the way that westerners are perceived there by trying to clean up the area. Supposedly, westerners are thought to trash the city, so it was a good way to show that we care. This was one of my favorite thing that I got to do this week. The reation of the Thai people was very positive, and we were able to have some good conversations with a few of them. I met a man named Dam who is married to one of the women that GoH works with in the red light. He is a neat man and I wished I could have gotten to see him more. I have ran into him a total of 4 times, but I wish I could be his friend. That night we had dinner at the DIC again and then I played with kids. On Thursday I was able to play with kids again at the DIC, and then after dinner a group of us went on children's outreach to the city gate for soccer. It was good for the GoH to have some new faces around. Yesterday was our last day with GoH since we will be working with Remember Nhu next week. Brittany and I went to the Talaat (open air market) to get about 50 pounds of food for people in the slums. We went to the slums with Faa in the afternoon and distributed food to some of the kid's families. It was nice to see where the kids lived, but sad at the same time. We said goodbye to the kids and women yesterday, but it was a good week. I will always remember them.
While I was doing things for the GoH, the women on our team were doing quite different things. They would go on women's outreach to the bars and they would visit with the prostitutes as they were working. The same women would come in the afternoons and they would be taught English by the women on our team. It was really rewarding for the women on our team to connect with the women in the bars. That is the love of Christ; both ways. That is really the heart of GoH. They are all about relationships and love. Praise the Lord for what they do.
The day before we got here to Thailand was the grand opening of the DIC, so this has been a very successful first two weeks for that part of GoH's ministry.

I am doing well. My spirits are high. I have not gotten sick, and I have tried a lot of new things. Earlier this week I was a little stir crazy, but God is faithful to settle my heart and give me rest.

I hope all of you are well, and I appreciate your encouragements. I will probably get to send one more update before we leave, but it might be short since I will be sending out a long summery after I get back to the States.

If you could pray for our team to have strength to finish strong in this last week. Pray for me to grow more in my faith, and gain compassion for the hurting people of the world. Thank you for your prayers!

I also have a few pictures up on the team's blog too. This is a blog that our team leaders update twice a week if you want more information:

I love you all

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thailand P.S.

If you want to see some pictures that I took, and also a team update from Roger Newell (one of our leaders), then check out this blog:

Thailand update #1

Hello All!
I am sitting in a internet cafe called Buddy Internet. It is around 3:00pm and we have had a relaxed sabbath. We are staying at the YMCA International Hotel here in Chiang Mai, and it quite nice.

There is so much to tell about this past week, but I will try and hit the hight points. When we arrived, we were greeted by a very excited Brittany and Kelly (for those of you who don't know these two, they are some alum from George Fox who are working with the Garden of Hope here in Chiang Mai).We then spent the next day getting over jet lag and setting the Garden of Hope Drop in Center (DIC). The DIC is right in the hard of the red light district for the westerners. We were able to see some of the bars where prostitution is so common. The work that Kelly and Brittany do is quite wonderful. but also challenging. The are consumed with he work of befriending and loving the women who work in these bars to feed their families. It is a discouraging job, but they do well at it. Kelly told me that, "This problem wont change here in Thailand until the people of Thailand own up to it, and want to change." This is not to negate the work they are doing here with the Garden of Hope, but it is probably the sad truth about the issue. In the mean time Garden of Hope and other organizations will be tying to help the situation the best they can with God's help. Jesus loves these women who are caught in prostitution, and he also loves the people who use these women. They are all broken and need the grace of God.

On Friday we thew a party for the kids of the prostitutes and the other street kids in the area. It was a blast and even included western style pizza. By the end of the night we were all exhausted, and felt we had never sweat that much. Garden of Hope is truly doing wonders for this community by the grace of God.

The food here is wonderful. Sometimes it is spicy, and sometimes it looks like you shouldn't eat it (either because of the way it was prepared, or the place it was prepared in). The fruit is on here and it is awesome to get fresh pineapple whenever I want. The culture is interesting and it is all based on the Buddhist religion. The people are very kind and the temples are beautiful. Yesterday when I was at a Buddhist Wat (a Wat is the name for Buddhist temples, and it is pronounced Waat) there was a monk there blessing a young couple's new motor scooter. I commented to one of my companions that I thought that it would be cool if we did that type of thing in our Christian faith. I think that blessing things is a very beautiful way of showing thanks to God, and submitting to God's will for our lives with that thing.

God has been working in my heart. I am not sure what he is doing, but maybe he is making more compassionate, and more able to love. God has blessed our team with a wonderful closeness. It has been nice to get to know everyone, and I feel blessed to be here with them.

Next week will will be working more with the Garden of Hope, and then we will start working with Remember Nhu.

I have seen a lot more that I don't have time to write about here. I will just have to sit down with you when I get back and tell you all about it. Pictures to come. I think that I will be able to email another update next Sunday.

Sawatdee khrap! (The Thai "hello" and goodbye")

I love you all

Sunday, May 11, 2008


In a few hours I will be leaving for Thailand. I don't know what to expect. I do know that God is working there and will be working in me a lot on this trip. I will try and give a few updates during the trip, so check back. Life is changing now.