Note: Jokes on you. Immediately actually means in 3-5 days.
It is crazy to think that it has already been 1 month since I came to Thailand to start the next chapter in my life. I came here with no expectations, which could sound bad(?) but really, I knew that no matter how high I set my expectations God would blow them out of the water and exceed them to greater heights than I could have ever anticipated or could have ever imagined. So I left it all up to Him. I came to Thailand with the least amount of knowledge I could have ever had coming into a country I have only been to once. This time has been a completely different experience. With the obvious being that I am here alone, it is a much longer time frame, and that what I am doing is very different from the last time. My last trip here I was surrounded with 14 friends, here for 12 days, and followed a set schedule that included planned bible camps and ESL lessons. I am so amazed with how everything turned out with my time in Bangkok and also just with how everything came together.
Starting with last year on our first day in Bangkok we were connected with 2 cafes that our teams would go in and help serve. The cafe that I went to with the team I was on was Entrance Cafe. What we were to be doing there was to practice some of our lesson plans that we would be teaching for the ESL camp. We went out into the community to find some kids that would come up to cafe that we could start teaching some English to. Now their knowledge and general English skills were fairly low so it was very difficult trying to teach them English, so we ended up just playing games with them and ending with a tickle fight. At the end of the day we all came back together to share what our day was like, and a lot of my friends were saying how I “missed out on *the cutest* baby ever!” God knows how much I love babies, but he knew that making the connection with Entrance Cafe and serving them would benefit me more than a few hours with a really cute baby.
In coming to Thailand I had told the leader of the organization that I would go wherever he needed me, but that answer was not good enough for him. I needed to narrow it down from university students and adults, to working with children and I chose working with children as a preference. That gave me from what seemed like many choices, down to 2 choices, Mae Sot, or Takua Pa. on our first trip we went up to Mae Sot and since I wanted to live an ‘uncomfortable Christian life’ but also still be familiar with my surroundings and have great support, I chose Mae Sot since I knew the team and this would be my first time far away from family, on my own, and for an extended period of time. I knew the team and absolutely love their hearts and their character. I thought it would be a great fit and the best place for me to be in my months away from friends and family. For weeks that was the plan, and then there was a change. Takua Pa is a small city and being rural has very, very little access to English. When I asked to go to Mae Sot I wanted to be in a familiar place and surrounded by people I knew. But God had a different plan. So keeping to my word in saying that I would go where I was needed most, I agreed, wholeheartedly, to down to Takua Pa and teach English.
The week before flying out, still unsure of what questions I even had and which ones seemed reasonable to ask, like where I am staying for my month in Bangkok, and what language class looks like, were all questions I had. However, figured that they would be answered at some point, whether it be when I got there or the week before! So three days before I would fly out I got answers to these questions. And upon getting the information, the place I would be staying in was the cafe I worked in last year for that one day! I was so excited, and to be honest, relieved to hear that because I was a little uneasy about it would look even though I wasn’t asking questions and choosing to trust that the information would somehow get to me. God knew what he was doing in the months before and worked this for my good since I chose to trust him and believe that wherever I was needed I would go and that he would have a plan.
A couple weeks ago I went to visit the church of a friend who led our team while we were up in Mae Sot and she was telling me that she was moving a team member of Imagine Thailand around a lot last year and brought him to Mae Sot to help out with driving us around to the schools we were serving in. Then moved him back down to Takua Pa because he was getting married soon! I was told that the couple who run the Lighthouse Learning Centre in Takua Pa would be the ones I would be staying with since that was what my contact in Thailand and the leader of the organization agreed that they would be most comfortable with this option. I was told their names were Tak and Tè. I thought the name Tè sounded really familiar, and that his face looked like someone we worked with during our last trip. And sure enough, it was him.
Even as I go to an unfamiliar place I am with people who I have met and have heard absolutely wonderful things about them and look forward to spending my time with them.
I almost wish I could say it has been hard leaving home, well, actually, it was incredibly hard leaving home, but since being here I wish I could say that I miss home. That I miss Canada. Although the strangers that became friends, and the friends that are now family, have helped bring home to Thailand. They are from Canada which could be the main reason as to why I do not miss home as much as I was anticipating. However, I do have to keep in mind that it has only been a month and Takua Pa, from all I have heard, is vastly different from Bangkok. It is a rural city and quite small. I was told that there are waterfalls, a beach, mountains, and forests, which sounds like the perfect place to me! I am looking forward to the change this transition will bring and to the challenges I will face while I am down there.
Change is never easy. But easy does not mean that it is difficult. Easy to me has meant different. Obviously it is different because it is a new country, new people, new culture, and new experience, but it is also having to step out in ways I never have before. I always thought I was somewhat independent, but spending a little over a month in Bangkok showed me that I was hardly independent. I was living on my own, had to get around the city on my own, and was learning how to communicate on my own. None of this will change in the coming months, it will, again, be different. A new schedule, changing routines, and new people.
To say that I have reached the point of ‘putting my feet up on the coffee table’ is never a place I want to reach. If I get to that point it means I have become comfortable. And that is not at all my goal. The life I chose was never meant to be comfortable, and it becomes so, something needs to change.
“And Jesus said to him, ‘The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.'”
With much love and thanks,