In love with this place already.
Thailand, which is appropriately nicknamed "Land of Smiles", somehow finds a way to capture people in both its cultural beauty and physical enticement.
Most of the missionaries have lived here 5 plus years.
"I just can't seem to leave...when people ask me where home is, I instinctively reply- Chiang Mai."
--Heather (one of the Volunteers at Garden of Hope)
Kalzone and I teach English 4 days a
week and volunteer for a missionary family once a week.
So far the greatest challenge has been my own limitations. The children are eager and willing to learn. Like little sponges, they sit quietly in those moments of silence when I am praying through the next step to teach in class.
Kal is with the elementary children and I have the honor of teaching kids that look 5 years older then me, though I am told they are high school age.
We're taking Thai classes twice a week to help us be more effective here, this has been a huge blessing as our tutor has offered to teach us for free in exchange for English lessons at the end of ours. Unfortunately, where we teach in the Hill tribes, the kids speak neither English nor Thai....I can't begin to tell you faces I've had to make and ridiculous gestures I've had give to get my point across and teach a simple word.
Sometimes I'm feeling very unequipped and bored with my own material, wondering how the kids will ever be enthusiastic about the subject if I am not. But God continues to be both faithful and gracious with me. I feel like I am already learning so much about myself and more of my purpose for God's work through these faces. Even in the heat of the 100+ degrees, I'm feeling very much at home during our time in the mountains, it is, still, my happy place and where I feel most alive.
We are missing 30 of our kids in this picture....
Despite crazy traffic, many warnings and statistics like, "Thailand being the second place in the world for more tourists to die from motorbike collisions.", one of my favorite things to do here is drive around Chiang Mai. Kalzone is extraordinary with directions and makes me feel like a local with how well we are able to get around. Between my fearless driving and her amazing sense of direction...we make a pretty great team.God has been very merciful and we have only been honked at once!
Our biggest need right now is SLEEP! Poor Kal and I have not slept through the night once since we've been here, our backs and necks have been achy every morning. Please pray for peaceful, restful sleep.
Our visa run trip! Laos is just around the corner, 2 weeks! And with it is coming many hidden fees....Kal and I need about $150 more dollars to cover the trip and prayer that everything goes smoothly at the immigration office and the trip itself.
The Hill tribe children. We were a little shocked by how little the school was getting on without. The kids in my class share 1 pencil for ever 4 students, paper is often something ripped off a poster, not to mention other basic needs like flash cards, crayons, notebooks, books, etc.
Along with school needs the children also have a few health issues, many of them are orphaned and the ones who are not are here away from their families because their original tribes are to poor to feed them or school them. This being said, many of the kids come from all over and share everything they have...including lice and worms. We were able to go buy basic school supplies and good shampoo, but obviously all that is temporary. Please pray for a more permeant solution and wisdom for Kal and I as we treat some of the health needs and teach them English and the love of God.
Thank you so much for all your support in every way!
We are so overwhelmed by the community that has come along side us in this trip.