Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thailand Mission Trip Day 7

Finally, my days as the reporter are soon coming to an end.
We made our way to Thachang for the morning service. The team was split into three groups, the children, youth and adult service. The people in charge of the children’s program led songs and a short reading from the Bible, when Jesus was born. The children had to form a train and follow a star carried by the leader of the pack. The last activity for the children was craftwork. It was ingenious of the team to produce small saucers and containers for the kids to colour and paint on. The finished products were stringed and hung on a Christmas tree that we had bought for them.

Concurrently, on the youth side, Clarence and his team conducted a circle game that got the mood up for the dozen or so youths. The main bulk of the time was used for reflecting on their lives. Each participant was tasked to pen down their victories, significant events, failures and God’s promises on colour coded Post-it notes. For members of the Young Adult ministry, you would be familiar with this meaningful activity. It was good too for the facilitators to know more about the reality and challenges that Thai youths face compared to our local context.

At the adult service, Uncle Henry and Louisa jointly preached a message from the Epistle of Philippians. Uncle Henry talked about the special partnership between the Singapore and Thai churches here. He also shared a vision he received during worship that the Thachang church was like a large warehouse, filled with all kind of fruits. It is a promise of fruitfulness and blessings for the church in the days ahead.  This was a first for Louisa and she certainly did an excellent job; a revivalist preacher in the making.
Soon it was time for lunch and it was a familiar favourite for us, wanton and char siew noodles. On a personal note and as part of my reflection for this year’s Thailand Mission Trip, I would like to express my appreciation to God for providing excellent food that has nourished us and everyone else who was in the church. Every time I eat the appetizing food prepared by Pi Kridsana, I think to God, “God bless the cook.” No one, to my knowledge, has experienced diarrhea or stomachache thus far. And for me, I often suffer from traveller’s constipation and my whole digestive system becomes very finicky. Thus far, I have a clean bill of health, digestive system-wise. I don’t wish to take a simple yet essential thing like food and bowel movement for granted. I am sure the others must have felt the same way as they were wolfing down double or triple portions for every meal.

The second part of the day took us back to Thanpraporn to attend an afternoon service. I think it would take us a long time to get used to the concept of a church service here. Church was more like a shophouse and service was held on the ground floor with groundsheets and mats placed around. It was not the most comfortable physically-speaking but there was no denying the sincerity and authenticity of the worshippers.

The mingling time after the service was meaningful because we took the chance to pray for other people with infirmities. Healing took place on a lady called Mong who was a hardworking lover of Christ known to go out of the way on two wheels, and head out to the hardest to reach places to pass out evangelistic flyers out to reach out to the unreached. She met a mishap while turning out towards a main road on her bike which caused her a broken arm. A couple of us prayed for her arm which was quite a heated experience and you could actually see her wriggling her fingers around the cast. As usual, after praying, we asked her how she was feeling and she said she could feel some tingling feeling flowing through her arms and the arm felt strengthened and that she could now have a larger area of movements in comparison to before. She is scheduled to have her cast removed on the 17th of December, so meanwhile, it is encouraging to hear her arm is regaining strength and we will continue to keep her in our prayers that she will have full recovery. We also prayed for a man with back ache and a lady with knee pain, both felt better after the prayer. Praise the Lord!!

Saying goodbye was probably the hardest for many of us. Despite the language barrier and limited vocabulary, we have formed bonds with some of the more sprightly kids and youths. We were significantly delayed with what seemed like endless photo-taking, signing of autograph books and we could only move towards our vehicle slowly by the metre. It was expected. For the next leader of the next Thailand Mission Trip, please be extremely aware of this. He or she must have the persuasive powers to un-tether the group from the new friends they have made when it’s time to go.

Before landing back to base, it was time to make a pit-stop at the 7-Eleven outlet and substantially clean it out. We were cradling many parcels of tid-bits and drinks and stuffing ourselves in the song theow like sardines in a can.

Previously I could have mentioned this sentence, “It looks like it’s going to be a long day tomorrow.” Now the statement of the moment is “It looks like it’s going to be a long night.” The time now is 9.30pm, a relatively early night compared to the previous night, and the team energy level is on a high plateau. It is expected.

After all, I’m sure all of us have been on camps and trips and inevitably sleep becomes an option on the last night. Music is being played in the background, laughter rings through the air, multiple cups of insanely salty instant noodles are being consumed, fingers regularly plunging into opened packs of tidbits strewn on the floor, sweet drinks being slurped, card games being played, final packing of the logistics and handling of financial affairs is taking place and two computers are in use for the compilation of the report. It was relaxing! ;)
Hope we will rest well and for an adequate number of hours.



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