The time has come for us to re-enter into the lives we have in the United States after returning from Bangkok and spending five days processing what this experience means for us. Tomorrow our team separates after becoming a family this summer. We have learned to see the beauty of God’s people and His creation alongside the realities and brokenness of the city.
.001863. Assuming each of us has 72 years to live and impact the earth, that number is the section of my life I’ve spent in Bangkok, Thailand. 7 weeks is a mere blip, and incredibly tiny one at that, in the timeline of the larger part of our lives. This summer only accounted for .001863 of my worldly existence. That begs a question, doesn’t it? What makes this minuscule fraction of my life so important and transformative to me at all?
It feels like 6 weeks in Mexico went by just like that. One minute, I was on a red eye flight to meet my team at orientation and the next, I was saying goodbye to them at a church in Long Beach. This summer was so incredibly full: full of moments of joy and of sadness, full of realizations of the brokenness that individuals embody and that systems perpetuate, full of friendship, family, hospitality, and love that ran deep. Most of
It was a Thursday evening when his little 5-year-old self walked into the room, crying because he was hurt—physically and emotionally—by his father. My heart broke as I watched him wipe his teary eyes and runny nose. All I wanted to do was hug him and let him know that somebody cares. So eventually, I placed him in my lap and held him in my arms for a while, both of us sitting in the pain.
Our ministry site, a social business that employs and empowers underprivileged women from local slums, had just received a shipment and we were spending the afternoon sorting items. Plastic containers – some empty, some full – were scattered around the small room we were working in. Stacks of boxes lined the walls and large bags left little floor space. Thirty minutes into working everyone stopped. It was tea time. We adjusted our bodies to be comfortable amidst the bags and boxes and we drank tea together. We talked. We laughed.
The Sunday afternoon heat beats through the window onto my body. I don’t feel it, though. I lay wrapped up in a Mickey Mouse sheet, shivering. The fever runs through my body like a river. Steady. My breathing becomes shallow and quick like I just ran a couple of miles. Tears run down my face as the sharp pains in my stomach increase. My head pounds. Everything sounds as loud as the trains that pass by every ten minutes. It scares me that I am struggling to breathe.
Thus far, most of my blogs have captured experiences with Amextra and its impact. I want to offer a glimpse of life with our host family. The majority of our time is spent with them and life with them has brought my heart both, in fact, joy and grief. Our host father told us early in the summer, "This place is ugly, but if you are patient you can see beauty." I have found much truth in his statement, more than he may know.
Enter: Matt and Roman into Soi 17. Soi translates as street, but definitely not the type of street that you are thinking about. In the slums, “street” can mean as little as a 3-4 foot wide concrete walkway raised precariously over the trash swamp. Knowing that our host grandpa is crippled and has a wheelchair, the first thought that crosses my mind is, “This rickety walkway is definitely not ADA compliant. I really hope I don’t drop grandpa into the swamp.” As we step into the soi, a second thought cro
Everyone in Thailand wants to be white. The Photoshopped models all have white skin, commercials on TV advertise “extra whitening” skin treatments. Girls with beautiful bronze skin think they are ugly. Well, I am a genuine #nofilter white person and let me tell you, light skin is not all that it’s cracked up to be. I’m on a team with five other people. All Asian. When I was first introduced to my team I honestly did not think much of the race factor. “I have plenty of Asian friends, sabai sabai (it’s fine, it’s fine),” I thought.