August 8, 2015 - Thailand
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. We are sad to be leaving but have memories together that cannot be changed and taken away, and we have a community who we can trust. These are people who have had both similar and very different experiences, but the same God.
This summer was interesting for me, because if you know me, you know I am a hyper-emotional person who cries so easily and allows my emotions to have control. But, the thing is I was NOT able to cry at all when we were going through this experience. It was not because people had told me not to cry or because I was protecting myself or because I was not feeling the brokenness. I felt the wounds of people who had been abused, and the tears of those without fathers and the pain that comes from the realities of the world. My body was physically pained and my heart broke…but tears did not fall.
We were at mid-project retreat and I vulnerably shared that with my team, and they thought it was bizarre because I have been so “level-headed” this entire time. My director, actually told me something that now makes sense. He said maybe God was not allowing me to cry…not allowing me to have that point of catharsis by letting the emotions have control. Maybe God wanted me to be incredibly present. I saw everything, and I felt pain, but I was also very blessed by that because I had a full experience where I saw God in a community of brokenness. When we left mid-project retreat, our site team settled into our city and really began to break down walls and build genuine friendships with our neighbors.
On the last day, we had given our hosts a gift and we began walking to the 7-11 to meet the rest of the team and tears just started flowing down my face. I looked at where my family lived, at the neighbors I had grown to love, the grandma down the street always watching TV, the kids running around and all these memories came flooding. In the past week I have broken down and all the emotions that had been building up really had the chance to come to surface. I was able to mourn in a more genuine way than I think I ever have in the past, and I confronted God with numerous questions. Through my tears and pain God reminded me of the experiences and encounters I had with Him this summer in Klong Toey, and how present He is. He cares about His children so much that He enables specific people, like our Thai ministry partners, to choose to step into cracks and forgotten pieces of society. During orientation week, I had prayed a specific passage over my site before we had even been there, and in a time of mourning, God brought that back and said, “remember this?” John 1:50b-51: Jesus said, “You will see greater things than that.”He then added, “Very truly I tell you,you will see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” That is a miraculous image! I was sooo grateful God allowed me, through my lack of emotional response to see both the good and the bad that coexist side-by-side, and for that I could not be more grateful.
This summer we only got a little taste of what God has in store for His people, we are just lucky enough to partner with Him. I say YES to that opportunity and choose to take it back to my hometown! I wish I could share everyone else’s stories on these blogs because we have all said yes, and experienced God in so many different ways this summer. So if you know any of them, please ask them what they saw and experienced, and if you listen you will see God through them.
Written by Liz