July 14, 2015 - Thailand
Hey again! If you have been keeping up with the blog, you know a bit about Khlong Toey and what we do while there. But, what is most beautiful is how God is already at work. He has, and is, and will always be here. It is beautiful to witness because no matter what we do or do not do, God is working.
This week was a week that I began to see Khlong Toey not just as a place of poverty, but of life. For me, I think that is one way I saw God at work. He is slowly changing the environment, whether social or financial. Hang On, Khru Muay’s business, is bringing new opportunities into a community that is pretty self-contained. When more people in the community get higher education, they usually leave, but God is working through those who choose to stay.
As we work at the preschool, we have learned a little bit about education, and it breaks my heart. Looking around my preschool class of 5 year olds this Friday, I actually had to leave briefly because it was so difficult for me. In the U.S. we have many rules about education and opportunities, however broken, but here in Khlong Toey it is different. The reality looking around that classroom was seeing young women who were at high risk to become teen moms and drop out of school, or young men who could be required to drop out to work to support their family. I see so much potential in these kids. Did you know what I do six of the seven days of my week? I work in a preschool setting. These kids here are very smart and well-mannered and have been through so much. God can use them in incredible ways! So much potential, but then they slip through the cracks of society. Yet the hope is that God is a loving God who says that the kingdom belongs to the children, and the least of these are His family and need to be cared for because they are loved. I sat and mourned these realities, and I am seeing how it is good to mourn what is broken. We need to be able to see the brokenness in the world, but also acknowledge there is hope and we are simply God’s tools… that is the best adventure we could ask for!
I can move forward from this experience saying a little 5 year old girl named Ming changed the way I see potential in the world. She is a little girl who I have bonded with over the past two weeks. She named me “Teacher Banana,” and is so intelligent with a bright future. She is also the one whose face I looked at and started crying, knowing she is God’s beloved daughter, yet so many people will never grow to acknowledge that. My prayer for her is that she will become a woman of God and know she is loved. It is not about if she gets higher education, or becomes a teen mom. It is about how God has and will always love her, and saying yes to that brings miracles.
This was a week of acknowledging realities of the world and exposing me to how Jesus does bring light to the world. I see that so strongly in Pi Poi, she is one of the single moms that work at Hang On. She has one little boy that she had nine years ago when she was only 16. She was a child having a child, and God stepped into her life via Khru Muay, the woman she now works with. Pi Poi also goes to church with Khru Muay, and she is so valued there. They all know and see her as loved and they know her by name, just like God knows and loves us. It is so special that God moves in those ways! I am slowly getting to know more of her story, so I will be sure to update you about how God has and is and will be at work in Pi Poi and Khlong Toey. There is so much hope, and I am blessed to be able to witness that. So much more is in store for the community of Khlong Toey and Bangkok as a whole.
In the coming weeks you will be hearing some stories and testimonies from people at the other sites. God is doing great things in so many people’s lives while being here. We get the opportunity to both lament and rejoice with brothers and sisters in Christ who are learning to see and love the world like God does.
“And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did to one of the least of these, who are members of my family, you did it to me.’”
Written by Liz