Okay so it's been a very long time since I've last been on here, or the blogging world at all to be honest. And so much has happened since I last posted seven months ago. The biggest event however in my life was the amazing and wonderful opportunity I had to go on a month long mission's trip to Thailand in July-August!
I went to a city called Chiang Mai, which has a population of about 162,000 in the city and I went with a group of about forty other high schoolers whose parents are missionaries in Campus Crusade for Christ (my parent's work) all around the world. It’s interesting actually, because I spent four weeks with a bunch of all different kinds of people from all over the world and now I have friends who live in places like America, Turkey, Hungary, China, Germany, Croatia and Japan! I was the only Australian there and everyone loved listening to my Australian accent and finding out about Australian culture and life. It was pretty awesome that us kids of missionaries had the chance to go on a mission’s trip by ourselves, being able to do something awesome for God separate to our parent’s work.
The focus of the trip was helping us students to grow and stretch in our faith and to further the ministry opportunities in Chiang Mai and the surrounding area with the local Thai staff working with CCC over there, who we had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know and learn from their experience and teachings. “Deeper” was the theme of the MK2MK summer mission trip. Spending time together in small groups working through the Bible study “The Gospel Centred Life” helped us focus on the importance of walking with Christ and letting Him live through us. Ministry included visiting Asia Hope Orphanage twice and running a children’s program for the two hundred children and basically just loving on them, sharing the gospel on campus and travelling to a remote village in the mountains and ministering to the Karen people, including showing the Jesus film in their language. The team had the opportunity to learn more about the problem of human trafﬁcking; we did a prayer walk in the red light district and though I personally didn’t get to, served at a home for elderly who are afﬂicted with leprosy. We also painted the two room house of a HIV positive woman and her husband, who are the only believers in their community and we did a one day camp for missionary kids in Chiang Mai! God blessed us with so many opportunities to serve. Being a team of 58 gave us ample opportunity to experience deep community and encourage each other in our walks with God. I am so very grateful for everyone's partnership and prayers in helping me get to Thailand.
A lot of time was spent doing campus ministry in teams of twenty at three universities. We had anticipated an easy approach of offering English clubs as a way to meet students but that didn’t happen. Instead we spent lots of time doing initiative evangelism in the cafeteria and all around the campus. For the Thai national staff it is incredibly difﬁcult to do this as students are not interested in getting to know them, but we were a novelty. J Walking up to older students and sharing Christ in another culture and with language barriers was not easy and we were grateful for the Thai staff who helped sometimes with translation. I enjoyed using tools such as the Knowing God Personally booklet and Soularium as well as our creative outreaches such as drama, music and even a photo booth! At the end of the two projects, we had over 1300 contacts and 99 students prayed to receive Christ! Because of our impact the staff plan to start sending staff regularly to a new campus.
I saw God use me in ways I would have never imagined. For example, on some days I felt really tired, stressed and physically exhausted (which were quite a lot!) and just coming onto campus for ministry with not a very positive attitude at all. However on these days when I felt the weakest, God showed up and used me the most, blessing me with really good conversations with Thai students and opportunities to share the gospel and witness them accepting Christ into their hearts.
Getting to personally see God’s power and His work firsthand in the ways He’s been working in Chiang Mai has definitely had a big impact on me. Before going to Thailand, I knew that God was all powerful and He can do amazing things for His purpose and plan, but it’s really amazing and so surreal getting to witness and experience it on the mission field and be a testimony to Jesus’ name. My relationship has grown with Jesus and I’m very thankful for the daily quiet times all of us students had with Jesus first thing of each day- that has really helped me to be motivated in continuing my quiet times with God. I had lots of opportunities to trust God in Thailand in many challenging situations and being back at home in my little city where life is less full on, busy and quieter, I am discovering that there are still plenty of instances in which to trust God in everyday life.
It was the most exciting, different, challenging, new, scary, wonderful, thrilling, encouraging and best experience of my life and I would go back in a heartbeat. Thailand summer project 2k14 has definitely confirmed my passion for travelling and desire to experience different cultures and see more of the world. And getting the opportunity to share with people about Jesus? Doesn't get much better than that. :)
Yeah, I think it's safe to say I left a piece of my heart in Chiang Mai (and with all the amazing new friends living around the world!). <3