Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Phase II: HOPE!

We got an ear- and eye-full of "the problem." Now it's time for the hope! We are grateful that, when working with these kids, we now know just what these scholarships help protect them from. We have a much higher understanding and respect for this work now, and we are so grateful. The entire team is very relieved to begin phase two of the trip: HOPE!

Today we flew to Chiang Rai, a northern town in Thailand where the village of SOLD scholarship students is located. We checked into a hotel and then went to the home of Rachel Sparks-Graeser (founder) and her husband, Nate. We also got to meet their adorable French bulldog puppy, Ooshki, who they soon found out was deaf; they impressed up with all the tricks they taught him with only sign language! We spent tonight at the local night bazaar. I definitely ate the very meal worms I once so lovingly raised in a Country Crock tub of oatmeal in 2nd grade. The promise of "they're just like popcorn" wasn't really accurate, but it wasn't bad!

We spent the afternoon there planning games for English camp on Friday. I'll be a part of a team where kids run around and pop balloons on each others' feet and have to perform the verbs found inside. Mike's team is creating an elaborate maze where kids have to follow directions to get through successfully to the end for a puzzle. Picture 180 kids at different stations where they are learning colors on the Twister board, jumping three times while their friends stomp balloons at their feet, and kids screaming at each other to win the game. Can't wait!

Tomorrow night we'll visit the ground SOLD purchased for their upcoming Resource Center for the local students and community, then driving through the village. (If you have seen the SOLD DVD, this is the village featured, where Cat lives.) We're staying in homes of the villagers that night, so we're all preparing ourselves for mats, crazy food, and lots of awkward silence! So we won't get a chance to blog, but we'll be back after that.
A side note....

Some of you may have followed a link to this blog because of an urgent request for prayer via e-mail by someone else. I apologize if you were unnecessarily worried or upset by this e-mail. We very much appreciate any prayers and would never want to suggest otherwise. However, let me be very clear that we have never been in any danger or felt even remotely unsafe; if we communicated any fear to you the last two posts, we are terrible writers! As you read our last two entries, hopefully it will be clear that we only meant to express the sobriety of this reality and our excitement to learn how to be a part of the solution.

We want to be very clear about one thing: We do not believe in sheltering ourselves from the reality of evil in the world; doing so will accomplish little more than make ourselves feel better. Are we all called to see prostitution in Thailand or force ourselves to witness the world's various evils? Of course not; but we can't ignore these evils to protect ourselves either. Jesus never intentionally sheltered himself from the presence of evil in the world; if so, he never would have been born! We do not pray for physical safety for ourselves, but that God would have His will done in our lives, no matter what that looks like.

P.S. - I take that back. I was very, very scared when I counted eight lizards surrounding our hotel room door.


David Wenzel said...

Thank you for those last two paragraphs. Brilliantly written.