Surprise VBS!!

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Our one month team in the Dominican focuses on evangelism for the first two weeks and then helps with the medical clinics their third week. Once both of those teams leave, we plan a special project for the one monthers to complete during their final week.

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We often leave this project up to our partner pastors as they know the greatest needs in their community. Examples would include building a house, painting a playground or installing a water pump.

Except, this year, SURPRISE!!

Pastor Tito decided that his community’s greatest need was… THE GOSPEL for their children. He organized an impromptu VBS for 2 days and told our team about it the night before. When they asked how many children to expect, he said, “at least 90, maybe 400.”

FOUR HUNDRED!! 

That might seem amazing, until you realize that RIM’s two week team and medical team have both already gone home, leaving only SIX team members to plan, organize and run this program.

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Our quick-thinking team made a quick call to the RIM office in Georgia, where we provided them with a curriculum and spent an hour on conference call training them how to run the program.

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Then they dashed off to the store to buy supplies, and they stayed up half the night prepping posters and crafts.

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Back at the office, our hearts were torn… 90 kids sounded manageable, but 400 kids to share the Gospel with would be incredible. But could the team do it?? No worries however, this amazing team didn’t even break a sweat…

BRING IT ON!! They felt ready for whatever the Lord had in store!

Meanwhile, RIM staffed tapped our prayer networks and asked people to pray for these two days. And hundreds of folks agreed to help – people shared our prayer posts of social media, commented with prayers, and promised to keep this team before the Lord the whole time. We’re so blessed and encouraged to see such an incredible community back home support those on the field! 

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When the VBS program began the next day, 300 KIDS showed up.

THREE HUNDRED CHILDREN!!

And they heard the Gospel, and they responded… Our team knocked it out of the park sharing with them and praying with them. What an awesome time! We can’t imagine a better way to have finished out this trip!!

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Except of course for a beach day… Our team spent their final moments on the beach reminding each other of all the Lord has done this summer and encouraging each other about the transition back to home.

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Girls Home (Chiang Kham)

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The final week or so of the trip, our Thailand team is living at a girls home in Chiang Kham, a rural area about 5 hours to the east of Chiangmai. About 100 Thai girls live there and are parented by a pastor and his wife.

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Most of these girls all come from families where they’re at high risk for trafficking, being sold to forced labor, abandonment or neglect. Living at the girls home keeps them safe and allows them to finish their education through 12th grade so that they can escape from the poverty cycle.

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Wednesday we spent the afternoon at Faikwang High School with 100 students. We did English activities and shared about God’s love. Thursday we spent time with all the students at the primary school.

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That afternoon, we started a sidewalk cleaning project. The sidewalks were really mossy and slick, so that afternoon we bought a bunch of cleaning supplies and went to work.

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Wednesday and Thursday night were great group times, with lots of games, activities, praying and singing.

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On Friday, we continued on with the deslick the sidewalk project, along with starting work with the rice fields.

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Friday night we had a dance night with the girls at HOB, including line dances, us performing our dance, and the high schoool girls performing a dance for us.

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Saturday was a big rice field day for everyone, and we finished!!

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Saturday evening was a ministry night with the HOB girls. We performed a drama, explained it, and Katey gave her testimony. Then we got in our groups and prayed for each person individually, followed by ice cream for everyone!

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#TEAM

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We had a great second day of clinics! Saw 229 patients!! One challenge here is the cultural entitlement. In other places we see a lot more thankfulness, but here people are really self-focused–wanting to make sure they receive as much medicine and attention as they can.

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It’s new for us to work in that type of environment; however, we really do see the great need here. We know that Christ can not only heal their illnesses and injuries but also transform their lives!

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Our team is really gelling… we spent some time sharing our testimonies with each other and ways that we can pray for each other. Everyone really opened up, and it was a poignant moment for us. Definitely the depth of our team times has fueled our ministry. It’s a blast working the clinics here. Everyone is truly giving their all!

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Wonderfully Exhausted!!

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This morning, we passed out 300 tickets to Dominicans in need of medical care. To keep order at our clinics, the ticket system helps us make sure that everyone who needs care receives care and there are no line-jumpers. This is important because some people wait in line for hours and hours to see a doctor!

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By the end of a LOOONG day on Monday, we had seen the first 224 patients. Needless to say, we are wonderfully exhausted!! Today, we’re back to see more patients in another location. Local church members minister alongside of us to ensure that there is spiritual follow up for all who respond to the Gospel. Please be in prayer for healed bodies and hearts changed by the Gospel.

RIM Project Director Cara Boss
RIM Project Director Cara Boss

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Dominican Republic Medical Missions

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Temple Tour / Monk Chat (Chiangmai)

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While in Chiangmai this week, our Thailand team went up the nearby mountain to Doi Suthep, a huge Buddhist temple to prayer walk. As they arrived, they saw 4,000 Thai students waiting in line to receive blessings from the monks. This really impacted the team because we saw how spiritually hungry the Thai people are but also how lost they are. They’re seeking blessings from monks when they could be beginning relationships with Christ. This reality truly motivated our hearts to pray.

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Afterwards, we did a “monk chat” – basically the Thai culture reveres monks as so incredibly wise that the monks set aside time to share their wisdom with the people. Missionaries use these times to engage the monks in conversation and share Christ. This is something our teams do every year. Sometimes we are able to share the Gospel and see seeds planted. Other times we walk away with a deeper understanding of the spiritual lost-ness of this culture.

This time, our monk chat was awesome! A monk we were talking with displayed the most openness and interest in Jesus that I (Dan) have ever seen from a monk. As a Project Director for RIM, I’ve been coming to Thailand for 8 years and I’ve done many monk chats. We’re all really encouraged that the Lord divinely opened up this opportunity for us, and we ask for your prayers that this man will come into personal relationship with Christ.

Overall, Chiangmai has been a wonderful experience with a lot of fruit!! We’re so encouraged by the depth of sharing about Christ that we’ve been able to do with the monks and in the bars, and we were so privileged to work with the ministry that helps trafficked children (even though we’ll have to tell you most of those stories once we get home). God has really moved in a powerful way here in Chiangmai!

Today, we’re off to visit the elephants (literally!) and then we’ll have one more night of bar ministry before we head to Chiang Kham, our final stop on this trip. There, we’ll work with Home of Blessing, a house for poor, orphaned or abandoned girls, many of whom are being protected from trafficking by living there. These girls are given opportunities to know Christ, be discipled, and receive an education so they can move on to better circumstances than their families of origin. We look forward to encouraging them, working alongside them, visiting their schools to teach English, and helping them plant rice (which will provide food for the home for about six months!). Please keep us in your prayers as we finish the last 10 days of our time in Thailand!!