Red Light Relationships (Chiangmai)

Thailand_2017_Chiangmai_Meet girls at Zion

Thailand_2017__3

We’ve had some exciting ministry in Chiangmai over the past few days. Our primary activity here is working in the Red Light District, where all the bars are. One of the main things we’ve learned through orientation by our ministry partner, Emmi, is that the girls who work here end up in this industry for a wide variety of reasons… Poverty, abuse, neglect, trafficking. Our compassion grew as we began to understand the back stories.

Thailand_2017_Chiangmai_collage1

While we’re here, we partner with Emmi’s ministry and go into the bars at night. We seek to build relationships with the girls while they’re not with other customers. This can look like buying cokes and sitting around a card table playing Jenga or Connect Four (there are lots of games available) with them and chatting about life. Sometimes we just stand there and chat.

Thailand_2017__2

Ultimately, we try to build enough of a bridge that they’ll meet with us outside of work hours. Emmi has a cafe that serves coffee, dessert, salad, soup and other light meals. It’s part of a program/ministry she runs to develop job skills for people who leave their work in the bars. However, it also makes an ideal spot for us to meet with girls during the daytime.

Thailand_2017_Chiangmai_Meet girls at Zion

Over the last few days, we’ve built solid connections with several girls. Saturday afternoon three girls who work in the bars met two of our girls at Zion, and Emmi met them.

Thailand_2017_Chiangmai_Meet girls Starbucks

Then Sunday at Starbucks, four of our girls met a different set of three girls who work in the bars, along with one girl’s baby. Both scenes seemed powerful with what appeared to be lots of genuine interest and openness to Christ.

Thailand_2017_Chiangmai_collage2

On Friday, we also visited a ministry that provides serious help in the child trafficking scene. We can’t take pictures there as it is at a secret location, but we were so privileged to learn more about what is being done and to serve alongside of them for a few hours!

Hephzibah International Primary School (By Tiffany)

Uganda_2017_Tiffany

IMG_27111

Before coming on this mission trip I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought that I would be spending all my time with children – teaching them, sharing the Gospel with them, and playing with them. Little did I know that God had something totally different in mind. When we arrived in Uganda, we were told that we would be helping out in a school. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “this is totally my element! I’m so excited!”

Later, we were told that we were also going to lead a staff development for the teachers. Being one of two teachers on this team I was signed up to take on this task alongside our trip leader, Sarah. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be much help in this area because I had only just finished my first year of teaching. But after a week of helping Sarah facilitate the staff development, I’m taking on a completely different attitude.

Uganda_2017_Tiffany

 

I’m very thankful for the opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with the teachers at Hephzibah International Primary School. I’m very thankful for what I’ve been learning from Sarah. And I’m very thankful for what I’m learning from the Ugandan teachers as well. There are things from them that I’m definitely going to use in my classroom back in California!

“Bravo…ba ba ba…ba ba ba…for Uganda!”

100+ Kids Welcome Us

IMG-20170711-WA0000

Sharing the Gospel in the DR at a School

On a typical RIM trip in Central America or the Caribbean, we spend the first two weeks with our summer teams presenting the drama at school assemblies, 3-5 schools per day.

Children's Ministry in the DR

This blast of evangelism sows a lot of seeds for our contacts to follow up with after we’re gone. It helps bring visibility to their ministries and increase their reach into the community. 

Presenting the Gospel in the Dominican

With the DR, one challenge we anticipated is students being on summer vacation during the month of July (unlike other countries, they have a similar school calendar to the US).

IMG-20170711-WA0005

So far, we’ve had an awesome time taking the Gospel more directly out into communities, and our host contacts have worked really hard to strategically place us for the greatest impact.

School Ministry in the DR

One of our main contact’s friends has a church and a school nearby to where our team is living this month, and he saw RIM’s drama when another team visited the area last March. When he found out about our team, he requested us to spend a whole day at his church–performing the drama and doing children’s ministry.

IMG-20170711-WA0004

 

Initially, we felt skeptical that he could gather up many kids during their vacation time, but WOW did he surprise us. When we arrived yesterday, more than 100 children eagerly welcomed us and could not wait to spend the day with us!!

IMG-20170711-WA0007

What a phenomenal day! We presented the drama and the Gospel, and children responded. We also broke into small groups with them to really get to know them, share our testimonies, hear about their lives, and minister to them.

IMG-20170711-WA0008

In addition, we had a blast playing games, singing songs and building relationships in all kinds of creative way. God is so good, and we loved seeing Him at work in this community!

Dominican Republic Children's Ministry

Fountain of Hope Orphanage (Chiangdao)

Thai_Chiangdao_2017-2

Phitsanulok-Chiangdao

Monday morning, bright and early, our team traveled 6 hours from Phitsanulok to Chiangdao by Sung-Tao (a red truck taxi, common for transport in Thailand). Along the way, we picked up our translator, Beer, a university student who will accompany us for this portion of the journey. Beer worked with a team RIM had in Thailand during June, and we loved her so much. Beer (black t-shirt on the right) is just starting to learn about who Jesus is, and it’s so good for another team to get to connect with her and share more.

Thai_Chiangdao_2017-2

Once the team arrived in Chiangdao (chee-ang-dah-oh), they settled in at Fountain of Hope Orphanage, run by Sai and Aaron, a married Thai couple. Sai (pronounced “see”), the wife, has loved children and had a heart for the broken and abandoned ones her whole life. As a single woman and university student, she adopted an orphaned 3-year old boy, even before she met her husband. When Sai met Aaron (“aaa-rone”), she told him that she wanted to always have a home where they took in the children that no one else was helping. If Aaron wasn’t on board, that was a deal breaker for her as far as getting married. He agreed to share her vision and since that time they’ve been helping as many kids as the Lord gives them opportunity.

Thai_Chiangdao_Liberty_2017-4e

Presently, they rent a large house and have 13 orphans staying with them. They have also purchased land, which they farm to provide food for their LARGE family. They have a dream to one day build an orphanage on the land they own (a project that will cost about $15,000 US), dig a well, and add some animals to the farm (pigs, chickens, cows). They aim to be pretty much self-sustaining. But for now, they take it one day at a time, trusting the Lord to provide for their daily needs. Each month, it costs about 30,000 baht for their rent and food for everyone. They have a regular income of 5,000 baht from Aaron’s job and one monthly donor. For the rest of their funding, they trust the Lord…

Thai_Chiangdao_Liberty_2017-1

For many of our team members who meet them, this trust really shines of an example of what our faith and dependence on the Lord should look like. Sai and Aaron have stories every month of how the Lord provides the rest. Sometimes he gives them a creative way to earn money. Other times a crop is harvested at the farm. Occasionally someone makes a donation. But for years now, they’ve been trusting the Lord and he’s been caring for 100% of their needs. An amazing example for us to follow when we feel the Lord leading us to action!

Thai_Chiangdao_Liberty_2017-5e

While our team is in Chiangdao, they “do life” with the orphans at Fountain of Hope. This means rising early to read the Bible together at 5am each day, helping with chores (cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc.), helping with homework, and having fun and fellowship in the evenings.

Thai_Chiangdao_Liberty_2017-6e

In addition, the team will be teaching English and/or facilitating English camps at the four public schools the orphans attend. They’ll also spend a day on the farm helping Fountain of Hope either prep the land or plant a crop for whatever is next to grow this season. (RIM’s June team chopped down bamboo trees and built frames for growing cucumbers! Perhaps this team can check to see how our crop is progressing…)

Thai_Chiangdao_Liberty_2017-2thai_Chiangdao_Liberty_2017-3

RIM is also considering the possibility of starting a child sponsorship program for the orphans. Several team members have volunteered to take photographs and write down stories about each of the children to help us if we pursue this venture. We’re prayerfully waiting to see how the Lord will open doors!

Thai_Chiangdao_Liberty_2017-8e

English Camp in Phitsanulok

File_000

Phitsanulok.8

The opening chapter of our journey takes place in the historic city of Phitsanulok. One of the oldest cities in Thailand, founded more than 600 years ago, Phitsanulok served as the country’s capital for 25 years. Now, it is still a strategic crossroads both politically and economically.

 

File_000-3

Thai culture abounds here as the city is know for both its art and literature. Dragon boat racing is common as well as football (soccer) and Thai boxing. Temples and a deep Buddhist heritage are also present.

File_001-1

Since their arrival, our team has prayer walked throughout the area. They also traveled to a nearby village where they partnered with a local church to host a two-day English camp.

File_000

In addition, they partnered with Compassion International and got to see the behind-the-scenes ministry to the children who are sponsored through their programs.

File_000-2

So far, the team is enjoying their time, very excited about how the Lord is moving, and looking forward to the next few days here!

File_000-1