The Rose Ceremony

It was our fourth and final week in Thailand! After moving around from teaching English in the Phitsanulok Province to bar ministry in Chiang Mai, we now found ourselves in a more rural section of the country; Chiang Kham. We were there to work at the Home of Blessing; a safe home for girls who are at-risk of being sold into sex trafficking.

Our first night at Home of Blessing we walked into a large room that I would later recognize as the church building; all 102 girls from the Home of Blessing were sitting in 9 neat rows on the floor. One of our hosts, Nikki, stood up and introduced our RIM team and asked all 12 of us to stand at the front of the room.

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Nikki said “We want your team to feel very welcomed here, so we have a gift for you.” Then 102 girls stood up and started walking towards us; each was carrying a single red rose. Each girl would walk up to one member of our team and say “Welcome” and gave us a rose and hug. By the time all the girls had sat back down the 12 of us were each holding about a dozen roses, and already felt so blessed and touched by being welcomed with such open arms.

 

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As the week progressed, our little team of 12 would become extremely attached to these little girls. Their openness and love touched each and every one of us in a special way, and I know a piece of our hearts will remain in rural Chiang Kham forever.