It feels like it has been longer than a week since I’ve posted! We have had a full week! I will clarify to those who are still curious what our job is. As interns we are the magnet and bridge to those who are outside of Christ. To be a magnet means to become friends with those who are outside of Christ. Build relationships with them in the two months that we are here. That includes talking to those wherever we are. We hope our influence, character, and attitude will help them see the way we live as Christ-followers. To be a bridge means to bring our friendships one step further and get them interested in the Church by inviting them to our activities. It also means that we introduce them to the people who will be here after we leave in hopes of a new friendship built and maybe someday soon new Christians in the Church here at Payap Christian Zone. Also, it is our job to grow in our faith. Our activities are not only for others but also for us. I can reassure you that this is an experience of a lifetime and I couldn’t ask for a better internship this summer.
06.11.16. Saturday. We went early Saturday morning to the Gethsemane Children’s Home to teach english, sing church songs, and play with the children there. It was rainy all day so we came back to the zone and just spent some time visiting and bonding with eachother.
06.12.16. Sunday. Church happened like it does every Sunday. It is so neat to sing in Thai and the songs are the same tune as in english so it is easy to follow. After class we had a reception for Robert Reagan’s daughter, Erika. In May, married Tyler Scott and Sunday was the first opportunity they had to have the reception here in Thailand. They were married in Austin, Texas. They both graduated college at ACU in May. By the way, at the reception, I had cheesecake!!! Anyway, when that was over I did laundry and packed for the mountain trip.
06.13.16. Monday. It was an exciting day for us all as we woke up early and headed to the bus station. Only six of us rode in the bus while the rest of the interns were in the truck. With all the luggage and 14 interns, it was wise to get bus tickets. The trip was a 6 hour drive to the school we were going to. It was a long drive. The roads were small, turns were sharp, and few people got car sick. I wasn’t able to sleep much because of the speed and sharp turns but thankfully the time passed quickly. We arrived in Mae Hong Son and Robert picked us up from the bus station. He took us to meet the others at the restaurant. We grabbed some rice and chicken and headed about a hour out of town to the place where we were staying. The Karenni people were so welcoming, helpful, and very glad to see us. They welcomed us with a song that was written especially for us. After a tour of the place we stayed and a few games to help us remember everyone’s name, it was time to call it a night. The girl’s dormitory was nothing like I’ve ever seen in person before. The dorm was a hut completely made of bamboo. I was so afraid I was going to fall through. It did not feel secure. Dao, one of the Thai interns, warned us that the shower was not going to be like what we expected…it was a room with a barrel of water and a bucket. That was it!! I was so hot and sweaty all I wanted was a nice cool shower to end my day. I wasn’t going to complain so I just got my stuff and tried it out. It was fine considering there was no air conditioning and everyone had to do the same thing as me so we all smelt the same. It was definitely not the most sanitary places I have been before. So I finished my “shower” and went to the room. There were several levels but the four American Interns, Katie, Abby, Mckenzie, and I all stayed in one room. It was a special 3 days with those girls. We had sleeping bags and slept on the floor. By 8:30, we were all asleep! I mean what else is there to do when there isn’t all the latest technology devices. It was SO LOUD with the toad noises, chicken sounds, and the neighbors blaring music. Thankfully, we were all so tired that the first night we could force ourselves to sleep regardless of the extremely loud noises.
06.14.16. Tuesday. Have no fear, we did not sleep in those 3 days we were there. With the gecko making is original noise in the room, roosters crow at sunrise, and Karenni girls waking up early to cook for us, there was no way we slept in past 6 am. The Karenni’s were so sweet and cooked for us each day! For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we had rice, vegetables, and some sort of meat. I mainly just ate rice…I am pretty sure Mckenzie and I lost weight while we were there. It was so different from the food that Thai or American people ate. I can’t even describe the spices or tastes to you..I was just unique. That morning started off fast. We broke off into 4 different groups with 3 interns per group. There were a total of about 75 students. We played english games and learned names again. Before we ate, Wijit, one of the interns, shared his life story as well as his spiritual testimony with us all because he came from that kind of lifestyle and ended up having the opportunity to study at Payap University in Chiang Mai which he soon found the church and became a Christian. That afternoon we shared our testimonies. We decided to make the groups even smaller with each intern having 4 or 5 students to converse with. My group was special and will always be a memory to treasure. Their enthusiasm to talk in english, learn about some of our traditions, and listen to my spiritual testimony was inspiring. I loved just having a conversation with them because of their kindness towards me. It was a blessing to share with them. By the time it was all over, Robert, his daughter Erika, and her husband Tyler came. We did a few group activities, then at 4 pm the students who didn’t stay overnight went home. The rest of us ate dinner at 6 then watched the Karen’s practice some of their traditional dances. We jumped in and did a few american dances. It was fun and an enjoyable time was had by all.
06.15.16. Wednesday. OH MY GOODESS. By this time, I have had enough of the croaking from the frogs and the roosters crowing. It just put me in a bad mood first thing every morning. After my rice breakfast we all gathered as a group to discuss the day’s plan. All morning we worked on memorizing 10 sentences to be able to have a continuous conversation with other english speaking people. They learned really fast. These students are around the ages from 18-21. They are from different refugee villages in Thailand. That afternoon they had a presentation for us. They had prepared another song to sing to us, a few of them showed us one of their traditional Karenni dances, gave us shirts that say “I love Karenni, spoke a message of thanks, and then surprised us with asking us to show them an english dance. We were definitely put on the spot but we were willing to do it for them because of the kindness they showed us every day. After that, we went to the river and then just relaxed.
06.16.16. Thursday. We had a couple of encounters with a gecko in our room….It fell from the ceiling onto our beds…It was massive and makes a unique noise that is recognizable. One thing you should know is that the scary thing about them is that if they bite you, you literally have to kill it. It is the only way that the gecko will release whatever it has bitten. Regardless of that, we were up early and left the camp at 7:30 am. I was looking forward to showering so much that the 6 hour drive back went by very slow. I didn’t sleep at all but it was nice to visit with one of the interns and get to know more about them. We got to Chiang Mai at 3 pm. It was awesome to take a nice long shower. It was enough time to take a small nap and then we had cell group which is like a Thursday night church service. It consists of singing, praying, and a couple of people sharing their spiritual testimony. Before church, one of the ladies from the church cooks dinner for everyone so we get to enjoy fellowship before and after.
06.17.16. Friday. Friday morning was probably one of my most emotional days since I’ve been here. It was a factor of a bunch of things but we had intern equipping for 3 hours. I will admit I was drained from the trip but it was so good to read Luke 7 and discuss it. Then we read the chapter about the spiritual discipline, meditation. Robert did a great job of preparing everyone’s minds and gave us 30 minutes of down time to spend with the Lord and read the bible, pray, or sing before we began. Then we all came together and Robert led us through an imaginative encounter and walk with Jesus. He asked us, “How would we act,” “What would we say,” “What would we ask?” By the time it was time to share our thoughts on the whole equipping time, several were in tears. I think in those moments, it brings us closer to each other and we become not only interns but family.
06.18.16. Saturday. It was rest day for us and I took advantage of that! Dao took Mckenzie, Abby, Katie, and I to get a massage. It was a Thai massage and one that if you ever get the opportunity, do it!! Especially after sleeping on the floor while in the mountains. I came back so refreshed and tired, I slept. I helped get things together for our trip tomorrow at the Gethsemane Children’s home. Then all 24 of us went to eat at this amazing restaurant. Amazing is an understatement. It was designed so well!!! Katie and I each got a plate then split it so I got to eat fish and chips and a mexican salad! It’s been awhile since I’ve had any food like what I would eat in America. I was completely in love with the place, the food, and wah wah’s (another girl intern) white chocolate drink!! It was a great way to end the week!
Keep on Praying!
A happy intern 😉