When I left off last time we were halfway through the Lecture Phase of our Justice Discipleship Training School. The second half went well, and then on Jan. 9, 2010 our international Outreach Phase started when we got on the plane to Thailand! Ah, how can I describe it to you? Being my first time anywhere in Asia all the sights, sounds, and smells were quite overwhelming! My senses were completely confused… in some ways it was similar to the two African countries I have been to, but there was also a relative affluence there (Thailand is not a third world country, but still a developing nation) which reminded me of North America, and then there were some things that were completely unlike anything I had ever experienced before… I have never gone through this much culture shock before, and let me tell you, it was not pleasant, especially since I was trying to lead a team at the same time! All that aside, however, the first couple of days went well. We had an orientation and temple tour in Bangkok, which was helpful in understanding more about Buddhism, the dominant religion there, then headed north to Chiang Mai (on buses which Greyhound would do well to take some pointers from - they had blankets, pillows, entertainment, and food & drink served, plus the greatest colour schemes ever!), where we met up with Pastor Manop Yangja, who we would be spending the next couple weeks with. Manop has been working with the Life Development Centre for about 10 years, in multiple hilltribe villages in the Chiang Mai area. Over the course of the 2 weeks, I was amazed at his dedication and love for the people there. He is quite progressive and charismatic compared to the Thai church as a whole, and is very much alone in the work he does, yet he keeps pressing on. I have great respect for that man!
The first village we stayed at was a Karen village. It was very small, with only about 10 families. There, we helped with a forest conservation project, which for some of us involved hiking up a mountain to help make fire breaks. It was a huge section of forest, which these people have been protecting for many years with no help from the government or anyone else. They are not even Christians (although Manop is working on that) and they look after God’s creation much better than most people who say they're followers of Christ. From the Karen village we moved on to the Lisu. Here, as with the Karen, nobody but Manop spoke English, so we had to learn a whole new set of basic words. The work we did was again quite physically exhausting. We transported sand and gravel, rocks, straw, and rice husks for various projects (such as gardens) the village has to sustain itself. We were there for longer, and therefore got to know the people a bit better than the Karen. We also had some really good team times, even though we were split in two by a walk that probably seemed longer than it really was. To get to the “other side” we had to walk down a hill, cross a bamboo bridge, and climb up another very steep hill. Having escaped the hoards of curious children, we could then talk and pray together, or just lie on the grass and look at the stars. Next, we traveled back to Bangkok, where we spent two weeks working with the Ruth Centre, a YWAM ministry for the elderly in the slums. Again, I was absolutely amazed at the dedication of the staff. There were only four of them, working in at least 12 communities, and yet they were tireless in their care of the elderly. We had the privilege of accompanying the staff to visit and pray for people, and also helped pick up garbage, build a floor, and clean houses. The garbage pick-up was probably up in the top 5 grossest things I have ever done. It seemed like the communities were all built above pools of water, but it wasn’t
just water… more like sludge, and the colour ranged from dark green to black, and I’m going to stop with the description now because you probably get the idea. I wished we could have gotten rid of the whole mess, but picking garbage out of it was at least a start, and an important step to help the people take pride in the places they live, so we did it with as much enthusiasm as we could muster!
By the time we were preparing to leave Thailand, we were all pretty exhausted - from the heat, hard work, and in general trying to function as a team - but we all made it to Vancouver in one piece. As a side note, we spent 10 hours on a layover in the Seoul airport, and it was one of the best airport experiences of my life! There were free crafts, cultural shows, and internet! But back to our experience in Vancouver. When we got there, we took the train and bus from the airport to our accommodations, an ominous foreshadow to all the transit-taking to come. It turned out our team was split into 3 houses, which made for some interesting scheduling challenges. As far as outreaches went, we had been hoping to do a lot of hands-on, justicefocused ministry, but things didn’t exactly work out that way, and we had the unexpected opportunity to try out a whole bunch of new things. For instance, we participated in prayer stations for a day, which basically consists of a pair of people standing on a street corner with big red vests and signs offering free prayer. It was not the type of thing we were hoping to be involved in, but we did it anyway, and it was definitely a learning experience for all of us! One ministry we worked with and really liked was UGM (Union Gospel Mission) New Westminster, a soup kitchen/drop-in centre. We had all been to the UGM in Winnipeg, and it was interesting to compare the two they both have very different feels. Some of our stu-
dents got the chance to share testimonies from their time in Thailand, and they got a really good response. All in all, it was a successful DTS which I am glad to have been a part of. Seeing all the things God did despite the flawed humans he had to work with helped me remember why I do what I do, which is good because sometimes, in the middle of the school when I’m dealing with drama all over the place, it is easy to lose perspective. On that note, thank-you for your continued support and encouragement! I could not do this without people like you behind me. I’d like to close with a verse which encouraged me greatly throughout the second half of Outreach… Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord! ~Psalm 31:24
Lindsey Ainsworth 443 Furby St. Winnipeg, MB R3B 2V7 (204)774-7072 email@example.com ywamwinnipeg.ca littleflowers.ca
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