Friday, January 25, 2008

The Thailand Adventure

I went to Thailand with some friends from my church for about 3 weeks.

We were sort of all over the country working with Karen refugees from Burma. The Karen (pronounced Ka-Rin) people make up about 7% of the population of Burma (officially called Myanmar) but they're persecuted by the corrupt and cruel military government there. Most of them have fled to the jungle on the eastern side of the country and many have immigrated (illegally) to Thailand. They are very much a people without a country. They are constantly in danger of being found and tortured and killed. It's pretty horrible.

These people, however, are wonderful and charming and not at all the tragic cases their situations make them out to be. When we were there we hiked into a tiny jungle village a couple miles from the border of Myanmar to celebrate Christmas and New Years with the people living there and many families who hiked hours or days from their hiding places inside of Myanmar to celebrate the holidays. It was amazing. The group of us went to these people hoping to serve them and bless them but ended up being soooo blessed by these wonderful people, their kind hospitality and their strong spirit.

We spent a lot of time having celebration church services- singing together and sharing our stories of how God has touched or lives and encouraging and praying for one another. It was so amazing to be so so different from these people who live in bamboo huts and eat monkey (yeah. it was so gross.) but to be so similar and drawn together by a love for the same God. I can not begin to explain the deep connection that provided and how amazing and, honestly, how very... I guess... odd it felt at the same time. It is such a big and diverse world we live in, but the God that we serve is so much bigger and is so unifying.

I'm sure much of this is sounding very, like, church-ey, but I don't know how else to put it, so just bear with me :)

After the jungle we spent some time in another village (it felt practically urban after the jungle! They had a paved road! haha) in an orphanage/elderly home/ safe house. This was my favorite part.

I don't even have the words to describe this leg of the trip. I love orpahans. I always have. I have every intention of adopting as many orphan babies from developing countries as I can... so being in this place was so intense for me. It was amazing because it's this wonderful, loving environment and the kids are so happy... and so sad because they all have the most tragic stories of how they came to be there. I could have stayed there so much longer... like months. I fell in LOVE with those kids.

And again it was a situation where we went to serve them and ended up being so so so blessed by them all. We taught English and spoke in church. We all sang together and were encouraged by shared testimonies of God's greatness...

The thing about this trip to Thailand is this: we went to share and love and serve... to give. What happened was we did just that, but we were loved and served so much more.... and our eyes were opened to the plight of the Karen people. The world needs to know about these people. The government of Myanmar needs to be stopped. And I and my friends that had these experiences with me need to do everything in our power, put our spheres of influence to maximum use, to make this happen- to get the ball rolling.


Shane & Nikki said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shane & Nikki said...

I live in Sherman Oaks, (studio city area), Shane, my boyfriend lives in Hollywood..and it's only a 15 minute drive. What are you going to be doing in Hollywood on the 22nd?! We HAVE to meet up, I would LOVE that!

Do you have the same phone number?
you should email me:

Thailand SIM card said...

Thailand is predominately a Buddhist country and a minority of the population only practices Christianity. However, you should not feel less. Thai people also celebrate Christmas, so that none can hurt. So you can celebrate Christmas with following ways.
1). Send Christmas cards to family and friends
2). Set up a live or artificial Christmas tree in your home.
3). Place lights and other decorations on the outside of your house
4). Buy gifts for family and friends and pile them under the tree.