Originally posted by ykim1993 on 7/7/2015
In today’s devotional, we learned that although we desire to see what the future holds, we must be joyful with knowing just the next step. This week, we met a community of families that are completely lost in the dark but are still able to rejoice because of the little light they have. They are “asylum seeking families” that are currently living on the outskirts of Bangkok. These families have come from all over the world like Vietnam, Laos, Pakistan, etc and the community we served are primarily from Vietnam. These families have come to Thailand to seek refuge from the persecution they face in their home-country. They are mainly persecuted by the government for their religious beliefs and are currently living in Thailand, seeking asylum from the Thai government. This can be an excruciatingly painful task as there are many steps involved with little to no support from the community. Because of this, these families have found themselves living in poverty with little to no opportunities for work and proper education. We were connected with this community through a man named Dwight, who attends Newsong Bangkok, who has been working with asylum seeking families for many years. Dwight supports them by providing housing, food, education and activities for children. The past two days, we were able to make relationships with one of these communities through teaching English, playing with the children, and cooking for the families.
On our first day of ministry, our team had no idea what to expect. We had never worked with this community before and we had very brief information about what we would do. With open hearts and hands, we entered into their community center, which is a four-story building that provides housing, food and a place for children to play and learn after school. As we were walking down the alleyway to the building, we immediately noticed a group of young children waiting outside on the middle of the street. They waved and stared as they giggled to each other and we fell in love with them instantly. As we got closer to the building, the children rushed inside and sat quietly near the wall, pretending as if nothing had happened. It was so incredibly cute and adorable that our entire team was so eager to play with them. For the duration of that day, we made animal crafts, played Pictionary and colored to our hearts content. Some of our team members also worked tirelessly in the kitchen, chopping garlic, cooking over an open flame, and washing piles of dishes. At the end of the day, our team was desperate for rest, sleep and most importantly, air conditioning. To be honest, we were pretty relieved to call it a day and go home.
After a full night’s rest, Pastor Woogie encouraged us to give it our all on the last day and we were pretty pumped to work another tiring day. Everybody served without any complaints and it was such a blessing to see team members serving each other as well. As some of our kitchen crew grew tired, there was always somebody on our team who was taking care of them by giving them water and forcing them to rest. Team members with the children exuded so much energy and enthusiasm that the children always had a smile on their face. It was great to see everybody work so hard. At the end of the day, after we said our goodbyes to the children and some of the parents, the leaders of the community came up to us to thank us. With tears in their eyes, they told us simply: thank you, don’t forget us and pray for us. It was such a simple yet deep longing for relationship and connection, that our team was very moved. They asked us to pray for them as a group, and their openness and humility was inspiring. When we came back to our hotel to reflect upon what we experienced, we realized a simple truth. We realized that there’s only so much we can do in such a short amount of time. We can’t change their circumstances, nor can we really make it any better. However, what we can do, and what God asks us to do, is to build relationships with these people so that they may be known to us, known to you and hopefully known to the world. And as they are known by people, may they be reminded that they are known by God and that no matter how dark their future may seem, that they have hope in knowing that God is the eternal light that will shine in our hearts when we seek Him and His glory.