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And so It Begins!

We finally arrived into Thailand! After four days of training and almost 2 days of traveling, we are finally here, but there is still a ways to go. Currently we’re in Bangkok and are expected to leave to Phuket today on a 12hr bus ride through Thailand! It may be a long, but as some of you know, I love traveling so I don’t mind at all. I think it’s a bonus to be able to go through the country and see it’s scenic (and maybe not so scenic) views.

On the plane on our way to Thailand

On the plane on our way to Thailand

It has been a week since I have left home, but it seems so much longer. Let me catch you up to speed on what we’ve been doing. We had training camp last Friday in Tennessee up to Tuesday when we left for the airport early in the morning. At camp, all the Real Life teams going to different countries which included Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru, New Zealand, Africa, Thailand and India got acquainted with each other and have done a lot of  team building and sharing life together in our specific teams as well as in a whole body (200+ people). I am beyond thankful for the 23 girls that are on my team.

Upon meeting each other, everyone felt comfortable, safe and we were able to make instant friendships. Something that I think helped us to bond was the fact that on our first night, all 24 of us slept on tarps in the cold woods under the stars, some with only the clothes we came into camp with (that was me…). We also bonded by trying to make a fire in the fire pit – it was epic! I definitely didn’t expect that I would be doing this at camp, but it certainly made for good memories and sped up the process of getting to know each other.

Among the various activities that we did, we learned about cultural considerations and simulated missionaries coming into a primitive tribe (water was spit on my legs and I was slapped hard on the back…this meant I was accepted by the primitive people!); dancing in the mornings; painting a canvas for Thailand (which turned out amazing!); getting to know my wonderful team; hearing speakers; worshiping and outlining a sermon among many other activities. I thoroughly enjoyed training camp although it brought feelings of being uncomfortable

Canvass we painted for Thailand

because of the practices that I was not use to such as praying individually but corporately; praying over the place we were sleeping; shouting truths and proclaiming them – even if at the moment you don’t truly believe them and listening for God’s voice. These are things that I had not done much of, but let me tell you, it has been so good! I feel like I have been given tools that have been helping me in my relationship with Christ and I have been learning the pressing importance of prayer, community and worship. Dependence on God is of the utmost importance. Within those training days, I have felt the presence of God both individually and together as a group. There is no doubt in my mind that all of us were meant to be here.

We are just discovering and exploring this new country we are going to call home for the next two months. As for our purpose for being here, we are ready because we have been given the Spirit of the living, breathing God who is in us and will speak on His behalf. One of the verses that struck me is in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5. Just as I was feeling inadequate for the work we will be doing, I read this and prayed for the Thai women.

“When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power.”

I wish that I could write more about Thailand, but we have not been here for not even 24 hours. However, here are some of the things I learned/noticed:
Buddhism in Thailand is obvious. I’ve seen paintings, shrines and statues of Buddah
The culture is overall quiet and calm
Touching a child head is not a good idea. The head is considered the most sacred part of the body
The feet are considered the dirtiest part of the body and one should never point their feet at someone or something nor cross their legs and point the bottom of the feet to someone. That is considered extremely disrespectful
Men and women don’t seem to associate much
It’s the rainy season
Thai food is amazing!

I can’t wait to tell you more about what we are doing, seeing and experiencing, but until then, I will write soon!

Sara

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