When we were at training camp, we were told to let go of all of our expectations. Honestly, I’m not really sure what my expectations were coming into Thailand. But I can tell you that there are a lot of things I didn’t expect.
I really didn’t think I would miss my family as much as I do. I’ve been away from home for longer periods than this before, and there’s always Skype. Somehow being in another country makes it seem a little harder though. The Lord has definitely given me a new appreciation for the people He has placed in my life back home and I realize how truly blessed I am by them.
I didn’t expect to be so blessed by the people around me once I realized how homesick I really was. But wow did He bless me with the most amazing, beautiful sisters as my support system this summer. He has also blessed my team with the amazing family down the street from us. They love us so graciously in their generosity and kind heartedness; it is truly a gift from God the way they have taken us in this summer.
I wasn’t expecting to love the bar girls so much. I knew I was coming here to share the love of Christ with them, if only through my actions, but man I didn’t expect that they would become so dear to me. But as my friend Star* saw me Tuesday and her eyes lit up, my heart overflowed with joy. The look on her face when I told her I missed her because I haven’t seen her in about a week literally made my night.
Never in a million years would I have expected to strike up friendships with the men who hold the ping pong show fliers, but as the summer goes on my heart breaks for them too. They are just as eager for love and acceptance as the bar girls, and as the tourists looking for satisfaction that will leave them empty in the end. Tuesday night as it rained, some of them held out their umbrella to share with me. They asked how I was doing and actually cared about my response, because they can tell that we care about them when we talk to them. One of my new friends, Ba* even sat with me patiently trying to teach me how to say nice to meet you in Thai for five minutes (as eager as I am to learn Thai, I don’t think I’ll ever get that phrase down… it’s seven syllables!). He continued to smile at me and bear with me no matter how painful that process was.
If you would have told me that Tuesday night we would get to talk to one of our friends, Pa* who is a ladyboy about Phra Yesu (Jesus) and her love for God, there’s no way I would have believed you. But as we sat with her in her bar that night, we listened as she told us what she knew and believed about God. We also got to reassure her that no matter what God loves her SO much.
A year ago, if somebody told me I would be in Thailand for a summer talking to lady boys and bar girls I would have thought they were crazy. But something the Lord has been showing me this summer is that there is something so sweet about letting go of our expectations and holding on to His promises. The Lord has big plans for every single child of His on Bangla Road. I’m so glad He’s helping me to let go of my plans and cling on to His, because they are so much better.
*Name has been changed for the safety and privacy of the individuals