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This is Hope

It’s funny the things you stumble upon unexpectedly. Well, not really funny, but just really God.
A couple of us were walking down the streets of Mae Sai, pretty much smack in the middle of the red-light district, on a prayer walk. I had only done something like this once before, so I felt a little inadequate in going to do this. Do I know what I’m doing? No. Do I know what to pray for? Not really. Oh well! I’ll go anyways.
As we started to walk, I began looking around. Kids playing in the dirt…women selling fruit and clothes on the street…a group of men huddled around a TV. I started praying, “God…” And that was it. I kept repeating that over and over in my head. “God…” pause. “God…please…” pause. I literally couldn’t get past my own head, my own thoughts. So I just told God to lead us wherever he wanted us to go. And onward we walked, until we started to hear a voice on a loud megaphone. Something about it intrigued us, so we started to follow it, and we ended up at a Baptist church. A Baptist church in Mae Sai?! We peered in through the gate and heard a bunch of flutes. As we looked up on the balcony of a nearby building behind the church, we saw a group of children and what must have been their teacher. They all waved at us as smiles played across their adorable faces. Soon after (probably because they were so excited to see white Americans), they started waving us over. They wanted us to come see them!
Kristina and I lept at the opportunity and tried to find a way past the brick walls and the gates. We finally got to the building, quite out of breath from the excitment, and ran up the stairs to meet these precious kids. They were all giggles and smiles whenever they saw us, bowing and saying “Sawadikah! (hello)”. The children kept inviting us in further and further into the building. Kristina and I looked at each other expectantly. Should we go in? But they were persistant, and soon we ended up in their office. 
Being from Thailand, they of course spoke little to no English whatsoever. But as soon as we were inside, they were all jumping at the opportunity to serve us. They were just beaming! As soon as the rest of our team had come in, they were filling up glasses of cold water for each of us, and even brought in a tray of freshly cut (and peeled!!) apples for us to eat. Then they told us to sit down. They wanted to make us as comfortable as could be – they were taking such delight in SERVING US. Our whole team was so full of joy and laughter because of how gracious they were being towards us all, and they didn’t even know us! All we really knew how to say to them was “hello”, “thank you”, and “what’s your name”…not much to carry on a conversation if you ask me! But we didn’t have to. The laughter and love filled up the room so much that we didn’t need anything else.
We gathered from things on the wall and some broken English that this was a Christian school. A couple of the older students are studying for bible college. And whenever we said the word “Jesus”, all the kids eyes widened as they shouted right alongside us “Jesus!!”. We had the opportunity to pray over the school and the students before we left, and as I looked up in the middle of the prayer, this is what I saw.
Hope.
Children with their heads bowed to their Savior… waiting, listening, yearning, loving. In a nation that is 0.4% Christian, and we happen to cross paths with the Christians who live here! Hope dwells here in this place as these children will rise up in this nation to change it for Christ. When so much is against them, they press on. That is hope.

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