We joined the children & leaders for Sunday worship. They started with music and songs and had a projector so we could sing along in either our crazy Thai or English. There was prayer and sharing time from both the leaders and children, and then prayer.
The boys performed a traditional dance for us that was so very well done we felt we were at a formal Thai show.
Then our team did a skit of the Good Samaritan. The children were delighted and although we would not win any Oscar, in the children’s faces we could see joy and laughter and that was our Oscar!
Scriptures were read one by one from our team and Faa translated as we spoke about the Scripture we had all chosen.
It was great to see the children praying in Thai style (all together loud and clear), heads bowed.
After service we cleaned up the room and got ready for lunch so we could enjoy the rest of the day together.
We headed off to the White Temple and then it was off to the zoo.
The children at GROW took longer to warm up to our presence at their home. At first we wondered why they weren’t sitting by us or trying to play after the second day. But we realized they are simply guarding their hearts from opening to potentially unworthy strangers.
However, after our field trip to the White Temple and the zoo it was clear they wanted us to be there enjoying the day. Holding hands, little ones falling asleep on our shoulders, and sharing treats, it finally felt like we were making a difference.
Yes, we are at GROW to get some projects done and learn about the organization, but it is our highest purpose to simply love on the children. Showing them GOD IS LOVE and them sharing it back is the ultimate service we can do and we feel blessed to have shared a wonderfully fun day with these precious kiddos!
GROW Farewell Day
Throughout the last two weeks there have been many wonderful days, but today, I think we all agreed, will hold a special place in our hearts.
We started our day with Maria (a friend of Faa's) teaching us a little more about the culture of Thailand. There was a lot of new awareness of our surroundings as she spoke of the history of Thailand and its deeply embedded culture. We spoke about the political system, royalty and the differences between Christianity and Buddhism. We left the table with a much greater understanding of the Thai people and are very thankful that Faa arranged this time with Maria!
Faa and other wonderful GROW staff took us up the mountain to visit the coffee plantation where they get the coffee beans they sell to raise funds. Not only was it a perfectly gorgeous day to ride in the back of the truck and suntan, but also to pick fresh passionfruit and coffee right from the plant.
We met up with Patrick (Pat) and visited with him in his home while he made us absolutely delicious coffee. His grandmother visited a little with us just as she had a year ago and they were such gracious hosts serving us delicious fried rice and omelets.
Patrick is amazing. Here is a young man that left home at 12, became a pastor through seminary in Bangkok, and returned to the hills from where he came because his heart is so full of the love of Christ that he wants to help hill tribes. His heart is for the youth and currently he preaches at a church.
We are bringing home delicious AB0NZO COFFEE!! You can find Pat on Facebook for now as he is building a website and we hope to help him expand his coffee distribution throughout CA.
Just as we have much more respect for the rice we eat, every cup of coffee we drink will be enjoyed with the knowledge of the love and sweat that goes into the harvest, storing and preparation to make the finished product. Never has passionfruit tasted better!
We enjoyed the beauty of the mountains overlooking breathtaking views and seeing the sun set in the west.
But the most amazing part of today was coming back to GROW for dinner. The girls and boys prepared very special traditional Thai dances for us dressed in their sweet Thai costumes. They danced as strong warriors thwarting enemies, and tossed petals toward us signifying a blessing to us. All we could do was cheer and clap like proud parents letting them know how much we enjoyed their hard work.
Unfortunately, tonight we had to say our goodbyes which were filled with many tears and hugs. However, before leaving my team and I presented them with soccer gear and handmade quilts. The pure joy that came across their faces was the most precious thing I have ever seen!
There is nothing greater than seeing joy pour from these kids who are new to this emotion. It is heartbreaking hearing their stories and these are the things they are grateful for:
- Enough food
- A bed of their own
- Playing & riding bikes
We have been so blessed to have had the opportunity to play, paint and spend time with them and show them they are truly loved.
We said goodbye to the GROW children tonight and released lanterns into the air to mark the occasion. The Festival of Lights starts next week, but we celebrated tonight anyway! We watched the flames lick the wood of the base and begin to glow. When each lantern had enough flame, we sent them off into the sky. With the lantern went our prayers. We left tonight with a large bouquet of flowers that had been in the girls’ hair during their performance.
We reluctantly sense how quickly this trip is coming to a close and dread returning to the everyday and were a somber group heading for our beds. We will miss our GROW Home family ~~~