Saturday, January 19, 2013

Christmas in Thailand

Hello blog world,

This is Kristen, giving an update about how life in Thailand has been. We are a little bit behind (understatement of the year) so, let's go back to where we left off!

Merry belated Christmas!
On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we were in a High School teaching English. The first day, we took over every English class in the department -- having conversations with the students to help them practice their English. Although the students know quite a bit of English grammar and writing, they do not speak it often. We tried several tactics, but ended up playing a lot of Pictionary and other word games. It was a great deal of fun to be in that setting!

Elana with Home of Blessing girls
Christmas Day was certainly one to remember. I still don't know exactly how to explain it, but here goes: we were not sure how much we could share the gospel and speak about Jesus, being that the school is a Buddhist high school, but God opened the doors! The day started with a parade lead by a Thai Santa Claus and reindeer. We followed close behind, lead by Caleb with his guitar singing 'Jingle Bells'. Behind us followed about 50 Thai students trying to sing with us while the loud speaker plays Jingle Bells in a totally different key. There's no way to describe the confusion in these moments! The gears switched, however, when we introduced the team to the student body gathered in front of us (a few heads short of 1000 Thai students!): Andrew shared the gospel on a loudspeaker to the attentive audience. Christmas day had begun! We later sang Christmas and worship songs on the campus for the students. During our lunch, the girls from the Home of Blessing that go to this particular school performed the 'Everything skit', while others danced to a Chris Tomlin worship song. It was really cool to see them present the gospel in that way and share it with all of the school! A great act of boldness for Christian high school students in a Buddhist school!  Elana and Corin finished the afternoon off by performing a worship dance they had choreographed earlier that week -- students gathered in huge groups around the performance; huddled in the balconies and common areas. It is a Christmas I will never forget.

The week was difficult for several of us, it being the first Christmas away from home -- yet even with the homesickness, I wouldn't have had it any other way. Sharing the simple gospel with a school of 1000 Buddhist high school students is a where God wanted us and I know that God will use what little we did there and our small sacrifice in a great way! With the girls for Home of Blessing being there and the doors our involvement opened for the Home of Blessing's future ministry to the school, it became clear that God had great plans for our school!

Jade turning 20 -- last day in Chiang Kham, Thailand
Later in the week, we had a day off and on Friday we celebrated Christmas as a team. On our day off, most of the team got massages and just relaxed. With how busy we were being, the rest was much needed. Our team Christmas consisted of a competitive game of Pictionary, a Skype call from our DTS sister outreach team in Liverpool, and a Thai barbeque. It was a great time to hangout and eat some of the most amazing food! The very next day, we bid farewell to Chiang-Kham, Thailand and set sail (in a coach) for Chiang-Mai!

There are more updates to come! Stay tuned...


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