This week we were joined by another YWAM team from Sunny Coast Australia!
We are still doing Bible studies and teaching English to the NewLife guys 4 days a week, but this week we had a few breaks because the Australia team took over for us for the few days they were here. On Thursday, since they were doing the NewLife guys our team got the chance to go to the girl's school and perform the Christmas Story skit to about 100 Thai boys and girls!
It is so crazy thinking about what a blessing it is to be welcomed into a public school (that is predominantly Buddhist) and given free reign to preach the gospel, perform the Christmas story, sing worship songs with the children there and then pass out packets with Bible story cartoons and tracks to every single one of them! This was one of our biggest shocks of the day - in America it is becoming so taboo to be invited to do any of those things with Elementary/Middle school children in public schools - and our nation was "built on Christianity." But here in Thailand, where under 1% are Christians and the majority being either Buddhist or Muslim, we are welcomed into the schools; given the freedom to do whatever we want for 2 hours, are fed lunch and then thanked by the kids, teachers and school officials over and over. Even if they don't realize it, their hearts are crying out for the Lord God - who can give them meaning, purpose, and a love like no other. T
he Lord has heard every soul. These people are so precious and my heart is broken for their resilience, for even though they welcomed us so warmly, the ties to cultural and family ritual are so strong. There is an hour of "studies" a day when kids go to this golden temple built at the entrance of the school to deliver their offerings with prayers... most of the Abba House girls attend here and face much mockery and persecution for not joining in. Never the less the time spent at the school was incredible!
New Years weekend was spent enjoying some rest until the afternoon when we played games again and hung out with everyone. Our team prepared spaghetti for dinner for everyone - the first time any of the kids had every tried it! As much as I love the the rice and vegetable dinners we have here, it was a good change for the palette. We all meet at 7 for chapel and the Australia team takes over the service with worship and a message from one of their team leaders, Ben. We have several hours to go till midnight yet, so we split it up so that the 3 hours are split between ABF, YWAM-Kona, and YWAM-Australia. Each team doing anything from games, skits, and dances. We also get a late night snack that consists of meatballs (with spicy sauce if you can handle it lol) and fruit! So good! The countdown starts at 30 seconds till as we wrap up a dance party and then we all erupt into cheering, hugs, glad tidings and huge smiles. Everyone goes outside and we pull out the 3 lanterns we bought for the occasion. Together we light the 3 and send them up in prayers over each other, the year to come, and for the people of Thailand! Such an incredible time watching these beacons of light float up into the sky, joining the Thousands of others in peppering the darkness with stars of light.
Lord, light up the hearts of the people of Thailand, show them the hope of faith and the grace of Your unwavering Love!