With no travel advisories listed for Thailand, our team of five adults, and fifteen grade eleven students, and three Friesen children, set out on March 7th and after twenty-six hours of travel, we arrived at the Nancy Ross Training Centre and guest house in Bangkok. We arrived in the early afternoon and got right to work delivering rice into slum areas, got started on our construction project, and began our kids ministry. Our team was amazing, taking on this challenge on such little sleep!
In Bangkok, we did kids ministry each day and God’s hand was in all those details as other teams had to cancel and we were able to make sure these sweet kids got to hear the good news of Jesus! It was thirty-eight degrees with one hundred percent humidity and we were meeting in a small room with just a couple of fans and no air-conditioning, so the heat was definitely a challenge for all of us on the trip, but God gave our team enthusiasm and great interactions with the kids who attended.
Rice distribution to the seniors, in a variety of slums, was done each day during our time in Bangkok and the people we met were so joyful, despite their poor living conditions. The stories we heard were often heartbreaking and the prayer times with these grandmas and grandpas were so sweet. Many were raising grandchildren with limited resources and we were so glad to be able to meet some of their practical and spiritual needs during our visits. We delivered around four hundred bags of rice over five days.
For the construction portion of our trip, our team worked in excruciating heat every day, helping to build a house for a slum woman who previously only had a dangerously rotting shack for a home. It was hard work, but we are so proud of those who sacrificed their physical comfort and time with the rest of the team, to bless this woman. Many people stopped to watch us work as they were surprised to see a very multicultural group of students and teachers working in a dirty alley, building a house. We know that seeds have been planted and that God will use the woman sharing her story of the foreigners who came to build her a house, to spread the good news to others.
During our second week in Pattaya, we ran a kid’s club from 8:30 am-1:00 pm each day but, unfortunately, we had to leave after day three as all Canadians were called back to Canada. We are thankful God gave us wisdom to take the Friday flight instead of the Sunday back-up flight as the Sunday flight and our original flight were both cancelled. It was cool to witness how God was in all of the details, including allowing us to go on this trip, carry out our ministry, travel home all together, and stay safe from the virus. We built great friendships within the team and we were all sad to cut our time short but were also thankful to get home safely.
While we spent most of our time serving the poor in Thailand, we also had the opportunity for one day of sight-seeing and shopping in Bangkok, and in Pattaya a few short visits to the beach and meeting elephants! We visited Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Chatuchak weekend market, two beaches in Pattaya and the Pattaya Elephant Village. On top of it all, the food was amazing and it was fun seeing the students buying and trying all kinds of treats!
Thank you so much for all of your prayers during this time; it was an amazing trip!
– Steve Friesen, Teacher