This is an interview with one of our SDC volunteers that portrays her thoughts before and after her recent missions trip to Thailand. Well done Deborah!
What are you hoping to accomplish with your time in MaOhJo?
I’m hoping to approach each day with a mindset of joy, thankfulness, and perseverance. I’m not too sure what work projects I’ll be doing, but my goal is to do my best–no matter the weather and how hard the work may be–with the time that I have been given to serve here. Even with the differences in cultures, I hope to find areas where I can connect with the villagers and staff and be able to communicate through that.
What are you excited about?
I honestly can say that I’m excited about everything. To be able to experience everything for the first time–except for eating rice…I eat a lot of rice…I really like it…and to enjoy a part of creation that I have never seen with an amazing team sounds pretty neat. The Karen and Thai culture is so fascinating to me and to be given the opportunity to serve alongside them and see God’s work be done would be quite the experience to witness.
What are you scared of?
I went into this trip with the mindset of understanding the importance of being open minded and okay with change. Instead of being fearful or scared I want to find ways in which I can adjust to things that I’m not used to. So, to answer the question, there isn’t anything that I’m too fearful of but the thought of being surrounded by a swarm of cicada bugs doesn’t seem too pleasing.
Why did you decide to go on this trip?
I originally wanted to go on this trip in the beginning of my senior year because I was interested and curious about the ways of the Karen and how they do life with Jesus, but after a short time I changed my mind. After Christmas break I was approached my Robyann about this trip and the desire to want to go came back. I knew it was a late start to fundraise for this trip but it took a lot of faith and trust that God would provide; and making sure that I was also doing my part. In the end, I’m glad to say that I was able to come along with the team.
Now that you are back home, what kind of things/ feelings are going through your head?
I go back and forth trying to decide whether I’m happy or sad to be back and it’s still something I’m figuring out. It’s hard when you become attached to a place and mentally want to stay there forever but I know that if I live a lifestyle pleasing towards God’s plans for me, he will provide more opportunities for me to experience joy once again as I serve and love other people. I’m sad that I won’t be able to see the villagers, children, and Chai Wat running towards me to play, but I’m glad that I was able to have that chance than not at all. It’s a neat reminder knowing that they will always have a place in my thoughts and heart and that I’ll be able to remember how this trip has impacted my life and way of thinking more towards a missional lifestyle.
Overall, how was your trip?
This trip was both amazing and challenging in that it allowed me to be accepting of the differences in cultures that were seen in the city, village, and team dynamic. I learned so much about the way of life for the villagers and how welcoming they were to my team and I. They reminded me of how much better it is to give than to receive–and to give with your best. God will always take care of the rest. By having to immerse myself in the culture of Ma Oh Jo, I became familiar and comfortable with the ways of life here making me want to stay even longer than scheduled. It’s amazing how God has worked through volunteers, ITDP, teams, and the villagers to make a place with a mission that encourages people to put their ultimate trust in God. I left this place more hopeful about the future and grateful for the opportunity to share this experience with my team.