On Thailand: A Reflection from Joan

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Thank you for your prayer support for our recent trip to the G.R.O.W. ministry in Thailand. Heidi and I spent 18 days living and working with Faa and her staff. Our friendship and trust has grown with both the staff and children, and they know that Grace Church Lititz cares and values them! Most of the children in this home are from the hill tribes. They come to the home broken by physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. They are considered a people without value in their society. It was exciting to see the love of Christ being poured into the children by the staff and healing taking place. They are loved and cared for; they are family! One young girl came to the home severely broken by sexual abuse and did not talk for two years. Faa shared with Heidi and I, that earlier this year, this precious girl had started to talk again.

During our time, Heidi and I participated in a variety of activities. We provided some staff training, we played games and did special activities with the children; we had opportunity to teach and share scripture, we shoveled and spread out sand, painted logs, shopped and ordered kitchen cabinets and organized a future medical room. We are glad to hear that their newly completed boys’ home will enable them to add and help four more abused or at-risk boys by spring next year. We also had many long drives into town that gave us extended time for great conversations with Faa. Each activity provided opportunity to connect and build our relationship but it was our visit to an Akha hill tribe village and church that brought a renewed perspective to me.

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At our Sunday morning church service in the Akha village it was heartwarming to see each of the G.R.O.W. children give a gift (one of their toys) to an Akha child. It was also encouraging to hear the Akha church attenders wanting to learn more, asking questions about what was shared. It was evident the Holy Spirit was with us during that 3 hour church service, helping us work through the communication challenges we faced between Thai, Akha and English languages to renew and open hearts and minds. The Akha people asked us to pray for a pastor, someone to commit to sharing the Word of God with this small group each week. As I pray for their need and desire to know more about the God of the Bible, I reflect on the overwhelming resources I have available to me in the U.S. I have multiple version of the bible available to read, and I can because I’ve been taught to read.  I come from a country with a rich Christian heritage, far more than 1%. I have the support and care from a loving and large church family (more than ten), I don’t feel alone and isolated from people who are like-minded. I have an overabundance of resources to read and listen to that can help me grow in my spiritual journey.  I am very thankful. I only hope that my thankfulness is evident through my actions to access these resources by reading, growing, sharing and leading others to a better understanding of the hope I found in Christ in the U.S. and abroad.

Serving Him together,

Joan McCracken

Want to hear more? Come for a time of fellowship and sharing with Heidi and Joan on November 19th in the Grace Cafe from 7-8:30 pm.