I know this is a later posting than normal. I knew that I didn’t have a story or pictures to share, but just my heart and it’s hard to be vulnerable. But God has led me to share this and I have no more excuses to put it off.
Last weekend I was struggling. I was finding many things to be discontent over and was being fearful of what the future held. It was hot and I was really just putting up with stuff instead of enjoying life. I met with Corinne and selfishly complained and refused to address what was going on mentally. We are going through a Bible study together and that week's chapter was on the trustworthiness of God. I was noticing the beauty of God around me, but I was really struggling with giving thanks for the hard things and trusting in His goodness. I will struggle with this again, and again. But I needed to deal with it. I was excited for camp, but simply because it was something new to do.
So, we left on Wednesday afternoon for a camp up in Ban Rumit where a lot of tourists come to ride the elephants. Their were so many kids- way over 100 and the 5 of us CEF staffers were joined with around 10 helpers from the church and there was an American team there helping with little things. We taught songs with crazy motions, painted beautiful fans, and played some pretty complex games! They were taught from God's Word 3 times in the 3 days we were there and all had books to take home of what they had learned. It was amazing to see a team working together so well- to see them debrief together every night and to not only pray together, but to teach the children to pray together every morning in devotions. I was the photographer most of the time and was blessed to see through the eyes of a camera children listening attentively and praising God in their singing! I also enjoyed talking with the visiting American's some and was reminded of why I'm here for the length of time that I am and why I'm taking the time to learn the language and the culture. I was blessed to hear their individual stories and to know that God is working in their hearts to call some to full-time service and others to simply grow in their faith. The last day of camp we were so pumped up on adrenaline! We taught the leaders Uno, which was SO much fun. The kid's were so excited over everything and the last worship session was amazing with hands being raised to heaven and voices praising their Creator God! We were glad for it to be over, but so grateful that it took place!
I came back with a different frame of mind. I can see that it's worth it. Worth all the hours spent making posters and booklets, worth all the words and tones I've learned in Thai, worth going without hot water to bathe with for a few day- worth it all to see children praising the Lord as they depart to their separate homes with more of a knowledge of who He is! As I started on the next Bible study lesson I learned about God being generous. He has been generous to me even when I've returned no gratitude back to Him for it. I've been reading Isaiah while I've been here and sometimes I can see this city being the rebellious nation like Israel was. The neighbor offers prayer at his spirit house every day, the people "carryin' on" at the bar/hotel every night, the monk who we pass on the street. Yet God never gave up on Israel- over and over He said He was disappointed but that He loved them, that He would give them hope, that His Word would not return empty.
The song, Blessings by Laura Story, has a phrase that says, “We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love: as if every promise from Your Word is not enough.” That's where my struggle has been. But, the thankfulness has returned, the gratitude to and trust in God. Yet, times of doubt will also return- but I've been learning to be content in all circumstances, to build my trust in God through thankfulness, and to see His face in the people and places that cannot. Thank you for your prayers. They mean so much!