21 February 2012

Thailand - Third Wave [Day 7: Ministry with Others]

Oikos Church of the Nazarene
This was the last day of Third Wave - but we were really nowhere near finished yet! Much was planned for the last two days, and Saturday January 7 was a biggie.


This was our Ministry with Others projects day.


We were to have two work-sites. The first was a community park, where the team would clean up, do some painting and maintenance work, and form friendships with the people there. The second location was at a place that was affected by the recent flooding in Bangkok - general cleanup and building relationships was the goal there.


Unfortunately, on this day I was feeling very unwell. On Friday, our day of sight-seeing, I had not felt well all day, and on Saturday I woke up feeling a little better, but even after breakfast I could just tell that I was not well. I decided to stay back at the hotel all day - and trust me, that was one tough decision! I just LOVE to serve, and working outside in dirt and mud is no exception! But, for what was to come in the evening... I decided that this would be best.


As soon as the buses left for the project sites (they left soon after 8:30am), I tried to use the internet for a little while, and then I went up to my room and slept for a couple hours. Around noon, I came downstairs to help set up our Third Wave t-shirts, so that when everyone came back, they could simply pick out their size before going up to their rooms, showering, and getting ready for the evening project.


Church of the Nazarene logo - Thai
We were split into 3 groups, and we were to go to 3 different Nazarene churches. I went to Oikos church, a small church, that had postponed its Christmas and New Years celebrations until we were there!!! They had somehow (miraculously, I'm sure!) gotten approval to close their end of the street, to hold the event in the middle of the street - sound system, band, chairs for the audience, space for kids to play, and all. In a Buddhist country. Where less than 1% of the population is Christian. WOW. That blew my mind!!


Arriving at Oikos Church of the Nazarene
I wasn't feeling too well, but I knew I had to push myself - I knew I would regret it if I just sat around watching the activities.


Marie looking very official, as she keeps score of Tammie's Rock, Paper Scissors game with the boys
I looked around at the church for a little while...


The church kitchen. You can see the little gas heaters in the middle of the floor there. Newspaper covered the floor. And the toilets were just to the left of this picture!
...and then I got involved!


Attaching a message from Oikos Church to every "showbag" (that we filled up here)



Playing some style of volleyball. They played for about 2 hours!

The church ladies provided us with a wonderful buffet!

They gave out Samaritan's Purse Shoeboxes!! Sooooo amazing to see the other side of these gifts - the smiles on those faces were priceless!
Each country / region had to prepare a cultural presentation, and as I already shared here, Australia and New Zealand teamed up.


Now, I know, for some of you Aussies and Kiwis, the idea of these two countries being one team may be a little strange, and maybe even outrageous!!! (if you are not an Aussie or Kiwi, and are a bit confused right now - you do really have to be one of us to understand this ;-) )


In fact, I am generally like that. And when our team suggested performing this Mauori song and the Haka... I admit I thought it was unfair that our entire presentation would be Kiwi. I wanted something Australian in our presentation!


But do you know what?


My heart was changed in those few days between the decision, and when we were at Oikos.


I looked around me at our International Fair - Australians, Kiwis, Mexicans, English, Scottish, Irish, Thai people, all together, having fun, eating food, celebrating the birth of Jesus and the beginning of a New Year. I saw laughter and love. I saw different skin colour, different clothing styles, heard different languages, tasted different food, and saw many cultures. All together, in one street, in this Buddhist country.


And it was then that I realized. At an event like this, we can still have the Aussie / Kiwi banter / competition / silliness - but when it comes to sharing the love of Jesus and the unity that it brings, that doesn't matter.
The whole performance was SUCH fun (even though I'm sure I mimed half of the lyrics, and *subtly* peeked at the other girls to make sure I was doing the actions right!)!! And you know what? Even though I sang a song that I wouldn't have understood if Moana hadn't translated for me - a song from my country's rival, no less! - and the boys took off their Aussie hats of to do the Haka, I am so very grateful for that experience!



AND I got to share it with these AWESOME people!!!



Tammie, Moana, Yannis, Marie, John, Dani, Aaron and me

...and my awesome big brother Simon =D

Although... that's not going to change my mind about the cricket or the rugby or most of the other things us Aussies compete the Kiwis for! ;-)



Click here to see us performing. (note: this links to Facebook, so you may not be able to access the video without logging in to Facebook)


I hung out with this pretty girl pretty much all night! 

:-)


If you look closely, you can see the little girl's hilarious hair - all sticking up straight out from her head - soooo adorable!!

Delicious fried banana, and sweet potato. Simon will tell you I was addicted. He's not really lying...
So, don't forget to check out the video of the Australian / New Zealand cultural presentation! Enjoy :-)


~Rachel
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