The Land of Smiles {Thailand 2013}

This past Thanksgiving week I was blessed with the opportunity to go to Thailand! While we were there we did so many things from teaching english to being tourist we somehow packed it all into a week. Our main purpose was to be a light to the community by visiting many different schools, from a Buddhist school to a handicap school we got to meet probably over 1000 students. We were not just teaching english though we were getting the opportunity to share the gospel with Thai students! Yes, we got to ride elephants and go to a floating market but the things that have stuck with me are the faces of the children, the friends we now have who hosted us, the culture of Thailand and a burden for the lost. I have been to a lot of different places on mission trips but there is something special about the people and my time in Thailand! I could talk all day about it, but no one would read it all, so instead let me tell the story of my trip through some of my favorite pictures! 

For the whole collection of images you can check them out here:

http://erinspruellphotography.pass.us/thailand

We got to go to several different schools and meet so many sweet children. The thought that we were able to get into public schools and schools supported by the Buddhist temple and share stories about Jesus solely because they wanted their students to learn english. We had 4 groups that acted like stations, a music, craft, story and games group. I was a part of the games group where we struggled to explain simple games like "red-light, green-light", "heads up seven up" and "four corners". If it wasn't for our awesome translator, Sammy, we would have just  let them run amuck! 

One of my favorite days there we got to go to a handicap school were kids with both physical and mental disabilities attend. The kids were so great and we got to teach them songs, like "deep and wide" and "Jesus loves the little children". The little smiles of the children were enough to make our week. I think I loved working with these kids the most because though they did not know how to speak well and were very limited  they had big smiles and they had a great time singing with us. My prayer for these kids is that they will know that Jesus loves them, and they are worthy. 

On Friday we got to be tourist! It was such a great day. We went to a floating market where we got into little boats and went speeding down a river with market shops and houses on either side. As you went you could buy things at the vendor shops from the boat. It was such a thai experience, and we all had a lot of fun.  One of the big perks of being a group of 25 is we got to ride in the motorized boats not the little paddle ones! After the floating market we headed to another town where we went to an elephant zoo! There we saw a very odd crocodile show where a crazy guy put his head inside a crocodiles mouth and another guy put his hand down his throat...it was weird. The best part of the whole day was the elephants. We saw a live history channel type of show about the history of elephants and then we got to ride them! Yes, ride elephant in thailand is checked off the bucket list! After we got hugs from elephant trunks and slobbery kisses from the animals. It was such a fun experience and if you ever get to go to Thailand do it! 

Friday night after being a tourist for the day we got to host a lock-in at GES with their older girls, the school we partnered with all week. It was exhausting, but it was so fun. We got to laugh together and hangout with high school girls who were really not that different than the girls I worked with last year. These girls liked the same movies, same songs and still had phones out at the table. As I sat with them I began to realize how small the world really is. I was talking with one girl and she said that she wanted to come to America and she asked me to tell her what it was like. I instead asked her to tell me what she thought it was like. She said that she in her mind America had no problems, and that everyone was happy. How sad that is the way outsiders see our country. I told her that it was actually a lot more like Thailand than she thought and it was a cool moment for her to realize that her country is rich in history and beautiful. 

The last night before we were trapped in an airplane for who even knows how long our awesome hosts took us to the tallest building in Bangkok. We ate dinner on the 77th floor and then ventured up to the 84th floor where there is a rotating floor. From there we could see what felt like all of Bangkok and more! As we were up there all I could think was that from up here it looks like it could be any other city in the world, but instead its Bangkok, one of the biggest cities for human trafficking. As we rotated around I just prayed for the people of Thailand that they would experience the light of Christ one day and live in the freedom of his love. My heart is heavy for Thailand and I fell in love with the people and the culture. If you ever get a chance to go, do it, it will change your life! 

My LifeErin SpruellComment