In December the WOLBI Jeju students had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam and Thailand. The purpose: to check out different mission organizations and help out with two churches in Thailand. Starting with a layover in Vietnam, the students were able to explore Ho Chi Min for one day to experience their culture and history. Then it was off to Thailand where they visited many different Christian organizations including CEF, New Tribes Missions, a coffee shop ministry to prostitutes and several Bible translation missions. The first half of the trip was spent in Chiang Mai and the later half in Bangkok. All throughout the trip, the students saw the reality of Buddhism as they were able to talk with a Buddhist monk and visited several Buddhist temples. Two of our students wanted to share about their experience in Thailand and the impact it had on their view of people and God. Here are their stories!
Ana Mosley- WOLBI Class of 2017
“Matthew 9:36- ‘When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.’ One of the most prominent things I remember about Thailand is how crowded it was. Markets, temples or city streets- people were absolutely everywhere to be seen. I remember two sights in particular; the first was a boy, about fifteen or sixteen years old. Mid- trip we as a class visited Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, an excessively bedecked temple overlooking the mountainous Chiang Mai. In the temple’s interior he knelt before a monk in a rather large (yet dimly lit) open chamber. His face was contorted into a tight, stiff expression and his shaking hands were clutched at his chest. The room emanated emptiness itself even though it was filled with people, incense fumes and garnish effigies depicting different buddhas. Forward and backward he rocked as the monk performed a rite of blessing, yet his features continued to twist and give a portraiture of despair to his face. The fervency around me brought an almost farce-like flavor to the thousands of empty worshippers overflowing from the site. The second was a group rather than an individual: a choir in a tiny Thai church singing with an ardor only brought by a Heavenly Father. Male and female, young and old- each and every face standing before the small congregation overflowed with a joy that only comes through knowing Jesus. While watching them sing I began thinking back to visiting various missions organizations throughout the week and hearing of God’s work in Thailand and its hill tribes. Because of the sacrifice of many and their devotion to the spread of the Message, the Thai people now can have hope in Jesus and His gift of salvation. This, I realized, is the most important thing on this side of eternity other than God Himself. I thank God for giving me the opportunities that this trip brought- opportunities to see and realize the needs of the lost, the importance of His Mission and the universality of the Gospel. I pray that He will continue to teach me how to apply what I’ve learned and how to move forward in response.”
Cynthia Eichelberger – WOLBI Class of 2017
“Show me a picture of Thailand, they said, so I sent them pictures of elephants, temples, and beautiful scenes. Thus, creating a false reality that life here is adventure and beauty. While this is altogether true, there is a more sobering reality. Do you really want to see pictures of Thailand? Then prepare yourself to see a country desperately lost in need of a Savior. Prepare to see filthiness in the streets and filthiness stemming from human desire. You will see people devoting their lives to empty pursuits. You will see women at every corner selling themselves to survive. You will see people taking advantage of one another. You will see people destroying and killing themselves through substance abuse. You will see drunken men stumbling and puking in the allies. You will see homeless sleeping in the streets and beggars waiting for onlookers to see them and give. You will see women obsessed with looks and the latest fashion. People are searching for love and satisfaction in all the wrong places. Welcome to Thailand, welcome to the world we live in. If only we would open our eyes to see the people in desperate need of Christ’s love and satisfactory life. If only we would slow down and look around, really look. May our hearts ache for the hurting and the lost. May our hearts move with compassion when we look at the multitudes. Our hearts should break for what breaks God’s heart. May we have the same love for humanity that Christ demonstrated towards us. So, there is a snapchat of Thailand but also of our world. There’s the reality of the world we live in today. What will we do with what we see?