In January this year I departed from the Australian International Airport and took off on an adventure that would tug my heart in directions I hadn’t imagined was possible. My destination was the heart of Thailand - in Bangkok. But my departure wasn’t the beginning of my involvement in missions. My mission began many years earlier -11 years ago to be exact.
My passion for missions was born in 2005 at the age of 6 years. I was on my first missions trip with my dad and grandparents in the gorgeous Solomon Islands. It was there my love for God’s people and his work was first awakened. Following this trip you would often find me deeply immersed in books about missionary and novels full of adventures in far-off countries. At the time I had no idea what I would end up doing with my life, but I knew that I would be heavily involved in missions.
In 2009 my dad travelled with our family to Thailand for a month-long adventure. I was 10 years old and as we spent the majority of our time in Chang Rai and the mountains, my love for the Thai people grew. Spending Christmas at the 'Kid’s Life' orphanage was the highlight of the trip for me. The children's love and appreciation for all God had done in their lives was evident, despite their outward circumstances, and encouraged me to be more loving and generous. By the end of our trip I was convinced that I would undoubtedly return to Thailand again.
Finally in January this year, I returned to Thailand! This time I was based in Bangkok with the OM team. Thailand is known as the land of smiles, and I began to understand and love the beautiful Thai people in a deeper way than before. I was exposed to not just the joys of the Thai people, but also to the heartaches that they recently experienced with the passing of their beloved king. I grieved with them and also spent much time laughing with them. Our team of 8 volunteers helped at a 3 day English camp for University students and taught English class for locals. During the English camp our team had a hilarious time attempting to play a card game with 18 students late into the night.
Over the course of the 11-day trip our 8-person team got to know each other deeply. This happened through hilarious language lessons, late-night card games, thought-provoking discussions and trying foreign foods together. One time my team leaders graciously and gently showed me that the way I ate dinner needed to change - as I had been sitting very unladylike during a church gathering. This resulted in much laughter and a slight trace of embarrassment, but is all part of the cross-cultural learning process.
After this latest visit to Thailand I remain fully confidant that I will find myself overseas once again in the future. For now I must continue to serve in my home country of Australia; which I believe to be one of the most spiritually lost countries. But I can't wait to discover what awaits me around the next corner of my life-long faith journey.