I have just spent a week in Thailand on the World Race. I use the term World Race, loosely because Hannah says it is not exactly like the real thing. I must say I am glad that AIM is smart enough to know that 50-somethings need beds and not tents or floors…the beds, along with hot showers and cold air conditioning, are the reasons Hannah felt like it was a luxurious week and not exactly comparable to what actual racers deal with. However, I found that it hammered home a few points for me as a parent, while giving her a bit of a “break” from her racer reality for the week. I thought I’d share the points so that parents who didn’t get to attend can get a feel for it…and to give the racers a laugh.
- The travel days are really as grueling as they appear.
- Your body stays confused for days. Your feet swell. (Though I don’t think swelling is as bad for the racers since they are considerably younger.)
- Carrying my little bags was heavy. I can’t imagine traveling with those packs they have to lug around everywhere.
- During the day it is hot. Really hot.
- Walking is the most reliable form of transportation. You do A LOT of it.
- Your clothes start to stink. Quickly.
- Your feet stay dirty.
- The food is interesting, but you are hungry enough to eat without question.
- Calculating how much something costs requires using math. All. The. Time.
- Communication with the locals is very difficult when you do not speak the language.
- There are lots of smells you have never smelled before.
- They are not all good.
- Cars travel on the opposite side of the road. Motorbikes go wherever they want.
- This makes for some scary rides in interesting forms of transportation.
- It is best to close your eyes.
- Markets are full of all kinds of items for sale for unbelievably cheap prices.
- You have to show restraint so you do not buy too much stuff.
- It helps to know you will have to carry whatever you buy.
- Ministry time can involve doing anything.
- Some of what you do seems insignificant.
- You do it anyway, because you know there is a bigger picture than what you see with your eyes.
- Some jobs are big, some are small.
- They are not always fun jobs.
- You see things that break your heart.
- There is nothing you can do about it in such a short time.
- You go out among them anyway.
- Injustice stinks.
- Slavery is real.
- Your heart gets mad, sad, and hopeful all in one day.
- You feel God’s heart for ALL people.
- You know he is crying.
- You cry with him.
- Prayer helps and brings hope.
- You pray a lot.
- You see light, among the darkness.
- Ministry contacts are awesome.
- They know the reality and their vision is inspiring.
- You work in teams. Always.
- Teams encourage one another, laugh together, and make the not so fun parts better.
- You carry your own water everywhere you go.
- You have to remind yourself to drink it, and refill it because you could run out.
- That would be very bad.
- You try to learn a few words of the language.
- You mostly butcher it.
- You say it anyway to give the locals a laugh and so they will know you are trying.
- Building relationships and trust is critical.
- On teams, with contacts, with the people…pretty much everything revolves around relationship.
- Sometimes that can be uncomfortable.
- You do it anyway.
- You do not preach.
- You live.
My time may not have been as long or as intense as the real race, but I believe it showed me some very valuable things. The main one being that these kids are awesome. What they are doing is NOT easy. I knew that before…but I really know it now. It is inspiring to watch them. They will shake their heads at this statement and say, ‘sometimes we don’t do very much.’ I say to them, you are doing more than you think. You are shining light into darkness. Sometimes moving piles of dirt, or mixing concrete by hand, or teaching the ABC’s , or speaking for the hundredth time doesn’t seem very big…but in life, the small things ARE the big things. Mother Teresa said it well, “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” You have put yourselves out there…that is more than what 95% of the people do. That is something…a BIG something. God will use your hearts for him, and for people, and for each other simply because you trusted him enough to go. Thank you for letting a few parents barge in on your race and get a taste of what you deal with every day. It was a real blessing to our hearts to see firsthand…and to do it side by side for a few days. Many blessings to you all.
6 thoughts on “A Taste”
Sounds like quite the adventure.
I imagine no matter how hard you try and well you write, this experience can’t be fully conveyed in words. But thanks for giving me this glimpse. Hopefully saying good bye wasn’t too bad when you weigh the three months left against the eight that have passed.
Goodbyes are always hard…but Robin you are right… only 3 months. We can do it. They are happy and healthy. They are having the time of their lives and will be forever changed because of it.
Thank you Michelle for your wonderful poetic way of expressing your God felt moments while in Thailand! Loved reading your thoughts and also viewing your pictures. So proud of all the Racers. They have and are giving so much to all of God’s children who they encounter(ed). Happy you were able to visit Hannah and hug the many Racers!
Never easy to leave our kids but what a blessing to get a taste of how they are serving the Lord and how He is using them. It makes me realize if she is called to do His work overseas that she is so equipped through Him. Having seen our children in this new role is an incredible gift. 🙂
I love your writing, your honesty, your heart, thanks for sharing it. I am going to ChiangMai in July for PVT, so I’m reading everything I can find that would help me prepare. Would you mind contacting me via email as I have some questions about logistics, packing, etc….