Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Already having the trip to Thailand planned when the Dec. 26 tsunami happened, I decided to see if there was a way I could help with some of the relief and rehabilitation from the disaster. Joined by three other girls, I went to the island of Phuket where a lot of damage had occurred. We managed to hook up with an organization that was already helping there, and they made the connections needed for us to go to several villages and put on simple children's programs for them. We were able to meet a number of local Thai believers, and to meet missionaries who serve full-time there. We heard so many stories of how they had been directly impacted, and even hit with the tsunami.
We played games with the children, gathering a large group of them. We taught them some Bible stories, with some local Thai believers translating for us.
The children were beautiful, we fell in love with them.
Many of the children were seemingly malnourished, and several had completely inadequate clothing. It was hard to see the conditions, but we welcomed our brief opportunity to love them, pray for them, and play with them.
The two villages on Phuket where we did the children's programs, are "Sea Gypsy" fishing villages. You can see here some of their boats. A number of them had lost boats in the tsunami, and a Christian aid organization was helping to rebuild.
There were still posters up all around asking for help in finding, as-yet unaccounted for loved ones.
We were able to see some of the tsunami damage first-hand, in Patong on Phuket, where the casualties and damage were significant. The tsunami had come from the beach directly behind where I was standing when I took this picture, and went up this street, destroying everything in its way.
As we walked along the beach front road we kept seeing signs for businesses and shops we wanted to see, then realizing that they no longer exisited. The biggest concern on people's minds seemed to be the tourism-dependant economy, and how it would be affected in the tsunami aftermath.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I can't share most of the conference pictures on the internet, so I'll just tell you a bit about it. I went to the Mid-Asia Region retreat for PIONEERS, as a representative for PI Canada. I had gone the year before, but with a number of leaders. This year, just I went from our office, and I recognized my complete inadequacy for the task. But that was a good thing, because it forced me to depend on the adequacy of God. I went to meet each Canadian missionary, and to listen to their stories and experiences. I especially enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with the Canadian single women, and hopefully was an encouragement to them. I brought care packages from PI Canada, and hosted a meeting and a meal bringing the Canadians together. The conference was also a great opportunity to hear from a number of Team Leaders and Area Leaders from all over, and to learn how God is moving and working. I was able to bring home a lot of that information, and continue to look forward to helping send other Canadians to join in.
Here is a strange picture I can share. Every time I go to Asia, it seems that something weird happens to my feet. The first time I got a rash on my feet, the second time I got about 200 mosquito bites from my knees down. This time, I somehow badly sunburned ONE of my feet, and it swelled up, looking like a sausage, till I had no ankle bone showing. I know you wanted to see that. :)
What do they call those things... cankles?