138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
Today was our first full day here in Mae Sot! Yesterday when we landed we jumped right into things here. We met Maria and Grace at the airport, dropped out luggage off at our hotel, and headed out to the village. Maria, and all the girls at Faith House do such a wonderful job of ministering to those in need. When I say we went to the village, what I mean is we went to a really large field that had a bunch of tin shanties full of men, women, and children all in Mae Sot willing to do any work they can find. All of them are there working on the field for next to nothing; the crazy thing is, next to their rundown houses and trash-filled creek (where they get their water), is a beautiful fenced-in compound where the land owner lives. It’s a crazy contrast.
But the field is beautiful, and the children’s faces beam with excitement, and a little nervousness at the crazy newcomers. That is something I love about this place: the children. They have so much joy! They laugh and squeal with every spin, tickle, hug, or silly thing you do! It usually takes a few minutes for them to warm up to you, but after a bit, you won’t ever stop getting hugs from them. And as soon as you start spinning them, you will have a never-ending line!!
Anyway, Ashley and I were able to teach a lesson to the children on Jesus feeding the 5,000. The children loved that story, and Ashley wisely brought goldfish, which the children also loved! We were then invited to the ice cream shop that Faith House runs, where a birthday party/worship celebration happened. Pastor Scott preached a short message. There was a lot of singing, laughter, and love showered on everyone there. One of the most beautiful moments was celebrating the young lady's 18th birthday. Everyone lined up and handed her roses as she sat there with a huge smile on her face. Once everyone handed her a rose, we then took turns dancing with her. Maria has told us that many of the girls have never celebrated a birthday before, so you can image the pure joy on the young lady's face as all of her friends lined up to wish her a happy birthday with a rose.
Today was Sunday, so the morning was spent at church, where again Ashley and I taught the children, and Scott taught the adults. After church we went to a watering hold that you can swim at, and all the girls were able to go swimming, and have a picnic. Maria then took the five of us to the border to for a bit of culture - it is really so crazy to see!! After the border we went back to Faith House to a bonfire and s'mores with the girls. For many of them, it was their first experience eating them!! They loved them, and loved getting to roast marshmallows over the fire, even if is was 90 degrees out (maybe not 90, but it sure felt like it!!). After s'mores the girls all sang for us, and then we headed back to the hotel.
Here are a few of my takeaways so far!
The second time here is just as wonderful as I remember it being the first time!!
The laughter of children is the best sound in the world.
So many of these children, young ladies, and women have come from so much hurt, and yet have more joy and appreciation that most. We can all learn something from that.
One of the most beautiful things to witness is worship in a different culture! My heart overflowed this morning hearing a room full of people singing at the top of their lungs, worshiping our God. What a beautiful reminder that no matter who you are, where you are from, or what your circumstance we all serve an amazing God. He loves us, He hears our song, no matter what language we are speaking.