Our Interchange team is currently at the Edmonton airport, trying to catch the last few minutes of the Nashville/Winnipeg hockey game before we begin our cross cultural exposure trip to Thailand. We would appreciate your prayers throughout this trip, but also as students return home and integrate what they have learned into their daily life. We have encouraged students to challenge the notion that “missions’ trips” are somehow more spiritual than the rest of life. However, we do recognize that the next few weeks are a season where we could use the support of some intentional prayer as we will be encountering lots that is new, challenging and stretching.
Over the next few weeks we will be helping to run English camps in schools in Northern Thailand with a Thai missionary who is an alumnus of Mount Carmel and then in a variety of schools in Nonthaburi (a suburb of Bangkok). Scattered throughout the trip will be opportunities to visit/stay with missionaries, learning about the work they do with upper/middle class Thais, ex-pats living in gated communities, the urban poor of Bangkok, those who live/work in the red light district of Bangkok, and Vietnamese and Pakistani refugees.
We are looking forward to learning how our own culture shapes our daily interactions as well as our ways of worshiping, understanding, and relating to God as we come face to face with a very different cultural approach to each of these areas. We also hope to return home with greater compassion for both refugees and newcomers to Canada, after hearing some stories first hand and having experienced the unsettling feeling of being out of our regular context ourselves. Please pray for us to have open eyes and open hearts, to come as learners and observers, rather than judges of culture. I think it is safe to say that we are all looking forward to “learning” about Thai food—especially all the flavours of fruit shakes as it is supposed to feel like 38°C when we arrive in Bangkok on Saturday morning! Please pray that we will have energy to hit the ground running, be flexible as plans change, and have courage to start conversations. Please also pray for unity amongst our team. I think they are a great group and I am really looking forward to getting to know them better through this trip. However, I do know that when it is hot, people are jet-lagged and tired, everyone is spending time in close quarters, and the smells of the street and market begin assaulting our noses, different sides of us can emerge!
Our hope and intent is that a different member of the team will write a daily update. This is somewhat dependent on our access to wifi. We hope that these updates allow you to journey along with us as we explore life and missions on the other side of the world.