MONDAY morning April 9 about 50 people gathered to send a team of nine teenagers and six adults off to a children’s home in Thailand. Our church had been working toward this day for months and now it had finally arrived.
We were all expectant and intrigued about what God was going to do. We had set the ambitious task of raising $10,000 in 10 weeks to complete some sorely needed projects at the children’s home, and to our amazement we raised this in four weeks! When we announced that we had already reached our target the congregation said, "Keep going, God has a bigger figure in mind!" In the end we raised over $18,000. We were all thankful to God and expectantly sent the team off.
The team was made up of all sorts - builders, teachers, an IT consultant, students, mums, dads and a secretary. who all had in common the conviction that Jesus really had risen from the dead and is Lord. Thus it was fitting that the team was commissioned the day before they left, on Easter Sunday, the day of Jesus’ bodily resurrection, the day that changed the world forever. Each team member shared with a packed church their hopes and reasons for going on this mission and what each of them made clear was that the heart of their reason was that "Christ is Risen". The resurrection of Jesus had given them "new birth into a living hope" and this is what they had to share with a hopeless world.
The children’s home is called Baan Jai Dee which means "home of the kind hearted" (http://www.baanjaidee.org). One NGO has estimated that in rural Thailand seven out of every 10 families have sold at least one daughter into the sex trade and children living in the poorest households are the most vulnerable. One third of sex workers in South East Asia are 12-17 years of age and the abuse, rejection and abandonment these children are subject to must not be ignored.
Now imagine a home that is loving and safe, where there is hope, trust, parents and people who reflect the love of the risen Jesus to these children. This is what Baan Jai Dee is. In a world where there are so many needs it is easy to wonder how we can make a difference. We can’t do everything, but we can do something; so our church set its sights on making a difference in this orphanage.
Each day the team summarized their activities and impressions on a blog (http://baanjaideemission.blogspot.com.au/) and this was avidly read by the congregation. This meant that although we all could not be there we all shared in the experience and prayed. It was soon realised that although the team planned to be a blessing in Jesus’ name they were blessed by the risen Jesus and their lives have been changed forever. I want to thank the team for their efforts and the congregation for their generosity and look forward to what God has for us next!
The Rev’d Nathan Killick
Camden Haven Anglican Church