Greetings one and all! One thing I can definitely say: this past week has been a week. So much happened that God has orchestrated, it’s hard to not burst into spontaneous song.
This past week was our last week teaching English classes at Santisuk. As such, it has left a bitter-sweet aftertaste in my soul. Bitter because we as a team, have invested parts of our hearts here and are now preparing to leave. There were a lot of “lasts” this week, and a lot of goodbyes. For my part, I also feel like I have finally gotten my feet under me in terms of teaching, building relationships, understanding how to get around Bangkok without a guide, and a host of other things. Particularly, I feel like I have just started to finally get comfortable around the students and to get to know them on a personal level. And just as that has happened (at least to some extent) we are leaving. So in that regard, it’s been a challenging week.
On the other hand, it was also an incredibly sweet week. The depth of grief experienced when leaving a person or place indicates their value to us and therefore the worth of the relationships built. Thus, in our preparation for leaving I feel like we are realizing just how much this time has meant to us. There were also a lot of really cool things that God did last week. I think Thursday night in particular was a highlight of just about everyone on the team. That evening, we had an end of session party. There were songs, a game, and a short testimony from Eh Doh. I think God really used him and his story to impact all the students, staff, and teachers there.
Eh Doh told about the way Jesus saved him and brought him to life – an incredible story in itself. He went on, though, to tell about how he feels God is calling him to possibly come back to Thailand in the future. By the end, he was weeping, as was I and quite a number of others. As Ben put it, “I feel like often people get emotional when telling their testimonies because of all that God has brought them through – which is incredible. However, Eh Doh’s story was particularly striking because he was visibly gripped by his love for Jesus and what He is calling Eh Doh to in the future.” To see the way God worked in that alone was incredible. God went even further, though, to use Eh Doh’s story to really touch the students here. Joyce, one of the long-term teachers at Santisuk, said that often testimonies are told and students don’t really engage fully. Yet on Thursday, while talking with the students after the “official program,” it was clear they were moved too. Praise God!
God has also been working in other ways in the lives of the students we’ve been getting to know. There are many stories I could tell, but I will limit myself for the sake of brevity. Art and Ploy are two students in particular who have really changed this month. Art has been willing to study the Bible with Mitch, and Ploy has really come out of her shell and engaged with the community at Santisuk in meaningful and significant ways. From what Joyce says of Ploy in particular, “God is working mighty miracles in Ploy’s life.” Praise Him for that great grace!
Another story is one from my own teaching this last week. Part of the curriculum at Santisuk is “Reading Comprehension” based on reading Bible stories. On Thursday, the “story” was John 3:16-17. In my morning class, we read the story and went over the comprehension questions. I then asked, “Any other questions?” Silence. And we moved on, no problem. In the evening, however, when I asked for further questions there was a moment of silence, but then the students started asking questions – and I mean questions, indicating that they were not just thinking about the English syntax, but about spiritual reality; Heaven and Hell and righteousness and wickedness. I even had the chance to share what sin is that it requires God to save us. Praise the Lord! What a grace, that he would work in their hearts in that way! I pray and trust that he will continue to work as he wills, to the praise of his glorious grace.
There is so much more I could share, but I hope this gives you a snapshot into the work of the Lord this past week. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support – God is answering!
- Karl Geary