Well, I started my week by packing for week 1 at Kingdom Kids. I, along with the Joni and Friends interns, am spending the next two weeks here and back in Chiang Mai for the weekends. Kingdom Kids is about an hour away from the city towards the mountains in Mae Rim, Thailand. The Kingdom Kids Foundation was started by an Australian couple that had originally fostered children for over 20 years. Long story short, they moved to Thailand, found a building to use as a school and continue to foster children with special needs. They currently foster six boys who are SO sweet. The school is great, but when I look around at the resources they don’t have, I’ve realized how I definitely take advantage of the things I have in my classroom.
We teach different groups throughout the mornings, and after lunch the kiddos learn a Bible lesson taught by Lindsay, who is fulfilling her internship hours for college. I am teaching English/Grammar/Reading with Elizabeth which has been great! We eat lunch at noon, and in the afternoon, learn a Bible story, sing, and do a craft. The kids LOVE to sing, and it has been so wonderful to see their relationships with Christ grow. Many of the songs we sing are songs from my childhood, and it is quite entertaining to see what I remember and what the kids already know! We have done lessons on Noah, Adam and Eve, Feeding the 5000, and the Gospel. Many of them don’t understand English, so there has been a language barrier, but besides that, the difficulties are minimal. There are students with CP, autism, and a variety of other disabilities. It truly has been wonderful teaching them every day! I am always reassured that I chose the right profession and this week has been no different. God has given me the gift of working with children, specifically children with special needs, and my heart is always full when I am doing this.
The students all come from different backgrounds; some live with their biological parents, some are in foster care, and on Friday we met a girl that was originally in foster care but was adopted by a German couple and visiting Thailand this week. It is very humbling to see the life these villagers live.
Wednesday was a normal day at the school and in the evening, we had dinner with an American couple who are fostering two Thai children; one attends a private school and the other goes to Kingdom Kids Foundation. They are so smart and absolutely adorable. It was so great hearing the couple’s story and what they do. The husband spends a lot of time talking with the villagers and his wife teaches during the week.
Thursday evening, we went to the market with the couple who started Kingdom Kids and their six foster children (ALL BOYS!) We picked up dinner and had a picnic back at their house. I’ve eaten more rice over the last eight weeks than I ever have in my life LOL it is always great to spend time with them and see how they have ministered to the village, specifically the children in their house. Every night the read a Bible story and pray before bed. Last night, they reenacted stories from the Bible. It was hilarious and so much fun to see the boys comfortable and happy.
Today (Friday) we taught our first morning lesson and then went to the Dinosaur Park. This was super neat. It was basically a small petting zoo with a calf, miniature horse, sheep, goats, and (scary) geese. There was also a café and a fun play area, including a HUGE dinosaur you could climb into. We played with the kiddos and had coffee until about 11:45 when Jasmine picked us up to go back to Chiang Mai.
My anxiety was running wild earlier in the week, but it is subsiding as the week progresses. I know God pushes me out of my comfort zone on purpose so I am working towards looking for the meaning behind my time here. I am praying for continual peace and grace.
I am still struggling with gossiping and judging others but am doing my best to live like Christ. My forgiveness towards others is wavering and I am feeling sad lately about people I have lost lately. I just finished I John and now onto the Psalms 🙂 I have met so many wonderful Christians and I feel like I have so much to read…I actually WANT to read every book, chapter, and blog recommended to me.
I know I cannot forget to thank God for all of the amazing things He has given me. I am very grateful for God’s love and forgiveness. He has given me a place to stay, food to eat, good health, mental stability, (some) peace, and grace. I have an incredible family and support system that loves me unconditionally. For now, I am hoping He blesses me with the gift to GIVE grace to those who I may not feel deserve it…even though I know that statement sucks.
As soon as I got home to the Tell’s I realized how exhausted this week has made me. I know I am not sleeping well, and I have been extremely out of my element. I took a long nap and only felt slightly better….though after dinner (including cheesecake) I do feel refreshed 🙂 I know I have a lot to learn, and lately I have felt very overwhelmed with negative feelings, specifically towards others. I struggle with forgiveness and giving grace and will continue to pray and practice the traits I desire to become habits. My patience wears thin quickly, and all I can hope is that God continues to bless me with understanding and forgiveness.
Tomorrow, I am spending a few hours with Nicole in the AAC lab at RICD. I want to create a core-board for a student at the Kingdom Kids Foundation who has CP so he can communicate more effectively. For now, I am going to Netflix, read Psalms, and SLEEP!!!!!! I will always thank each and every one of you, my family, friends, and anyone else reading. I am so grateful for your support and love. You are all amazing.