Article by St. Thomas’ Missioner to Thailand
Thailand update - Donna Squires at Agape Home
Greetings from Donna Squires in Thailand
Dear friends and family,
Well, I've been working with the children at Agape Home for a week now. The kids are sweet, and I'm quickly having to learn Thai. They are very forgiving, of course, but it will make things more interesting to understand more of what they are saying! My Thai lessons should start in a week or so. This link shows you a bit of what Agape Home looks like. It is magnificent! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e1OtL77MY1A
Thailand is so beautiful, with lush, palm and banana trees, and exotic flowers everywhere you look! The local Thai people are very gracious, mild mannered, peaceful people. The main mode of transportation here is bicycle, and of course playing with energetic kids, gives me lots of great exercise!
There are volunteers here from all over the globe, including Australia, Texas, Denmark, Vancouver, Toronto, Washington, Ohio, and now, Newfoundland. We've been working mostly with babies to preschoolers so far, as the older children are busy in school. We help the nannies with childcare, playing with them, and giving the kids lots of love and attention. Five homes were built adjacent to the property, where 20 of the older teenagers just moved in with adoptive parents.
I have not experienced anything major; I seem to be adapting pretty well to the food, climate, culture, etc. It's a lot to take in, but I am beginning to settle into life here in Chiang Mai. If I ever get homesick, there's always Avis Rideout from Newfoundland to talk to. She's an exhuberant, encouraging, wonderful person with a great sense of humour; very hands on the with the children, including cutting their hair, driving the bus to church, etc etc. But I am blessed to report no problems adjusting. I am grateful to be in ASIA, am feeling a part of the work here already, and look forward to what else is in store on this adventure.
I will send some of my own photos eventually; there's always a photographer on the go.
I just wanted to write with an update, to say hello, and thank everyone again for being so supportive.
so-wet-ee-ka! (means hello, as well as goodbye)
Hello to all my church family!
Just a few minutes’ bike ride away, is the small outdoor local market, where I can get fresh fruit, vegetables, and freshly cooked Thai dishes. Strolling through the market, I see a small child napping on a bamboo mat on the floor near her mother’s wares. Vendors, quietly going about their business; setting up their tables greet me with a bow of the head, lots of smiles - sa wa te ka (which means hello, as well as goodbye). It is quite different from life in Canada! The people here are predominantly Buddhist; only about one percent are Christian. It is very much a Christian environment at Agape Home, and we enjoy worship together at 8 a.m. each day during the week. There are a surprising number of Christian churches to attend in Chiang Mai, due to the presence of missionaries over the years. I have been worshiping at Abundant Grace church on Sundays.
The work at Agape Home is truly a joy. As you can imagine, with their own school here, as well as a mother baby unit (for mothers who wish to stay with their babies) – over 70 children, ranging in age from 8 months old to teenagers, it’s a very active place, as all go about their days’ planned activities.
I’ve enclosed a snapshot photo of me with a few of the children at a beautiful flower parade that happens once a year, and marks the end of winter, and the beginning of summer (no spring!). The weather is quickly turning hotter, and the highs, which have been around 30, will now increase to around 40 degrees.
I would certainly appreciate your prayers; that the fullness of God’s plan is accomplished for the work here, as well as my part in it. Sa wa te ka! Donna
I wanted to be in touch with a short ‘snapshot’ of daily life here: