As I was wrestling with this frustration, a few things popped into my head.
Education, especially learning English, is a huge need for the hill tribe youth in Thailand. As an intern working with these youth, one of the main jobs that I have this summer is to teach English at a few different homes around Chaing Mai. Though teaching does not come naturally to me, I can see how having the ability to speak English can greatly impact a child's future. It has been a challenge from the beginning, but after teaching over the last few weeks, I am finally becoming comfortable in front of the classroom and have fallen in love with my students. Each day teaching is differentâ€”from the topics, atmospheres, structures, and kidsâ€”but it keeps me on my toes.
Last week, I showed up to one of the schools expecting to teach my usual class of second graders. Instead, I ended up with a room of forty two elementary-aged Thai children who had no intention of learning English that day. Once I got over the shock, I quickly realized that whatever I had planned for class was not going to work. Then, as I was looking around for someone to help me, I found that I was the only adult in sight (SOS!) Long story short, I survived by the grace of God and a cup of coffee, but I came home feeling defeated. I was trying my best to teach, but I felt as if I was babysitting. Honestly, I was struggling to see the long-term vision for this particular school, and I doubted myself, my abilities to teach, and why God had brought me to Thailand as elementary school crowd control.
As I was wrestling with this frustration, a few things popped into my head. One was something that the team has been discussing throughout the summer. A theme we have seen is finding joy in working with Jesus, not in what we do for Him. The focus should not be on us and the results we get, but meeting God in the work that He is already doing. I realize now that part of my frustration was rooted in my desire to see the results of my teaching, not seeing the bigger picture.
Then, I remembered reading in John 6 when Jesus feeds the 5,000. I had read it a million times before, but this time I noticed how the boy that provided the food simply brought Jesus all that he had. The five loaves of bread and two fish were not much, and it may have seemed impossible to him that it would feed the whole crowd. But, despite whatever the boy was thinking, Jesus took it, blessed it, and multiplied it so that everyone could eat. He was just one boy with a packed lunch, and God used his willingness to do more than anyone could imagine.
Living at the youth home has opened my eyes to the many challenges and realities that Thai youth face every day. After living here for more than a month, I am starting to feel overwhelmed by it all. To me, the work that needs to be done and those who need to hear about Jesus are the 5,000 people who needed to be fed. I feel like the little boy, with only a few months in this country and a few skills to offer. Through this, God is teaching me to hand over my loaves and fish in faith that He will complete the good work that He has already started. I may not be around to see the long term results, but I can be obedient to God in all things right now.
Now, when I teach, I pray that God would take my loaves and fish. I find joy in the fact that I get to teach and love the cutest kids on the planet, and I know that He will do the rest. To me, teaching at this school in the middle of nowhere Thailand for two months may not seem like much, but God is able to do so much more than I could ever imagine. He is so good.
-Lydia, Venture Intern