Written by Hollyn - Interning in Thailand
What a joy and privilege it has been to return to Thailand. I am about to wrap my up my first month here and have just really enjoyed all the opportunities to spend quality time with people I love dearly here in Chiang Mai, while also making new friends! What a gift it is to get to love, learn, and be with others.
One of the most impactful things I have witnessed so far while here in Thailand occurred at a family retreat I got to be a part of a couple weeks ago. Joey and Jasmine Tell, their team at Stronger Together, and Joni and Friends International all worked together to put on a missionary family retreat for families with disabilities earlier this month. 15 families spanning across Southeast Asia joined us in Chiang Mai for a week of rest, fun, support, and encouragement. Families and volunteers were partnered together to support one another throughout the week. While kids were having fun with their buddies, their parents were in sessions, meeting one to one with a number of specialists to receive consultations, getting pampered with haircuts, nails, massages, or coffee, and resting.
I was partnered with a sweet family and got to spend my week spending time with their 16 year old daughter. One thing that has weighed deeply on my heart since being in Thailand is the concept of time. In America, we have such a concept of time that revolves around fitting the most into our days and then taking our value from how productive we are. Here, I have been able to be much more present and have taken life a lot slower. I am reminded that Jesus walked the human average of 3 miles per hour, while American culture usually walks at least 6. I am also reminded that productivity does not equal worthiness in the heart of God. We are loved simply because we are His children. I have been convicted of how much I miss out on loving others, especially the number of individuals in my life with disabilities, who don't walk at 6 miles per hour because I am speeding through life. It was such a gift to slow down and meet my buddy at her speed this week. I pray that as I continue through my time here in Thailand and forward that I would move at an inclusive speed that is grounded in God's love for all His Children.