First Weeks in Thailand

Miriam Bernstein October 08 2017, 10:14 am

As I headed to Thailand and a whole new situation, I wasn’t sure how much would be expected of me right off the bat. Would I have to buckle down and start working immediately? Push through any jet lag? God is so merciful and gracious. The career missionary, Kyle Tumberg, told us to use the end of the week to get settled and rested, and I was thankful to get a chance to get unpacked and organized. God also somehow managed to help both Karina, another short term missionary who arrived with me, and me not to have jet lag. Besides these blessings early on, so far during my time in Thailand, I have enjoyed being surrounded by music, been impressed and grateful that praying and planning before beginning our work are valued, and also reminded of the importance of simple faith in trust in God.

Our unpacking was done pretty quickly on the first day we arrived, so Karina and I were left with time to explore on our own the second day. I was thankful the Lord gave us both the desire and bravery to begin exploring and using the little bit of Thai we had learned during training. People at the shops actually understood us! We began taking note of people we could connect with again in the future and their names. Besides exploring, I was glad to meet and spend time with more of the team. The team seems to be made up of many very friendly and loving individuals. I am excited to get to know them better and the special gifts God has given each one.

Even though I knew I would be working alongside Peace Music Academy, I didn’t realize how much it would be a blessing for me to be at a music school. I love listening to music, playing the piano, and singing, but it never struck me before how fitting it is for me to be at this ministry. Since I wasn’t going to be directly teaching in the music school, I hadn’t thought too deeply about what it would be like being around music more often. Truly, music does bring us closer to the atmosphere of heaven. I have loved listening to others play various instruments, hearing them sing beautiful harmonies, participating in the choir, and learning to play ukelele. I’m excited to be able to see how God can use music as an avenue of ministry in so many ways.

I came expecting mainly to be teaching English to children, God certainly had other things in store! I am happy (a little relieved) and excited that I’ll be focusing on teaching one-to-one English classes to adults instead. Kyle felt impressed that the parents of the students should be ministered to more, which lead to a change in the focus of the English ministry. There will also be the opportunity to contribute to the health ministry that is beginning at the church. Karina will be focusing on the health ministry as her main project, but I hope to contribute the mental health aspect to the work of this ministry. As I didn’t really learn what I would be mainly working on until I had already arrived here, it reminded me how important simple faith and trust in my walk with God is. God will reveal what is necessary in His timing; He just wants us to simply trust Him.

During these weeks I have been focused on meeting parents at the school, getting to know the city, and praying for how God wants me to begin with the English ministry. It has been a little difficult getting some of the books that were recommended for the class, but by God’s grace I have been gathering the materials needed to begin. In the past week I have gotten more recommendations for parents and other adults who might be interested in classes and will begin setting a schedule for classes this week. I have also gone with Karina to the nearby university, Khon Kaen University (KKU), and begun meeting students who might be interested in joining an English club. Your prayers are appreciated that God would direct this scheduling process and also give me wisdom as I prepare lessons that use traditional English teaching materials, as well as the Bible. Prayers are also especially needed for the overall ministry of the Peace Music Academy here in Khon Kaen and the surrounding areas. God is opening many doors and opportunities and we are asking for the outpouring of His Holy Spirit that we might see His work go forward with great power here in Thailand.