DTS Outreach Update: Thailand

thai NRTCDTS team in Bangkok, Thailand,  working with students at the Nancy Ross Training Center

One of our DTS teams sent us this report from Thailand, after working a month in Bangkok. Now they have arrived in the northern part of the country, where they will work with the Karen people near Mae Sot. When we arrived in Bangkok, we had no idea what adventures God had for us, which gave us big expectations for our time here! When we took our first steps in this beautiful country, our excitement really started to grow! Even though we were tired after a long flight, we were filled with joy and happiness. It was exciting to think about the month we would have in Bangkok, before heading to some of the northern villages near Mae Sot. Here we are, one month later, so thankful for all we’ve learned during our time here. We’ve stayed at the YWAM base in Bangkok, and it feels like our home! The base has blessed us in so many ways. Showers, familiar toilets (not squatty pottys, which we’re tried outside the base) and Internet are some of the goodies we have here. But the biggest blessing has been the fellowship with people who share a common goal and purpose- to know God and to make Him known. The great thing is that it’s not only a goal, but that its a lifelong journey, as we’ve learned through many of our new friendships!

thai ywam baseView from the base in Bangkok

We have made many Thai friends, and they are beautiful! The culture here is very different from Norway; it is very warm and joyful. If smile at a stranger on the street, they smile back. Everybody is tan here, yet they love people with white skin. Due to this, they use “whitening” creams. So we have to be careful about which skin products we buy! The food here is also very nice! Thai people eat rice and noodles for all their meals- breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was an adjustment for us as Norwegian bread-lovers, but now we really like Thai food! Another thing we love about Thailand is all the markets! So now all the girls on the team wear “alibaba” and “elephant” pants, as we call them. We also have to be careful about the way we sit and the way we’re pointing our fingers or feet. When we’re sitting, we have to have our feet down on the ground, and when we’re pointing, we have to use two fingers. If we’re not doing this, we might offend someone.

To further help us understand the culture, we’ve had a translator with us this last month. There are many people we’ve met who can’t speak English, and our translator has helped bridge that gap of communication. She is an amazing person, and we are so thankful to be working with her! The base in Bangkok is also very diverse. It is a meeting point for Christian teams from all over the world! So not only are we learning about Thailand, but we have also learned about many different nations.

thai 1Praying for the fortuneteller we met, along with our translator

Yet one of the biggest differences is the awareness of the spiritual atmosphere here. There are Buddha statues everywhere, and there are “spirit houses” all over. “Spirit houses” are said to be small houses where spirits of the dead people live. We have also gone for prayer walks during our time here. On one of these walks, we met a fortuneteller. We have noticed that these spiritual things have been challenging at times, as we’ve tried to talk with others about Jesus.

When it comes to ministry, we’ve done many cool things! The first days, we had a cultural introduction, and we went on a prayer walk in two Buddhist temples. The following week, we worked at the Nancy Ross Training Center with the NRTC Student Ministry. We had a lot of fun teaching English! We played many games and laughed so much! We helped prepare food in the restaurant on the base, painted and went on more prayer walks and for evangelism in the nearby university campus. In the evenings, we helped lead a couple of meetings. We praised God through worship, sharing testimonies and playing games.

The two following weeks we served at The Ruth Center. This is a ministry which helps elderly people living in the slums of Bangkok. We washed a huge house, we went on more prayer walks and house visits, and we helped with the “Dream Project.” This project gives elderly people opportunities to make items that they can sell, providing them with an income. On our house visits, we had many good conversations and strong prayers! Many people had a huge reaction to us showing them God’s love. Some of them started crying, and they where really touched by God. Its amazing to see how God is working in these visits and in the ministry! We are learning that it’s not about us, but about Him- everything that happens is to His glory! So far we’ve had a great experience, and we’ve learned a lot! Mae Sot is our next destination, where we’re going to work with the Karen people. Its going to be exiting to see what God has for us there!

Text and Photos: Kine Marita, DTS Student

Student Profile: Henrik

This month, we have asked some of our DTS students about their experiences with DTS here at Skjærgårdsheimen. We’re asked them about what they have learned, why they decided to take a DTS, and what they are looking forward to on outreach. Read what Henrik (21, from Vestfold, Norway) has to say.

IMG_2641

Why did you decide to take a DTS at Skjærgårdsheim?

I decided to take a DTS because I saw that my life needed more focus on what is really important. Last year, I took a short weekend course about relationships and how to live a good life in Christ. After this course, I could see that my view of life was changed, and I wanted those changes to continue. So I started looking for a Bible school, courses, or schoolr to continue the process of learning and growingand something about Discipleship Training School stood out to me. I wanted to give my life to God, but just a little bit, so I could still continue my plans and education. Six months also sounded like the right amount of time for a school- I still had the possibilty to work and earn money the rest of the year. I choose Skjærgårdsheimen because I wanted to do a DTS in Norway.  In the end, I was looking at two different bases, and Skjærgårdsheimen was the one that I liked the best.

What has been the most meaningful week in the DTS so far?

The most meaningful week so far has been the week of teaching with Eleanor Rich. All the weeks have been a part of a bigger picture and all of them are important. But Eleanor’s week was about listening to Gods voice. It’s so basic, but at the same time was it really good to become more secure in the way God communicates with us. This makes all the other aspects of God more trustworthy and just creates a big security in Him!

In what ways has your relationship with God changed since starting the DTS?

Throughout my entire life, others- society, schools, church, my parents and friends-  have tried to tell me what life is all about. And then I formed my own opinion about it- what the world is like, who I am, and God is. This view was not completely wrong according to what God wants and what the Bible says. But this school has been an eye-opener to how God created humans to be and the how our identity is founded in him. I already have a much bigger view about God and how my identity is grounded in him. Before the DTS, I was more concerned with “religious” things and doing “right” Christian things. But that is only about culture. But now I realize God is about and in all cultures.

From my previous experiences, I experienced people judging one other because of what they do, or don’t do. Now, I am very aware of my role in the world, and that it’s all between me and the Creator.

Where are you going on outreach and what are you looking forward to the most?

We are going to Cambodia! I am so excited about it. We have so many opportunities to make a difference for the people there, and to spread Gods love to them through different things.  The ministry I am most excited about at the moment is Justice Water. As far as I know, this project is quite established in Cambodia. But it is a BIG project, and there is still a lot of work to be done. Lack of clean water is a big problem in the third world, and it is the main reason why people become sick in those countries. Hand hygiene is also key to preventing disease. Through the Justice Water project, we will be able to partner with locals who have been trained to bring sustainable clean water tanks and techniques to those who need it most.

We will also have opportunities to teach English classes, work in orphanages, evangelize in the street, and join local church ministry. I really look forward to the outreach, and I am excited to see how it can bring me closer to God, and how I can get to know myself better, the world better, develop relationships with other people, and ultimately how it can challenge me to walk the path God has for me.

 

You can continue to follow the blog for more updates from other DTS students and our outreach teams! Please continue to remember all the students and staff in your prayers.

Photo: YWAM Kristiansand photo database

“You call me out upon the waters…”

helene-pouk_web

Here is another post written by Helene, from her time in Thailand and Cambodia. 

“You call me out upon the waters, the great unknown, where feet may fail.”  

 –“Oceans,” by Hillsong

As I’ve listened to this song the last few weeks, God has been speaking to me. To walk on water with him. To make the impossible possible. God is challenging me to push my boundaries, think bigger, and reach for the extraordinary. God doesn’t exist in our definition of normal. God is God, and I’m not. My feet may fail, but I’ll trust in Him to guide me.

We have now been in Cambodia, in the village of Pouk, for almost two weeks. Our days include teaching English, computer and music at the school, plus Bible teaching, kids ministry, gardening, and helping out with the Justice Water project. I’m teaching an “English for Beginner’s” class. It’s amazing to see the students improve and their eagerness to learn. God is really revealing himself through the kids. Both here and in Thailand, people around me showed God’s goodness. Just by letting their light shine.

kids-pouk-web(Photos: Eiliv Søyland)

To be honest I’ve struggled to see what God has been doing through me during this outreach. I know that what we’re doing is good, that we’re helping and showing God’s light in a dark world, but I’ve been so eager for more. This desire is a good thing, but it has also blinded me to see the things that are actually happening. God has reminded me that he has given me that desire- to know him and see great things happen. Now, I’ve realized we  ARE making a difference, and that God is working through our team, but I still long for more. I still long for miracles to take place, so that Gods name will be glorified.

Cambodia is a country with awful history. In 1970, a civil war broke out, and 1/4 of the population was killed under the Pol Potts regime. This had severe consequences. One of these is slavery – child labour, physical work and prostitution. We have also noticed a difference in the spiritual atmosphere here. During these weeks, we’ve all felt challenged to stay joyful. Honestly, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt as annoyed and angry as I was the first days we were here. For no special reason. My attitude needed some serious work. Luckily for me, and the rest of my team, God is greater than any bad mood. But there’s still challenges- every day is a battle. But we’re all warriors of Christ, and with his armor, we’ll always be ready to fight the spiritual battle. The armor does not cover the back, so God doesn’t give an opportunity to run away from this battle. My weapon for attack is His word (Eph 6). This makes me eager to know more of what God says, and get all the knowledge I can.

Every morning I need to make a choice – how is my day going to look? I’ve figured out that it is best to lay it in God’s hands. And to quote again from this week’s song: “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders. Let me walk upon the waters, wherever you will call me. Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander, and my faith would be made stronger. In the presence of my Savior.” This is my prayer and my wish. For God to lead me to and through things that seem impossible for the human eye. To live in his presence and to be guided by the world’s best guide. Because that is when I’m going to see the most interesting things. Who is guiding you?

Love from Cambodia.

Helene, DTS Student