The Adventure of a Lifetime

Note: This was written by some of students of the 2015/2016 DTS chronicling their outreach to Cambodia and Thailand in Winter 2016.


Hello Everyone!

We are the one half of the DTS 15/16 from Skjærgårdsheimen (YWAM Kristiansand) and we traveled to Cambodia and Thailand on the 6th of January 2016. After three months of teaching, a Christmas break and a YWAM conference we set out for our journey to Cambodia. The outreach started with a few days at a guesthouse in Siem Reap, one of the richest cities in Cambodia. At the guesthouse we got over our jetlag and adjusted to the new culture. We tried the new food, visited the markets and got our first touristy feelings put to rest. After a few days we hopped on a Tuk Tuk – the Cambodian answer to a taxi, and went to a nearby village called Puok. This was our first place of ministry.

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A tuk tuk on a Cambodian road

Our First Ministry

The people of Puok live in bamboo houses with a lot of dogs, chickens and even cows walking around. The landscape is covered with palm trees, bright green rice fields and here and there you see water buffaloes grazing. Here in these beautiful surroundings we stayed at a school run by YWAM. At the school the main focus was to teach English, since English is the major gateway to a better life for the Cambodians. During the 3 weeks we were there, we stayed at the school. The head teacher Mariele, one of the missionaries, was leading us during our stay. Our main job was to teach English to the local kids and youth, encourage the staff, and help the teachers. Besides the ministry at the school we played with the village kids and taught them about God and hygiene, planted new corn for a woman who needed help, gave clothes away to the villagers, and shared the gospel about Jesus with them.

We believe that God cares for us in every area of life and that he wants to bless us even with the simple daily things. So in all the things we did, our hearts were to bless and love the people where they were at, because God did that first.

“During two days of our stay in Puok we helped an old lady in the village to plow her cornfields. With Hoes and Shovels we were digging the dry soil for hours in the burning sun while the sweat was running down our backs. While I was standing there in the field God suddenly spoke to me. He asked me if I was willing to serve unconditionally like Jesus did? Was I willing to set aside my own pride and feelings to really serve this woman with joy and a loving heart? God reminded me that this woman was his daughter and that she was very important to him. As God revealed this to me I could feel a big joy in my heart for the opportunity to serve one of his children. The joy grew even bigger when I saw the thankfulness in the woman’s face, as she looked at the cornfield. I also got to know that our hard work in the cornfield had made other people in the village ask questions about “these Christian people” and that they suddenly were much more interested to hear about God and the Gospel. Afterwards we got to pray for some of the women that had gathered and we came back and had bible studies with some of them. As I left the village for the last time, God reminded me that in the same way he makes the corn grow, he will make the faith in their hearts grow as well.”

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Tilling the soil… and hearts

Thailand

After finishing our ministry in Puok and saying goodbye to our new friends, our journey lead us to the YWAM base in Way Ta Loo, Thailand – a village on the border to Myanmar (Burma). Because of the history and situation in Myanmar a lot of people had fled to Thailand, specially the Karen people group. Therefor we were living with Karen people and experiencing their culture. Together with our new friends from the YWAM base, we drove to a mountain village to share the gospel. Our approach was to visit people in their homes and talk with them. We used the second week at the base in Way Ta Loo. In this time we encouraged and taught the staff about working in teams and leadership.

Here is a story from one of the team members experience in the village:

“One day we visited a Buddhist grandpa, who welcomed us into his home. We talked with him and got to know parts of his story, and we also got to share from our lives and about Jesus. The more we talked, the more interested he became in knowing the difference between the God we believe in and his god. He wanted to hear the whole story, all the way from the beginning. So after sharing about God’s plan and love for us, and how he saved us through Jesus and his death on the cross, the grandpa asked if he could see the story – with his own eyes. Luckily we had the Jesus-film with us. So the next evening we came to his house, and to our surprise his living room was packed with people, and we got to show them the movie. It was amazing to experience how God gave us the opportunity to share his love to all these people. After the movie we gave him a bible and he seemed eager to start reading it. We pray that God will continue to reveal Himself to him, and the other people in the village, so that they one day will get to know God for real.”

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Encouragement was a major theme of outreach

Going Back to Cambodia

Sadly our outreach was coming to an end and at this moment we were staying at the YWAM base in the heart of Siem Reap. Going to the city was a big difference from the quiet remote village life in Thailand. The packed streets, busy life and tourists everywhere challenged us to do ministry in a new way. Luckily our previous experiences of teaching helped us, since we were to teach English again, but this time at a bigger school than the one in Puok. The school staff had been dreaming of a new and better version of the school for the next term. So in order for this dream to come true, our job there, besides teaching, was to clean, paint and decorate the classrooms.

We are thankful for what God has done through us these two months and we are excited to see what will come in the future. God has taught us a lot through this outreach; here is one of the student’s experiences:

“On outreach I did a lot of things that I’ve never done so much before. I tried out being a teacher, having devotion, sharing testimony, singing with the kids and leading games – Yes, I was in charge of something. I experienced that God was with me and gave me what I needed in the situations. Even though I sometimes was tired, or maybe not feeling prepared enough, God showed me that He could use me, anyway. I learned that I didn’t need to be perfect, but God wanted my willing heart, and through that, He could do great things.”

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God can indeed use everyone

You can continue to follow the blog for more updates from YWAM Kristiansand! Please continue to remember all the students and staff in your prayers.

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

Village Life in Thailand: #2

Here is another post written by Helene, from her outreach experience in Thailand earlier this year. 

HeleneBlogThailand(Photo: Eiliv Søyland)

After thirteen days in the village Wa Shi Kaaw, we have now returned to the base in Way Te Loo. Here we have all of our belongings, wi-fi connection and the possibility to buy chocolate. All of this is awesome and we’ve been missing it for a while now, but after getting use to a different, simpler lifestyle in the village, we’ve also gotten to love this way of life. This lifestyle includes bucket showers, cooking all kinds of food on the fire, burning the trash, going to bed at 8 PM and listening to the roosters all night long. A simple lifestyle, with a lot of challenges along the way, but it really makes you appreciate the important things in life. Even though the spiders are HUGE, there are pigs outside the toilet, three roosters in the kitchen, cats in the beds, and chickens all over the place, and even if the smell of fried rat is filling the house, it is the love these people give that will remain as the strongest memory in this village. Still, we are making memories that will bring laughter in the years to come. It’s hard to forget not being able to hear Rachel and Finn sing on Glee, because of the roosters singing louder in the kitchen. Or that one by one on the team had to experience an unspoken amount of food coming out again one end or the other, and for some, both.

But one thing I’ve understood during this time, is that it does not depend on where you are, or what you’re doing, everything depends on the people you are creating memories with. The new people you get to know, and the friends already surrounding you. To be able to pray and worship the same God with someone that speaks a different language, and know that your hearts are dwelling in the same place, with the same Lord, is the most awesome feeling. For me, the hardest part on outreach is the fact that we have to leave all the wonderful and lovely people we get to know.

blog-3_rolf(Photo: Helene Fjærtoft)

Then it’s so great to leave with the knowledge that some time, God knows when, we will see each other again. One thing from this culture that will stay with me forever is the hospitality and friendliness of the people here. It doesn’t matter where you’re from or when you come, you’re always welcomed into their homes and served snacks or food. They will kill any sized spider or snake if you ask them to, and if your legs are covered in bites (yes, mine are), they will crush some kind of orange root to give you as medicine. You will always feel secure in the present of the Karen people. At least I do!

These weeks have contained a lot of exciting things. We have been teaching the most beautiful kids at the school here. Even if they don’t understand any English, it’s amazing to see how you are able to communicate in other ways. We have had the opportunity to teach them about the Gospel, to sing songs with them and we have played a lot of games. In addition to the teaching, we have also done some practical work. This meaning picking and bagging corn in the fields. In the evenings we have been visiting the homes, where we have prayed and seen healing, eaten a lot of good snacks, and gotten to know the people in the village. Through singing, laughing and sharing some of our testimonies, we have seen God work in wonderful ways. After a few days of vacation we are now ready to continue our outreach in a new country.  Now we’re heading east towards the Cambodian border. I’m so excited to get to know new people, a new culture, eat new food, and see God’s plans for us in Cambodia.

Lots of love from Asia!  Helene, DTS Student

Creativity and serving God!

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The DTS finished just a few weeks ago, after our teams returned home from outreach and had their last week of teaching here at Skjærgårdsheimen. Check out what one of this year’s students, Andrea, has written about her experience during the DTS. 

The DTS has taught me a lot of new things about myself and about God. How he sees the world and how I should try to see the world through his eyes. This has already had an impact in my life, my future life choices and my outlook on life.

I’ve always been very creative, ever since I was little. Drawing, singing, writing and just making something, anything creative in general. When I was a kid, I wanted to become a pop star off course, but as I got older, people told me that was impossible. And I also began thinking that doing something creative with my music or designing would be very selfish. So, I stopped having those dreams or more honestly, stopped dreaming those dreams. I began thinking about psychology, the priesthood or something like that.

One of the weeks at DTS, we had an awesome teacher named Tove Poulsen. She taught about biblical worldview, which really changed me. I realized that God has created me the way He has for a reason. The dreams we have were just as carefully made in his hands as the other parts of us- He gave us the ability to dream and our heart’s desires for a reason.

My dream is to change the world and make it a better place, and the way I’m going to do it is through art, music, and creative writing – the ways I can do it best, the way He made me. It’s not about doing the most “holy” job in the world, but doing whatever job you have to honor Him. Basically, doing what makes you happy to make Him happy.

andrea-blog2 (Photos: Roland Baltzersen)

When I was on outreach in Thailand, we were carrying wood down from the mountain, and while waiting for the others, I was talking to one of the girls from the Karen team. We were talking about the differences between Norwegian and Karen culture, and all off a sudden she asked me what I wanted out of life. I answered as a Christian girl ‘’should’’ answer, “I want to follow Gods plan for my life.” But then she asked me once more, “but what do you want to do?” Then I told her about my dream and as I told her, my voice just got more and more energetic, louder and faster. Because then I was pouring out my heart, the dreams of my heart. Then she said with tears in her eyes, “you should not deny God and you should not deny yourself. Keep God close and follow your dream, ’cause that is what you’re meant to do.”

The DTS has changed my outlook on life. It has taught me that my dreams, talents and interests have value and I was given them for a reason.

“Not only has the Lord filled him with his Spirit, but he has given him wisdom and made him a skilled craftsman who can create objects of art with gold, silver, bronze, precious stones, and wood.”  – Exodus 35: 31-33

Andrea, DTS Student

Village life

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It’s been a while since the last update, and the reason for that is the life without electricity and internet. But here are some updates from our two first weeks in the village Maw Kwee in the middle of the jungle of Thailand. Adventure.   

We have just returned back to the YWAM base in Thailand, after some amazing days in the village. We have showered in a river, taught at a school, torn down a house and made room for a new one, ate rat, killed a snake, and also gotten to know some lovely brothers and sisters in Christ.

After two hours in the back of a pick-up truck, we arrived in the village Maw Kwee. We drove through a river, and up a dusty road, which I don’t think would be called a road in Norway. We finally stopped and were met by the Karen-DTS team, and a lot of beautiful kids from the village. The first day we got settled in, took our first shower in the river with sarongs, which wasn’t that easy…
The next day began at 6 am with work duties- making food, cleaning and getting water, quiet time to spend with Jesus, and then breakfast at 7:30 am. The first challenge came right after breakfast: teaching. Christina, Ana and I got a translator and three classes, and without any preparation we stood in front of a class with kids that were eager to learn. After that day I didn’t want do do anything like that again. I can say that my wish was not granted. But after several days with teaching, and some more preparation, it became more fun.

During the week we also got to help the Damola project. This is a project started for the women in Maw kwee in 2012, where they weave things like zipper bags, table runners, handbags and many other things, and sell them in Thailand, Norway, and the U.S. We helped out with different things, like sewing. We are also learning the Karen language and soon we’ll be perfectly good at making Asian food. The “colla was”, also known as the white people, are slowly but safely getting intergraded into this new culture.

During these weeks we have heard a lot of stories. Many of these stories are hard for many of us to even understand or imagine. This village contains mostly of people from Myanmar who have moving stories to tell about their lives, from situations we can’t even imagine. Strong stories from the civil war, soldiers taking over villages with violence, natural disasters…  This really opens our eyes, and makes us appreciate the things we take for granted. We should be better at thanking for the people we have around us, for having a bed, food and clothes. So wherever you are in the world, be thankful, cause we have always something to be grateful for. Make sure your heart is in the right place. As it says in proverbs 4.23; keep your heart with all diligence(…). It says ‘your’ heart. Don’t worry about others, but make sure that your heart is where you want it to be. Because when it’s all over, that is what matters. I will conclude by quoting a wise friend: “We are too small to get in the way of God doing great things through us. Just by walking you are carrying Jesus to dark places. Remember that God is in your presence whether you feel it or not.”

And please continue to pray for us. Blessings from Thailand.

Helene
DTS student 

Crucible

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I remember when I was in High School and we learned what the word ‘Crucible’ meant: A place of severe test or trial; a place or situation in which different elements interact to produce something new. Our teacher explained that many times, when one wants to refine gold or silver, the metal is placed into a crucible, exposed to very high temperatures and then the impurities are burned away leaving a beautiful finished product.

October was my month of a living-crucible in Thailand.

You’ve heard the old saying, ‘be careful what you wish for’ or ‘be careful what you pray for’? Now I’m recommending, ‘be careful what you study’. In my quiet time I began a study that I titled ‘Crucible’ where I studied a few places in the Bible where trials were turned into triumphs. In Romans 5:3-5, tribulation turned to perseverance, proven character, and then into a hope that doesn’t disappoint. James 1:2-4 talked of trials being a testing of our faith, teaching us endurance until we reached a perfect result.

While I was studying, there were no real struggles I was facing- just the normal, small struggles of living in a new culture. Then God took me on a field trip: Chiang Mai Ram Hospital! October was a month of sickness, pain and deep reliance on Him. It was a time where I learned to put into action what I say I believe in the Bible; that God is good in all circumstances and has a good plan with everything in my life, even sickness in a foreign country.

It was a time of living out 1 Thessalonians 5:16. “Rejoice Always!” My God is good. He is worthy of praise regardless of circumstance. I believe what is written in Romans 8:28 and it is my joy to honor Him!

I’ve been blessed to be able to come home to celebrate Christmas with my family. And as nice as it has been, I’ve also been hit by the reality of worry and the effect that it has on service to God. As my dad and I drove around Oregon and delivered Christmas presents to all the aunts and uncles, each asked me, “Are you really going back to Thailand after being ‘deathly’ sick again?” And my answer is an emphatic ‘YES!’

I understand their worry and am incredibly thankful for their concern, but my experience has been that that I’ve seen in these passages: From trial comes triumph! Sickness is not my desire, nor is it God’s. However, praise and relationship with Him is! While I lay in my guest house, recovering from my week in the hospital I wrote a blog post (www.elsethenomad.wordpress.com). It was about why I joyfully choose to stay in Thailand with the Karen despite sickness. It was my testimony of God’s triumph.

That post circulated the globe. Friends in Asia read it, friends in Europe read it, and my dad read it to a waitress when he had a Bible study at a restaurant in town. I can’t help but wonder if maybe, just maybe, God allowed me to be sick just so that that waitress could hear the testimony of God’s faithfulness and redemptive and saving love.

Without darkness there can be no light. Without the cold, there would be no comforting heat. Without the difficulties of life, there would be no need for the grace and mercy of God. It is through the testing of our faith that we are made into the perfect likeness of Jesus. Paul was beaten, shipwrecked, stoned, bit by vipers and imprisoned; yet he praised God continually with all his heart.

As it says in Job 23:10: When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

More and more, I understand what Paul meant when he said ‘to live is Christ and to die is gain’. My life is more than health and ease. My life is to glorify God. If glorifying God means being sick in a foreign land, resulting in people all over the world getting on their knees in communication with the God of the Universe, then I’m okay with that.

I will happily and joyfully go through the crucible.

Else Conrad                                                                                                                                                                      One Year team, Maw Gwee, Thailand

 

 

Time for departure – outreach

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photo illustration from last year.

Helene is one of our DTS students and we have asked her to write from her outreach in Thailand and Cambodia. She will write frequently and you can follow what she and her team are experiencing in an another culture, with team life, and what God is doing trough their lives.

The lights have been turned off. Around me people are trying to sleep. For most of them, including me, it’s not working. Not so weird considered that the clock just turned 8 pm (Norwegian time). In approximately 3 hours we will arrive in Asia, and in the busy streets of Bangkok. The moment we have been waiting for since we applied for the DTS, which now seems a bit scary, is here – outreach! Tears have been shared, the last loaf of bread with brown cheese have been eaten, and we have left our stiletto heels at home. At least for the next 9 weeks.

Cultural changes are coming our way, and we couldn’t be more excited. For the cold showers, the toilet visits without toilet paper, and “the unknown amount of rice”. But what we really look forward to is to see God change people’s lives. When you don’t really know what you’re traveling to, it’s hard to know what you can expect. How is the language, the climate, the humor and the social behavior? I guess we’ll find out. But one thing I do expect, is to listen to what God wants us to do, use the authority given to us by Him, and see great things take place. See healing happen, hearts being softened, see villages get clean water, and experience people getting a revelation about Gods grace and love for them.

24 hours have gone by, and I’m now laying on the floor of a bamboo cabin, which bay the way is my bed, and thinking about the last day. After 10 hours in plane, 10 hours in bus, and a lot of waiting, we have arrived the village and the YWAM base in Way Te Loo. We have experienced to sit in the back of a pick-up truck, while driving under the same shiny stars as in Norway; joy. I’ve also experienced the feeling of puking during the bus ride; not so much joy. But it’s all a part of this huge adventure we call outreach. There is all ready a lot of different cultural challenges, like our beds, our clothes, and the sanitary conditions. And I’m sure we’ll experience a lot more, both good and not so good situations, that will shape us as people.

I believe that God has many plans for this journey, and He has already made the road ready for us to walk on. I guess the best thing is to trust that the maker of heaven and earth knows best. And did you know, all this goes for your life as well!? You don’t need to travel the world for loving the people around you. Just think; who can I make a difference for today? And I’m sure you’ll find an answer.

You can also be a part of making a change, by praying for us. We would appreciate that more than you could imagine. Thank you! God bless you.

Helene
DTS-student 

 

Karen Feast

KKKLast Wednesday we had a Karen Feast Fundraiser here at Skjærgårdsheimen. It was a lovely evening with about 50 people that all have a heart for the Karens, coming together. We shared a three course Thai dinner followed by simple Karen snacks, sitting on the floor in the candle light the Karen way. Frank Otto, who himself has lived real village life among the Karens, entertained with singing and telling stories from good old days in Karen land. Several others who also have been there, joined in the storytelling and made the evening a fun and personal time with sharing of good memories around the dinner table.

A generous gift was given to Serving Karens, a ministry connected to Skjærgårdsheimen, started and run by fieldworkers sent out from here.  There were woven products for sale made by women who are a part of the development project, Damola. Damola means hope in Karen. The project was started by one of our fieldworkers, Karina Vennerød, and helps five very poor women feed their families. We experienced an evening with a warm atmosphere as we got together in this cold and dark season to put the Karens, their struggles and the ministry among them on the agenda. 

Liv Jorun Bolås,

Staff International Department

Village life in Thailand

Else

I’ve been in Asia for a few months now, but it feels like I’ve been here for a lifetime… in a good way.

While sitting outside my room at the Karen DTS base in Northern Thailand, seeing the forested mountains break through the morning mist, I’m in awe that I’m actually here. I’m living with the Karen.

A few words come to mind when I think about the past few weeks here: Joy, Peace, Security, Utter Contentment.

Looking back, it’s actually crazy that I’m here. Asia was never on my radar. Missions was never on my radar. I spent most of my life pursuing and went to college to study music. Although my parents supported me, my mom always said, “Else, you’re going to be an English teacher and a missionary. I just know it!” At the beginning of my second year of college, I felt as though God said: Music is over. Through panic and confusion, I found myself studying to become an English teacher and started a new job teaching English to the international students on my campus. Right about that time, God had been introducing me to a people group in Northern Thailand and stirring up a call to missions in my heart. Many small things led me to take my DTS at Skjærgårdsheimen, but the final push was seeing that this small school, in my most favorite part of the world, sent an outreach team to the Karen people. I applied and was accepted within a week.

Throughout my DTS, many teachers said something along the lines of, ‘The best place to be is in God’s plan’. It is so true! Everyday, I fall more and more in love with this place, the village and the people.

God is so incredible. He knows exactly what our hearts’ desires are and the absolute best ways to fulfill those desires. He knows that I wanted to travel and that I love music. Then, He puts me here, in the middle of the jungle (the last place I ever thought I would want to be) with the most musical people I’ve ever encountered. Music is everywhere!

Even in the village, I can see that God prepared me especially for this job. Teaching English, a job I never thought I wanted, has become one of my most favorite activities! One evening, in Maw Kwee (the village my team and I go to every other week), I was sitting writing in my journal and looked down our ladder to see six or seven village kids staring at me and laughing. Feeling awkward, I went inside our house and asked my friend why they were there laughing at me! She smiled and said that they wanted me to teach them English. So I turned on a light, and waved them up the ladder. Suddenly, it was as though the whole village was in our living area! Students, babies, grandmothers- everyone came to watch the blonde girl teach their beautiful, dark children English. It was such a great moment. My heart was full because I knew that it was God who prepared that moment.

Else Conrad
One Year team, Maw Gwee Thailand 

Staffettpinnen går videre

livjorunElse2
                                   Liv Jorun                                                                          Else

En tindrende klar augustdag i høst stod vi i klasserommet på Skjærgårdsheimen og bad for en av vår tids pionerer, 20 år gamle Else Conrad fra USA. Dagen etter satte hun seg på flyet til Thailand der hun skal bo og jobbe blant en folkegruppe fra Burma som heter Karen-folket. Helt på grensa til Burma finnes det over 200 000 karenere som har flyktet til Thailand etter å ha blitt undertrykt av den burmesiske hæren i nærmere 70 år. Else skal jobbe blant noen av de aller fattigste av disse i den lille landsbyen Maw Gwee som ligger rett ved grenseelven mellom Thailand og Burma, Moi River. I denne landsbyen har en annen ung utsending fra Skjærgårdsheimen, Karina Vennerød, startet et prosjekt for vanskeligstilte kvinner. Prosjektet heter Damola som betyr håp, og det er nettopp det Else og Karina ønsker å bringe til kvinnene i Maw Gwee. De bringer håp ved å gi disse kvinnene et levebrød bak vevestolen i tillegg til budskapet om verdens eneste håp, Jesus Kristus.

Det å stå sammen med Else denne onsdagen var en helt spesiell opplevelse for meg. For ganske nøyaktig 13 år siden var det jeg som stod der og ble sendt ut som feltarbeider til karenfolket. Gud hadde talt og jeg var klar til å gå. Jeg følte meg ikke spesielt modig og visste slett ikke hva som lå foran. At ett år skulle bli til tretten hadde jeg ingen anelse om, men jeg hadde lært på DTS at det Gud sier det vil Han også gjøre, det Han lover det vil Han holde. I dag kan jeg si at det jeg hadde lært på DTS er helt sant. Det Gud har sagt det har Han også gjort i gjennom alle disse tretten årene. Han har holdt det Han har lovet. Det var godt å kunne dele den erfaringen med Else der hun stod klar til å ta skrittet ut i tro på Guds løfter. Det kjentes som å gi staffettpinnen videre, ja, mer enn det. I tillegg til staffettpinnen kunne jeg sende med henne en forsikring om at hun kommer til å løpe denne etappen sammen med Far i himmelen og vinne seier med Han.

Liv Jorun Bolås,
Stab International Avdeling