After living and working in the United States for the past 13 months, I recently returned to Thailand and resumed my work at the New Life Center Foundation.
This past Saturday I went for a long bike ride through my old neighborhood. This area is close to the sprawling, lush and landscaped gardens of Chiang Mai University, and it’s a mishmash of small, winding lanes, rice paddies, organic farms, a Buddhist temple, street vendors, a big highway, and (last but not least) a Dunkin’ Donuts!
As I bicycled through the area it seemed as if Thailand itself had sprung to life. I was surrounded by thick frangipani trees with their fragrant white blossoms, the sting-your-eyes smell of roasted chili peppers at street side restaurants, barking dogs, fumes from motorcycles, and humidity – that lovely Southeast Asian humidity which always clings, always hangs, is always ever-present in the air. I am happy to be back...!
Many of you know that the New Life Center Foundation is an official member of the “Chiang Mai Center for the Protection of Child Rights”. This is a broad term for a committee which is made up of all the organizations (both national and NGO) that work to prevent human trafficking and labor exploitation throughout northern Thailand. Representatives from the Royal Thai Government (“RTG”) immigration and crime suppression police, and various anti-trafficking divisions, are a part of the committee, along with representatives from the many Thai NGO’s with whom the NLCF partners.
I can’t even begin to describe the privilege it is to be in Thailand at this unique time in its history, and to work on these serious social problems alongside such committed and capable Thai and tribal colleagues. As I drove into the parking lot at the Chiang Mai City Hall this morning, and then found my seat in the large conference room on the 5th floor, I had to pinch myself- I could not believe that I was back, and that God has allowed me to join in this work in this way. What a gift! What a privilege! I was able to give a brief report to the committee on the recent anti-trafficking campaigns that the NLCF has completed, and was blessed that my Thai seemed to return without too many problems…(!)
I am currently looking for a house to rent, and would appreciate your prayers in that matter. Please also pray that I can get caught up with the work here, and that it won’t take me too long to re-adjust to everything.
It was wonderful and a real honor for me last year to travel to so many different states and meet so many great people. You are the salt of the earth! I pray God gives you strength, courage, and passion for your journey, now and always. Please let me know how I can pray for you.