Thai-Link 2018 was an extraordinary experience. For the eighth year, a team of 29 students and Suncoast staff travelled to Thailand to work with our partners at the Haven Project, COC Chiang Mai.
The students completed a few days of orientation and then left the city for Mae Chaem, a rural village in Northern Thailand. For three days the students worked with local students in an English Camp which they had prepared throughout Term 1. With the students’ cooperation and teamwork, the camp ran very smoothly and our hosts were very grateful. Our students facilitated the program which included music, drama, sport, Hip Hop, craft as well as other activities which allowed local students to practice their conversational English. It was a great time in which awesome connections and good fun were a starting point. Our team shared their own lives generously and really experienced the fulfilment that comes when we serve God by serving others.
The team then travelled to the border town of Mae Sot where they enjoyed connecting with Burmese communities which have been displaced. This work started in a refugee camp where we spent a day interacting with children and young people in an English program designed around building relationship and confidence. It was an incredible time where although the surroundings were somewhat overwhelming, our students gave their all in making it a very meaningful and beneficial experience. We had a theme of Seasons for our camps this year and we had a focus on the “Hope Tree” which connected the camp to the faith journey. This was the first visit for our team but one we hope to continue in future visits as the response from the community was outstanding. They eagerly participated in all the activities, listened intently and were very grateful for our visit.
The final days of our trip were with a community in Mae Sot called Morning Glory. We again ran an English Camp, visited children’s homes and shared in Easter services in the area. As the staff, we could not have been prouder of the willingness of our students to share themselves in continuing our partnership with the Haven Project. It was sad to farewell our friends in Thailand, however, there is no doubt the experience has impacted us all profoundly and we look forward with anticipation to continuing the connection in the future.