Through Faith and Grace: Mission Trip to Chiangmai... Continued
It has been a year since I have updated you wonderful readers on our story with Pat, and for that I offer my deepest apologies. Life does have a way of taking our mind off to different places. The thought of finishing this series kept resurfacing in my mind like my how iPhone has constantly been reminding me that I have yet to update my iOS. In both cases, I seemed to have repeatedly hit the “Remind me later” button. But enough of that, this story continues - today! It is also an honour if you reading this today and going, “Finally!” Thank you so much for your interest in following the Onemustardseed blog :)
So when I left you folks hanging, it was the first day that we met up with Pat. And even though it has been so long since all this happened, I still remember things clearly and hold the brightest memories close to my heart.
As a part of his ministry work, he built a halfway house on a farm, taking in youth from juvenile prisons and mentoring them until they are ready to be on their own. The extent of his care reaches far beyond giving them a roof over their heads. He sends them to schools to get vocational training, helps them find jobs, walks with them out of their addictions, and disciples them. And it was truly by walking in love and the ways of Christ that they were able to see transformation in their lives. To this day, Pat still sends us email updates about his breakthroughs with the boys, and asks us to pray along with him when he faces obstacles.
As part of his ministry, Pat also makes visits to a hospital regularly, and so we followed him. Upon arriving at the hospital he went straight to a fruit stall, where he bought bags and bags of freshly cut fruit. He then divided us into two groups - one group would go around the lobby and distribute the fruits to bless the people and pray for them, and the other would follow him up into the hospital wards to minister to the sick. In that hospital he had managed to find favour with a particular department, where the nurses and doctors gave him special permission to come into the wards to speak to people and pray for their healing. Up in the wards with Pat, he moved with kindness and compassion. As he passed by the nurses, they would have quick, friendly exchanges, and he was clearly a familiar and welcome face. He would move slowly and quietly through the wards, greeting the patients and their guardians warmly. None of us spoke Thai, so the best we could do was give the patients a smile and pray in our hearts. Most of the patients and guardians were open to Pat and receiving prayer. In particular, there was this woman who had just come out of an operation to have her kidney stones removed. She told Pat that she came from a village about 2 hours away from the hospital, but she had no way of getting back home after being discharged. Without hesitation Pat wrote down his number for her, and told her that once she was discharged she could contact him, and he would be happy to drive her back home. This act of kindness and compassion really blew me away. This was truly a glimpse of how sacrificially we ought to love one another as followers of Jesus Christ.
Another significant encounter I had during our visit to the hospital was with a little girl, lying in a cot with her head bandaged. I smiled at her when we walked in, and she shyly smiled back, peeping out from under her blanket. I stood by her cot, and she looked up at me with sparkling, pretty eyes. I noticed there was a book next to her bed, and I picked it up and started flipping through it for her, showing her the pictures. I don’t think it was by coincidence, but I remember it being a children's book about stars. A nurse came over, and with broken english she explained to me that this girl was an orphan. She had been brought to the hospital by a relative, but now it was unclear if they were going to be taking her home or not, and so she had been left at the hospital for some time now. It broke my heart. I was unable to find out what ailment she had with her head, but sick or not she was such a precious child. After the nurse left I stayed on with the little girl a little while longer, softly whispering to her “nala..”, which means “pretty" in Thai. Whenever I did she would softly giggle and disappear under her blanket, only to sweetly peep out again moments later. It was hard for me to drag my feet away from her, but eventually I had to. My only hope is that she is now growing up in a loving home, and that she is no longer sick.
We left the hospital that day inspired and yet burdened. It was such a struggle to know that there was barely anything we could have done for those people, the language barrier being the hardest part. But nevertheless it is my hope that somehow our presence could have communicated that there are people who care about them, and that above all God cares and is watching over them.
Please stay tuned for the continuation of our mission trip testimonies! :)