When I was asked to put the Thailand mission trip into words, the first impulse was “absolutely!” Then reality set in.

We went into our preparations for the trip with eyes wide open. Having been on a handful of mission trips to Haiti as our gauge, we really did not know what to expect in Thailand.

Several months ago, when Mike first invited us to go, my knee jerk reaction was “there is no way I can take off two weeks from work.” God had bigger plans as my employer changed our vacation policy which gave me four weeks of vacation versus the normal two.

This change opened the door for me to say “yes”, for which I will forever be grateful.

Rice farm in Thailand

After a long journey and numerous flights, we arrived at our destination in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

A bit jet lagged but ready to get our two-week adventure started. I mean who would have thought a year ago that we would be on the other side of the world. Much less that we would have the opportunity to meet and commune with some of the most incredible people that awaited our arrival.

Having the chance to serve side by side the older boys at the Lighthouse as we tore down an old ant-infested bamboo Lighhouse Fence Project in Thailandfence was inspiring. The hard work and attention to detail these boys possessed was a sight to be seen.

Getting to know Terra and the rest of the kids at the Lighthouse over lunch was similar to sitting amongst little disciples. They all worshipped and served us with humble hearts. It was evident that Terra was raising a new generation of believers.

Having the chance to go bowling with the kids was just as rewarding. They were just as competitive and good sports as any of us could have imagined.

We also were able to attend church with the kids on Sunday. No matter your background, age, religion, or country, there is nothing more unifying than worshipping and breaking bread together.

We then traveled to Nong Tao to spend a couple of days with the kids in the village.

Seeing their faces when they came home from school to find their newly installed bunk beds was priceless.

Bunk bed project in ThailandWe played soccer, hopscotch and flew paper airplanes. Most of all we spent time with the kids letting them know they were loved.

The ladies had the chance to teach the kids while the men gave the school cafeteria some new paint.

Both the Lighthouse and Nong Tao provide a safe place for the children to learn and grow. Places where Christ is at the forefront and the kids reflect their teachings. From the way they treat one another, to the way they manage their chores and take care of the homes.

The trip itself was a mixture of service, fellowship, and culture. In order to successfully serve others, one must be aware of the culture of the place they serve. Thailand has some of the friendliest of people, who although may live a bit simpler than we might be accustomed, they love a lot bigger than we deserved.

Even from the hotel, we stayed at, the restaurants we ate at, and the sites and experiences we were able to take in. All of these had the essence of pure hearts, simple service and making us all want to return.

Personally, I was a bit skeptical and prepared for the trip to be a nice experience but perhaps not life altering. I did not expect to see Christ everywhere I turned. From the faces of the kids to those that took care of them day in and day out. I cannot speak for others but I cannot wait to return.

Charles Johnston

Digital Ninja

Charles is president and Charles Johnston, writer, blogger, digital ninjasenior “Digital Ninja” at HeartWired Technical Solutions. Charles had a BA degree in IT Management and a nerdy wit to match.

After having his heart broken on a mission trip to Haiti. Charles has compassion for those less privileged in the world. It is from these broken pieces that Charles built his web design agency.

As a blogger and freelance writer, he knows the content his clients need. Mix in years of technical experience, and WordPress savvy, his company now builds websites for nonprofits, entrepreneurs and small businesses around the country. He provides technology and web services with heart.