A great week in Thailand!

This past week has been super eventful! It’s great to be busy and be engaged in a good cause! Some of the highlights the past weeks have been getting familiar with the activities of HELP International. They work on several projects to improve the local communities. We teach english, raise awareness for public health practices, and work on infrastructure projects.

We’ve helped build a retention wall to hold back erosion when it rains. It’s interesting because not many people have experience with construction or concrete. However, Thai construction isn’t super exact. The rule of thumb is, if it works, it’s good enough.

We ride around in the back of a truck with a metal cage welded onto it. It’s not the safest or most comfortable way to travel, but it’s pretty efficient and a popular way of travel in Thailand. We weren’t allowed to ride in the back of pick up trucks as missionaries, so it’s a new experience.

We’ve had a lot of great adventures from sight seeing to work projects to fun activities.

We’ve looked at a lot of cool temples here, to the point where we’re almost templed out. There comes to a point where things that are similar start to all look alike. There are some special cool locations though, such as abnormally large Buddha statues, ancient ruins, and large towers, but for the most part, the little ones look the same.

We’re making progress on the wall, a little at a time, but it is coming along. We’re learning a lot which is good because we’re planning on building another retaining wall at another site. I’ve learned that not only do you need to know correct techniques, but efficient team work goes a long way. It would probably fall under the category of specialization, where everyone is given one job and they do that job so they become more proficient at it. If one is too diversified, they’ll likely be unable to perform any job at the same level as someone specialized. When we divide our working team into specific tasks and keep the structure, it seems to run more smoothly. If people try to see a need and work on it, there comes a point where that type of pro-activeness becomes less beneficial.

We also teach English nearly everyday to some pretty cute children. Teaching at a school in classroom is a lot different than at church as a missionary. It seems like as a missionary, we were less stressed and more focused on fun. We would teach grammar, vocabulary, and principles, but the students would come to learn and would be more willing to apply themselves. At the school, the kids are much, much younger, and many, of course, have a hard time paying attention. I feel like in some ways it’s good practice for being a parent as far being patient and understanding kids. I prefer a smaller class and more one-on-one, but sometimes we do team-teach which makes for a little more individual time. We also get the chance to teach some of the teachers at one of our schools. Teaching adults and kids are so different, but you can also see some similarities, too. Sometimes some of the teachers seem as child-like as the kids.

Rainy season is starting up and it’s poured rain just about everyday this past week or so. It’s made traveling and vacation a little difficult, but it’s something else we don’t see very often stateside. When it pours down, the volunteers here aren’t used to it so they get very excited. It reminds me of biking through the rain in the Northeast. Fun times.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities that we have each day to learn and grow. To make decisions and see the out comes. We are the authors of our own lives and I’ve seen all of the help that God gives us everyday too. There’s no lack of trials, challenges, and difficulties that we face, but despite it all, we’re able to overcome it and realize that He loves us, that Christ gives us the ability to overcome it all, and that at the end of the day we can lay down and take confidence and reassurance that if we gave our best, it’ll all work out for our good. I love Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God”. This is so true! I’ve seen it in my life and the lives of so many others. Love God and love others. Bad things happen to good people, to all people, but all things will work out to those who foster charity and love.

See you next week!
Derrikk Sun

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