During our lecture phase in Herrnhut, Germany God’s message for our school was clear: everything we are - our identity - is in Him and comes forth out of our relationship with Him. Those three months of teaching were a phase of discovering and new revelations for me. Coming to Thailand for my outreach I can see even more how important it is to know who you are, to know what defines your identity. Broken identities are the cause of so many hardships and problems in this country.
One of the first things I learned about the Tamar Center in Khorat is the importance of identity and significance in their ministries. The staff believe that when children grow up with a sense of belonging and importance, they are less vulnerable and less prone to exploitation.
We have been here for over a week now and that mission is visible in every activity. We went to schools to teach English, play games and show the kids God’s love. I will never forget the smiles and giggles, when I told my 7-year-olds that they all have beautiful faces. It obviously wasn’t something they had heard much. Or the contempt on the faces of the village children when their hands were covered in paint and they just mushed the paint on the canvas. They were free to do whatever they wanted and they loved it.
I do not speak Thai, but I can say “You are very beautiful.” This sentence is so important here. While we were painting each other’s nails, the girls at the safe house asked me if I spoke their language. “Khun suai mak mak,” and they giggle. But they appreciate the compliment. Because I mean it. They are so beautiful. It might not seem like much, but these simple acts of friendship and love show these children that they are loved and precious.
Seeing how simple it is to show someone that they are loved and special makes me wonder, why I don’t do it more often. A smile at a stranger. An honest compliment for the cashier at the supermarket. A hug for a friend. It is not difficult at all, but can make a huge difference.
Elise Eichler, DTS student, YWAM Herrnhut