29077266255_13b7bbd1de_zIn August of 2016, seven people from all over California met in Thailand to join HelpLive in serving children at risk. John Lee, Jorge, Linda, Alicia, Jen, Rebekah, and John Kim were led by Kilang Pongen, the founder of HelpLive, and traveled to Northern Thailand to provide activities, meals, and lessons to displaced children of the Karen people of Myanmar. The team played endlessly with the children and also helped to build a garden at a school.

The blessings and lessons during those ten days are too numerous to count and any attempt could not truly capture the beauty and depth of the experience. Our time in Thailand was short, as if we stepped into and out of another life. Still the Holy Spirit urges his people to remember his deeds, for God is and has always been moving.

After a day and a half of traveling from Bangkok, the team spent two days at a village and three days at a school in Northern Thailand. The land was a deep green, with rice fields and small roads. Creeks and rivers flowed through the land and it was a new scenery to the team. The children in these communities were displaced from their original homes in Myanmar and were living in Thailand, unable to speak the language, their parents unable to work legally, and seemingly forgotten by the rest of the world. But we soon learned that God was present and moving, and that we were there, as his people, to not just serve, but see a glimpse of the infinite love that he has for all his people.

28969607642_a9d5b1effc_zOn the first day, after a long van ride through the jungle, the team had every reason to desire rest before jumping in. We were hot from the humidity and adjusting to the dirt and rain, but immediately we began to dance and play with the children. Despite sickness, tiredness, and frustrations, each day forward the team was ready to jump in and make the most of their time in this new environment. Although the team deserves credit for their resiliency and flexibility, God’s kindness and love was already seen in the children. He had already been growing the village and school and providing for the communities. There is more work to be done, but the team was privileged to witness the life and love in the communities.

28792689850_ac8d75f9b2_zThe children live with an innocence, joy, and love for others that we would have difficulty finding in anyone in our own society. You could see it in the way the older children served the younger children food first, and how the children would not relent until we allowed them to serve us by carrying our heavy bags as we trekked through the jungle. Despite the team’s preparation and readiness to work, the children were the ones to teach us what it meant to serve one another and live life with joy. As we try to understand the mystery of the way God works, we remember that we are no more than jars of clay, filled with surpassing power that belongs to God, not us.

On our final days at both communities, the children sang a worship song in their native language for the team as a farewell. These children, with their tattered shirts, bare feet, cuts and sores on their body, sang a song so full of life that we were left in awe and tears.

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It’s easy for us to think these children, living in wall-less huts in the middle of a jungle in a corner of the world nobody knows about, are completely without hope. And though their needs are great, we learned that there is a hope that is better than anything this world could offer, for God remembers these children and he knows their names.

- John Kim

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