It was either the pitter-patter of Gabe’s feet running across the concrete, or it was our prayers pitter-pattering upward to God from the small room in the Chaing-Mai childrens drop-in center. We prayed all at once, like raindrops, or Gabe’s feet running to dad. This prayer was offered, ‘In Thai style’ as Mark from The Garden explained. God hears our prayers all at once – God listens to the cries of those who need Him.
We aren’t the only ones that need Him. Our days of introduction to the goals and the people who work in and around the Garden have been overwhelming, with the abundance of information and cultural heritage so foreign from ours. Our team, though, is as Vu from Resurrection might say, ‘tough as nails’ and so far have been able to withstand the time, food, social, and economic changes that accompany traveling large distances.
Here’s some simple sketches of what has happened in the time so far. Christa from Garden of Hope, upon our arrival at 1am, had said to us that there would be a hot breakfast for those who wanted in the mornings. I had envisioned the less filling continental breakfasts I am so used to finding when traveling across the US. I awoke to find sweet filled crepes, tropical fruits, meats, juices, teas, and more. All of it is hand prepared with complete care and beauty at an exquisite table setting surrounded by carved wood. Because of the work that the Garden does with training women in hospitality, we have been blessed with some of the greatest breakfasts that I could have ever imagined. What a blessing it is to see these women being given training fit for the best restaurants in Chicago to help them break out of the risks associated they experience here.
We traveled into Chiang Mai, packed into a pickup truck with a shell and a smiling driver. We were transported from the haven of our living space to the Garden’s ‘drop in center’ where at-risk children are given homework help, English lessons, games, phenomenal food, and a place to just ‘be’. Our team played with these children and just loved them with our limited language as best as we could; Jennifer G. spinning a jump-rope for hours, Gabe smiling at everyone, Matt conversing with staff, Keith hugging the little kids, and me attempting to tell some story that translates well to 30 rambunctious Thai kids.
Four of our girls were spending time as well learning their crucial role as emissaries of the Garden out at the local bars where they tried to speak with and become friends with women in the city. All this was done in a swirl of purple shirts representing The Garden and hoping that children and women would not so much remember our faces or names, but the name of the Garden of Hope, which in their world is the name of Jesus.
Story and Photo by Charley Anderson
Fri, Jul 31, 2009 at 2:23 AM
More photos will be coming soon, they have to be approved by Garden of Hope before we can post them.