Just when I am reaching the end of my physical endurance, something happens to remind me that God is in charge and I do NOT have to do it all by myself! (It’s funny, but you would think I would know this by now.) Ajarn Chonchineepan and I have been working on several projects simultaneously: 1) contacting hundreds of churches, universities and schools in a search for volunteers to come teach in our schools, 2) preparing for a visit by the New Wilmington Missionary Conference (NWMC) Summer Service Team and an unrelenting eight-week schedule of English Camps and teacher seminars, and 3) processing applications from those who want to teach who are not coming out under care of a church or para-church organization. There is so much going on that we have created many different Excel spreadsheets to keep track of what is happening and when we complete a task. Now, the Excel spreadsheets are posted on several different “bulletin boards” in our office so that we have a visible reminder of 1) what needs to be done and 2) what we have learned in the process of doing it. Some days, I get tired just looking at those bulletin boards.
Let’s just look at one assignment: developing an exciting and dynamic English Camp that can easily be replicated in eight different locations. One of the things that I have been discussing with the Directors and Managers in all of our schools is the story of ASEAN. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations intends to create a diplomatic and economic community in the year 2015 – opening borders and reducing trade restrictions among and between the ten member nations. It is the demand for English language skills coming out of that decision that is creating enormous pressure within the country – and within our schools. This demand led to a decision to have our NWMC Summer Service Team help us with some “English Camps” for our youth. We have scheduled eight one-day English Camps in an eight-week time period in June and July. But what do I know about English camps?? And where do I begin??
I got some ideas from J.J., an English teacher and manager of English teachers at Srithammarat Suksa School. He was generous and quite willing to help, but when he began talking about it all the things that needed to be done, my stress level rose exponentially. I spent some time in prayer – usually late at night when the stress kept me awake into the wee hours. Then, just at the time when I knew I could not avoid planning these camps any longer, two women walked into our office and introduced themselves to us. Ajarn Sunisa and her partner, Ajarn Tabtim, started a new business a year ago to upgrade the English skills of students, teachers, and workers in Thailand. These two women of enormous ability and courage shared what they were doing with us and we got excited – so excited that we dragged them in to meet the boss and lay our plan before him.
The next week, Ajarn Sunisa and Ajarn Tabtim returned and spent an entire day with us (10 AM to 3 PM) and, together, we laid out the plan for an English Camp that will incorporate an ASEAN theme. That plan gave me enough information to get letters in the mail to the host schools and to begin purchasing supplies. At the end of our day of planning, as we were looking at something Ajarn Sunisa had in her tablet, I made a comment about the workings of God and God’s presence in our planning. Ajarn Sunisa looked at me and said, “I believe it was God who brought us together.” I believe that, too. It is just another reminder of how great this God is – this God I serve!