Our greatest achievement in Holy Week 2020 was the first Zoom meeting with Christian Volunteers in Thailand (CVT). Esther I Re Kim, a CVT from South Korea who served as a teacher at Chiangrai Vidhayakhome School in North Thailand for three years and is now living with her husband and son in Australia, joined the meeting and provided the one photo we have to remember this historic event. It was the first of what we hope will be regular weekly opportunities to connect with each other during these challenging times.
Only a handful of CVTs joined the call, but we on the staff of the CVT Program are convinced that the invitation ended up in the spam folder of many who may not have seen it and believed that they were excluded. In an effort to overcome that, we have sent the notice for future meetings out in groups of five or six – a total of 45-50 invitations in all. Not that this number represents those currently active in the program. It is all of those who have been involved since I came to Thailand – at least, all who wish to continue to stay connected.
What did we learn in this first virtual gathering of CVT volunteers? Most are sheltering in place wherever they are. (We had participants from Thailand, Australia and China in this call.) Some are simply enjoying time with their families – as schools are closed for the Hot Season or summer in Thailand. Many are struggling to work from home, with varying degrees of success, as their home environment was never intended to be the way in which work is accomplished. Many are isolated and lonely. Some are fearful of what the future may hold. The beginning of the new school year in Thailand has been pushed from mid-May to July 1, in the hopes that everything will be back to “normal” by then. The stress of adapting to an online teaching methodology, particularly in schools in poor and remote rural areas is taking its toll.
One of the things that I shared with our volunteers is that, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, I would not be traveling to the USA to share stories of this ministry with churches there. Instead, what I have sent to them is this brief video which updates the news from Thailand: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsqCKYQNBJY. One piece of joyful news that we received from Ms. Mesetshou Losou is word that she has received a scholarship to Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas, that will cover the full cost of her studies there. It is an answer to prayer. Now, we wait to see how that will be fulfilled, given the challenges of this current time.
Please pray for all of our Christian Volunteers in Thailand as they wait to hear what changes the future will bring to their ministry here (or wherever they now call home). Also, pray for those who have lost their employment or exist on the margins of the global economic system and are struggling for survival in these days. May God bless you.