by Kristin Wolf, Global Mission Intern with Global Ministries, a program supported by Week of Compassion
Working for Global Ministries has been one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences of my life. I have been working in Chiang Mai, Thailand as a Global Missions Intern, a program funded by Week of Compassion. I would first like to thank you! Yes, you! Because of people like you and churches like yours who support Week of Compassion and Global Ministries, missionaries, interns, and volunteers are sent to live and work abroad growing in discipleship and sharing our love of Christ all over the world.
I work at the Institute of Religion, Culture & Peace at Payap University. My work involves marketing and event coordination for the IRCP. The IRCP's primary goals are to foster increased mutual appreciation and cooperation among the world's different religious communities, thus contributing to greater inter-religious and intra-religious understanding among all people everywhere, and to undertake and develop new ways to carry out peacemaking and peacebuilding efforts in Thailand, the ASEAN region, and throughout the world.
The Institute employs various opportunities to reach these goals. There are regular Peace Studies seminars and lectures that offer roadmaps on the journey of understanding. There are cultural training courses lasting as short as 1-2 weeks, semester study programs, and in partnership with the International College at Payap, a PhD in Peace Studies.
Recently, we celebrated the Thai New Year known as Song Kran. The sprinkling of water at the start of the New Year is a blessing and ritual of good fortune. The water is supposed to be used to cleanse images of Buddha, making it holy, and then that water is poured out onto others. It has now turned into somewhat of a national water fight, while still holding great significance to Thai people. Song Kran had people gathered out in the streets with giant tubs filled with water, swimming pools, squirt guns, and buckets. There were filling stations for everyone to fill their soakers with water. Some people put ice into their tubs, which was jarring initially, but a huge blessing in the 109 degree heat. Babies, teens, adults, and elders participate and celebrate this holiday honoring their faith, family, friends, and the elements. I loved seeing the joy on the faces of the Thai people who were delighted to share their tradition with a foreigner.
As my friends and I broke down for lunch, we watched a father with his three children stand by the side of the road. The kids filled their buckets with water out of a huge cooler and drenched anyone who dared pass them. The oldest son caught me taking their photo and threw up a giant peace sign and a huge smile.
This foreigner is starting to feel at home.
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