This summer I spent six weeks on the Thailand-Myanmar border conducting independent research on the situation of protracted statelessness and volunteering withLife Impact International, a Christian Non-Governmental Organization that rescues children from exploitation and provides long-term after-care homes for them.
There were a lot of things I saw and experienced in Thailand and Myanmar that I will never forget. I worked with teenage girls who had been involved in forced prostitution and sex slavery; infants who were abandoned by their mothers at the local medical clinic; teenage boys who were sold by their parents to labour brokers in Bangkok; little girls who were physically and verbally abused by their fathers. Most Burmese children living in Thailand are familiar with the drugs, alcohol, and abuse associated with poverty. Deportation, disease and death are common as well, especially among families living in the garbage dump and slums. Even after six weeks of living on the border, I still cannot fathom how a parent sells his or her son or daughter into slavery, despite the desperate circumstances. That is a decision that no parent should ever have to make and a situation that no child should ever have to endure. The reality of life on the border put my own family problems in to perspective this summer. Even though my parents may not love each other, I am grateful that they love me. There is no better time to count your blessings than when you are tempted to believe you have none.
This summer I learned what it means to be content in a season of change. I realized that I commonly find security in having control over situations, rather than abiding in the sovereignty of God. In Thailand, I had no control over anything; even my schedule changed daily and plans were constantly disrupted. For someone who finds peace in understanding, it was difficult to let go of my desire to know and to control. No matter how hard I try, I will never have complete control over my circumstances; I can either labor in vain or give it to God. Discipline is rarely pleasant, but the Lord is patient, and He showed me how to surrender my fear of the unknown. It seems that when you enter the unknown, that is where you get to know God the most. I understand to a measure what Paul meant when he wrote that he has learned the secret to being content, no matter the circumstances (Philippines 4:11-13). His joy comes from the Lord.
Rachel is one of or amazing contributors for this years Delight Study Book! Thank you to her for always being willing to share her stories. We so appreciate your willingness and your incredible heart for Jesus!
The Delight Girls