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Finding God In a Hopeless Place

· faith,social,anti-trafficking

I’ve always had a relationship with Christ, maybe not one that I’ve always been proud of but I always knew he was there. Growing up I went to medium size, small town Christian churches where most of the town attended. I met friends, went on youth trips, and sang in the choir; pretty typical stuff for a pre-teen in Georgia. When I was accepted to volunteer on my first mission trip I can imagine that some people were surprised, I haven’t always been outwardly vocal about being a Christian.

My first night in Pattaya was another volunteers last day, everyone gathered around to pray for her safe travels home and decided to do a “rumble.” A rumble is where everyone prays out loud at once over another person, in case you’re like me and didn’t know that until now. It was pretty incredible to feel the Holy Spirit fill the room that evening and be gathered with people that spoke so openly about their relationships to God.

The first Sunday in Pattaya most of the team and some of the students met at a local church held in a beautiful banquet room in the top floor of a hotel. I had never heard anyone worship God in another language. It was sobering. To be surrounded by prostitutes, pimps, old men, men whose wives probably had no clue where they really were, women who didn’t know any different, missionaries, pastors, children, multiple races and ethnicities; I knew by looking around that I was the minority but equally, in that room, I was no different than any other one of God’s children, and God wanted me to love them all as he loves me.

You know that the people that fill a congregation in the States all come from different places and upbringings but to truly have that in your face gave me a very different outlook on any of the churches that I attended growing up. I had several experiences that pushed me to grow as a person and additionally in my relationship with Christ, but I will never forget how close I felt to God in that banquet room, on the other side of the world, amongst a congregation of maybe 100, praising Christ as a family.

At home it’s easy to ignore other people’s paths camouflaged by a group that’s culturally identical. When I was preparing for my trip I kept asking God to just put me where I needed to be and allow for me to see through his eyes. I believe he answered that prayer that day and it allowed for me to move forward with my time in Pattaya with more of an open heart.

-Kelsey Buchholtz, Guest Educator Thailand

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