This year, the Bangkok GOES team consisted of four students and two teachers. Even though the group was small, they were able to accomplish a lot with the organizations they partnered with. The trip was unique because the team collaborated with organizations that specifically worked with men and women in the sex industry. The purpose of these organizations was to give men and women an opportunity to find meaningful and dignified work outside of brothels and bars while spreading the love of Jesus. The team shared the Korean culture with the bar men and women by teaching them how to paint hanji fans and make kimbap.
A couple of the organizations allowed the team to work with an even more vulnerable group: children. These children were either the kids of the women who used to work in bars or children at risk of exploitation. The YISS group led mini-VBS programs with the children. The experience was both an honor and humbling, and the students have returned from Bangkok with a greater heart for helping the people God loves.
Leaders: Mrs. Gardner, Ms. Scott
Members: Allison R. (11), Iris S. (11), Woojin Y. (11), Taylor H. (9)
Last year, YISS sent a team to Maesai, Thailand for the first time to partner with Childlife, an orphanage which houses mostly Burmese children who have no parents or identity. Students on the trip last year did not exactly know what to expect but went with open hands to serve. This year, the team returned to Childlife with almost triple the amount of students from YISS, allowing the team to be of greater service during their time there. Although the conditions were quite challenging at times with bucket showers, hot temperatures, no air conditioning, and so on, these factors did not deter the students from jumping in, getting their hands dirty, and investing in the lives of the residents of Childlife.
Team Childlife helped with the local smart farming project, cleaned up around Childlife's property, and helped cook meals. The most fun, however, was connecting with the kids of Childlife through games, crafts, Sports Day, singing, and dancing. Through the interactions, the YISS students were able to see the way that God loves and protects the children at Childlife through the joy expressed on their faces. The group also gained an appreciation for the blessings and privilege they experience in Korea. The YISS team has been asked to go back next year to continue deepening the relationship with the children of Childlife, and the YISS team members are already making plans to return.
Enjoy this video the Maesai team produced about their adventure.
Leaders: Ms. Palmer, Ms. Regnier, Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith, Ms. Zellmer
Members: Andy K. (12), Nathan M. (12), Sneha A. (10), Mia C. (10), Mattia C. (10), Aria I. (10), Collin K. (10), Lance K. (10), Matthew K. (10), Phillip K. (10), Romy K. (10), Edward K. (10), Victor K. (10), Colin K. (10), Jeremy K. (10), Geon Tack L. (10), Julian L. (10), Justin L. (10), Elyse M. (10), Annie N. (10), Francis. P. (10)., William P. (10), Maya R. (10), Alysa R. (10), Annie X. (10), Jonathan Y. (10)