YISS' high school Guardians with a Message (GWAM) program sent two teams to serve in Thailand during Spring Break this year. Although the two teams served extremely different ministries, both teams were able to develop strong partnerships with their Thai hosts.
Bangkok is a long-standing trip for YISS. The trip focuses on learning first-hand about human trafficking in Thailand from ministries deep in the trenches of the red light districts of Bangkok. Dton Naam, Rahab Ministries, and NightLight are located in strategic areas that aim to build relationships with men and women in the sex industry, minister to their needs, and help provide jobs with dignity for those ready to leave prostitution.
Team Bangkok participated in a prayer walk, and during that walk, team members saw God at work in some of the darkest streets and alleys of the world. The team also partnered with another ministry to throw a party for about 25 women before they headed to the bars for work that night. Together with the women, team members laughed, cried, played games, worshiped, and witnessed two women commit their lives to Christ that night. With another ministry, Team Bangkok was able to care for some of the young children of women in their training program and build strong relationships with the older children while teaching them English.
In Thailand, over 70% of the economy comes from tourism, and of that, over 60% comes from the sex industry. However, ministries like the ones Team Bangkok visited are doing good work in these places and need prayer and support.
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Leaders: Ms. Johnson, Ms. Harvell, Ms. Scott
Members: Hannah K. (11), Jean K. (11), Isabel L. (11), Candace S. (11), Gina S. (11), Hannah O. (10), Iris S. (10), Allison R. (10)
New GWAM trips are always a little intimidating, for both students and leaders, but the eleven freshmen who agreed to go to the Childlife orphanage in Maesai, Thailand had all their fears dissipated within the first 24 hours of working with the kids. The 90 children, ages two to eighteen, welcomed them with so much love, the YISS students felt like they were being served by the orphans rather than serving them. The five days were filled with cleaning, cooking, crafts, sports, playing games, and simply spending time interacting with whomever was available. The highlight for both groups seemed to be when the YISS students were able to communicate through a translator with the Childlife kids who were the same age as they were in a question and answer time--sharing concerns about life, along with their hopes and dreams. They found that no matter where people live, many struggles are the same. Both groups felt blessed and want to continue this partnership for many years to come.
Leaders: Ms. Palmer, Mr. Anderson, Ms. Regnier, Ms. Stair, Ms. Zellmer
Members: Mia C. (9), Philip K. (9), Romy K. (9), Victor K. (9), Colin K. (9), Julian L. (9), Linda P. (9), William P. (9), Bhavika P. (9), Maya R. (9), Annie X. (9)