Wat Daeng is one of the areas that Todd and Karen have been working in for the past year or so. Wat is the Thai word for Temple and Daeng is Thai for red. The area was named for the temple that is in the middle of the area. Wat Daeng is a poorer section located on the outer section of Bangkok. It takes 45 minutes by taxi to get there. Wat Daeng is called a slum, but it is not like the slums in the cities in the states. The homes were not made of corregated metal, most were two floors, the windows had glass in them. The house where Todd and Karen teach English has a work room that was clean and seemed to have ample supplies. The streets were clean and relatively even .
The story of how Todd and Karen got involved in this particular slum is amazing. They have been involved in a house church in another slum area. In this church, there is a couple, Joe and Noy that have a heart to reach out to the people living in slums. One of them grew up near Wat Daeng and really wanted to have an outreach in this community. So Todd and Karen have been asked to teach English to a group of teenager kids for about a year. They teach English using the Bible and Bible stories primarily based an the alphabet and God’s character traits that are associated with each letter of the alphabet.
While we were in Bangkok, we were able to go with them and participate in the Christmas Shoebox distribution. We learned a lot just from watching the interaction between Todd and Karen and the Thai believers. Before the shoe boxes arrived, we were able to pray as a group – Korean style. Praying Korean style means that we all prayed at the same time in our native tongue. So there were several praying in Thai and English at the same time and Noy closed off the time of Prayer in Thai. We were told that it was a powerful prayer! Wish we could have understood it, but is was good.
Once the shoeboxes arrived, there was a time of fellowship over some of the best Thai food I have had. Many from the surrounding homes came out to see what was going on.
Then once everyone had eaten and all was cleaned up, the program started.
There was an opening prayer and then our team sang some worship songs led by Kevin. Todd preached in Thai. What a blessing to hear him preach and to watch the children inch their way closer and closer and he continued to preach. He was telling the story of Paul preaching to the Athenians and proclaiming to them that he knew the unknown God. After the teaching, there was a pop quiz given by Joe, the Thai pastor, games and then the shoe boxes were handed out. The older kids read the names off and handed out the boxes.
What a joy to be a part of Christmas shoe boxes from the other end to see the kids faces light up as they received their presents and to see the joy the older kids had in handing out the gifts. Even more precious was being able to be a part of the on going ministry of my friends! What fuel for my prayer life to see the faces of those that I have prayed for by name before – but now I have the faces, a place and experience with these precious children!