Making it Clear – A Cross-Cultural Internship in Thailand

“Sawatdee kaa”

This is the way the Thai greet each other and one of the only words I was able to pronounce correctly in Thai! 

My name is Mirthe Kuiper, I am twenty-two years old and was born and raised in the Netherlands. Three years ago I moved to Belgium to study Theology at the Evangelical Theological Faculty (ETF) in Leuven. This year I started the master program here in Religion and Education, and last year I finished my bachelors.

In the last year of the bachelor program, we all have the opportunity to go on an internship, and for me, it was already clear before I even left off to go to Uni that I wanted to do an internship overseas. Ever since I was a kid, I read and watched stories of missionaries and I wanted to be just like them. So last year I finally got to experience cross-cultural mission in Thailand. I choose to combine an internship for my uni with a Serve Asia placement through OMF, because in that way you are not only sent overseas for a short but amazing experience, but OMF also really prepares you and guides you before you go and when you come back.

In one of my first conversations with Kevin Buch from OMF Belgium, we prayed together and talked about opportunities and countries I could go to. I did not get a vision or an amazing dream in which God made clear to me where to go. But after praying and thinking about it, I choose to go to Thailand because of the small but growing church and the fact you can openly evangelize there. The first month of my internship, I stayed with Dave and Lila in the south of Thailand and helped them with student work and sharing the gospel on a university. Dave and Lila were also my internship mentors, and they really helped me and encouraged me during my stay in Thailand.

The second week I stayed in Nakhon Si Thammarat and got to see the different churches and meet with a lot of missionaries in the South. They talked to me about their lives as missionaries and about how they planted churches and evangelized. The different ways in which they planted the churches and trained local leaders really interested me, as it’s an area I want to do more research on during my masters.

Going to Thailand really made clear to me why I started studying theology in the first place, to serve God and help to build his church wherever he will send me. My time there not only motivated me for my studies, but it also taught me a lot of things about Thailand and working in a cross-cultural team. But above all, I learned a lot about God, his faithfulness to his people and about prayer. One quote of Oswald Chambers really stuck with me during my internship and after, when I was wondering if I was doing enough or if we ever will be able to do enough for God and this world: ‘Prayer doesn’t fit us for the greater work, prayer is the greater work’. This is great news for everybody because we can all do the greatest work there is wherever we are and will be! Today I want to specifically ask you to pray for the Thai church and the missionaries there!’

Mirthe Kuiper
Serve Asia Worker

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