Hi, I’m Nicole from Australia. I was on a Serve Asia team from my church in 2005 to Taiwan. It was then that I was encouraged to consider guest house ministry. 11 years later…I invite you to join me on this Serve Asia journey. I’m excited to see God’s hand at work, and His love for the Thai people, as I join in fellowship, hospitality, and support to OMF members, and the local staff. Through this hopefully they will be enabled to survive and thrive in all ways and for all the places they have been called to serve.
Day One: The Land of Smiles #Thailand. Orientation is hard when locals don’t walk so you also are expected to take your life in your own hands when riding a bike! I know there is value adjusting to my environment, and it is easy when encountering friendly people and fascinating culture. Today will not be the same as tomorrow!
Day Two: I have noticed with the excitement of new faces, places, tastes, smells, sounds, (not to mention bed and bathroom routines) adjusting takes a lot more energy! I am thankful that the team where I am serving have morning prayers and are faithful in putting God at the start of their working day. Foundation in God is the key, and trusting God will help in the adjustment and in introducing new routines to find a rhythm while I am serving in Thailand.
Day Three: Culture Stress = A state of disorientation that can come over anyone who has been thrust into unknown surroundings, away from one’s comfort zone.
It took me by surprise at the Staff Christmas party today! I had prepared myself for approaching a new culture but forgot about preparing for a new faith community. Doh!
I am thankful that in my weakness God is there, and I can trust in him to point me towards my response of misunderstandings, confusions, embarrassment and tensions and form understanding, empathy and deepening relationships with those around me.
Day Four: Did you spend Christmas with family? Were there babies and little children? I am like one of them learning Thai. I get excited with my milestones of being able to introduce myself and ask what someone’s name is. I cannot explain the love of God or understand someone’s heart. My desire is to show respect to the Thai staff and to build friendships with locals I meet. This will help me to engage with Thai culture and witness God’s love. Next time you see little children, pray for those learning a language with the desire to explain God’s good news.
Day Five: Have you tasted contentment? I’m in Thailand to taste what service to God through OMF could look like long-term. I am encouraged by scripture in my coming and goings… my work produced by faith, my labour prompted by love, and my endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thess 1:3) Do you have a desire to taste faith, love, hope in your life?
Day Six: I have been touched by the fellowship with other OMF staff who have welcomed me to Thailand and remembered me during Christmas. I am also reminded of other Christians who offered to pray for me and have sent encouraging emails and messages while I am away from family. I am not doing mission alone, I am a member of a family here in Thailand, back in Australia and here on Instagram.
Day Seven: I see these spirit houses out the front of homes, cafés, hotels and hospitals. They are in a pretty prominent spot and usually on a pedestal. They are to provide an appealing shelter for the spirits. Folklore say these are either good or evil, but most are finicky and mischievous. Pray that the Light of the World may burn through the darkness of this spirituality.
Day Eight: Feeling the sunshine today in Thailand and reading about the rain at home in Australia reminds me that living & working overseas does have its costs. You are separated from who and what you know. Time zones may make it difficult to connect and communicate. There are no aunties and uncles or grandparents to help raise your kids or you are not present to help. The daily environment is different, but our daily habits are the same, and we all grow fonder to see God’s eternal kingdom on earth and the heavenly realm, where our true home is.
Day Nine: The former King died in October and Thailand is in mourning. There are many people wearing black, white and somber clothing out of respect, and government officials will wear black for 12 months. There is a devotion towards this beloved monarch with billboards, monuments and fabric along fences. Please pray for Thailand’s future in a time of some uncertainty, but also pray that Thai people may come to know and adore the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
Day Nine: Christmas in Thailand is similar to Christmas in Australia. The freedom and resources to reach out to the community. Taking the opportunity to explain, share, and proclaim Jesus Christ. I attended the Chiang Mai Community Church’s ‘Carols by candlelight: A musical Christmas pageant.’ My highlight was seeing the musician who composed the pageant singing quietly along to every part that was performed. A man’s heart overflowing from his mouth, professing God on his lips, serving his faith family and honouring God with his life.
Day Ten: I am learning that Buddhism is more than a religion in Thailand- it is culture, values, ethnicity and nationalism. 94% of Thailand’s population are cultural Buddhists. Ancestor and idol worship is the norm here too. Offerings are made to appease, guard against evil and to make merit. Buddha images are an aid to help the individual in their path towards complete elimination of suffering. Pray for this nation, that they might learn of an eternity with God and for the Christians in Thailand, that they may model the Christian life and speak truth and joy in a life with God.
Day Eleven: In Thailand, Christians aren’t seen as normal. Only 0.6% of Thailand’s population are Christians. From a Thai parent’s Buddhist point of view, their child becoming a Christian threatens the destiny of their soul. Thai Christians are often disowned as betrayers of mother, father, country, religion and their own Thai-ness. But we praise God for those who have come to trust in the eternal peace through Jesus Christ. Pray that they may witness the soul saving grace, into eternity, through the cross to their families & friends.
Day Twelve: #aNicInThai here, this is my final entry. Thanks for following my journey and peeking through this Instagram window into the world of a Serve Asia Worker. My journey doesn’t end here, God calls me to a daily walk with him – active, living, growing in love – because of his love in sending Jesus. Why not consider how you are living for God, would you plug in to the power source of creation? Would you Serve Asia with OMF?
What I’m Doing Now, 1 Year Later
I have returned to the work I was doing before I left, an Independent School Boarding House for 12-19 year old girls. However, I have begun the process of farewells as I am now an OMF International appointee, and I am raising financial and prayer support for long-term service as a Guest Home Manager in Thailand.
It is a season of transition and of now and not yet. I know I will return, but I am preparing