Have you wondered what it is like to serve a missionary family and live in a new place? Today we hear from Anouck who went and served a missionary family for six months:
“Hi, I’m Anouk, I am from France and I was a Serve Asia worker in Thailand, spending time with an American missionary family. During those months, my experiences ranged from funny to frustrating, and I was always learning. At first, it was really hard to cope with the differences between my French culture and the way of life in Thailand with an American family.
I experienced two layers of culture shock; the first layer involved the Thai language, culture and food, and climate; the second layer of culture was that I was far from home, with people I had just met. Through this, I began to understand how difficult it is for missionaries when they leave their hometown and go to a new country without a return ticket in their pocket.
Despite all the difficulties I faced, I was able to experience something I hadn’t before. I had a lot of quality time with the missionary kids of the family I went to serve. I became like them; spending long periods of time with each one, getting to know them, and playing games together. One of the highlights of this experience was the opportunity I had to share my culture and language with them.
Eventually I began to feel like I was a member of their family. The three boys that I taught became my three little brothers. I’m so thankful for that! One funny story I fondly remember is: on the evening of Christmas Eve, I was with my adopted American family and we went outside with the three little boys to hunt cockroaches! They killed a lot of them so I also tried to kill one with my foot, but instead I made a little hole in the wall. Now this is a permanent reminder of their French friend and the fun we had together!
During my placement, I also spent time with my Filipina housemate and new friends. It was so special to meet them. We went for vacations together, and enjoyed the New Year celebration in Bangkok too. When we were together I no longer felt alone.
Throughout my Serve Asia placement, one thing I learned is that difficulties give us the opportunity to draw closer to God. For instance, I don’t like dogs, especially stray dogs. I quickly discovered that stray dogs are numerous in Thailand. So, when I was on my bike, worrying I may be attacked by a stray dog, I sang songs that reminded me of God’s protection.”
Have you been on a Serve Asia placement before? If so, what is one thing that you learned?