As a 72-year-old pensioner and grandfather of 12, I don’t think I would fit into your profile of a “normal” Serve Asia candidate. I cannot sit around doing nothing, and so I run my own one-man travel business from home, cycle upwards of 50kms per week, work at a soup kitchen every Saturday, serve as conductor on a kiddies train at the local Botanical Gardens most weekends, and serve with OMF South Africa as a mobilizer.
I have been involved with Nick & Trish from OMF South Africa since they first went to the field in Thailand about 15 years ago (and with Noel & Jean – field workers in Mindanao, Philippines before that). In 2005, I visited Thailand on business (not with OMF) and fell in love with the country and its people.
While looking for ways to serve the people of Thailand, I saw an advertisement in our church brochure in 2017 asking for volunteers to work with TCK’s (Third Culture Kids) during a regional conference in Chiang Mai. I immediately put my name forward and was surprised when I was accepted at my age. I flew out to Chiang Mai and had the most wonderful experience with the members of the Thailand team, looking after and entertaining 3 to 11-year-olds for a week while their parents attended the conference.
2018 saw me flying out to Chiang Mai again, this time to work with 4 & 5-year-olds during the June Mekong Reunion. Again, it was a wonderful experience reading to the kids and doing crafts with them, playing “hooligan games” and sharing snacks with them, and generally hyping them up before handing them back to their parents in the evening so that they had to cope with hyped-up children at bedtime. Being a surrogate grandpa wasn’t work, it was fun… an absolute blessing from the Lord. I would have done it again in 2019 if finances had permitted
What did I learn about God from this experience?
He is a loving and caring Father, who not only provides for the needs of his children through other members of the broader Christian family but often includes an element of fun into the task.
He is no discriminator of age and will use anyone to fulfil his purpose. He used Caleb at the age of 85 (Joshua 14:6-15) and he used me at the age when many people thought that I should be sitting in “Heaven’s Waiting Room” resting until he calls me home.
What did I learn about Thailand?
It is a beautiful country, full of beautiful people – kind, considerate, patient, gentle. The kind of people I would like to be with in Heaven. The only problem is that most of them are not going to be there and that makes me very sad.
Now that I am back home, I am watching and waiting for the Lord to open a door and point me in the direction of the field for another term (short or long) with his children – those who know they are his children and those who have no inkling yet that they will one day be his children.
Serve Asia worker