It is not a secret to anyone who knows me that I love to experience different cultures and that I delight in discovering the beauty in differences. I have been on journeys to various continents and countries most of which it was a complete surprise I was able to go and all of which was a complete surprise of what I found. Each and every experience had an effect on me in different degrees, this effect I can only explain as an expanding of my heart.
The most recent of my cultural experiences came from a really unexpected direction. From a connection with a close friend, I had been accepted as a volunteer in Thailand to be a temporary member of Health And Nutrition Development Services. A wonderful local and international team that behaved as a community, perhaps messy, perhaps disorganised, perhaps crazy and ambitions…. Well actually this is what it may look like form the outside but the truth is they fit so well into the culture because this is how all things seemed to work in Thailand. Being flexible whilst keeping vision and a sense of solidity in your own identity was a key to being able to thrive and learn and become ‘khon Thai’ (a Thai person, although this also had allot to do with being able to pallet really spicy food).
In being in this fantastic country I have discovered treasures. Working with a team of dedicated people, who have a heartfelt desire to be in community with hill tribe and local people encouraging their growth was the perfect catalyst for my own growth. Before I went to Thailand I felt a sense of unease of frustration within myself that I could not achieve or do what I hoped I might despite putting all my energies, heart, soul and back-bone into it.
When I arrived in Thailand I soon realised that my position and perspective could now no longer revolve around doing but in being. This was not because of a cultural spiritual revelation but because it was hard enough task to remain solid in myself without taking on the extras of doing something wonderful. In fact that was the very piece of advice given to me by the team, to live and learn, to survive and thrive you need to concentrate on one thing Being Lucy. This was a helpful aim as readjusting to climate, culture and food as well as learning new language, lifestyle and how to do daily tasks in a different way is exhausting!
I soon realised that this philosophy was a transferable treasure when actually all the things I would have wanted to do, to bless people, to create friendships, learn a language and using creativity teach and learn it all happened in good time and without much intended effort from my part. It was to my surprise that it just came out of who I am, in me being me, trusting in Jesus for my life’s direction and daily needs, the things I delight in that I desire for naturally sprouted in the people and circumstances around me!
It is not only a treasure given to me by Thailand but also the HANDS team a cultural atmosphere and appreciation of people and being community together.