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    Author: Ellen Conserva

    Category: The Pulse - 2017.46 Issue 46

    Taste and See: My Trip Back to Thailand

    IN THE MIDDLE OF SEPTEMBER, A VERY GENEROUS FRIEND gave me a ticket to fly back to Thailand with her for two weeks.  She and I worked together for 10 years at The Agape Home, an orphanage for children with HIV and AIDS.  What a wonderful time we had! I had not been back to Thailand for a year and a half, and I missed it very much.

    Our first stop was food! We had late night noodles in a stall across the street from the place we were staying.  All those delicious smells and flavors came flooding back and I felt just like I was home again. I knew that this would be a combination of a “seeing old friends/kids” tour and an “eating tour.” Let’s be honest!

    For the next two weeks, we spent time visiting with the kids in the orphanage, the ones who were still living there, as well as the ones who had “aged out” and were living in the community. I was able to spend a lot of time with our 24 year old foster daughter, Suwara, eating at our favorite places, and laughing while holding hands. She is doing so well and my heart was so pleased and at rest.  Others are thriving in their lives and in their faith, keeping safe and holding down good jobs or going to university.

    We also had some difficult visits with some of the older children who had been in our program for kids and who were at risk for sex trafficking. It was difficult to see and hear about the depression, the unwanted pregnancies, the mental health issues, and the STDs that were plaguing some of these lovely kids. The good news is that they were still reaching out to adults they trusted and wanted prayer and support. We met with all the kids in our program one evening, eating Thai sweets and playing fun board games. The sound of their laughter is a treasure that I have taken back with me.

    All too soon, my trip was over, and I had to say goodbye. There were tears, long hugs, and promises of love forever that pulled at my heart.  It was hard to come back, but I knew that God was taking care of these lovely kids while we have been gone.

    Psalm 34:8 says “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!” Yes, the flavors of Thailand were very good. They triggered memories and filled my belly. But God is also very good, and He once again proved Himself to me that He alone is the fragrant delicious God that can take care of orphans and “the least of these” very well, indeed.