Life Passions

It’s been 3 weeks since I arrived in Mae Sot and the word that I would use to describe my experience so far is Inspired

I am grateful for all the people, from all over the world, who have come here to give of themselves and work alongside the Burmese migrant community.  Inspired by their heart, dedication, and the work that they do.

I am blessed by the new friends I’ve made that have welcomed me into their groups with open arms.  Inspired by their giving spirit and their embracing hearts not allowing fears and insecurities affect their acceptance of others.  

I am thankful for the numerous Burmese migrants that I have met here, who are giving so much of themselves to help their fellow people.  Inspired by their dedication, will, and drive to pour into the lives of children and youth in hopes to provide a future for this next generation that will be shine brighter.

Here is snapshot of the things that are happening on this Thai-Burma border.  

75% of Burmese migrant youth do not have an education beyond grade 6.  When you hear stats like that, you have to ask yourself, how are these kids ever expected to find a decent paying job?  A lack of education, on the bright side, leads to low-paying construction jobs for the boys and waitressing for the girls.  On the dark side, it leads to human trafficking and sex slavery.  

When you read about this in articles and reports, it’s very easy to distance yourself from it because the problem is so vast and so far away that it really doesn’t leave you with too many options to act.  But this has become a new reality for me; a reality that stares me straight in the face;  one that I can’t just sit idly by and watch happen.  And same story goes for the people I’m going to tell you about.

~ Dedicated People ~

Having shared my ideas with many people about starting a business here on the border, I am told by each of them every time that the guy I need to talk to is Patrick.  He is the founder of Youth Connect, an organization does exactly what their name states; connecting youth to local jobs.  An amazing organization that takes youth through the complete process of teaching them soft skills, training them in life skills, obtaining proper work identification, providing apprenticeship opportunities, and eventually full-time job opportunities.  Really believing in the capacity of young people, they’ve started up 3 social enterprise businesses in hopes to provide long term sustainability of their programs.  Really believe in this guy and I hope to partner with him in the very near future to see if we can start another amazing idea.  

~ New Friends ~

Before the move, I was getting rather nervous about it all.  It was going to be a lot of change all at once; being alone in a new town, not knowing anyone or where anything is or where I was going to stay or what projects I was going to work on.  Pretty much the most instability I have ever experienced in my entire life.  

But God knew that I had that fear, so 4 hours into my move, I had already met 2 new friends and found a place to stay.  One of them ends up being a co-worker of Ray whom I had met a few months prior during a short trip here.  They’re part of a group called Outpour Movement.  Next thing you know this group has embraced me as one of their own and I’m integrated instantly to birthday parties and sports day with the Burmese youth that they work closely with.  Feel so blessed.  Some of the warmest people you’ll meet and seeing them love like Jesus loves inspires me to do better and be better.  Love my new family.

~ Burmese World Changers ~

There’s a guy named Sai that I met a few weeks ago.  His story is quite amazing.  Escaped from Burma at the age of 10 and fled to Mae Sot by himself.  Was able to get educated at a Buddhist monastery for a couple of years and then was working odd jobs here and there by the age of 14.  He was thirsty for education so he read everything he could get his hands on and is basically self-educated.  Now, speaking about 3 languages fluently, he is the principal of Knowledge Zone, a vocational school where they teach Thai, Burmese, English and Computers.  Motivated to give back to his people because of all the opportunities he’s been given.  A truly world-changing inspiration to me that I hope to work alongside with to lift him up to a level where he can reach more of his people.  

It’s amazing how much God has already shown me in 3 weeks.  Things here are definitely moving at a quicker pace than I’ve been use to for the past year and a half.  I’m beginning to see the ways in which  I can use the passions and skill set that God has given me to best impact this town.

Excited for what’s ahead.

Originally posted to Life Passions