Skip to main content

Sports, English and Dentistry - ATM goes to School

The Clay Center is all about building relationships that allow for the spread of the Gospel and Biblical mentoring in young adults.  There seems to be a new openness to Christianity among this current generation and eagerness to learn healthy habits in family life and marriage.  The Fords and Comptons hope to use the Clay Center as a place to connect with University students through sports and English and then begin one on one mentoring.  Relationships like that start slow and begin with learning trust.  Many of our team activities were for the purpose of beginning to build trust in the name “Clay Center” and give the Fords and Comptons an open door to future ministry opportunities in a Buddhist culture.
We spent 3 days doing just that in public schools.  Each day, we drove down a driveway under the dead of eyes of a Buddha who had fresh offerings of flowers and fruit laid out before him.  We unloaded trucks full of soccer balls, footballs, sports pinnies with the Clay Center logo printed on them, candy, English lessons, dental gear…..and teens who love Jesus.  Dave introduced us as a bunch of Americans who traveled from the other side of the world to help them with skills because we love them.  We spread out with our gear, our smiles and the Holy Spirit’s power to break down walls and smooth the way for the Gospel.
We divided our team into teams that rotated each of our three days.  Everyone got a chance to participate in our sports clinics and English classes.  Our dental team needed less hands so we polled the team about their future career plans and used students on that team that hoped to work in the health field some day.
Tim & Laura led our soccer skills training.  They rotated their kids through stations led by our students.  The language barrier seems to lose its power when a ball in involved.  The school staffs all expressed excitement about the soccer skill training.  They told Dave that they often have people come donate balls to the school, but never have people stay to work with the kids and help them learn.  The kids love soccer and were eager to learn things to make them better players.  Our teens have had the privilege of having coaching and team opportunities in the States that they were able to directly hand down to their Thai counterparts.
We also had an American Football team working each day under the hot sun.  Tim & Brenda Steenland brought their coaching skills to head up this team.  Great cheers went up from the school kids when it was announced that they would be learning football….a purely American sport.  It didn’t take long for training in the basics to give way to two hand touch games complete with growling defenses and touchdown dances.  There were many times that a game was stalled until the giggling girls could pull it together enough to pick themselves up off the ground after one of Josh Ford’s touchdown dances.
Our American students were divided into teams of 3 to teach basic and advanced English lessons to classes full of Thai students.  The students were elementary all the way up to high schoolers.  Our teaching teams were led by Aubrey Gillette and Tacie Anderson and taught lessons about numbers, colors, vocabulary, conversation skills and greetings. The part that got the most fun and laughter out of the Thai students was when our team taught them to use American slang.  We practiced “Peace Out!” “See you later alligator!”  “See ya” “Catch ya later!” and gave a lot of fist bumps and high fives.  I think our American team was the most nervous about participating in the English teaching…but quickly found that they were well prepared and had eager students.  They really did a great job and hopefully feel confident in their ability to use their English speaking skill as a gift to the Gospel anywhere in the world God may take them.
Our dental team saw much fewer kids than the other stations because of the individualized care they received.  The school staff brought to us the children who had the greatest dental needs and Dr. Dame addressed the pain of as many of them as he could during our day.  We had 4 students each day working with him.  One student became his chair side assistant, one learned to fill syringes and manage the other tools, and two sterilized and re-bagged tools.  Most children who sat in Dr. Dame’s chair had mouths full of cavities and infections.  They walked away having felt the love of Jesus through tender care.  They also walked away much healthier and with a new toothbrush and toothpaste! 
By the end of each day, the road had been paved for future ministry for the Clay Center’s team.  All the Buddhist headmasters thanked Dave profusely and offered open ended invitations for him to bring teams in the future.  Other local headmasters heard about what was happening and came to check it out and ask for a team to be brought to their school.  One of these is a Christian man who leads a public school.  He requested a team with the added invitation to have complete freedom in his school to preach the whole gospel to his Buddhist students.  The dead eyes of a Buddha statue can't hills a candle to the fire in the eyes of a bunch of Jesus loving teens! How amazing to be able use things as simple as soccer balls and footballs, English and dentistry to be a light in the middle of a dark world.



























































































Comments

Popular posts from this blog

What You Need, When You Need It - The Glorious Table

We ate steak at the fanciest place in town, me and my sister, our husbands, and our parents. Around the table, we joined Mom’s reminiscing. We retold our favorite stories of family vacations and holidays. We revealed some silly childhood secrets. And we listened to Mom’s stories from fifty years she and Dad spent together. One of our favorite stories is of the birthday Mom expected a diamond ring but went home from their swanky dinner with a shiny new set of hot rollers. Whenever Mom tells that story, instead of making fun of Dad for his slow-moving ways, she praises his serious, methodical decision making. She points to it as proof of his dependability. My mom told stories. I told stories. My sister told stories. Even our husbands had memories to share. We retold some of the stories Dad put on paper in his journal for us. The thing we missed most was Dad’s voice in the storytelling. Rather than telling the stories himself, he locked eyes on the teller and responded, “By golly, that ha

It's About Who We Are, Not What We Do - The Glorious Table

Living just four blocks down the street from my best friend made it easy to share clothes, secrets, and families. We could be found within a close radius of her backyard pool most summer days. The rhythm of our summer days revolved around Gretchen’s dad’s third-shift work schedule. During the morning hours, the house needed to stay dark and quiet, so we picked peppermint leaves to chew, painted our nails, and read books. Not long after lunchtime, Mr. Liddell would wake up, which paved the way for our favorite summer activity: synchronized swimming routines. We practiced and laughed until we felt ready for an audience. Gretchen’s dad always stopped mid-project to be amazed by our mildly in sync pool programs. He clapped and went back to work while we kept playing. His presence was as steady as the summer sun. He wasn’t merely my friend’s dad; he was a comfortable, expected constant in my life. The familiarity born by all those shared moments made his cancer diagnosis particularly awful

A Backpack Full of Stories

I've had a pile of stones in my heart for a long time, and from time to time, in various places I set stones in a pile that I can see and touch.  I've got lots of other piles in my life, ugly ones that have slowly built over time, piles that I don't like, didn't ask for, that suck the energy out of me.  Piles of laundry, piles of things to do, piles of papers to file, and more piles of laundry.  This pile is different.  This pile is mine on purpose, I've built it.  This pile puts a spotlight on Jesus that breathes life into me as it grows, makes me feel solid and settled and lifts my foot up for the next step of faith.  The stones remind me of moments, moments that have built my faith.  Just like the children of Israel, I've erected a monument in my soul to point my heart, and the hearts of future generations to the powerful God who is working in my life.  Looking at these rocks reminds me of the things I know, the things I've seen Him do on my behalf.  Th