Per usual, every season looks different for us. And ’tis the season for youth!
As things unfolded after our COVID quarantine here in Mae Sot, we have seen more and more opportunities for the youth in our community. I can’t always explain how things unfold, but we have a youth room now. And twice a week, we have youth night: one night with dinner, English and games; a second with a bible study and games. For English, we are doing a study on Planet Earth, and we’re all learning so much! For our bible study, we are working through the Alpha Series for youth, and we are really enjoying the conversations it’s opening up.
We also mix in a few birthdays and movie nights! And they are loving the new games we have set up on the projector each week.
We also have a whole lot of youth working with us, particularly Stephen. We have hired Pyint Soe full-time, so he works with us five days a week. He continues to serve at church, running sound and Powerpoint, and manages all of the correspondence with our pastor. He also makes the bulletin and oversees four other youth helping to gather the materials for each week. Through this, they are all learning live sound, Powerpoint, typing in Burmese, and other computer skills.
We also have these youth creating a database of music resources for the Burmese church. Pyint Soe is also overseeing this: teaching three teenagers from our church to type in Burmese and use computers regularly, as well as overseeing all the data entry. He’s incredibly organized and a great teacher; and he and Stephen are quite similar. He’s perfect for this!
Further, Stephen continues to train Pyint Soe and two of the other youth on sound recording and editing.
They are working on two different projects right now as they continue to do at-home education because of COVID. Their more-open schedules are allowing them to continue working, and a few of them are practicing & learning musical instruments two to three times per week.
In all, this hires seven youth in our church and community each week, providing snack money for those living at the church with their needs provided for. For those in our community, this helps to provide for their families each week.
Beyond this, Stephen also has two interns from the local technical college working with him for six months. They are working on an album as a part of OneHouse–including weekly translation nights!
As you can see this adding up, it’s busy. Thankfully, we have Lun helping is all of this! Also thankfully, Oak loves the youth; he can join for Planet Earth, and our meals with the youth and translators. It is fun to hear him call for his “big sisters” and “big brothers” when they walk in the door. He also prays for them every night before bed.
That said, having your toddler call the youth his brothers and sisters has a way of making you feel quite old. Then I cringed at one of the girl’s gaudy make-up, and encouraged another not to just stare at their phones all day, and then crashed into bed after doing the dishes at 9:30pm…it’s all making me feel a bit old.
Even feeling old, it is so fun to have this time with the youth every week. They are all in really pivotal seasons, both making big decisions now and having more on the horizon.
Speaking of all the decisions they have on their horizons–leave it to me to have a language blunder & make a story!
We have a prayer board at the front of our church, and last week I was reading it, where it had 26.07.2020 in big letters, and then an announcement. I didn’t know the first word, but the second is “celebration”–used often in wedding ceremonies–and then had two names: Khiang Khaing Win, who comes to youth and works with us, and another name I didn’t know.
I sort of panicked: getting married? She’s only fifteen! And she’s living at the church–the same place Yaminoo lives and is also fifteen. My brain was scrambling. Was she pregnant and they were requiring her to marry? What brought this on?! I hadn’t even heard of a boyfriend. It all seemed so fast, and I was completely overwhelmed. I was already trying to figure out how I’d make a cake in the next week, because I knew I’d be asked to provide the wedding cake.
Then they announced it up front–the following week, a word I didn’t know + the word sounding like wedding; everyone responding happily…I was overwhelmed.
After the service, I ran up to Yaminoo and asked, “She’s getting married? I don’t understand! Who?”
To which Yaminoo responded, “Yes! Khaing Khaing Win! Wait? What?”
“She’s getting MARRIED?”
Turns out the word I didn’t know and kept skipping was the word for baptism. A baptism celebration. No cake needed, no boy involved, and nothing to panic over. And a week’s notice now seemed acceptable 🙄
Yaminoo and I cleared it up, but of course the crazy foreigner lady’s language blunder made the rounds.
But we did have a lovely thing to celebrate this Sunday!