Last night I attended a Thailand report by our most recent team who returned from a medical/ dental trip last month. A local dentist and Woodside member of the White Lake campus, Dr. Jim Bedor, gave the presentation which showed the pictures and told the stories of the children in the orphanage and people in the villages that are finding new hope and a future in Jesus Christ. As Jim shared, there were times he seemed emotionally moved. In fact, for all who have been to Thailand there have been tears of joy as they watched these children grow, make decisions for Christ and be baptized. I remember well my own tears at the dedication of the orphanage. As the children sang songs in English and in Ahka, I wept as I thought of how their lives had been so dramatically changed from where they were to where they were now. Their smiles shouted hope, joy and gratitude.
But last night as Jim shared, my mind went back to another time and different tears.
It was the fall of 2005 and I was having dinner with a potential staff member to our Woodside team. Daryl Bursch shared with me that his hobby was to go to Thailand as often as possible. When I inquired as to the purpose, he talked with me about the horrible sex trade in that country that robbed children of their innocence and their future- children as young as seven and eight years of age. He told me that he had rescued young children from the streets of Bangkok and relocated them to an orphanage high in the mountains. He had done that 110 times. He wept as he shared the burden and I wept listening.
I later had Daryl share his burden with the Woodside family- we all wept. Those tears of burden are just emotion unless they are followed by action. Woodside sprang into action by generously giving and going. We put together a strategy, bought land, built buildings, sent teams and prayed. It is amazing to see all that has happened in the last seven years. We have plans to continue to develop and expand the orphanage along with developing that campus as a for Ahka evangelism and discipleship in Thailand, China, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
The tears of burden with work and prayer have produced tears of joy as lives have been eternally changed. Today I praise God for what He has done and I am grateful to the Woodside family for their willingness to be used of God. From tears of burden to tears of joy–and it has only just begun!