For one thing, we have made so many friends. There are 23 adults and 16 children a part of this training time. We are staying in a compound of vacation villas, and our group fills up three of them. Between each of the houses, there is always something crazy going on--especially with 16 kids running around! I have been stretched a lot relationally, for a few reasons: One is that I naturally don't get filled up by meeting new people or making small talk. I'm always much more comfortable with people I know, and people who know me. So spending time with almost all people I've never known before this week has been stretching. That being said, they are wonderful people, which I know now that I have had a week to get to know them deeper!
Every morning we have training sessions from 9-12:30, which have thus far consisted of learning about AC's core values, and sharing our testimonies. This sharing time has actually been very sweet. I so enjoy and am encouraged by hearing each and every person's story of how Father has worked in their lives and why they are serving in Asia. I shared mine this morning and was so encouraged by their following response while lifting me up. Very sweet.
As far as free time goes, there is much of it. And that is what urges me to say nothing has happened. These seven weeks were very intentionally designed to have built in rest and relaxation, to make it possible for people to grow and learn however they need. I have spent lots of time thinking about J, and my relationship with Him. If you're interested in hearing more about that, please feel free to ask me personally sometime.
Tomorrow begins the weekend. Donna and I are excited to get out of the compound where we have spent most of our time secluded from the Thai culture, and go out on the town. We hear it is a touristy city, but that there are still great sights and sounds and smells. We plan on experiencing them all! I'm excited to go out and see Thailand and experience the culture.
Last but not least, today was a monumental day for one of the kids in our group: he turned 5! We had a pirate birthday for him, everyone participated. It was complete with a treasure hunt, pirate hats, two scraggly silly pirates, stolen treasure, a "walk-the-plank" moment, and a water balloon fight to wrap it all up. I've put some pictures below. It was a really great time; for me I felt like I was able to bond more with the rest of the team members simply because it was a unique shared experience. And because I got thrown in the pool... along with every one else. Apparently it's a tradition: Chris (the AC director) always throws everyone in the pool at sometime during training. Enjoy the pictures!