Volunteering In Thailand – Don’t Just Visit, Do

Since I’ve returned from my trip to Thailand, I’ve been struggling for the words to adequately communicate all of my experiences with GYST and BGET. It’s difficult to describe our service trip to someone who has never gone for a variety of reasons. The average person mainly wants to hear all the little things: about the toilets, the food, and the bugs. They strive to keep the conversation superficial, while I attempt to tell them about the more complex issues the team encountered. Because in the end, the time we all spent in Thailand really wasn’t about the food, or the bugs, and not even the toilets. Ultimately it was about the people we met, and the service we did. Of course, there are foods and places I will remember, but it’s the time we spent helping people and the emotions associated with that experience that I will never forget. I know I speak for the whole group when I say these are the real memories of Thailand.

I’ll always remember the schools I visited and the kids we played with after the build was done. I’ll remember the adults who came to the training. They were so focused on the lessons and profoundly grateful afterwards. We take education for granted in the United States, but for these people it can be a vital life-changing tool. We definitely had our fun, and we did tour and play around plenty. But if it had been only been that, the time we spent in Thailand would have been shallow, we would have been mere visitors – just observers of this foreign land. But instead, we were a part of it and it became a part of us. I will never look at life in the same way again; I hope I will never again take opportunities for granted – they are a privilege not a right.

I know that most people won’t try to do something like we did: journey into a foreign country not just to visit, but also to serve. But I wish that they would. I encourage everyone to join or help an organization like BGET or GYST. The work they do is spectacular and I was honored to be a part of it.

This post is written by Max Lord.