I cannot wait to share this story with you of our “Move of a Lifetime!”
Jared and I were at my best friend Charlee’s wedding when we received a phone call from my parents. They called to tell us how much they missed up and wanted us to come visit them again. My parents are mission presidents over the Thailand Bangkok Mission. We visited them over Christmas last year and it was amazing. We got so excited thinking about going once again to see my parents. We were deciding when we should go and how long we would stay. Jared and I got thinking, what if we moved to Thailand? We both kinda laughed but were like “no really we should.” So we started moving forward in life like that was apart of the plan. We were in our last semester of college. Both of us has 20+ credit hours and working 35+ hour weeks at our jobs. We were crazy busy. We ran this idea by my parents and they loved it. They were super excited for us to come and we got the approval to live with them when we moved out there. Everything started to fall into place. My husband runs a side business called Utah Unique which is an outdoor company that helps encourage people to explore the outdoors and it was a great source of income for us while we would be in Thailand. Then the best thing happened, my dream came true! My husband got us connected with Operation Underground Railroad (OUR) and we were going to be helping them out in Thailand, since Thailand has a huge population of children who are in sex trafficking. We graduated college, whoohooo! Then the fun began. We were finishing up at our jobs for a couple months in the summer to get ready to move out to Thailand. We started reading all the books OUR gave us to prepare us for the troubling and heartbreaking circumstances we would be seeing. We did all the background checks, drug testing, and informative interviews discussing where we would be working and what we would be doing. We were so excited. We felt like this was something we could do and give 100% of our heart to for the next year. We quit our jobs and sold our HOME, CARS, and FURNITURE in preparation to leave. Packing was an adventure. We brought everything we possibly could into our two bags each weighing 100 pounds total.
August 14th came and we woke up early and loaded our bags into the truck. On our way to the airport Jared got an email saying “We’re sorry but we do not have enough work in Thailand for you, so we won’t be needing you anymore.” We about died. We both had tears coming down our faces and thinking what in the world are we going to do we just sold EVERYTHING and quit our jobs that we loved to give 100% of our time and hearts to this great cause. We had no idea what was going to happen. So we got to Thailand and my cute parents picked us up from the airport, it took three hours to get to their home from the airport which usually only takes about 30-40 minutes depending on the traffic. In Bangkok you never know how long it is going to take you even to get around the block. We arrived at their house and it felt so good to see my cute parents again. We were able to just talk and eat some delicious fruit. We decided to make the most of our time out here. We started exploring around Bangkok and figuring out how to use the MRT and the BTS. We were having so much fun and it was pretty nice getting a little break from our crazy lives before moving here. After about a week of just spending time with my parents traveling and relaxing a bit we decided to figure out what we were going to do now that ALL of our plans had changed. My dad told us to talk to Elder Pollmann who is over the Public Affairs of Thailand about finding volunteer work. We were able to get in contact with him right away and he recommended the Mercy Centre to us. This was the orphanage I had wanted to go to the previous year we visited Thailand but we weren’t able to make it there.
Anyway, we had a meeting with Father Joseph, the man in charge of the Centre that Friday. We had really no idea how to get there but we just went for it. We took the BTS (skytrain) and then we hopped off and walked about three miles to the Centre. WOW! Walking there was an adventure. It is in one of the poorest parts of Thailand. We walked past the poorest of the poor and it was really eye opening and made you really feel guilty for ever complaining a day in your life. They live on the Clong, which is some of the dirtiest water just full of trash and sewage and some would be fishing out of it or trying to bathe in it. It was heartbreaking. Then the next thing you do is walk past all of these people, and MILLIONS OF CATS AND DOGS ahhhh, doing wood work. It was absolutely beautiful and they are so talented. Then this was the part that got me both with emotion and fear. We were walking down the slums looking for the Mercy Centre. We were literally walking through the homes of these beautiful people. They were all sitting in their homes and we were walking by and they had to be thinking “what the heck are these farangs doing over here?” I started to feel very uncomfortable just thinking oh my goodness something bad is going to happen because we are invading their space and we have no idea where we are but Jared being who is he reassured me everything was fine and we kept going. IT was so narrow we could tough both sides of the houses on each side. Some people looked nervous as we passed and some just smiled from ear to ear, that was reassuring. We turned a corner and there was a man with his dog. So I panic, first i’m terrified of dogs, second this walkway was TINY, so I just grabbed onto Jared. Jared tells me just to walk by like nothing is there so he does it and of course nothing he is fine. I got nervous so I kinda faced off with the dog and he did not like that at all so it starts barking and going in for the bit and I could feel the teeth on my skin and then the man yelled at the dog and hit its back and I was able to walk away with no bite but a heart that was pounding through my chest. It’s funny now looking back but I honestly don’t think I have ever been more scared in my life. I was thinking in my head the rest of the way to the center I don’t think I want to come here if I have to walk past all of this everyday, I did not like that one bit.
We eventually got there and met up with Father Joe. He is one good man. He has the biggest heart and has such a desire to make a change, and he really has. Father Joe welcomed us with open arms. We met with him and he gave us a tour of the Centre, walked us around the classrooms, meet the cute children, and we instantly felt excited about this opportunity to help. They wanted us to get right to work. We met with the other teachers there and they gave us our schedule, and told us which class we would be teaching.
On our first day, we walked in and were greeted by hundreds of the most beautiful children, seriously our hearts were exploding, I don’t think my face has ever hurt so badly from smiling. They were in the middle of their morning songs and dancing. It was seriously the cutest thing EVER! We introduced ourselves to these cute little ones, not knowing which of the students would be in our class. We went into our classroom and waited for our class to come in. We had 13 of the cutest four year old kids, like literally perfection.
We went around the room and met each little one as they were smiling and giggling the entire time. We were expected to teach English but we had no idea how this was going to go since they were four and we didn’t speak Thai but we were shocked with how smart these kids were. Our schedule had us teaching Monday- Thursday from the morning exercises until lunch. This was so fun because we were able to spend lots of one on one time with each child. We had daily lessons and a way fun art project, not gonna lie the art projects were BOMB. We were able to teach them the alphabet, colors, shapes, numbers, emotions, animals, and much more.
Jared and I wanted to bring all of them home. Seriously why not? Jared fell in love with this tiny little girl named (Pay / wah) and she sure loved him back. It’s times like this when you just wish you could have endless amounts of money so you could adopt every single child and love them with your whole heart and show them how amazing they are, but sadly that is not the case. SO since we cannot bring all of them home we decided we would make this such a fun experience for this and help them feel loved and just BE HAPPY!
Our time at the Mercy Center was one of the most beautiful experiences Jared and I have ever spent together. The children in our class were inspirational and precious. They taught us how to be truly happy, it was humbling. We will never forget the memories we made and the emotions we felt. This experience will continue to bless us and help us throughout the rest of our lives as we raise our own children.
WE NEVER WANT TO LEAVE THOSE KIDDOS! THEY HAVE OUR WHOLE HEARTS!
In between all of this we were able to do some AMAZING traveling! We went to South Korea, Hawaii, Laos, Singapore, Malaysia, and Cambodia! All of these places were absolutely incredible. I love traveling because not only seeing beautiful places but meeting incredible people. Not going to lie I felt like a celebrity for the last 4 months because everyone wanted to take pictures with me and would just smile so big if I smiled at them. I LOVE that. I also love to see no matter how little people have they still have so much HAPPINESS! I really learned a lot about gratitude and attitude while being here in Thailand and during our travels.
Well we LOVED our time in Thailand and wouldn’t have traded it for the world. It was not only fun and adventurous but it was a very humbling experience as well. We decided it was best to return home since we barley had any source of income since we were just volunteering and doing a little social media online. We are happy for the memories we made and shared with one another, but are ready to return back to “real” life and make new memories here in Utah.
Some of my favorite memories from Thailand:
-The market every Tuesday and Thursday where we bought fresh fruits and veggies for way cheap. My favorites were the Mangoes and Carrots.
-Paying our respects to the King. We participated in the year long viewing for the King. We waited in a line for 4 hours with thousands of Thai people. We were the ONLY white people there. They had signs everywhere that said NO FOREIGNERS allowed, but since PAPA J is fluent in Thai and cute everyone loves him so they let us in. We were in black from head to toe, we were basically from August-November as well. We made it to the front where they made us put our shoes in a bag and we were in the same room with his incredible coffin and we had to participate in this ceremony where we laid on the ground and did three bows and then they moved us right out. IT WAS SOOOO COOL!!
-Seeing TONS of temples.
-Jared speaking Thai. His famous line was saying ” Chan Mi Phud Phas A Thiy” which is I don’t speak Thai.
-Being with Jared 24/7
-The Rain and our street being flooded. It was a daily thing. Down pours for like 15 minutes and then our street would be up to our knees. It was really fun. I love the rain.
-Riding in a Swan Paddle Boat
-Khao Yai National Park
WE LOVE THAILAND AND THE PEOPLE. WE WILL MISS BEING HERE! AND MISS ALL THE FRIENDS WE HAVE MADE!
Thanks for reading cuties.