In late August, a team of 14 students, nurses, and faculty from Walla Walla University arrived at Asia Pacific International University in Muak Lek, Thailand, ready to engage in three focused areas of service. The first part of the project was work on a local farm which helped strengthen the financial situation of the local agricultural industry. Another point of focus was an elementary school where children were taught to speak English. The third initiative assisted at a nursing school, working alongside and providing support to the local nursing students.
Pedrito Maynard-Reid, professor of theology, has led the Thailand mission trip since 2003. His goal in the project is to build and foster relationships and friendships, translating directly into the mission of Walla Walla University. The cross-cultural experience and hands-on activities allow students to enact the Generosity in Service and Beauty in Expression pillars of the university. “We are there to give and also to receive,” said Maynard-Reid.
Maynard-Reid stresses that the most important task is spreading good news about Jesus, fulfilling the university’s Faith in God pillar. The need for ministry is very prominent in Thailand. Located in the 10-40 window, many Thai people have never been introduced to Christianity.
Every trip includes a visit to an orphanage, where students recall the profound impact a simple hug can make for the children, many of which are refugees or have experienced trauma. Trip participants recall the lasting memories they made with the children, seeing their common values and interests rather than their differences. You can watch a studen't perspective of the trip on our Instagram page, @wallawallauniversity.
“After a two-year hiatus because of COVID, both we and our Thai friends were so blessed, words cannot express,” professor Maynard-Reid said. He also encourages interested students to participate in upcoming trips to Thailand, which occur annually. WWU mission trips take place during school breaks and strive to follow the commands of Jesus to “come” and “go.” Those wishing to experience evangelism and make new friends through annual short-term mission trips may inquire at the student missions office when sign-ups open in January.
Posted Oct. 3, 2022