February 22, 2024 Mission

Thailand Mission Trip: Construction Progress

SMT The Work Has Begun

Our Thailand Mission Trip team has been hard at work these past few days! Beginning on Monday, February 19, our team began working on the interior masonry walls of the GROW’s new girls’ home. The team was able to gift the children with a vast amount of donations and the joy they witnessed was beyond belief. 

Read their updates below. 

SMT The Work Has Begun
SMT The Work Has Begun

The first day of masonry work was slow. We were still learning and trying to communicate with the contractor, Nuum, and his crew. The communication barrier was tough, but we have been able to get Faa to translate when possible and have used hand gestures throughout the other time.  

On day 1, we brought so much energy to the jobsite in the morning, having seen the need in the village the day before. However, the masonry was difficult for us and we built a few walls that the contractor said had to be taken down and redone. Our team left a bit defeated.

On Day 2, our confidence grew and we were a little wiser from our previous learnings. We knocked out as much masonry as possible. However, we had a new challenge. Hospitality is a core view in the Thai culture. GROW’s team thought we worked too hard the day before so they prepared breaks and snacks for us numerous times throughout the day. While it was greatly appreciated, it was hard to start and stop work so many times and feel productive. After a few discussions explaining our American culture, Shook’s goal in coming to serve and more, we found a balance.  

Day 3 of construction is when it all clicked for our team. Everyone had their workstations and had gained confidence laying the brick. Our team was tired, working hard in the 90-degree heat, but finally felt like we were accomplishing what we came here to do. We are even ahead of schedule according to the contractor! I am so proud of our team for working through the challenges and cultural/language barriers to help build a facility that will allow GROW to rescue more of the at-risk children we met in the villages.  

In addition to our main task of masonry, we have picked up a few side jobs along the way. First, we learned that their water filtration system broke just after its 1-year warranty and they were unable to find anyone able to fix it. This was a huge issue for GROW, because they had to resort to buying bottled water for the kids daily, a huge expense. Rob jumped on the task, and was able to repair the system – a huge deal! On day 3, Faa pointed out a drainage issue by GROW’s main kitchen/cafeteria, in proximity to our build. As such, Nate and Rob began working on a plan to repair the issue and found some pipes to tie into. We will continue to work on this throughout the week along with the masonry work. Faa also has some bunk beds, tables and shelving for us to build this week when we are not working on the project.  

THANK YOU to all of our Shook teammates, family, and friends who donated items to bring with us on the trip. We were able to fill 10+ full bags of supplies. On Day 1, we unpacked our bags and sorted the items. On Day 2, we filled a backpack for each kid with matching gear (hat, sunglasses, journal, etc.) and one special item. On Day 3, we distributed the bags in what GROW calls family time, where all the staff/children sit around the fire to sing, share what they are thankful for, etc. It’s hard to explain the level of excitement of the children to receive these gifts. William put it best when he said it’s the most amount of joy he’s ever seen in one place, and I know all of our team would agree. The squeals were on another level. We learned after that this is the first gift most of these kids have ever received. They were thrilled over receiving the smallest gifts, like toothpaste, but the hats and sunglasses were a favorite with all. We left campus at 9:30 pm Wednesday evening, much after the kids’ bedtime and when we were supposed to leave, but their excitement was too great. As our truck pulled out of GROW’s gates, we had packs of children crowding the vehicle and chasing us out of the gate. We cannot wait to share some videos with you when we get back (must remain offline for their safety). There are no words to describe the true joy on their faces or what it meant to our team to experience that joy. Our hearts have been stolen by these kids and this mission.