February 26, 2024 Mission

Thailand Mission Trip: Mission Complete

SMT 3.0

Mission accomplished! Over the past week, our team was able to complete masonry on approximately 23 wall sections — a huge feat, especially in the mid-90 degree heat. We worked side-by-side with the local Thai contractor, Nuum, and his crew and were able to learn techniques from them, such as sticking a brick in the mortar when it is too wet to firm it up. Additionally, they shared how they learned about safety from us and cleaning up the site at the end of every day. Our team placed bricks and empty water bottles on the end of the rebar as makeshift rebar caps, which they said they had never seen and would be very helpful in the future to avoid accidents. 


Furthermore, we were able to work on some smaller projects around the GROW campus, including:  


  • Repairing the campus’ water filtration system, allowing access to clean drinking water in lieu of buying bottled water.  

  • Installing a 1.5” and 6” PVC sewer line off the kitchen through two new catch basins then tying into the existing sewer drain line.  

  • Building bunk beds made out of teak wood for GROW’s health clinic. This is where the children will stay when they are sick.  

  • Building shelving for the kitchen and office to help store case files and other items. 

  • Creating steps and a railing made of bamboo to allow safer access to the trail that leads to the river, where the children play. 


Overall, it was an incredible week of work. I am so proud of our team for all they accomplished, and the hard work and sweat they poured into the various projects for the mission. However, I am most proud of the courage they demonstrated this week through opening up their hearts to the children and our fellow teammates, sharing vulnerability, and spreading love and joy. They poured out their hearts here, and we couldn’t have asked for a better crew. 


The strong bonds we built with the children and staff this week also meant a hard goodbye. The children were crushed that we were leaving, as they have never had any team stay this long. We played Thai games together on Saturday (most of which were quite comical), and they threw us a goodbye party to end the evening, complete with many tears and a sparkler/firework send off. On Sunday, we all went to church together and the kids were dressed in their tribal gear again. Nate and William joined the band for worship, the kids prepared tribal dances, and Rob and Nate shared the message. In addition, many of the children’s parents and community members joined us for church and shared their stories. One parent even sang a beautiful song in her tribal language. As we’ve heard their stories this week, it has opened our eyes and furthered our drive for the mission we came to complete. They each come from heartbreaking situations, but their joy is more immense than I could describe. After church, we took the children into the new girls’ home we had been working on this week and gave them crayons to write their names, prayers and more on the walls of the new home. That moment was defining. The brick walls we put up this week were now filled with life and love. We ended the week celebrating the new home that was constructed here at GROW (and that is not a reference to the physical one). As a small token, we gave each child one of our Shook shirts as we said goodbye. Tears overcame us and them. We never expected it would be so hard. As we leave this new home and head back around the world to our families, a piece of us remains here in Thailand, a piece of our hearts that I believe will draw many of us back here again. Through their tears, the children still managed to run after us screaming and waving with joy as the vans pulled out the gate. There wasn’t a dry eye to be seen. It was a somber, quiet drive to Chiang Mai as we all processed the impact this week had on us. Now, we look forward to spending a few days together as a team to explore more of the culture and debrief all that we took in before we come home.  

SMT 3.0
SMT 3.0