Of the 405 students, staff and parents who spent Grace’s annual “Ministry Day” at schools and orphanages, one group of intrepid 7th-graders forged a different path. On this clear morning in early February, 28 students, staff and one volunteer hopped into three apple-red songtaews, then zipped an hour north to Mae Taeng Retirement Home.
The goal was to brighten the routine of about 100 aging citizens, who have no family or means of family support. Students greeted each person, introduced their own name in proper Thai, shook the seniors’ hands and gave warm hugs.
For creativity, students helped men wind 3-D crafts with yarn. At the same time, both men and women also enjoyed making “friendship cards,” with colored papers, scissors and glue. In each activity, students’ patient, helpful involvement was essential to the elders’ success.
But the absolute show-stopping highlight of the day for the ladies was two tables scattered with bottles of every shade of fingernail polish you can imagine—and willing teen manicurists! The seniors absolutely “rushed” the tables to be serviced with glossy color. But they shook their heads “no” and giggled shyly, when it was suggested they get colors on their toenails also.
Before the end of the morning, almost everyone—young and old—joined in a traditional Thai group dance, to everyone’s amusement! And as students later left, they distributed a goodie-bag full of toiletries to each resident, even to those who had remained in their rooms, too weak or ill to walk to the cafeteria area. Seniors also received a few coins to buy a cold drink, the next time a snack cart comes around.
“ I hope to learn how to be kind to older people and to not react badly if someone has no teeth,” numerous students said, before Ministry Day.
They also hoped they’d appreciate their blessings more. At the end of their service, they agreed seniors are great fun and showing them God’s love is easy!