The annual Camp Wycliffe in Thailand, interrupted by the pandemic, is finally back! Camp Wycliffe is intended to let participants experience living cross-culturally and be exposed to missions. This year, I got a chance to join the other 20 or so people who attended, with participants from Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, South Korea, Canada and the US.
For the first two days of the camp, we attended training sessions as well as listened to speakers involved in various aspects of Wycliffe’s ministries, such as language learning, phonetics, literacy, cross-cultural issues, Bible translation, oral Bible storytelling, etc.
This year’s camp included some new activities, where we visited Wycliffe Thailand’s new office building and the Chiang Mai Theological Seminary, and had prayer walks in a temple as we observed and learnt about Thai Buddhism. We also got the opportunity to visit Payap University, an international college based in Chiang Mai, where we were introduced to their Linguistic courses.
The second half of the camp was the village portion where we were split into groups of 3-4 and stayed with hosts in the individual village huts. The travel up to the village was a bumpy one, but as we headed up into the mountains to get to the village, we were in awe of the scenery all around us.
On our first night in the village, we had a time of worship and a short sermon by Ps. Tharawat (Director of Wycliffe Thailand) in the village church. As we led the worship and prayed for the church, we got to see how passionate the villagers were through their singing and response to the sermon. Many of them had to walk long distances, and it was nighttime, yet most of them turned up to attend the service!
This year, the village project was to help build a shared toilet and a flight of stairs that went up the hill towards the church. We spent the whole of the next day helping the experienced locals by passing buckets of sand, stones and cement around, as they put their construction skills to use.
On the final night, we had a campfire where we shared our thoughts and short testimonies of our experiences in the camp. It was touching to hear some of the stories of other campers who shared how they had been called to the mission field and how this camp helped them learn more about what it meant to be a missionary. Some also shared that while they wished to learn more about missions, they also had many other commitments back home that held them back. They shared that Camp Wycliffe had widened their perspective and helped them reconsider the factors holding them back (family matters, personal fears, school/work-related issues etc.)
On the way back to the city, we visited the Eastern Lawa team where we got to listen to Greg and Rosie share about the Eastern Lawa people and their stories. We also had lunch together, which gave us a chance to talk to the people involved in the project and get to know one another better.
I believe that most of us would have some worries or doubts when it comes to considering missions. If you can personally relate to some of those mentioned above, I’d strongly encourage you to sign up for the next Camp Wycliffe!
I definitely learnt a lot from the Camp Wycliffe speakers and experiences. It has widened my perspective on cross-cultural living, and what missions is all about. While the camp was a short one, it did leave a lasting impression on me, and it is something I will never forget!