A visit from Kathryn Smith – Mission Worker

By March 24, 2017Archive

Kathryn visited us recently and told us about the work she is about to be involved in in Thailand – read below her talk.

Hi, I’m Kathryn and I am currently training for mission with BMS at their training centre in Birmingham. Before moving to Birmingham, I lived in Wantage, South Oxfordshire and I am a children’s nurse working in a children’s hospice in Oxford.

I have grown up in a Christian family and mission has been within my family, my grandparents were missionaries in the 1960’s with SIM and worked in Nigeria, then in their head office in London. Also, my dad has worked for BMS at Baptist House in Didcot.

I was in my late teens while at a Soul Survivor youth camp, when I felt God first call me into mission. I felt He wanted me to go and reach out to the lost, show people His love and mercy.

As I started to explore what this calling might involve, I was doing a child care course at college and believed God tell me to train as a paediatric nurse.

So I went and filled out my uni applications. Because of the child care course, I thought I would be a strong candidate for a paediatric nurse and I would easily get a place. However, I did not get in anywhere! Feeling very disheartened and confused, wondering what God was doing, I decided to take a gap year and reapply for the following September.

But I’m so glad I got that gap year. I had the opportunity to do some travelling and I got a job as a carer at Douglas House Hospice for young adults in Oxford. Throughout that year I gained confidence and lots of valuable experience, which, really helped me with my nursing training and this is when God gave me a heart for palliative care.

During that year I reapplied to do my nursing training. I got into Southampton Uni and started the course in September 2007. Over those 3 years I devised a plan where, once I was qualified I was going to work for a couple of years and then go aboard into mission, however, this was not God’s plan and it was 5 years later when I felt God saying it was the right time to go into mission. knowing myself back then I don’t think I would have lasted very long on the mission field and it would have ended up being a short trip.

Since that first calling into mission, I’ve taken some opportunities to do some short-term mission trips. For the summers between 2005-2007 I went to Jerusalem, to help run a summer camp for Palestinian children who had disabilities and carry out maintenance work in a children’s medical centre . For my nursing elective in 2010 I went to Thailand with BMS and worked in Hope Home, which carers for children with disabilities. And in 2011, I went to Durban in South Africa to work in a centre for children on the streets. These trips, gave me a glimpse into life on the mission field and thankfully confirmed my calling into mission. These trips, alongside my work as a nurse has developed a passion to work with marginalized people and help them reach their full potential despite their situation in life.

After my trip to South Africa in 2011, things went a bit quiet. I had assumed after my nursing training it wouldn’t be long until I would be on the mission field but I had yet felt God telling me to go. During this time, I really started to question my calling. I enjoy being a nurse, and after working on the neonatal unit for 2 years in Oxford I went back in palliative care, working in children’s hospices, developing my career and skills. I have, also, got very involved in the life of my church.

I was beginning to wonder if I had misinterpreted what God was saying to me, were the short term mission trips enough? Or had I made it up in my head as a young person. However, something within me never let up and I knew it would never sit right with me until I had fulfilled that calling. Thankfully at the start of 2015 I felt God tell me to go. I applied to BMS and after several interviews I was accepted in November 2015 to go to Thailand.

In September 2016, I started my training at BMS, International Mission Centre (IMC) in Birmingham. My training will finish on the 7th of April and then I will have around 5 weeks to get ready for flying to Thailand on the 12th May.

When I first arrive in Thailand, I will be doing language learning in Bangkok. Once I’ve completed my language training I will move up north to Chang Mai to start working on 2 projects that BMS are involved with. Hope Home and Church of Christ in Thailand AIDS Ministry (CAM)

Hope Home specializes in foster care for children with disabilities. In Thailand people living with disabilities are stigmatized against, and many families are too poor to afford specialized treatment. Children may face prejudice in their day-to-day lives outside the home. Knowing that society is hard on the disabled, families can become over-protective and may commonly prevent the child from venturing outside the home.

Hope Home provides ongoing care for children, medical and nutritional support, giving physiotherapy and lots of fun activities as well and is a support for those in the community with disabilities. I hope to be getting involved with the care of the children and to do some training for the carers.

CAM is a BMS partnership and is Christian organization which work in the prevention of HIV/AIDS and cares for people living with disease.

In Thailand there are 44,000 people living with HIV in a population of about 67 million. After sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Pacific is the region with the largest number of people living with HIV and AIDS.

CAM runs 4 different projects:

-Home based care-CAM workers will visit families affected by HIV/AIDS once a month to assess their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

 

-Education Pro- CAM mostly goes into schools, universities, church youth groups and provide education programmes on prevention and protection of HIV/AIDS. Will also raise awareness in the public through events like world AIDS day.

 

-Agape Home-Set up in Chang Mai in 1996 and is a home for children affected by HIV/AIDS. Also, housing and care for mothers and babies affected and provide home assistance for children HIV/AIDS in nearby villages.

 

-Baan Sabaay- ban means home and Sabaay means pleasant or peaceful. It is a hospice and rehabilitation centre for people with HIV/AIDS. I hope to be involved with developing palliative care service at Baan Sabaay.