Robinson Serves in ThailandBy ELISA MAYO,
Jodie Robinson grew up in the DeSoto community of Clarke County, graduating from Quitman High School in 2014. Her love for serving people during disasters like Hurricane Katrina and at local places like Love’s Kitchen planted the seed that led her to leave her homeland in 2018 and travel 9,000 miles across the Pacific Ocean to Chiang Rai, Thailand.
“For me, I knew God had given me a passion for people of different cultures,” says Robinson who majored in Intercultural Studies at the University of Mobile. “Learning more about the cultural studies program, encountering other missionaries and other cultures, as well as, passages from scripture helped confirm my desire to be a missionary,” recalls Robinson. She was able to apply for a job working alongside the Northern Thailand Impact Ministry (NTIM). NTIM is committed to the ministries of the Baan Athitaan Church and Grace Language School in Thailand. The organization focuses on helping families who are victims of AIDS, ministering to those who are in bondage or at risk of bondage in human trafficking networks. The Grace Language School provides scholarships as a way to reach needy children in this area of the world. Robinson says, “My role with NTIM is to work alongside their language school as an English teacher. I teach university students, adults, and children from kindergarten to high school. The purpose behind working with NTIM is to have a platform to build relationships with the Thai people so that we can share the gospel with them.”
To give depth to the situation, Thailand is located on the continent of Asia, south of China and north of Malaysia. Thailand borders the country of Myanmar, which is known as a source country for enslaving humans in forced labor. The economic condition in Myanmar often leads men, women, and children into forced servitude as they attempt to escape their living conditions. Robinson serves in Chiang Rai, which is at the northernmost point of the country of Thailand. “The thing that keeps me doing the work every day is recognizing that God has placed me in Thailand with a purpose. I am here to spread the Gospel to the nations. Once you begin to wrap your mind around the fact that nearly 94% of the population is Buddhist, you quickly remember the urgency in the work,” explains Robinson. The work of NTIM gives hope and Christian love to those who live in a Buddhist nation surrounded by the evils of slavery.
Robinson serves alongside six Thai, four American, and three Canadian partners. She describes the geography of the country as being, “nestled between some gorgeous mountains and seems to always be green.” Robinson says it seems like spring year-round and 78,756 people live in the province. She explains, “In the South in America most states have a church on every corner, but here there is a temple on every corner. The people are known for their ‘sabai sabai’ way of life, which means that they take things slowly and enjoy life as it comes.”
The people of Thailand are also known for the focus they put on family. It is not uncommon for several generations to live under one roof. The elderly are given a high level of respect.
When Robinson is not busy working at the school she enjoys exploring with her Thai friends. “We like to hike to different waterfalls or go sightseeing. Sometimes, I enjoy simply being with friends and watching a movie,” says Robinson, “Chiang Rai has many beautiful and unique things to offer, so there is always something to do.”
Robinson holds true to her God-calling and says, “I have this great news about the one true God, who is loving and unlike any other god or gods of the world. I knew that I had to take the message and share it with others and God specifically called me to do that overseas.”
You can follow Jodie Robinson on Facebook. You can also contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is the daughter of Keith Robinson and Paula Mercer.
For more information on NTIM, you can visit their website at http://gontim.org. The group is currently working to build a church and is seeking partner support.