Fr Ray Day Care Center-
Morning walk for children from day care centre.

It was a mission trip to bring love, hope and joy to underprivileged children in Pattaya, Thailand. But for the 46 mostly young Singapore missionaries who went, they received from their beneficiaries as much as they gave.

The missionaries, mostly aged 13-18 from the Church of Christ the King, took part in a Dec 1-9 mission exposure programme to visit various institutions under the Father Ray Foundation, a Catholic charity in Pattaya.

The foundation is named after the late American Redemptorist priest, Father Ray Brennan, who provided shelter and education to needy children in Pattaya for 29 years.

Singapore’s Redemptorist Fr Simon Pereira led the trip, the second year in a row organised for parishioners.

At the Father Ray Children’s Village and Children’s Home, the missionaries played basketball, football and Muay Thai (Thai boxing) with the kids, while at the Father Ray School for the Blind, they participated in the Paralympic sport of Goalball. This sport involves throwing a ball that has bells embedded in it into the opponents’ goal.

At the Father Ray Vocational School for People with Disabilities, they played a sitting volleyball game with the students.

The missionaries also visited the Father Ray Foundation’s farm and helped the farmers there tend to their crops as well as cleaned pigsties.

Many of the visitors said they learnt valuable lessons from this mission experience such as compassion, empathy, gratitude and inclusivity.

As Dominic Chia recounted, “At the school for children with special needs, we were playing a game involving passing around a volleyball, and I was not included in the circle. I was fine because getting the ball calls for a forfeit. However, one of the students there saw how I was excluded and took the effort to pass the ball to me. I saw this as his way of including me [in the game].”

Recognising that true mission starts at home, many of the young participants say they intend to carry the lessons they have learnt with them back to Singapore.

As a follow-up to this mission trip, participants will attend monthly youth meetings led by Fr Simon at the Church of Christ the King.

sitting volleyball game1
A “sitting volleyball” with students with disabilities.