SOS: Nolan and Emily BallStories of Service: Nolan and Emily Ball
Written by Dannica Montplaisir
Why do you serve in this capacity and how has serving in this way had an impact on your life?
We serve because we believe that this is what we have been called to do at this point in our lives. We know there are many programs and avenues to serve the population in the United States, however we have been given adventurous spirits to help those abroad. Not everyone has the means to serve abroad for an extended period of time, yet we are at a point in our lives where we felt called and able to set out on this adventure. We have been in Thailand for a little over 6 months now and already the impact on our lives has been huge. We have learned so much about ourselves and each other. It truly is a blessing to be serving alongside your best friend and this type of experience only draws us closer together. We are immersed in a culture so different from our own which in itself teaches new lessons every day. We have learned patience, generosity, grace, and gratitude. This gratitude is for the people of Thailand, but also for being an American. We are so blessed to have the opportunity that we do because of the country we come from. We also are continuously getting to share America with people who have only had interactions with American tourists or what they see on TV. This unique opportunity allows us to build relationships with Thais and show that Americans care about the world and the people in it!
How was your faith involved in making the decision to go to Thailand? How is your faith involved now?
Faith played a huge role in our decision to join the Peace Corps. We both believe that our purpose on this earth is to be servants. We chose Peace Corps because of the service-oriented nature of the program that allows you to be a volunteer, be in a community long enough to build relationships and build up communities in a way that gives people a hand up not a hand out. Our goal is not to change people or change cultures, but instead come alongside members of the community to help in any way we can. While this is not a faith-based organization, our faith is still very much alive during our time here. Faith is what gets us through on the hard days and helps us celebrates small victories on the good days. When we question ourselves about our time here it is the faith that we have followed our Lord to where he wants us to be that allows us to take a new perspective. Our faith is what drives us to put on a smile, love on people, and remember that the most important thing we are doing in Thailand is building relationships and showing people we care.
What’s the best part of serving in this capacity?
The best part of serving in this capacity is having the opportunity to be a part of another culture so different from our own. We have an amazing opportunity to bring our skills to the people of Thailand, but what really has happened is that we have been given more than we will ever be able to give back. We also get to live in a community for 2 years which allows for amazing relationships to form and develop, which in turn gives us new experiences and life lessons along the way.
How is God at work?
God is at work here every single day. We see the Lord in smiles, hear him when we finally have a chance to quiet our minds and see the work in the relationships we are able to build. God is also at work in our own hearts teaching us humility, generosity, grace, and patience. We feel we are being taught through our interactions with the wonderful people of Thailand.
Anything else you might want to tell us?
Please know that we miss our Westwood Community very much. We miss Sunday mornings, we miss our confirmation students, we miss our Bible Study group, and mostly just being in fellowship with others who believe. It is challenging to not have that community here in Thailand but we appreciate thoughts and prayers. We do have the awesome opportunity to stay connected through the Sermons online, the weekly update emails, and the Celebrations that are emailed to us. We will also be awesome pen pals for anyone that wants to write us letters. So if you want our address here in Thailand, please send us or Dannica an email!