Monthly Archives: June 2009

slums.

The past two days we have spent in slums outside the city of Phnom Penh. There is a ministry here called Children At Risk and there are about eight to ten permanent people here that go out into the slums 4 times a week to share Jesus with the surrounding community. We primarily worked with and were lead by two married couples… Melanie (from Chattanooga, TN) and Tim (from Cambodia), and Daniel and Frieda from Sweden. It was so cool to get a long-term missions perspective from them. It is so evident that God is using them in huge ways to effect these people, it is like they have been called to this tribe, this people group and refuse to abandon them, they are all really passionate about being consistent and sticking it out even when it seems redundant.

These slums have been relocated in the past year from inside the city to the outskirts. The government forced the people out because they no longer wanted to see them, eventually the people were literally imposed upon, tear gassed, and taken out in the middle of the night. This was the real deal, house after house made of tarps, random pieces of wood for walls, dirt and dust floors, trash everywhere, naked children, kids using the bathroom in the middle of the street, people lying around everywhere and then ten of us, ten white people walking around with broken hearts and praying, asking how to react and speak to these people.

Yesterday we were a part of a Father’s Day program and it was seriously chaos. We got there, decorated this little room with posters and balloons and then the kids and families starting piling in. Immediately all of the kids took an interest in us and we all began to play with them and hold them and hug on them. They were so receptive of our love, it was heart breaking in a way. This little girl, Rya, came and plopped down in my lap, took my arms and wrapped them around her and held on tightly. She looked up at me and although we couldn’t verbally communicate because of the language differences her eyes spoke, I could literally hear a thousand words through the way she looked into my eyes and held onto my arms. My first thought was, I want to take you home with me. Sometimes it is so hard to grasp the realities of these kids’ lives and to wrap my brain around the fact that I really can’t do much but sit here and give her every single ounce of love in my heart, in this moment. God is using this and is still teaching me from it. Nothing breaks my heart more than to see the conditions these people live in. My prayer everyday is that I never become numb to seeing it and that God would continually use us to show His love to them in whatever way it may be and to also realize new ways to bring help and justice to these people. I also pray that they would be given a spirit of diligence and a desire for living like they have never imagined. So that all happened yesterday, I haven’t even gotten into today…

I think my favorite thing about the ministry that we are working with is the day to day diversity and wide spectrum of things they use to reach these people. This morning we woke up and got out to the slum fairly early to have worship and intercession with the ministry family, it was incredible. It is always so cool to worship with brothers and sisters from different nations in one tongue. Ah I love it. Our intercession time was also amazing, there was a real spirit of restoration and expectation. We prayed into domestic violence, drug addiction, sex trafficking, laziness, sickness, male leadership and true conversion. (Ephesians 4:17-28 and 1 Peter 2:9) Afterwards we went out into the slums and did family visits. God is so consistent in breaking my heart for these people. The first woman that we visited was all alone because her husband is really sick. She invited us into her home and her hospitality was so kind considering she had literally next to nothing. We prayed for her as stray dogs, chickens and flies swarmed the room. After praying she looked up and I could see the love of Jesus in her eyes, it was pouring out onto us. It is always humbling and surprising to get so much love and encouragement from those that we are trying to love and encourage.

We continued to walk around and meet families and pray for them and then it started to really rain. To stay dry we ducked underneath this big structure with a roof that was packed, shack to shack, with families. The children immediately started coming over to us, singing, playing and holding our hands. These children have such playful spirits and so much joy in their hearts. These two little girls sat on my lap and again just clung so tightly. Sometimes I think it is more than my heart can handle and just when I think I can’t take anymore I am comforted by the Spirit in such obvious ways.

We were back at our guest house by one, grabbed some lunch and then headed out again. This time we went to see a fellow YWAMer that has temporarily moved to Cambodia to get a taste of long term missions. This girl, Sarah, did her AW80 DTS two years ago and has now chosen to live here and work to help girls that have had their lives taken away from them because of prostitution. The ministry is called Daughters and they take in girls that haven’t been sold to brothels and pay them to do different types of art. These include sewing, metal making, crocheting, cake baking, etc. They are providing a chance for new life and ministering to them all at the same time. I loved this! It was amazing to actually see first hand what I feel so familiar with, as far as FairTrade opportunities and instituting a way to actually see change happen. I couldn’t stop thinking of my mom here and what an incredible chance it is to bring Cambodian culture into the States through selling Daughters products at her store, Theophilus, while helping these girls create new life and draw closer to Jesus. What an opportunity. This is where my heart is. I love this stuff. I love our time in Cambodia so far. I just really feel like we are being used and getting a taste of what different long term mission opportunities are out there.

It has been a really long and packed few days. Tomorrow we are heading to Siem Reap for a four day holiday/midway debrief time. I am so excited! We are waking up to a six hour bus ride and then have a very relaxed agenda for the next little bit. This came at the perfect time, I think the whole team is feeling like it is time for a rest.

Ever since we got to Cambodia I have felt very refreshed and ready to listen. I am putting my arms and hands out and saying, God I’m willing and listening… use me. I have had a huge desire to be in tight communion the past few days and I just feel God helping me commit my mind to Him and others on a daily basis, because I am asking Him for that. That is my prayer for today and tomorrow and the rest of my life.
Hallelujah.

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cambodia.

Country number three, we have arrived.
After a long day of travel we got to our Guest House last night around 8 pm, accompanied by Jeremy! It is so great to have someone new with us for a while, brings new life to the entire team.
Today we woke up to a wonderful breeze and an awesome view of the city of Phnom Penh from the 5th floor of our accommodation. My first thought was, I love Cambodia. I have been really excited to get here and so far it has been awesome.
We went to the University of Nations base this morning for orientation only to find two other teams (one YWAM and one TeenMania) worshiping… it was so great to be in fellowship with people doing the same thing as we are. That was really encouraging.
So then Chris, the ministry director here in Cambodia, gave us a full on briefing of the history, religion and culture of Cambodia. It was so interesting.
Afterwards we went on a tour of the city, got to see the killing fields and an old prison as well as the Royal Palace and some markets. It was a great day, jam packed but very interesting.
I know this is short but I’m running out of time for now.
Will write again soon.

godspeed.

It is our last day in Taiwan! I cannot believe how the time is flying by… seriously, we are half way done with outreach. We leave our apartment at 5 am this morning and have an eight hour layover in Bangkok and then head on to Cambodia. WE ARE MEETING UP WITH JEREMY! We are all so excited to see him (one of our school leaders) and he will be with us for about a week.

So once we get to Cambodia we have three days of ministry and then are heading to Siem Reap for a holiday! This is so exciting.

I am glad it is time to move on. Our time in Taiwan has been awesome and very busy but the spiritual heaviness has worn me down quite a bit and if anything I think it will be a good change of pace mentally (and spiritually of course).

I have been living with my headphones in and Fleet Foxes turned up… loud. Man oh man I cannot get enough of Robin’s chillingly unique voice and their ornate harmonies. SO GOOD. It is really incredible music to travel to as well. Oh I am in love with it.

Also, I just need to note how much I miss Jaclyn and cannot wait to meet back up with her in Israel. I’m excited to see our glorious friendship continue to bloom and to see how God has worked in us separately and how we can use that to build each other up, etc. I’m just really very excited to see her again… and be apart of each others lives. Laugh, dine, eat, drink, travel, explore, learn, see… all of that. I’m excited.

Okay- so there are my last words to be typed to you in Taiwan. I can’t believe it has come and gone. God is so faithful it blows me away.

1 Peter 5:6-11

memorial.

memorial.


top of the taipei 101.

top of the taipei 101.

garden.

I feel oddly inspired to write today. My mind isn’t really focused on the fact that I am in Taiwan doing outreach ministry… it is more focused on my immediate surroundings and the music channeling through the wires of my headphones up to my ears.
I look out of this 5th story window and the colors of the skyline look as though they have all been rendered, as if I have changed the scene before me to “antique” mode in iphoto. I can visibly see the smog settling over the bay and the buildings fade out in the distance. I am reminded that I am in a completely foreign land by the quiet murmur of Mandarin voices all around me.
I have been missing out on ministry almost all week due to a raging headache and inability to fall asleep at night (only adding to my headache) so I have had a lot of downtime to sit and think about where I am. It is insane to consider my current location on the globe. Feeling homesick and so far away from all that is familiar I have drowned myself in music this week, fully realizing how much I love and am passionate about the art of it all.
In particular I have found this new musician (well Brian told me about him), The Tallest Man on Earth, and he has a song called “The Gardener” which helps me to see where I am in life right now and where I will be… it is really sweet.

We are leaving Taiwan on Friday and heading to Cambodia… I am really very excited for this transition for many reasons. I think it will be refreshing for my mind to get out of Taiwan, just because of the way that I have physically felt here, and also we are meeting up with one of our school leaders, Jeremy, for about a week. This will bring a lot of energy to the entire team I think. I’m looking forward to it for sure.

It is really cool to be in touch with my parents back home, I have been talking with them a lot lately about a lot of things, including what coming home is looking like.
The best story is that my mom met Katy’s mom (Katy is from Alabama and is on my outreach team now). Her mom was shopping in Brevard and wandered into my mom’s store, Theophilus, and they put two and two together and realized that Katy and I were traveling together. They sent us a picture of the two of them together. Oh it was so sweet to hear about. I don’t know what I would do without Katy here… I am also really excited about our friendship because I know it will go way beyond this outreach because she lives close to my parents in North Carolina and she promises me that she is good at keeping in touch with people.

I have found it really frustrating not doing ministry with my team. I have been fighting thoughts of why I am here and just feeling weak and unused, but it seems every day when I find myself in my hardest moment I am given major encouragement from someone back home or read the perfect verse to feel like God has given me this time to rest up and it is a gift from him. Last night I was at the very end of my rope and I sat down to read and randomly turned to 1 Peter 5 where it says, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you,” and just felt total repose in all that I was caught up in. It’s pretty amazing to feel physically comforted by the Spirit in the midst of complete discomfort.

jump!

jump!

resting.

writer’s block.

taiwan.

What a change of pace… Taiwan is blowing my mind every single second. Ever since we arrived it has been incredible. Experiencing Asian culture for the first time is nothing like I thought it would be, only better. I love it here. I love it here. I love it here. 

So ministry has also been AMAZING. The whole team is just feeling very different and we arrived ready to get into it. We are staying right in the city of Danshui and I just keep thinking how I have ended up here, in Taiwan. God is so big- I can’t believe I am here. My feet are planted here. 

Yesterday we did ministry with this small church in right in the city. Upon arrival I knew that big things were in store for us that day just by seeing the people’s hearts (of that church). So we did a little encouraging service for the members of the church.. about 8 people total, and then we started preparing for the program we were schedule to do later in the afternoon. We went around the town for a few hours handing out fliers for the afternoon and then wound up at a children’s language school and did an hour program for them. It was probably the best involvement we have had with kids yet… they loved the games and dramas we did and responded and interacted so well. It was really cool to see God move in that room. THEN we went into the square of this little community and started worshiping, and a crowd started gathering. We carried on with testimonies, dramas and music and the crowd grew. It was so amazing to be a part of and the holy spirit was so clearly there with us, guiding our words and actions towards each other and the crowd. We ended up making some friends and having dinner with church. It was such a good day. 

We are studying Acts as a team and it was amazing to see what we have studied go hand in hand with what happened yesterday. At one point Katy and I looked at each other and said, “God has us exactly where we are supposed to be… in Taiwan. Unreal.” It is so amazing to know that I am here by His plan alone. Taiwan. I just can’t get over it. 

As for today… we were a part of a church service and a youth service and then we went into the city and started singing worship songs on the street corner. All I can say about this is… We were broadcasted live on Taiwan Television, Mandie wore a Brittney Spears mic singing worship songs in the middle of Taipei, we got icecream cones that were about a foot high, and a Taiwanese man thought I was waving to him during the middle of our performance of “Na Te Atua” when I was really just doing the motions to the song. Best day ever. Wow. 

Our team is going well. We are getting the hang of traveling together and just knowing when each other need space or love or time or conversation. It is cool to grow closer and closer as a family, and as brothers and sisters in Jesus’ name. 

It isn’t nearly as hot here as it was in Bali. Praise the Lord! Haha, I actually got to wear a beanie and jeans and it was comfortable. This is an answer to prayer. The heat and humidity can really wear you down so that is a huge blessing. 

Being right in the city has been really fun so far. We have taken a lot of public transportation which is one of my favorite things… It is a great chance to see a lot of different sorts of people and be in prayer for them. I also love listening to music as the cityscape flies by out the window of the train, nothing brings me more joy. 

Alright- thanks for keeping up with me. It is so fun to hear from you guys as well… so thanks for being in touch. I miss you all! Keep well.

photos.

street kids ministry.

street kids ministry.

 

 

 

 

revand, emrie, katy, agung and kaylee @ the blue lagoon.

revand, emrie, katy, agung and kaylee @ the blue lagoon.

samuel.

samuel.