Monthly Archives: July 2009

rain.

In Pattaya for one more week, in fact our last week. THIS IS OUR LAST WEEK OF MINISTRY. I can’t believe it. I keep telling myself and it just doesn’t seem like it is actually our last week. With that said I feel completely re-energized to carry out what we have started. As excited and glad I am for this phase of my life to be over it does bring up some weird emotions inside of me. I think I am mostly feeling afraid… afraid that I will lose what I have learned, that I will fall back into a mundane routine upon heading home, afraid that I will forget where to find my identity. I am ruined for the ordinary.

Katy and I are spending a lot of time in prayer this week about going home and all of the things that are included in that. It has been really cool so far. I know that I have the strength to carry this out for the rest of my life. I will fight hard but I know that He will always be fighting for me harder than I ever can for myself.

During our last week we are continuing bar ministry and english classes. This morning we went to a prayer/worship meeting and it was exactly what we all needed. Right as we were beginning it started to pour rain. I love the rain here, it really dumps. This city is usually overcast so it might as well rain. Something about dark weather reminds me of Michigan which brings such a restful feeling to my heart. I feel home today.

So yes… We are leaving Pattaya on July 29 and going to Koh Samet for team debrief, from there we are flying to Tel Aviv on August 2. I will be in Israel for school debrief and graduation until August 13. On the 14th I fly back to North Carolina. Home! Once I get home I am going to spend a lot of time relaxing and readjusting- seeing family and friends. Excited.

One more thing… I have found a new music love (not surprising I know) in Gregory Alan Isakov. His lyrics own my life and my days and his music is sweetness to the soul. Perfect for these summer days.

Cheers.

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pattaya.

We are winding down. We have less than two weeks of ministry left. I cannot believe how the time has passed so quickly; it seems like yesterday that we were leaving the base in Oxford and saying goodbye to everyone.

We got to Pattaya two days ago and have been getting adjusted and connected with the ministry here. Things look a little different because the guys are doing a separate ministry than us. We are primarily working with the Tamar Center which is a place that gives Thai girls a positive opportunity to learn English and a trade skill to make money to support their families. They do things like card making, baking, they have a coffee/sandwhich shop there and they also do some sewing. They have a really good thing going… So we get to help teach the English classes and then in the evenings we head into the city, Walking Street, to go to bars and meet girls to invite them to come to the Tamar Center.
Pattaya is known as one of the darkest cities in the world. It is the number one place in the world for sex trade and prostitution. Walking down the “red light district” was completely surreal. Lined with bars, clubs, discotheques, you name it, it is one of the saddest sights I have ever seen. These girls are trying to make a living, they are trying to support their families, and this is the only way they know how. I feel like it is a modern day Soddom and Gomorrah; the closer you get (physically) to this district you can just feel darkness and grief fill your heart. My first instinct is to hate the men that come here, I was just looking at them all like disgusting slobs but my heart has changed. I cannot blame anyone for what has happened here… it is a product of sin nature. As dark as it seems, God is so alive in these streets, He is not absent here, He is present, He is the Lord, He is everywhere. Jesus Christ came for sinners… to seek and save the lost (John 3:16) so He is very very close to Walking Street… He is alive there.
Looking into the eyes of these girls and woman is painful. To think that this is their life, day in and day out, from 5 pm to 5 am… selling themselves. I just want to cry out and shake them and tell them that this isn’t the only way, tell them that they are daughters of the King, tell them that they are beautiful and that they are made in the image of God. Tell them that their life is precious and they have value in something far greater than they have ever imagined.
So that is what these last few days are filled with. I am very excited and eager to see what God has in store for His work here.

thailand.

We are in Thailand.
We arrived in Bangkok yesterday and are traveling to Pattaya today and are staying there for the last two weeks of our outreach! I can’t believe time is coming to a close.

I have so much to write about my time in Cambodia. It flew by and so much happened and not having internet access made it difficult to keep this updated but the disconnectedness was very good.

We are about to go get lunch in the city, I will try and write again soon.

fourth.

Note: I have just posted two blogs that I have typed out during the past week… We have not had internet all week so I am just now getting to put them up. Cheers.

Let freedom ring. Haha- it has been quite the 4th of July for us American’s here in Cambodia. Our team consists of 5 people from the States… Me, Katy (Alabama), Rachelle (Ohio), Kim (Indiana) and Landon (Oregon). We all decided that we couldn’t let this day pass us by without participating in the normal traditions that we do back home. Rachelle drew out an American Flag that we hung up, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance at least four times throughout the day, we sand the National Anthem, we even interceded for America at our church prayer meeting. Then our host and wonderful cook, Rose, made us french fries and spaghetti and Kim got us all our favorite sodas. It doesn’t get more American than that right? Well… it does actually get better. We had a little firework show! We had sparklers (of course) and shot off some roman candles and missiles. It was glorious. The best part of all of this is as soon as we had fired the last missile, the Cambodian police showed up to see what all the racket was about. Oh man it was hilarious. Just like back home. The police came! We had a hay day with that.

I woke up feeling really homesick. I love the 4th… I really love it. I just kept thinking about what all my friends and family are doing to celebrate… all of them together, grilling out, going to parades, watching fireworks, it was a hard morning for me. I was really glad to have my little community of American’s here (even though we were ridiculed by the Canadians and Kiwis). I haven’t ever really realized how much I love my country until I started traveling around. We, as Americans, are so blessed.

kampongthom.

There is such an open sky here. You can see for miles in any direction; and the clouds, oh man the clouds are glorious. It is such a picture of God’s creation. The universe declares His majesty.

We arrived in Kampong Thom last Friday after a nice holiday in Siem Reap. As soon as we got here we knew it would be different than anything we have seen yet as far as ministry and just daily life. Our house is in the middle of a village, to the left is wood house with a thatch roof and a satellite dish and to the right is an open boggy field with random cows milling around. Every so often a little kid goes by on a bike and then maybe a family on a scooter and then some cart with loud khmer music playing. It really is a different culture.

We split up into teams of two and are going into different villages to teach english and Bible stories to children and youth. Me and Andrew teach in the Achaliak Village and have about 20 students. I LOVE this ministry, teaching english as a second language to precious Cambodian children is right up my alley.

I can just feel God so near here. I don’t know if it is the disconnectedness from regular life or just the hunger of my own spirit seeking Him and drawing Him close to my heart. Tonight we worshiped on the top porch and a lightening storm started in the midst of our singing, it was so powerful. It was the most spirit filled worship we have experienced on this outreach so far. We were filling this land with our voices, worshiping our God, the Lord Jesus Christ. His spirit came upon me, very gently, like a sweet nourishing kiss of life.

I have never felt so right in where I am nor so certain that the Lord is next to me in all of this. Tonight during worship I was on my knees praying and was just sort of overcome with the fact that I was on a porch in a village in the middle of nowhere in Cambodia. I am utterly amazed that the Lord has brought me here. This whole time I have been struggling with living in the now, with being fully here, my whole focus. I feel like I have finally mastered that, God has taught me to just look at the day ahead of me… not a week from now, a month from now or a year from now, just today. I am able to rest peacefully and wake up and embrace the NOW. That has been my prayer this whole time. Hallelujah.

With all of that said I have made some decisions about what is next in my life. I plan to head home pretty much right after we are done in Israel. I feel called to get back in school and finish up and follow wherever the Lord leads me from there. This will probably all happen in Michigan, Grand Rapids to be exact. I feel the Lord telling me to go home, it is time. I need rest, my body needs rest and I need my family. I am not looking at graduation in Israel like the end of this but just as another step in my walk with Jesus. I am so excited to go home and extend in this blessing that I have received and continue to live all of this out and continue to learn and grow in all the freedom that Jesus brings me.

We are in Cambodia until July 13. A few very exciting things are coming up between now and then… the first being the 4th of July! You have to understand that my team has 5 Americans, 2 Canadians and 2 Kiwis, and as one of the proud Americans, we plan to really celebrate our Independence, even in Cambodia. The second is my dear friend and teammate Katy’s birthday. She is turning 23 on July 8 so that will be a fun celebration as well. We fly to Bangkok the 13th and then spend three weeks in Thailand, meet up with the Far East Asia team on August 2 and fly to Israel! I can’t believe it.

2 Corinthians 6:3-9
We put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way; in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger, in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.