Monday, February 21, 2011

I am Learning...

* How to speak, write, & very slowly read Thai. I have the BEST teacher...Becky! She has been so patient with me & only laughs at me when I'm laughing at myself :) It's not as impossible as I first thought, but it is hard. Practice makes perfect, though...or as close to perfect as you can get with an American accent! I'm also learning not to take myself too seriously & just speak...there will be many times I'll mess up & I just need to laugh & keep trying!

* How to ride a motorcycle! This also was not near as hard as I thought it would be. It is SO much fun! I can't wait until I'm comfortable enough to ride all over all the time :) I will definitely have to find a motorcycle I can borrow from someone to keep riding while I'm home this summer!

* Hospitality...Stephen, Mary, Becky, Johnny, & Isaac have completely opened up their home & their hearts to me. They have shown me what it means to love & to care for someone. That they have welcomed me as part of their family means so much to me & has helped me tremendously during my stay here. It has been amazing getting to know each of them & spending time together whether its sharing meals, going to church, going to the market, taking Isaac to school, spending the evenings together as a family...anything & everything!

* How to trust God in all things...During this whole process of getting ready to move over here, I haven't once been nervous or worried about myself. The only thing I worry about is my family back home...I worry because I don't want them to worry about me or to miss me too much...I don't want them to hurt. If you know me, you know how much my family means to me & how much I love to spend time with all of them. From the beginning, I just knew I would struggle with being away from them. So, from Day 1, I have prayed that God would give me peace & comfort that can only come from Him. And He has! I don't want this to sound harsh, but I don't miss everyone like I thought I would. Don't get me wrong...I do miss everyone & am looking foward to seeing everyone soon, but I don't miss them to the point it hurts & is all I think about every second...which is how I thought I would feel.

I don't know if this makes much sense, but if you take anything out of it, just know that whatever you're going through, God knows & He will get you through it if you put your trust in Him alone. It's not easy...I have to decide to trust Him every single time I start to worry or wonder about something...but it's totally worth it.

Trusting Him,

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Whew... has been a very busy few days, but A LOT has been accomplished in the short amount of time!

Tuesday morning, Stephen, Tim, David, & I left for Nong Kio, which is the village we stayed at during the 2009 trip. On the way there, we stopped at a Lahu Training Center, where they teach Bible to people who range from church leaders to those who haven't attended any school. Stephen's forwarding agent from the states, Derek Voorhees, was there teaching! It was such a God-thing that Tim, David, & I were able to meet him here in Thailand...on Monday afternoon Stephen told us that Derek came on a last-minute mission trip to Chiang Mai & he was working on setting up a time for us to meet him. We were able to have lunch with him & get to know him for a brief while. He will be coming to Stephen & Mary's Friday, so I will be able to get to know him more then.

When we got to Nong Kio, it was just as I remembered it...except for a new gas station! Pulling into Yasa's house, where we stayed in 2009, felt just like returning to a second (or third) home. It was such a great moment!

We were able to sit & visit with Yasa for awhile before going to a Chinese village, which we also went to in 2009. We first went to a children's hostel, which is a place for parents to pay to take their children while the parents go to a bigger city to work, kind of similar to an orphanage except that the children still have one or two parents. We then went to a Christian church & school in the same village. The church is where we held a day clinic in 2009. On that trip they were working on a multi-story building for more class space. It is now finished & they were holding class there that night. Children come every night from 5-8 to learn Bible & other classes. They currently have around 700 students! We were visiting as the students were coming in & it was so great just to be able to sit & watch all of them playing with each other & staring at us trying to figure out who we were :) We also went up to the top of the new building & looked out over the village. It was so beautiful!

After returning to Yasa's we had supper before going to the church for services. The church & people were just as I remembered. The singing, praise, & worship were so beautiful! There were several little kids that kept coming up to me & just staring trying to figure out who I was. After awhile, they warmed up & kept running up to me & smiling & laughing like it was a game! They are SO cute!

Wednesday we drove back to Chiang Mai & rested in the afternoon. We had a Korean barbecue Wednesday night before going to the Night Bazaar. Tim & David hadn't been there yet, so I went with them to show them around. They were very overwhelmed for their first visit! We only had a little less than an hour to walk around, but they got some good deals in that short amount of time! It was fun to watch someone experience it for the first time & finally feel like I knew somewhat of what I was doing here in Thailand :)

Today, Thursday, we spent the morning finishing up some last minute things before Tim & David left. This afternoon, Stephen, Mary, & I took them to Doi Suthep, the Buddhist temple on the mountain, before taking them to the airport.

It's now 8:00pm here & I'm getting close to being ready for bed! Hopefully, I will catch up on sleep tonight because Stephen said we are taking a break in the morning! It's a holiday here tomorrow, so Johnny & Isaac don't have school, so we all get a break!

My list of things to get done on this trip has almost doubled in the past couple days, but I should get it all accomplished before returning home.

The more time that passes as I am here & preparing to move back here, the more it is evident that as Ephesians 2:10 says, "God has prepared in advance..." Looking back over the past few years, I can see how God has worked through every detail to get me to the place I am today. Even when I tried to do things my way & on my own, He always got me back on the right track to lead me here. God is good! I just need to remind myself everyday that it's much easier & quicker to follow Him than try to do things on my own :)

Serving Him,

Monday, February 14, 2011

Medical Mission Trip Update

Well, the week is over. It was once again an amazing experience! To read all about it, go to .

I am now spending the rest of the month in Thailand at the Bethlehem Gospel Center with Stephen & Mary. I will leave Chiang Mai on March 4th & be back in the states on March 5th.

I am using this time to further build my relationship with Stephen, Mary, & their family, & with Stephen's ministry, Asians for Christ. I am also trying to learn more about the culture, living in Thailand, & the language! Tim Doggett & David Upchurch, the Executive Director & President of the Board of ACMI, are here this week to also build a relationship with Stephen, to learn about his ministry here, & to help me work out some of the details of my moving here long-term.

We spent all of today discussing missions in general, Stephen's ministry, ACMI, my ministry here, God's purpose in all of this, & how all of this can come together & work together. It was a great day of learning & growing together!

We will be going to a couple villages outside of Chiang Mai Tuesday & Wednesday. I won't have internet access then, so check back in a couple days :)

Serving Him,

Friday, February 4, 2011

Almost There...

We are now sitting in the airport in Seoul, Korea! The longest part of the trip, the 14 hour flight from Chicago to Seoul went well! There were lots of movies, TV shows, & games to keep us occupied! And, of course, great hospitality & service! I was only able to sleep about an hour on the flight, so with the 2.5 hours I slept before we left, I've had a total of 3.5 hours of sleep since I woke up Wednesday morning! I thought for sure I would finally be able to sleep on the flight, but that didn't happen. When we get to Chiang Mai it will be 10:30pm there, so we should be able to go to bed then. I'm SO looking forward to that!

Thanks so much for all your prayers! We have had no trouble at all so far!

Check back here & at for more updates during the week!

Serving Him,

Thursday, February 3, 2011

In 5 Short Hours...

We will be leaving for the airport!

Because of the blizzard that went through here & being sick and/or snowed in since Sunday, I've had plenty of time to get things done, organized, & packed. So why am I still up 5 hours before we leave? I forgot to put some CDs of different workshops from the National Missionary Convention on my ipod! Normally, I would say forget it, but since I've got about 18 hours to kill flying to Thailand & 18 hours home, I figured this would be a great time to learn some important stuff :)

I don't think I would have fallen asleep anyway because I am SO excited to be in Thailand! It felt like the time was never going to get here! I can't wait to see the sights, smell the smells, hear the noises, meet up with our old friends, meet new friends, share the experience with my Mom & the rest of the team, minister to the Thai people whose paths we cross, share the Gospel with them, & most of all, witness God working in the many ways that He does!

This week I have once again witnessed God at work in preparing me for this trip. Starting last weekend, the flu hit my family. It went through everyone, except me. At the end of the week, I was feeling very relieved that I didn't get sick. Then, Sunday came & it hit me. I spent all of Monday in bed & thought, "OK...I can do everything I need to in 2 days." Then, Tuesday came & Wednesday...I still can't breathe well, but with strength & focus I can say only came from God, I got everything done that I needed to! Besides being sick, a blizzard came through here...starting on Monday & ending Wednesday morning! Normally, I would be worrying non-stop about this...Would our travel plans change? How would we re-arrange everything? Will we be able to do the same amount of work in Thailand? But, I told myself not to has been obvious from the start of preparing for this trip that God wants us in Thailand. He is in control. And tomorrow, we leave as scheduled!

The thing about doing what God calls you to do, is Satan hates it. He will try any way he can to get you to not do it, to lose focus, or to throw you of course. It's spiritual warfare & it's happening all the being sick when you've got to get ready to leave the country for a month or having a blizzard days before you fly out. But, Satan's not winning this one. Everyday I commited to staying focused on what God wants me to do & putting Him first in my thoughts & actions; to not allow these attempts from Satan to shift my focus or cause me unnecessary worry and overtake what He has called me to do.

So, tomorrow we do the work God has prepared in advance for us to do. Praise God!

Check back for more updates from Thailand :)

Serving Him,