(The October newsletter I sent out was a bit different than my previous months' updates. I wanted to reflect back on my first year here. Most of you that read my blog probably receive my newsletter as well, but I wanted to put this out there for those who don't receive my newsletter. Also, sorry for the lack of posting on this blog...the internet connection here hasn't been working well with trying to upload pictures & update with pictures. I'll try to do better from here on out. :) )
I can’t believe my first year in Thailand has come & gone! WOW! I know I say it every month, but the time really has gone by fast.
Each month I have given you stories & a look into what my life here is like. For this newsletter, I want to reflect on the past year & tell you what it has been like for me, personally.
To say it has been a year of learning and growth is an understatement – I can’t quite put into words just how much I have learned and grown from my time here. I can probably best compare it to infanthood & childhood. When you are born, you come into this world knowing nothing. You first learn who your family is – who you can depend on to get you through each day. Over time, you learn how to crawl and then walk. You coo, then babble, and finally talk.
My time here has mirrored that – I left all that I knew, my family & friends, my job, the culture I grew up in and started over here knowing nothing. I’ve had to find & build a support system. I’ve had to learn my way around a new city & try to do that riding a motorcycle on the left side of the road! I’ve had to learn a new culture & language that some that have lived here five plus years still can’t fully communicate in.
I haven’t had to do it alone, though – God has been with me every step of the way. One thing I have learned is how to fully depend on God. The experience that sticks out most in having to fully depend on Him in this first year is when I had to have surgery. I clearly remember being wheeled into the operating room & knowing that at that moment, all I had was God & that He was enough. I didn’t have my family by my side to help me get through surgery & recovery, but I had God and because of Him, I made it.
One other learning and growth process that I’m going through has come from being away from everything & everyone I’ve known and been surrounded by my whole life. This has really given me an opportunity to reflect on who I am – both the good & the bad. We are shaped as we grow up in both positive and negative ways. In the time I’ve been here, I’ve been able to look at who I am, why I am that way, & if that is in line with who God says I am. This has not been an easy or pleasant experience, but one I am very grateful to have and to be going through. I’m still learning & growing in this area and know that it will continue in my second year here and on after that.
Above all, this year has brought me so much closer to God.
Shortly before I came here, God gave me a passion for studying His word & knowing His truths. I’ve had the time here to devote to studying & learning. I’ve had more time to just spend being with Him.
More than anything, I just want you all to know that it’s because of Him I am on this journey. All praise & glory should be given to Him for anything that results from it.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature & complete, not lacking anything.”
“…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”