Saturday, January 29, 2011
I will give details later, but please pray for this city...it is full of darkness. It make me sick to my stomach to even think about the things I've seen tonight. Please pray for this city, especially the prostitution here, and also pray for the our team to not be affected by this and rely on God. We can feel the darkness and oppression, and I am praying for Christ to keep renewing our strength everyday. Thank you
Thursday, January 27, 2011
So today, again, was another beautiful day. The weather, yes hot, but so wonderful. Although I could technically sleep in today, I had lots to do. Started off my morning with a crying baby, so loud and crisp it sounded like it was right outside my door. Then I decided to drag my butt out of bed and hit the pavement around 8:45am. Had a great run, almost 5 and a half miles today. I'm finally working my way back up to where I was before winter hit (and since I don't run on treadmills-winter means I usually don't run). After a great run, I showered quick. I was able to skype my parents, little sis, and best of all my Grandpa Rae and his fiance Giny! It was wonderful to be able to see them. I don't think my grandpa had ever been so excited about technology in his life. He is probably still trying to figure out how he is able to see me when I'm all the way across the world. Anyways, it was wonderful to talk to them for awhile. Then did some homework before skyping with one of my best friends from home. I love being able to share about my trip with people who are genuinely interested, and especially interested in what God is doing in my life. And before I knew it, it was already past noon. With 45 minutes left before we had to leave for the day, I thought it was about time I got dressed and ready for the day. Deanna, a wonderful 6 foot White Thai Missionary, came a picked us up. We went with here to Ramkenhang University. Here we met up with a university student who has recently given her life to Christ. She is such a beautiful person, and has a huge heart. I love Thai people, they have such a fun/sweet spirit and it is obvious they love life. We were able to hang out with her, and I have definitely met a new friend! Today was the first day I got a glimpse of what we would be doing ministry wise while in Bangkok, and I am seriously so excited to get going. The student we met up with is in charge of putting together an English Hour at the University where anyone who wants to come can practice their English. Thai students are required to learn English, and most really want to practice. I never realized what a good way this is for people to connect with Thai people, build relationships with them, and then create a bridge to asking them to come to church with you. It is so cool to see the creativity of God's work. While talking with her, we were able to help two muslim girls practice their English. They can read it very well, but are not very comfortable speaking. While talking with them, we invited them to come next Monday to English hour, where we can practice more. PRAY that they actually follow through and that we will be able to build a relationship with them. PRAY for God to begin His work in their hearts, and that He can use this to plant a seed, and hopefully share the Gospel message with them. God is so good, and is obviously moving in the City of Bangkok. I am constantly reminded in this dark city, that no matter what is going on here - God is still the God of this city, of this nation, and of these people! My prayer is that through seeking God, and giving Him time to move in my life, I will desire Him that much more. And hopefully, my desires will change into godly desires.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Today was our second day of classes. While some are stuck in class rooms, listening to a professor drone on and on, I get the privilege of touring Bangkok with Dr. Alan Johnson. The coolest nerds I've ever met in my life. Instead of listening to a lecture about the history of Bangkok and Southeast Asia, we got to go see what we were actually talking about. It was a great day of cheap iced coffee that is to die for, getting a lot of sun, and learning first hand what the history. Yes please! Just today we got to use a river taxi, both big and small, a bus, and the sky train! I am really enjoying experiencing what it is like to live in a real city. But on the flip side, I am also making observations about what I want for myself and for the rest of my life...I never want to live in a big city!!! The traffic drives me crazy, the 10,000 different smells of who knows what make me nauseous, the lack of relationships, the attitude of worry about yourself, the tall buildings that have taken over Gods beautiful creation, and the lack of peacefulness is not me at all. Although my last blog was about the peace of living here, I am located on a quiet side road. But about a quarter of a mile away is a main street with cars zooming by and motorcycle taxi's about to run you over. I was thinking about the city, and although fun and an unlimited amount of things to do/places to eat/malls to shop at/grocery stores to go to/etc., I know this is not for me. I can't wait til the day I get to experience the country side of Thailand and see God's beautiful creation. When I can look up at the nights sky and see the beautiful stars, too many to count-rather than the pollution and city lights. I also can't wait for the day that I can settle down into a small rural area. Where that may be, I have no idea. But I do know one thing, it will be somewhere where it is warm! Being here, rather than buried in snow, has made me really realize how much I love heat. I pray that I end up in the south, or somewhere with no extreme winter. But who knows. Although I would love to write more, I must start studying for my Thai Language class tomorrow morning. Hard stuff.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
While my goal was to blog everyday, and journal everyday, and keep track of every detail throughout the entire trip...that has not happened. So tonight I want to blog about the the beauty and peace I have found in this city. Although some may consider it to be dirty or a rough part of town, I consider myself privileged to be in one of the most beautiful and peaceful places I've ever encountered. My days here start of with the sun shining through my big windows, the birds chirping, and sipping on a freshly brewed cup of coffee. It is so much different, and refreshing I might add, than my life at Evangel. The rush, busyness and stress of school has definitely not accompanied me on this trip. Instead, I usually have my mornings free to spend as much time reading, praying, and journaling as I want. There is no alarm clock to wake me up for 8 am class, but my body wakes itself up early in the morning. The warm weather adds to the peacefulness. I do not mind at all laying on my very own patio, soaking up the rays, listening to worship music. Or when it gets too hot, I can come inside and open up my giant windows, letting the cool breeze and warmth of the sun come in while lying on my bed reading or talking with my incredible roommate. I cannot decide if it is just the warm weather, the fact my schedule isn't packed every second of the day, the fact that I'm away from a world that clogs my head and heart with useless things, or just the fact that I have been spending a lot of time with God lately (or all of the above) - but my life couldn't be better. My prayer is that everyone will experience the fullness of life God has for you like I am now. Some asked me if I was scared before coming over here, and my answer may have been a little different each time but honestly, I knew it was God orchestrating every step of the way so I could come over here, so I didn't have much to be scared about. Now looking back-I would answer, as Tammy my house mother would say, I'd be scared if I didn't come here because it is so evident that God wanted me here. Bangkok is in no ways a "beautiful place" to the outside eye, but God is here, and He is the God of this city. I can feel it.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
I pop out of bed 3 hours later at 5 am. I quickly get ready and pack up the car. We drove to Gretna to meet Jenna for breakfast. (This is a really special day for her, she is closing on her 1st House with her husband tonight). After breakfast and a few tears shed, Mom, Dad and I head back to the Lincoln Airport. We say our goodbyes around 10 am. I have about a half hour before my plane boards. My first flight from Lincoln went very smoothly. I sat across from a nice, older lady from DC and even got the entire row (2 seats) to myself. I don’t waste any time getting to my next Gate in Minneapolis. Good thing, because as I am about 1 minute away, I hear “last boarding call to Toyko”. I became a little panicked at that time, but got on fine with nothing to worry about. This was my first time riding in an 747! Its huge-70 rows with 8 seats and an upstairs. I finally met up with Heidi, another girl from Evangel going. Then we sat there for about an hour doing who knows what, while some old hick from Montana rambles on about the mole on his back, and that he goes to Thailand every year. I don’t know if he isn’t updated on the creeper status, but he told us what Hotel he was stayigg at and we should come visit…definite creeper move, but he seemed harmless. As I walked on the plane it hit me, these next 4 months are going to be a compelte culture shock. I was surrounded by people who do strange things, talk funny, wear clothes I’ve never seen put together before. Kind of scary, but also exciting to see another culture. I sit next to a Japanese lady. She doesn’t speak English but is very sweet, she even offered me her shrimp from dinner. I come back from walking around and look at my seat and thought I saw a fingernail clipping but didn’t think it could be. Then I look over and see that she is clipping her nails…gross!! Dinner was served at 4, kind of early, but I didn’t have time to eat lunch because I walked to my gate at the last boarding call. Now I am trying to pass the time as I sit on my 13 hour plane ride from MN to Toyko. That’s all for now, check back in with you soon!
Monday, January 10, 2011
Not listening to my mother’s advice, I procrastinated packing once again. There was a huge snow storm that hit 2 days before I am supposed to fly out. I am busy packing, getting lots of last minute things done before I leave. I finally get done packing around 9:30 pm Monday night. Go for a quick, last workout. Then a wonderful friend, Tyler, stops by to say goodbye and brings me a Reece’s McFlurry and we stay up way too late talking. I finally head to bed around 1:30am. But of course, Brit and I have to have a sleep over my last night here. So we talk and scratch each others’ backs.
Saturday, January 1, 2011
So, I was thinking about the best way to journal about my adventures while in Thailand. I figured if I blog, I will not only be able to write down all the fun memories for myself, I will also be able to keep all my friends and family updated at the same time.
So here we go.
The past few years, I have had a huge heart for women trapped in sex slavery. It all started when I read my all time favorite book, Redeeming Love, by Francene Rivers. It is a fictional book, but based of the Book of Hosea in The Bible. It is an incredible story of how God redeems a prostitute. I wanted to help women who felt like there was no hope for them, and thought the only way to make money was to sell their bodies. My heart for this began to grow for this specific area, and I knew it was because God wanted me to do something about it. I had no idea how, but I just began to think and pray about how I could help. My passion really began to grow for sex trafficking and sex slavery once I got to college.
As soon as I heard John Saenz talk about the mIme experience in Chapel, I knew God wanted me to go. I could feel the tug on my heart saying that this would be the perfect opportunity for me to see if missions was something I want to pursue. It was long enough to really become immursed in the culture, I would still take classes and be able to be a student (the only way I knew my parents would go for this), my scholarships would still apply to everything, and my room and board money I normally pay Evangel would be applied while in Bangkok. I began to be a little discouraged when he said they would not be starting this program until FA-11, my senior year, and the semester that a lot of my upper level Math classes are offered. I knew I could not miss those, and I knew I could not take them online/independent study. But then he said they were interested in taking a small group of girls to work with his wife in the SP-11 semester. And the best news, that his wife’s ministry mostly worked with prostitues, sex slavery, and their children. As soon as I heard that, I wanted to sign up. So I went to a meeting to hear more about it and began filling out an application. Out of fear, I didn’t turn the application in right away. I finally finished it and turned it in a couple weeks later. And much to my dismay, the trip was full! I was so sad, I had been praying God would open a door for me to help out with sex slavery and I thought this was my chance. So that was it, the trip was full for the SP-11 semester, the only semester I’d be able to go.
During spiritual emphasis week at Evangel (about 5 months later), I felt God bringing this opportunity back up in my mind. I was confused why, and somewhat upset because I didn’t think it was very nice for Him to lay this back on my heart when we both knew the trip was full. Once again, I doubted God and His ability to be all-knowing. After wrestling with Him about this, I got an email. I was in the library studying about a week later, and an the email said a girl had backed out, and they would love for me to come in for an interview. I was so excited! I knew God was going to work things out. I got so excited, I skyped my mom and Jenna right away to tell them all about this exciting opportunity. (This was not the first time they’d heard me mention it, but the first time I told them about it, they didn’t think I was really serious about it.)
Since I was so excited, I just figured everyone else would be too. The thing with skype is that you cannot hide your expressions like you can when talking on the phone. Immediately after I told them, their faces both were far from thrilled – it was more as a “I hope you’re kidding” look. I knew that look. I’d seen it before. I was so disappointed because I wanted everyone else to share in this excitement with me. But my family obviously looked at it from a different angle, the realistic angle. They brought to my attention all the things going on Thailand with a recent war broke out against the government, among other safety concerns. [I should probably mention that my dad had been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer only a week before-so they were dealing with all of that. How can I argue with someone during such a time like that?] My mom and sister broke the news to my dad, who was ever more upset about this than my mom, he just wanted to keep his little girl safe.
I interviewed anyways on a Tuesday. I receieved an email shortly after saying they would love to have me go. So I didn’t talk to him until Wednesday. He sounded like he had his mind made up that he didn’t want me to go. Myself, my amazing roommate, Jes, and a couple othres prayed that God would change my dad’s heart. Thursday he told me he would support my decision if I felt like I was supposed to go. Friday was the last day I could tell them if I was going or not. So I called Dr. Martindale Friday and signed up. And here I am, 3 months later, on a plain to Bangkok, Thailand.
Thanks to everyone who helped support me on this trip both financially and through prayer! I would not be here without you.