"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, oh Lord..." Psalm 19:14

Monday, June 29, 2009

Let's start the countdown...22 days!


Hello from California!
Check this out, on my letter of intent, they call me a "teacher/missionary." How cool is that? Two wonderful titles in one! I know, as Christians, we're all missionaries in a sense, but it's an honor to be called one.



I am tentatively scheduled to leave for Bangkok on my 24th birthday, July 21st! Please pray when you think of me!
  • that I can get my visa in time. I'm not familiar with all this stuff, and I am still waiting on some paperwork, so I can send in the application.
  • that I know what else to do to prepare, and what things to bring.
  • for my move...unsettling to me that I don't have the details figured out yet, but I do trust it will all come together, as it always does!
I have a lot of peace about everything, praise God. He is faithful, and oh-so good!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

a redemption story

Sorry in advance. This is a long post, but I've wanted to put this story into words for a long time. My heart is so grateful, and I can't help but share why.

Okay, I'll just say it: I hated college. Not all of it, but pretty much, it was an awful time for me. Disappointments in my family and then at school led me to a lot of grief and loss. And then, to make matters worse, I gave into all these fears and insecurities that only plummeted me into isolation and despair. I don't know if I was technically "depressed," but whatever you want to call it, I was deeply, deeply sad. There I was, facing college graduation, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. In desperation, I cried out to God for help.

April 3, 2007. Completely unprepared and rather aimless, I barely made it to a job fair in Portland that morning. The last thing I expected was to come out with an actual job. I visited the Puyallup booth (because I've loved that place since I lived there as a kid)...interviewed with them...and was offered a job with the district that very day. I was told I could think about it for a couple days, but it took me just a few minutes to decide to go. I just remember whispering to God, If I could pick anywhere on the map, I think I'd still choose Puyallup. I felt so unworthy, but even then I knew the Lord was tenderly and lovingly delivering me from my sadness.



And that was just the beginning. Within a few months, I found myself in an area I love, teaching a grade I love, at a school I love, with the support of a church -- you guessed it -- I totally love. I've moved a lot, but moving here was the easiest transition of my life. All of the belonging and affirmation and support I had so been longing for, I've found here in Puyallup. And, more than that, God has restored my hope, renewed my joy, and reminded me of His great love.

I know, so what's the deal, right? Because now that I have everything I was looking for, Jesus has called me to drop everything and go?! To Thailand of all places? It's like the parable of the talents (check out Matthew 25:14-30). I always thought this story was strange, because the cautious guy gets in trouble for burying the treasure he was given, while the risk-takers who doubled their talents are commended. I mean, what's with that? Isn't it smart to hide away valuable things? But as I see God's awesome work in my life, I realize that I too have that choice to make. I could either take all that God's given me and bury it, cling to it, secure it...or I could risk losing everything and let God use what He's given me and multiply it.

And, the thing is, that's the way our God always works. Through loss, we actually gain...through giving, we overflow...through dying, we truly live.

I know, I'm really long-winded, but I hope you're still reading, because last of all, I want to thank you -- all of you. No matter who you are in my life, you've played a role in this. Every kind word, every prayer, every act of love, God has used to grow me and heal me. Your love and prayers and encouragement are enabling me to go...and give...and love. So thank you. Thank you for letting God use you, and thank you for being a part of this redemption story.

(Special thanks to Sharon, Sary-Jo, and others whose photos I used in the slideshow above.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Moooooving



What I'm keeping so far.
And...





What I'm not.

Can you tell which is winning? I have been crazy busy this week, with doctor appointments, report cards, getting new glasses, packing up an apartment and a classroom, shuffling through paperwork, ordering important documents that I've lost and then finding them again...oh, and then there's teaching 2nd graders all day. Whew!

Going through my things yesterday really confirmed just how much we live in excess. Wow. Moving is good, if only because it gives you a chance to clean house a bit and rid of the junk...and, actually, I'm thinkin' it's more than our closets that need it. :)

Please pray for me as the days quickly pass. Pray that I can love fully and freely in my last days in Puyallup and my last days with family before I go. Pray for good conversations everywhere. Pray for a prepared heart. Pray that I can get my things packed and moved, which means I need to find a truck and some strong people! Pray that Jesus be everything always.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thailand!

Can you believe it? Just a couple months after losing my job, I will find myself in Bangkok, Thailand ready to start teaching middle school! Whew!

As crazy as it is, the cool thing is seeing God's work so evident in every part of this adventure. You not may not have known, but since college (when I learned of many cool overseas opportunities), I have been hoping to go overseas...someday. It's such a great way to see more of God's world, and to reach out to an area in need of the Gospel. I'll be at a Christian school, where I get to openly share God's truth and love with kids -- most of which have not heard the Gospel before.

Maybe you also didn't know that one passion I hold dear is my love for words. I love to write, and it's been my hope to one day teach language arts in the upper grades. The job I initially interviewed for was a 6th grade math and social studies position -- fun, though not my favorite. But the job they eventually hired me for is a 6th grade language arts/social studies position. Wow, that alone would be such a great opportunity!

And, last of all, I can't wait to learn to love Thailand...especially because of its great need for truth and God's freedom from bondage. Many people in Thailand are affected by poverty and sexual exploitation...and I think like over 90% of people there are Buddhist. In my humility, I realize I know nothing of these kinds of hardships (and quite honestly I don't know what I'm getting myself into), but I am so confident and delighted in knowing that the Lord in His purpose and sovereignty is crossing the paths of my life with this people group. How awesome!

I have two weeks left of school. My heart is heavy to be leaving everything I know (again!) and to say goodbye to such a rich and beautiful chapter of my life, even if it was just two years. (I'll reflect more on my time in Puyallup later.) But every part of me knows this is right. I have every intention of returning to Puyallup -- Lord willing. Yeah, there are no guarantees...but what guarantee could compare, anyway, with knowing a sovereign and loving God who holds us all in His hands?

International Community School of Bangkok: http://www.icsbangkok.com/