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

Saturday, September 26, 2009

all I need

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
-Philippians 4:12-13

Wow, I'm feeling so many things, I don't know what to write about today!?! I think that God is truly doing a work in my heart, and I want you all to know that He has conquered my fears of the future and brought me to a place of contentment and peace in that area. In fact, He is stirring in me a real love for my new home, and I am struck by His grace in this. I feel like, for the first time, I can whole-heartedly say that I am in Thailand...and I very much want to be here.

Of course, in my lame-o humanity, I've found myself in the midst of other fears. All of a sudden, since I want to be here and to begin establishing my new life, I am starving for connections and deep relationships. So I'm like freakin' out, as if it's all up to me. Again, God is so crazy-good in encouraging my heart and reminding me that it's a process, that this awkward, "I-hate-being-new" stage is only a season. God will bring about friends and relationships simply because He is faithful and He loves us, so I can just...chill out.

I feel like no matter what I'm struggling with, it's always just a question of contentment. And the answer? Paul is clear -- we can have victory in all things, simply because Jesus is enough. So when I'm longing, or waiting, or wishing...may I rest in that promise.

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 4:19

Monday, September 21, 2009

I need a Teacher.

They say that educators are supposed to be life-long learners. I think Christians should be too. And I don't know about you, but if I am to learn...I need a teacher. Oh Father, teach me.

Teach me how to love...and how to be loved.
Teach me how to pray...and how to ask.
Teach me how to listen...and how to follow.
Jesus, teach me how to give...and how to receive.
Teach me how to lose myself...and be found in You alone.
Teach me how to walk in Your freedom.

Teach me your way, O Lord and I will walk in your truth;
give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
-Psalm 86:11

These are the prayers of my heart today, but if you have some as well...please share.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Seeing God's hand at work

Sometimes I fail to see what God is doing. Even in my short two months here, I have already felt insecure, and incapable, and..well, in over my head. I begin to wonder why God brought me here, of all people. Me, Holly, who thrives on routine and predictability, who longs to be settled and stable. If only I were more adventurous, or more confident, or more mature.

But it doesn't take long before God gently reminds me why I'm here. This week, it was during chapel, when I heard the testimonies of several students who have experienced God in real ways and are coming to know Him personally. And again, when I sat and talked with a missionary from Colombia who left her home to live in the slums of Bangkok. And once more, when one of the students at The Well told me (mostly through hand motions) that she's excited to learn guitar because she loves Jesus, and it gives her a new way to worship Him.

I am humbled by God's grace in allowing me to come here, and to be part of Thailand's story. I know it's not because I'm super-spiritual, or hyper-talented, or overly-brave. It's simply because I'm willing...and He's faithful. What an amazing God we serve!

Be praying for Thailand. I'm coming to love the people and the culture here. Dear friends, this land is broken by drugs, sexual exploitation, political unrest, and poverty. My friends and I were noting how different it is to serve here. Back home, you have to fill out background checks and applications and jump through a ton of hoops just to volunteer somewhere (and I understand there's good reason). But here, all you have to do is show up. There are a bazillion opportunities to serve and give, and not nearly enough hands or resources or funds to fulfill the needs. May Jesus bring deliverance and healing and truth to this nation. Already there are so many missionaries and ministries here -- may there be more!

Other randomness...
  • I am officially going to California for Christmas! I'm excited to spend over two weeks with family, enjoying the holidays American-style! :)

  • Way cool, I have a friend from college who's also teaching right now in Bangkok. We're far from one another, so we hadn't seen each other until...a couple weeks ago ,we spotted each other at church! It turns out we'll be going to the same church downtown and last week, our friends converged and we all hung out afterwards -- so crazy!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

a weekend getaway

We rented chairs like these for 30 baht (about $1). Sweet deal!

There's nothing like taking a weekend getaway...to an island! This, my friends, is the island of Koh Samet. To get there, we had to take a taxi to the bus station, then a bus to the pier (about 3 hours away), and then a speedboat to the island! (The speedboat was totally my favorite.)

Because it is the rainy season, we didn't know what the weather would bring us, but it only rained minimally, and the overcast sky was kind of a nice break from the hot sun. We spent our time relaxing on the white sand beaches, eating at fun restaurants, and catching up with one another after a long week of school. On Saturday night, we even got to see a fantastic fire show!

So, craziest thing, we met up with some teachers from another school in Bangkok, and as we were going through introductions, I realized that one of the teachers was actually a friend from high school in little Eureka, Montana! Hailey and I were shocked to see each other (and surprised we still recognized each other too). We had a good time catching up on the last seven years and hope to meet up again sometime. Too fun!

I almost didn't go this weekend, because it always seems like there's so much to do at home, you know, but I am sooooooooooo glad I did! (I'm realizing more and more that God knows what we need way more than we do!)

Enjoy the slideshow below. It's all quite beautiful. As you'll see, it's the wrong season for bright skies and clear-blue water, but I'm sure I'll see it in its full glory another time! :D

Thursday, September 3, 2009

When it rains, it pours.

That is the way of Thailand, at least! Yes, if you didn't know, it is the rainy season here -- and that also means ridiculously loud thunderstorms! Cuh-raaaazy! Just wanted to take a moment and update you on the latest happenings...

  • Kristi and I got to go for the first time today and teach guitar and piano at The Well. It was so fun, and it gave me loads more motivation to really learn some Thai! I'm possibly going to start taking lessons soon!

  • The past two Fridays, I've been going to Friday Night Fellowship and hanging out with the middle schoolers from ICS. It's been a joy seeing the kids outside of the school context, and getting to worship God alongside them!

  • I am still in awe of my students -- how respectful and responsible and motivated they are! So many are getting A's in my class, I feel like the easiest teacher EVER. (Part of that is probably because I am easy. Like, I'm used to 2nd graders, c'mon.)

  • I am better understanding the stress of grading 60 students' writing...and also planning for two subjects I've never taught before. (I feel inadequate in many ways, but isn't that just how we teachers feel so often?) I think it's kind of fun inputting grades and making up quizzes and powerpoints...if only it took less time!

  • I'm going to the beach this weekend with some friends. It'll be the first time I've left Bangkok! Yippy!

When you think of me, please pray for a couple things that have been a real challenge here: One, learning the language (it's the sounds I just can't get). And two, finding my way around Bangkok. If you know me, you know that I never know where I am. (Sometimes when I walk out of a room, I don't even remember which side of the hallway I was on. Yeah, that bad.) It's hard depending on people all the time to help me with directions, and being so slow to understand. Clearly I need God's grace in these matters. :)

I love you all so much, and I pray that God is making Himself known in your lives today!

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith...(Hebrews 12:2)