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

Friday, February 25, 2011

lost in translation...or just plain lost?


I have to say I’m just a beginner when it comes to understanding cultures outside of America. I mean, two years ago, I hadn’t even left North America before. So as I try to engage with Thai culture here, it’s seriously like stepping into a whole new world. And while the language barrier of course is a huge part of adjusting, language is just the beginning.

So in typical Holly-fashion, I kind of freaked out last week. What am I doing? Am I walking where I shouldn’t? Doing what I can’t? What if what I’m doing and saying means something totally different in this culture? And vice-versa? What if I just completely mess up, or offend someone…what if I’m rejected? And if I am accepted, does this culture replace my own?

Then I read this:

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Ephesians 2:14-22

Culture is a beautiful thing, but our first allegiance is not to our country or culture…but to our God and the members of His household. In Him, we have a new culture, a new family, a new identity.

This all makes so much sense to my heart, because in deciding to stay here, I feel like people wonder if I've become passionate about missions, if that’s become my “thing.” Overseas for life, “called” to the mission field? Yet, my passions have not changed one bit. My longing is still to see God known and glorified in His Church; He’s just expanded my view of what that means…and who’s included.

After floating around in my deep thoughts for a while, I talked with my good friend, Mutarica, who knows a thing or two about different places and cultures. And instead of helping me analyze things further, she cut through everything and reminded me that it’s really quite simple.

“Just be you,” she said.

Oh…right.

I’m not in Thailand to find belonging in a new culture, or to collect diverse friends and experiences. I just want to know these people I’ve come to love, and to know their love too.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

silence.


If you know me well, you know that I have trouble with silence. Words, tapping, strange sound effects...I'll use whatever it takes to fill the empty void in a conversation.

Silence.

It's funny, because lately, the enemy has been using silence all over the place to drive me nuts and awaken these dumb fears and insecurities. Since I'm an over-sharing, over-communicating creature, I think it's a real weak spot for me. I send an email, or a text. Silence. Maybe they don't care? Maybe I said something wrong? I ask a question. Silence. Maybe I'm bothering them? Maybe that's a stupid question? I post something on Facebook, or on my blog (I hate admitting this). Silence. Ahhh! Maybe my words don't make sense, or people think I'm crazy, or I shouldn't have talked about that!

And it's beside the point that usually all of those lies are simply, truly lies, because really, the core issue here is -- What's really at stake anyway? Shoot! What if I do say something wrong? What if I do embarrass myself? What if I do mess up? I'm pretty sure I can trust in the faithfulness and kindness of God to cover me...and I can even trust that He'll give my friends grace to extend over my mistakes as well.

Phew. I feel better now that it's been said out loud. Haha. No wonder I hate silence.

And speaking of silence, please forgive me for my blogging-silence these past several weeks! It's partly due to a busy schedule, but mostly, I think it's because my linguistic skills are overspent on learning Thai right now! I'm taking lessons twice a week, studying every day, and trying to speak...whenever I have the courage to! Loving, loving, loving it...but my English writing output has been pretty pathetic since. Strrrange.

Anyway, here are some highlights as of late and things you can pray about if you happen to think of me! God is absolutely blowing me away with new opportunities and such clear affirmation that I am where I'm supposed to be. Praise His Name!!

  • The past few months, I've been attending a new church called Life Center. It's a young church plant started by a passionate and God-loving couple from Sweden. It's mostly made up of younger, Thai people -- a lot of them university students and most of them new Christians. I am crazy-excited to be a part of their ministry here, and I can't WAIT to see what God is gonna do!
  • God has given me favor by bringing me SO much encouragement as I try to learn Thai. I feel like every time I try to use it, I battle with fear. I know I've just started studying hard core, but I am praying for 1) a supernatural ability to pick it up quickly! and 2) patience and a teachable spirit, as I stumble through learning.
ทุกอย่างเป็นไปได้กับพระเจ้า
Everything is possible with God!
  • The transition. I truly don't know what God has planned for me beyond next year, but I have a deep conviction to commit myself here and to give Him free reign to use me as He pleases. SO, I've decided it's time to sell my car and try to empty out my storage in Puyallup, hopefully by this summer. It's maybe harder for me emotionally that anything, but I take this step in faith, and I know I don't need tangible "roots" in order for God to bring me back someday. Please pray for the logistics with all of this, and for a heart at peace.
And if you know of anyone interested...please let me know!!

Love to you all, whoever you are reading right now. Thanks for letting me...break the silence! :)