Sunday, March 19, 2017

I Met The One!

As I'm processing the last two years and preparing to head back to America (May 3rd) I can't help but think about "the one".

Yes, I'm 36 and single but no, I'm not talking about that "the one". Gotcha! I'm referring to the one that is overlooked. The one that is desperate for acceptance in a society that strives to not feel emotion. The one that is tormented. The one that is misunderstood. The one without hope.

John 4:4 tells us that Jesus had to go through Samaria. He didn't have to because it was the common route. He had to because "the one" was going to be at the well.

In that time it was unlikely and uncommon for a Jew to pass through Samaria. I can only imagine the disciples thinking to themselves that it was a bad idea and that they didn't want to go.

That didn't stop Jesus. There was a woman that needed to meet him and rules about Jews not traveling through Samaria weren't going to stop him. Not only was her life changed forever, she shared her experience with Jesus with her town and many believed in Him.

In my time in Thailand so far I have met "the one". Some of my students are "the one". The one that wants to become a Christian but fears abuse from their parents. The one that struggles to fit in and have friends because they are a Christian. The one whose parents left them or are working in another town. The one that is responsible to earn merit for their mothers and themselves so that they might tip the scales of karma in their favor. The one that isn't accepted by their community.

Everyday I see the one. The one that Jesus loves desperately and has given me opportunity and responsibility to introduce them to Him.

In my years as a missionary I have been asked why I do what I do. I have been told I can do this or that when I get a "real job". I have experienced a loneliness that was nearly unbearable. I have 11 nieces and nephews that are my world but I have to watch them grow up through pictures and facetime. Leaving my country to live in a new culture and learn a new language is less than easy or comfortable. Visas, immigration, government requirements constantly changing, work permits. Not as fun as it sounds.

I have to "go through Samaria" like Jesus did. I have to go to the one and let them know who Jesus is. I have to go to the places that some people wouldn't go or can't understand. I do it for the one.

I met the one and I'm in love!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

I hate everything about how 2017 started

2017 did not start off with warm fuzzies and blissful but I'm happy about that.

Maybe I was a little dramatic on my title. I blame the readers who only read blogs with dramatic titles. You know who you are. 😉

I know hate is a strong word but it best expresses how I feel about injustice, being cold, being scared, and cats. Other things I strongly dislike would be being uncomfortable, taking risks that don't make sense, bad drivers...

School was out 31 Dec - 3 Jan. So "the girls" (my older students that are more like friends) wanted to go to Pai Sunday and come back Monday. It had been cool and rainy which wasn't ideal weather for a long bike ride but I agreed to go. I tend to over pack so this time I brought the bare minimum. After all it was just one night. I brought a shirt, 2 pairs of undies, and toiletries. I could wear my hoodie and jeans and socks (don't judge) again.

What should have been a 3 hr drive ended up being 5. That's a long time on a motorbike! The road to Pai has 762 curves. Yes, you read that right 7 6 2 curves. I get motion sickness just looking at the "curvy road ahead" sign. Thankfully, being on the bike with the cold wind on my face helped me to not really get motion sick.

We got to the place where we were going to stay for the night. It was dark by this time but from what I could tell of this place is was basically a hippie/squatter type campground. We rented a couple of bungalows that had bunkbends in them. There were tents all around and open sleeping areas. They did have warm showers and electricity so that was nice.

We checked into our rooms and walked to the night market down the street.

As we're walking around one of the girls comes up to me and puts her arm around my arm and her head on my shoulder. With a sly grin she asks, "Can we stay the night again tomorrow near a waterfall? It's cold and foggy! It will be so beautiful! Please??"

"Cold? Foggy? Another night I wasn't mentally prepared for? I don't have enough clothes for that." All things that ran through my mind. Not to mention I was over being cold.

I asked where we would sleep. She told me we can rent a tent. What??! What about sleeping bags and blankets? We can rent those too.

I told them that we can take a look at the place then I'll decide.

We got back to our room and attempted to get some sleep.

I don't know that I got much sleep if any that night. The tent behind our bamboo room was occupied by some men that didn't know how to talk to the people next to them without yelling. I put in my head phones and tried to settle my mind with some I Love Lucy. If you ask me, the men in that tent thought it was their job to keep anyone around them from sleeping. They were determined to stay awake and stay loud.

Morning rolls around and we get ready and check out by 8am. We couldn't leave that place fast enough haha.

We spent the day exploring. It was slightly warmer than the day before and not raining so that was nice. There were even times that the clouds broke and you could feel the sunshine. I could immediately feel my mood change and was able to enjoy the day. It was a fun day!

That evening we made our way to the top of the mountain to the campsite. It was so cold! And so foggy! There were 5 of us but they decided that a 3 person tent would fit us all. They kept asking me if I could sleep in a tent or if I was able to camp. Of course I can! I grew up camping and I've camped out in the desert of Kenya a few different times. Camping isn't hard for me haha. Come to find out, they have never been camping. They were concerned about me being able to handle but they had never done it before lol!

We rented our tent, sleeping bags, and blankets and got set up. As the night went on the fog rolled in and the temp got colder. At one point they made an announcement warning campers that showering too late in the day could be dangerous because you might not be able to get warmed up. The showers did not have water heaters. The girls and I decided that washing our faces and brushing our teeth would suffice until we got home the next day.

The tent to the left of us was about 10-12 inches away from ours. The one on the right was about two feet away. Around 1am the campers on the right got a phone call that a family member had died. It took them about 2 hours to clean up their campsite. They were yelling and upset and apparently had to make sure everyone around them knew what was going on. (I didn't know their family member died until the morning when the girls explained to me what had happened. They only knew because of how loud the campers were talking.) One guy in the tent on the left, the one closest to me, snored so loud the entire night! So, another uncomfortable night of no sleep and mounting frustration.

We got up the next day and started the process cleaning up the campsite. We brought the blankets and sleeping bags back to the office area. They put them right back on the shelves. No washing or sanitizing them at all. I did my best to not throw up or show my complete disgust and prayed that God would help to not think about how many people could have used those or what could have happened on them. I am so uncomfortable just thinking about that. We grabbed our backpacks and made long trek home.

I hate how 2017 started but not for all of the reasons you think. Yes I hate that I was cold. I hate that I couldn't sleep. I hate that I used blankets that only God knows who else used. I hate that I didn't shower. I hated being uncomfortable and inconvenienced.

Know what I hated more than that? I hated that I almost missed out on having a good time and making memories with the girls. I hate that I avoid being uncomfortable or inconvenienced. I hate that I have missed out on other adventures or memories with people simply because I want to be comfortable.

I had to tell myself, "You're cold, not dying. You're uncomfortable, not dying. You're inconvenienced, not dying."

So I decided to embrace being uncomfortable and inconvenienced. I decided to look for the good and even enjoy the people and the things in those moments. I might have hated how 2017 started but I wouldn't change it. It has propelled me into a new mindset. It has challenged me to embrace being uncomfortable. To allow myself to be inconvenienced for the sake of others.

No, this does not mean that I will do the Flight of the Gibbons zipline here in Chiang Mai lol! But it does mean that I will experience more in life. 2017 is going to be my most uncomfortable year yet!

Here's a short video of our trip!