Today I said goodbye to some of the dearest people I've met here. I didn't cry and hopefully I can hold it together tomorrow when I leave. Packing is done and tomorrow I will go to Ajung Tee's church and then leave Chiang Rai around 2 in the afternoon.
This last week I've spent most of my time with the people who have been vulnerable enough to befriend me. God's given me the wonderful gift of being able to see their homes and lives outside of their work. I have so much respect for each one of these women. They have sacrificed so much of their wants and needs for their family or for the ministry God has given them. I love them dearly. We have laughed together, been exhausted together, and had some great conversations. I don't want to leave them.
But, at the same time, I know that my time here is complete and if I would stay I would need to settle into a full-time task. I have seen a broad range of ministries and have started to process through my personal values that will have an impact on my future ministry. Greg and Corinne have been great supervisors and I am so thankful for their guidance!
Please pray for me as I travel, adjust to food, continue to process through what I have seen, and as I work. I thank the Lord that He has provided me a job during my month+ at home. He is such a gracious and generous God- giving exactly what we need when we need it. I will continue to post when I get home. I was really busy this past month and don't want to miss the opportunity to share with you all about specific ministries I visited! Thank you all for the prayers. That is the main thing any ministry or friend has asked for- a gift at no cost except a little bit of our time! Thank you for your generosity!
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Today I celebrated Thanksgiving with the Hortman's and their friends. What a way to start the week of my goodbye's and last times! This morning I returned to Ajung Siy Jy's church in Chang Sean. When I first came the field was filled with green rice shoots and today they were harvesting.
I have attended this church three times and every time they have treated me like family. In fact, today this church surrounded me in prayer for my trip, for my plans for the future, and for revival in America. What a wonderful gift from God not only to hear individuals praying in their heart language all at the same time, but to hear them pray for me! It still gives me shivers of happiness!
(even the dog smiled!)
Koi then took me to the Hortman's and I met new people and visited with those I've met briefly or for longer. It was such a good experience because, although the food was delicious, the fellowship was the main thing!
Sometimes I think holidays can become such a chore that we forget that each holiday gives us precious time with family. It clears our schedules to make time for fellowship and to encourage one another. I don't know about you, but I find myself every year at this time thinking too much about the gifts, food or scheduled events.
Don't get me wrong though- I was definitely excited to taste real American food!
But to watch and talk with my new friends that I have made was so sweet! To receive an encouraging word from Ajung Chalau (I don't think that's spelled right) and her husband Neal was another gift.
To see the Pennington's was another gift: they were the first ones I met when I arrived and will be the last ones I see before I go.
To see Lynn holding a red-haired baby, knowing that I will be able to hold another red-haired baby when I get home- a gift that has been prayed for!
Mother's holding their children and the other one's playing together. All sounds of Thanksgiving that I never stepped back and took notice of before. And even though we didn't go around the table and say three things we were thankful for or ate some of the dishes that have been in the family for years, I think I am more thankful to the Lord this year than any other year. I am thankful for a family who has been praying for me and have sought the Lord's wisdom in their lives. I am thankful for the daily blessings of water, food, blankets, nature, and bug spray! I am thankful for new friends and the opportunities I have had to learn from individuals. But most of all, I am thankful because this year the Lord has taught me the value of daily thankfulness. That His love is behind each and every gift and that joy can be experienced when we recognize it and open our mouths to thank Him for it!
Tonight I was watching a Dr. Quinn episode called Thanksgiving and Johnny Cash sang a really neat song. If you aren't a fan- that's fine- but the words are precious because it looks at the small blessings and important ones. Click this: Johnny Cash- Thanksgiving Song if you want to watch it.
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sorry for the lack of blog posts... Things have been really busy here at the CEF office! I just wanted to let you all know that I'm going to a girl's home this afternoon and will stay the weekend. Pray that I can be a positive influence on these girls and that the love of Christ will show! Also, that I will have listening ears as they explain their ministry to me. A festival called Loy Krathong is going on this week also. People make small floats from banana leaves and decorate them with flowers, incense, and candles. They then pray to the river goddess for forgiveness for polluting the water and for any evil they might have done. They then put the float in the river with a few coins for good luck. If the candles stay lit as it floats away, it is a sign of good luck also. There are a lot of paper lanterns that are set off too. It's supposed to be really pretty and I hope to be able to catch a glimpse of it tonight! But, the meaning behind all the pretty lights are the sad part. Please pray that as they float their loy krathongs and send up the paper lanterns that they will have unrest in their hearts and a longing for the Creator who forgives their sins completely and who is the Light of the World! Pray for Christian's to use this time to share about Jesus Christ! Thank you for your prayers! Many things to tell you in the future! God bless you all!
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Just a quick note to say that I'm visiting a bamboo bike shop tomorrow that gives jobs to local pastors and then we do a Good News Club and then a fun evening at the Hortman's. Then on Saturday I head up to Mae Sae and cross the border to renew my vista. Then I'm going to be staying at a goat farm- helping them out some and learning how missionaries can use farming skills for ministry! Pray that I'll be a good listener, watcher, and worker and that I can bring encouragement to those I encounter! Thank you all so much!
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
I just finished reading a post from another blog called The Journey (kissesfromkatie) who is serving the Lord in Africa. She was telling about how each person God has created is looked on as His favorite- those hurting and those who've hurt you. I was reminded of a song I learned when I was young called, "He Loves Me Like I Was His Only Child". I don't even remember all the words, but that song left an impression on me. I was special, His favorite! To look around and see that those around me are His favorites too- hmm, now that's a thought. In our individualistic society it is hard to think that God can love every person with as much passion, forgiveness, and selflessness as we've experienced. But somehow He does, even the ones who will never confess His Name. He made each and every one of us to simply experience His love. And I want to say now that I am sick and tired of these stupid arguments over immigrants who come to America and don't learn our language. Who do we think we are? They are God's favorites too! English is a terrible language to learn and we need to be thanking God that we were born into it so we don't have to struggle like every other country to try to learn an almost impossible language to get a better paying job. And then we turn around and are the ones going to another country and some even have the audacity to not learn the language or culture! I was able to show a friend the evangelistic video today that was made for the Northern Thai people that Greg and others were able to fund, help with, and promote. She was so excited to show her family who is unsaved and friend's in her neighborhood. She was so happy that it was her culture portrayed and in her language. How can missionaries even think that they don't have to learn the heart language of the people or learn about their culture?!! Don't you think they are just as frustrated as we are? Yet we don't hear them complaining. Can we just get off our high horse and look at people the way God sees them? To stop looking at race, physical abilities, or social status! I went though the pictures I've taken so far with the knowledge that every person I see is God's favorite. I'm going to post them, but I urge you to look at those you SEE today- not just the ones you talk to. To see them as one of God's favorite children- whether they are your family members or the Muslim person you see in Wal-Mart. How come a Buddhist believer can accept people more than a Christian living in a so-called Christian nation?
Phii Aom and Koi: God's favorites
Phii Aom and Koi: God's favorites
Seller's and buyer's at the market:My Thai teacher: God's favorite God's favorites
Corinne, Greg, and the boys: God's favorites
The kid's and teacher's at the boy's school: God's favorites
The lady selling peanuts: God's favorite
The lady who made our food that day: God's favorite
Kid's who's parents are in jail or unable to care for them: God's favorites
One hundred campers learning Christian songs: each one is God's favorite
A little one learning about Jesus in Sunday School: God's favorite
Hill tribe people selling their wares: God's favorites
The ice cream man: God's favorite
The coffee lady who has a Buddhist money tree in front of her stand: God's favorite
Thai traditional dancers: God's favorites (gay or not)
Northern Thai people watching a Christian film in their heart language:
they are all God's favorites!
So, pardon me for the outburst. I just hope that you think and consider those around you. Everyone is God's favorite and God is desperate to love on his children! Thank you for the prayers for this past weekend. People heard the gospel and missionaries were encouraged! God bless you- my readers! You are God's favorite too!