Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Year To Review

Where to begin... One year ago to date I was flying home. I landed in the USA before this day was over. Much has changed since then, but it feels like I was just there. Life has moved on in Thailand, South Carolina, and even Pennsylvania. Babies have been born....  

Rice has been planted and harvested once more...

And little boys have grown...

But, I realize that much has happened in my own life.
Our family shared Christmas together. A new family member was met...

Then back down to Columbia, South Carolina to finish the college education I had started 7 years ago.
The three years spent at Columbia International University were wondrous gifts from God. 

 I learned to live on my own- choosing to rent with some friends off-campus
The times I shared with them were precious! We learned from one another and encouraged each other!

A friend of mine was married in South Dakota. So I did a quick weekend out there...
What an godly example this couple was to me and I was blessed to have the opportunity to share it with them!

A package from Thailand, thrilled my heart- even though it went to Canada first!

My church did a missions conference and for the first time I was a missionary representing a country at a missions conference. 

Many happy adventures happened with my friend Sue...
...and I was so grateful for the chances we had to get away from the books and relax!

And my housemate was such an encouragement to me!

And then, it was nearing an end. My parents came down for graduation and was so glad they could meet my South Carolina "parents!"
Vince and Jan have been God's grace to me through my college years- providing not only a retreat for me, but spiritual mentorship and deep counselling. 

And goodbyes were said. To my church...
... my friends, my life. 

I had prayed to stay... and God told me to go. 
Go back to the mission field of Bedford County.
Go back to educate those I meet about missions.
Go back...

I stopped to visit a missionary on my way home and she encouraged me that this will be a good time.
A time to grow and develop spiritual habits before I start overseas. 
I praise the Lord for this woman who took time to counsel me, even when her mother had passed away the day before.

I returned home to summer weather and family and flowers. I went cherry picking for the first time with my sister-in-law.

I worked on two summer classes and finally received my diploma in August! What a relief! 
My mom went out to Iowa for a week and my dad and I did some sight-seeing around DC.

We had a beautiful autumn. The leaves were so bright with color.

We took a quick visit down south again to see friends...

... and my aunt recently visited for Thanksgiving weekend with my cousin and her friend.

My sister was baptized this past Sunday and many were touched by her bravery and testimony. But that is another story to tell and there are so many other "graces" that have happened in this past year. 

I guess I'm reflecting more on my birthday this year instead of New Years. 
Lately I've been discouraged and yesterday God brought a co-worker into my life to speak truth to me. 
Last night I read Psalm 27:13-14 in a new light: "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD." 

I apologize that I have not been faithful with this blog. It is hard for me to remember that there are still things to share. I'm living at home and working. My life is not filled with elephants and open markets and motorcycle rides. But so many times I am reminded of that life. But I will approach that subject later!

This was a long post and it took me quite a while to write. It is now November 30th- no longer the 29th and around this time last year I was crawling into my bed after 3 months of being in a country I will never forget.