reflections on taking chances

I was 23.
April 2008.
Nearly a year of wonderings and wanderings after graduating from college.
I was ready.
Ready to spread my wings and fly,
ready to take a chance.

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In 2007 I graduated with a degree in music.  In my young, naivete I thought I would immediately be hired in full-time music ministry and that church job offers would simply flood in as soon as I walked across the stage with my diploma.

(I was wrong, by the way).

That summer I travelled to India for a two-month long mission trip.  In many ways, that trip changed my life.  My first time overseas, my first time fully immersed in an eastern culture, and the first time I really caught a glimpse of life abroad serving a God who isn’t American.  A God of all nations.

I returned home more sick than I’ve ever been in my life, and still had no job and no direction for my life.

The difficult months that followed shook me to my core: extreme culture shock, depression, meandering and wanderings…  but then in April of 2008, everything changed.  You see, when I returned from India, my team spent several days in Bangkok, Thailand debriefing.  I had a distant feeling in my heart, a feeling that I would return to Thailand one day.

Ten years ago, in April 2008, I interviewed for a Music Teacher position in Bangkok, Thailand.  A few weeks later, I boarded a small airplane with 2 large suitcases (and a very heavy carry on) and moved to the other side of the world.

I didn’t know a single soul.

But that decision – that chance.  It changed my life forever.

The friendships forged during that year forever changed me, the students I taught showed me what compassion looked like with hands and feet, and living in another culture taught me how to be empathetic.

That chapter of my life opened up doors for me to later serve in full-time Worship ministry, and the relationships there inspired me to pursue seminary.  Many of the co-teachers I taught with are still my friends today.

The thing about taking chances is this: when the Holy Spirit of God prompts us to take steps of faith, or “chances” in our human thinking, the greater chance to take is to ignore that prompting and taking the wider, easier path.

I’m so glad I took that chance.

S6300051India, June 2007

S6300243.jpgKolkata, India, July 2007

IMG_1493_7Thailand, October 2008

IMG_5313Our street, Nonthaburi, Bangkok, Thailand

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what i miss the most

Let’s be honest here.  Is that okay?  Well, I am making it okay, especially because this is MY blog after all.

I don’t miss “home” per se, but there are many things, comfort things, that I miss about the United States of America.  The things that are “normal” here in Thailand aren’t really “normal” to me, and that makes sense.  I didn’t grow up here, and I’m certainly not completely understanding of all those things after being here only 3 months.

  • I miss my car, and being able to go anywhere anytime I want.
  • I miss huge salads from Red Robin.
  • I miss being able to speak in English when I go somewhere and have people understand me.
  • I miss not feeling like I stick out wherever I go.
  • I miss not sweating all the time, everywhere you go.
  • I miss my hair being normal.
  • I miss Sarah being around to cut my hair.
  • I miss being in the same time zone as everyone.

I’m sure I could extend this list longer.  Some things have begun to ware on me, but I know those things will pass.  Don’t get me wrong, I love being here in Thailand, but sometimes I just wish I could know what the future holds.  I could see myself staying here for longer than just one year, but then again I could see myself coming back to the States.

I’m not the best at trusting, and for that I must confess that I have depended too much upon myself.  I know when I begin feeling overwhelmed that at that very moment I need to stop, and begin to pray.  For I know at that moment I’m relying on myself and my own strength.

The hardest is not knowing.  For a while I did so well at not worrying about the future and taking life one moment at a time, but right now I’m worrying, and asking many questions that I should leave up to the LORD.

Pray for me.  Pray for all of us teachers.  Thailand is a place where it is easy to get discouraged, and I myself have been dealing with that lately. 

God is good, and God is so faithful.  I know this to be true.  That doesn’t stop me from wanting to bawl my eyes out right now…. I’m not even sure why.  

Thanks for listening friends, again, please pray for us.  Everyday we give and give to students who do not know the LORD, and that alone can be quite taxing, and can seem very energy-consuming.

This song has been a blessing to me, pray these words of truth wherever you are today.

“Desert Song” by Hillsong

Verse:
This is my prayer in the desert
And all that’s within me feels dry
This is my prayer in the hunger in me
My God is the God who provides

And this is my prayer in the fire
In weakness or trial or pain
There is a faith proved
of more worth than gold
So refine me Lord through the flames

Chorus:
And I will bring praise
I will bring praise
No weapon formed against me shall remain
I will rejoice
I will declare
God is my victory and He is here

Verse:
And this is my prayer in the battle
And triumph is still on it’s way
I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ
So firm on His promise I’ll stand

Bridge:
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship

End:
This is my prayer in the harvest
When favor and providence flow
I know I’m filled to be empited again
The seed I’ve recieved I will sow

 

 

“Does Sorrow lay his hand upon your shoulder,
and walk with you in silence on life’s way, 
While Joy your bright companion once, grown colder,
Becomes to you more distant day by day?
Run not from the companionship of Sorrow,
He is the messenger of God to thee;
And you will thank Him in His great tomorrow —
For what you do not know now, you then will see;
He is God’s angel, clothed in veils of night,
With whom “we walk by faith” and “not by sight”.”

2 Corinthians 5:7 KJV