Friends and family,
Greetings from Thailand, sawatdeeka! I can’t believe how much time has passed since I last updated you all. Part of my delay has been because of how busy things have been, but the other part is due to some recent discouragement and just feeling quite burned out. So to sum up the past few weeks:
On October 18th, we began our two week “October Break”, which marked the end of our first semester, and also now marks the half way point of our time here in Thailand. I traveled with several friends to Cambodia, and we spent some good time on a deserted Island.. which was much needed! It was a good time for reflection on the past 5 months, and time to pray about the coming months as well. After about 10 days in Cambodia, we returned to Thailand, and my housemate Bridget and I traveled up north to Chiang Mai, which is the second largest city in Thailand. We had a great time on motorbikes, and exploring the city, but I really started missing the kids by the second week of break!
Upon returning to GES, I was hit hard with sickness. Strangely, it all began back on the day we left for vacation, and I’m STILL in the process of recovering. Being sick has been part of my discouragement lately, but thankfully I’m now starting to feel better.
Last week, our first week back, we immediately hit the ground running getting ready for “Overnight camp”, which we left for last Thursday, November 6. I went with the older kids (6th Grade-12th Grade) away to a camp that was about an hour away. I also was in charge of worship for the weekend, which was also an interesting experience. Honestly, in the 130 kids that were there, probably 15 are Christians, so I guess I just didn’t know how to approach leading worship for them. We DO have chapels every week, but I’m involved with the younger kids for that time, so I rarely join the older kids for chapel. Anyway, all in all, camp went well… minus several kids getting sent home for alcohol and guys/girls in each other’s rooms. I hope it was an experience that later in life they will look back on and remember, even if it didn’t impact them at the time.
Something I’ve been thinking about lately is just morality in general, and what drives people to understand and know right vs. wrong. I can’t motivate these kids to make good choices based on “doing good because you believe in God and are a Christian”, because they aren’t Christians, and don’t believe in God. They go to the temple every morning or evening and pray to Buddha. Some of them could care less about making good choices. But I do believe in every person, there is an ability for people to know what is right and what is wrong based on basic human instinct. In most movies, you see good and evil, and when you view these films, it’s easy to see and desire for the characters to choose right over doing what is wrong. Anyway, it’s definitely had me thinking quite a bit recently.
I know discouragement is a natural part of any job you do, at any time in life, but I know right now it’s an attack on the work we are doing here in Thailand. We are touching lives here and making a huge difference, and because of that, I know Satan is threatened. We have 6 weeks until our Christmas Break, and in that time I will plan and put together TWO Christmas Programs, and be busy as ever! Pray that I won’t continue feeling so stressed, overwhelmed and discouraged. Other than the stressful, looming programs over my plate of responsibilities, I’m still really enjoying being blessed to teach Music here at GES, and I count it a privilege to teach them about who God is through those songs.
As of right now, I’m really missing American things… and the comfort of being “home”.. as in the States. I know it’s just a season, so hopefully it will be over soon, as it makes being here more difficult mentally and in other ways.
Here are some things you can be in prayer about for me:
1. Planning and preparation for the Christmas programs
2. Regular teaching/ planning
3. Leading worship for our upcoming Church retreat (November 21-23)
4. Getting through the holiday season without missing home too much 😦
5. Continue to be a light to all the students at GES through actions and words
Please also be in prayer as I constantly have the future in mind. God has given me the grace to be here in Thailand for now, but the more time that passes, I have realized the depth of my passion for worship, and to pursue worship ministry. I will be beginning an online Master’s degree in Teaching starting in January, through Liberty University, which I’m looking forward to, but I’m not quite sure that will determine my future.
I miss you all, and would love to hear from YOU!
With love from Thailand,