it’s beginning to… wait, it’s Christmas?

Aside from the glittering glam at all the malls I go to, I would have no clue it was Christmas!  But apparently it’s Christmas Eve-Eve today.  December 23rd.

The songs, food, lights and everything we prepared for the Christmas program have long faded, and the mess from two nights of programs has been cleaned.  Our first program was on Friday night, and it was the younger kids, and then the older kids were on Saturday night.  Here are a few pictures, just to give you a taste of the evening:

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Anyway, it was a good night, but I’m so glad it’s over.  I can hardly believe it.  It feels so weird that it’s all over.  We worked for 6 weeks to get ready, and it was all a whirlwind.  It was a lot of fun dressing up for the programs, myself and two of my roommates got dresses made for the program, and as you can see, they did a BEAUTIFUL job on my dress!  Over here, the tailors, and all clothing makers are amazing.  We all just brought in pictures of the styles we liked, and they made them for us!  I also have videos of all the songs for the younger kids, so eventually hopefully I’ll put those up.

I don’t really know who reads this blog anyway.. maybe mostly facebook people since it pops up!  Anyway, for the past three days I’ve laid low, and haven’t made any huge plans.  Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, and as of now, I plan on going in the morning to Hot Yoga at our gym, then hanging around our apartment for the rest of the day.  We have a Christmas Eve service at the church, and I’m singing a special song, so I figure I should get ready for that!

Christmas morning, Tiffany (a fellow teacher here at GES) and I will go over to our friends for breakfast, then we’ll have a Christmas Dinner at our Pastors’ home.  I’m so glad I’ll be surrounded by great people on Christmas day, it’ll be a great great time.  

My plans for this week were to: rest, have alone time, work out, and just RELAX.. which I’ve gotten to do so far, so I’d say it’s been a great break thus far.

This Saturday I’ll head down to the beach with several other teachers, then come back the following Friday.  I can’t believe it’s almost 2009!!  I think my next blog will be wrapping up 2008, and talking about 2009 goals… :).

Hope you are all well (whoever is reading this!).  Have a very Merry Christmas, and may you be reminded of your blessings as you’re surrounded by loved ones and you reflect upon the past year in all it’s trials and victories.  Love you all.

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almost the end of another week

Hello friends,

It’s almost Friday; I’m about to go to sleep which means I’ll wake in a few hours and begin another day!  So, I’ve decided I’m going to begin blogging about some of the every day happenings of my life here at GES, just to give you a better glance of my life these days!

Also, here again is the link to my pictures, which I am continually updating!  We just celebrated the Thai Buddhist holiday “Loy Kathrong” (I don’t know if that’s spelled correctly!), and have some fun pictures from that!  http://picasaweb.google.com/meridith.johnson

This is a short update, but check out this video from today.  We’re learning songs for our Christmas Program, and when Grade 3 began singing through this song, I was about to cry it was so sweet!  Anyway, they figured out my plot and began waving at the camera, but enjoy my sweet Grade 3 students singing about loving God!

November 11 update

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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,
Meridith Rae

https://somehowbeautiful.wordpress.com 
meridith.johnson@gmail.com
1.541.255.2159

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October break

The stress of report cards and grading is over.  This week has been MUCH more relaxed, and right now my Grade 4 Music class and myself are enjoying “The Sound of Music”.  Very educational.  Definitely.

So October break is just a matter of days away, and I can’t wait!  The strange thing is that when we return, it will be November, which is just weird!  Things here are just as warm as ever, though I’ve noticed it’s getting slightly cooler, either that or just the humidity hasn’t been quite as awful as it normally can be.  It’s still a pleasant, and sometimes unbearable, 85-100 degrees F. I still just can’t get over the fact that this has been the “longest summer ever”, since back in the states things are really cooling down.  

I should also mention that once I return from October break, we will be half way done with the school year, which also means half way done with my time here in Thailand!  It’s strange to think… the time has really been going by quickly.  But, just like during any race, the point where you turn around and retrace your steps back to the finish-line are often the most difficult, and mentally the most exhausting.  Keep myself, and all my fellow teachers in your prayers.

So, for our much anticipated break, myself and 3 of my friends will be flying out on Saturday to Cambodia (as I’ve talked about MANY times in my blog!).  We will spend about 10 days relaxing on the beach, going to remote islands, hiking, exploring, singing (I’m bringing my guitar, OF COURSE!), and having a good old time!  We’ll be going to a remote island called “Bamboo Island” where we will have our own bungalows for about $15 USD a night.  We’ll get to go on boat rides around the island to watch the sunset, and during that they catch fish that are then cooked up for dinner at night!  I’m so excited!!!  (Can you tell??).  It’s been a long few weeks, and it will be so nice to relax, sleep, and really think through the last 5 months of my life here in Thailand.  After our trip, a few of us will head up north to Chiang Mai (the second largest city in Thailand).  We’ll do some sight seeing, rent motorbikes, hike around, and CHILL!

Anyway, my lack of sleep is definitely catching up with me this week!  It’s been taking me longer and longer to fall asleep at night which means that I’m definitely dragging now.  Pray that I can get rest over the break!  I really need it!

Anyway, when we come back, I am in full swing to start us on learning songs for the Christmas Programs (yes, I said programS) that I am in charge of.  There is one program for the younger, then one for 4th through 12th.  But anyway, this blog is about VACATION, not stressing about school, which I tend to do WAY too much!

Alright, well I will be out of touch for the next couple weeks, as I’m not going to bring my distraction of facebook and my labtop with me.  Pray for safety during our flights, train rides, bus rides etc… It should be a very restful time that God has given to us!

Blessings and peace,
Meridith Rae