Remembering is a gift. We can remember what God has done and praise him for his faithfulness, or we can be overly fond and despise where we are at now.
Hey everyone! Earlier this month I shared a short blog called "Made of Dust" on God being enough to cover for all of our weakness. It was based off of what Sam Sarvis shared at the YWAM Southern Thailand conference. The conference was so encouraging, as well as what God brought me to reflect on for a few weeks after that time. I would love if you would check that out! I want to start writing more blogs, but ultimately we'll see what God is asking for. On that note, if there's anything that you would like to read about as far as my life here in Thailand, or any topics you find interesting, please reach out to me! When I share things here I don't just want a soapbox, rather I want to encourage and include you in my work in Thailand. Afterall, many of you are my financial and prayer partners. That means you are just as much a part of the work here as I am!!
The month of April marked nine months in Thailand for me, and that was a huge milestone for me. I'll spare most of the details, but there was a thought shared to me that I wouldn't make it to nine months before I would be back in the US. They meant well, but it left a doubt in my mind that I really would make it that far. Thankfully, God was faithful to sustain me through that time, and going forward I have no doubts that God will continue to sustain me to do what he has asked me to do. He called me for a minimum of five years, and that means I'm gonna stick with it!
Pictured left to right: Songkran day we went to the market to eat dinner, Obie just hanging out with a goofy grin, and the lizard that hangs outside my door. (Currently accepting name applications.)
I always want to be personal with these letters, but this month especially so. With the victory of nine months comes the bittersweet longing to see family and friends. I haven't always been the best at reaching out via text or calls, but it's not for lack of care. I deeply miss all of you. There are so many moments that I remember each of you throughout the day. When I was planning my trip and I remembered the spontaneous drives to Walla Walla. (Kourtnee, I still think we got two Dutch gift cards, not one, but I digress.) Getting ready for the upcoming conference and recalling many conferences in the States running to embrace a dear friend, aaaaaaaaaaand consequently crashing into the ground. Having a beach day at Hat Yao and remembering summer nights at the volleyball court. Or shopping for snacks and remembering the Otter Pop and Pop Tarts runs to Walmart. (Oh the money we could have saved Tori, but every bite was worth it.)
I could list many of these pinnacle moments in my life. Outlined in the journal of my photo album the highlights of all my friendships. Pictures of victories, like when I served on worship team for the first time. Losses, from times where I was running from God. Most pictures I can recall what was happing in my life, who I was friends with, what God was doing, and on and on. I try not to look back too often, just in case I lose sight of the good in my life now, but when I do remember how thankful I am for who God has brought me.
Remembering is a precious gift, if used wisely. When we remember what God has done, his blessings, faithfulness, and redemption, it brings glory and worship to him. If we reflect too often on the "good ol' days" and wish we were reliving them, we can forfeit what God is calling us to now. When we live a life of obedience, there is often struggle. In those times of struggling if we look back and decide it was better, we can turn away from obedience. I know it can sound crazy, but it's in sinful nature that we go back to what is comfortable and known rather than pursuing obedience to Christ in the middle of the hardships. It's not just my own experience saying this, think about the Israelites.
When God brought them out of Egypt, at first they rejoiced. They were relieved to have been brought out of their oppression, and to be headed to the promised land. After they cross the red sea, Moses and all the Hebrews sung a beautiful song to the Lord. (Exodus 15:1-21) I would recommend you to read the whole song, but here's a portion:
"The Lord is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation. This is my God, and I will praise him, my father's God, and I will exalt him."
They were so excited to go into the promised land! They knew who their God was, better than all of their Egyptian gods. Yet, as they went into the wilderness, and it got difficult, and they were thirsty, and they were hungry, they forgot what God has done. They were in a totally new and uncomfortable environment. They were headed towards the promise of God, but in-between that beauty and their present was the reality that it was hard. They decided it was better to go back than remain faithful to the God who saved them.
I'm not saying America was completely like Egypt. I wasn't oppressed like the Hebrews. I loved my time there. I love my family, I loved getting to meet people at youth conferences, I loved hiking in the mountains, I loved hanging out in Walmart parking lots. That time was a blessing and God used it to shape who I am today. The reality now is that I am called to Thailand. I love my life here, but if I spend too much time thinking about my old life, I could end up like the Israelites. I could forget God's faithfulness to bring me here. All the miracles he did to bring my team together.
Remembering the good times is a gift. I will forever be blessed by the friendships I made with my brothers and sisters in Christ. I never want to forget the times we spent in prayer, or buying a Christmas tree from Walmart after LYC, or evangelizing for the first time. I realized we were called as believers to go to those who do not have access to Jesus in the States. God revealed where he wanted me to go in the unreached there. How could I forget those awesome moments?
But I don't want to forget what God has called me to either, and so turn away from obedience. That he has called me to spend many of my days here. That he has given us this land as a promise. Thailand is our promised land. Right now we are working to see these people join us, just like he said they would. Right now we are in a time where it will likely have difficulties.
It has not been, and will not be easy, but these momentary struggles are passing. They're eclipsed by the glory of Jesus Christ as Lord. At the end of time we will stand before the throne with Thai believers and rejoice that there is another language to give glory, honor, praise, and adoration to our King. Afterall, in a few short years, won't these be the good ol' days?
And the winner is....!
Well my Aunt won the contest! I am going to the Philippines in a week to see my Grandma! I will be going to the Palawan island to spend a few days at a resort with her. I am so excited to see a familiar face again.
Immediately following my return to Thailand, I will be headed to an Asian Leaders conf. in Khon Kaen, Thailand. It will be a time of fellowship with more YWAMers that I haven't met yet, as well as a time of learning how to equip Thai people to be leaders in ministry. So, I will be away from Trang for about two weeks straight. I already know I'm going to miss my friends here!
- Safety for upcoming travel.
- Continued prayer for the members of the cult to come to Jesus, and that their work would be stopped. (See "Fire on the Heart" under Urgent Prayer Request for more info about the situation.)
- Continued unity for our team.
- God to continue prepping the hearts of all the Thai people to receive his glory.
-That culture shock would be prevented in our team, and for us to continue adjusting well to Thailand!