Four Questions for Those in Transition

Change happens ALL THE TIME around me here and I rarely ever feel I at peace with it. BUT I have found that taking the time process/grieve how this will affect me, why I am fearful helps me take the appropriate steps towards being at peace and OK with the CHANGE.

Thanks Jacci for this great blog!

Infusing Reality With Hope

life-transition

When I was about to transition out of a job I’d loved, my friend Shandel Slaten-Sutherland, offered help. She gave me a list of questions to prepare me for the change.  On the one-year anniversary of that change, I thought I’d share some of her tips with you.

If you are going through a difficult transition, I’d encourage you give yourself some time and a safe place to process these questions. You’ll need at least three hours (if you’re an introvert, you may need five!) and a quiet space with no kids, pets or spousal types interrupting you. This is important, you are important. Bring a journal or notebook (If you’re an extrovert you may need several); be prepared to write. Sometimes putting pen to paper helps the words flow.

William Bridges writes a lot about change and transition. He says change happens fast, transitions are slow. Change happens fast…

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What People in Bangkok, in Thailand, Really Need Are Your Prayers

My friend Ashley is studying Thai in Bangkok and here is some of her experience and shares how the best thing we need to do is to pray.

I am safe. Chiang Mai is far away from the nation’s capital. But this was a deliberate attack(s) to target tourism and the Thai economy. So far this has not affected me.

One of our girls working with us has shared that she knows some that have been injured and we are sitting with her and allowing her grieve.

Free Love

My aunt was awakened from her sleep around midnight, her thoughts flooded and clouded with uncertainty. Unaware of what the day was about to bring, she interceded fervently for hours for me, for Thailand.

The extraordinary, beauty in this simple fact is that the reality and power of her prayers reached me, a world away.

It was around 11am my time Monday morning when my aunt began to pray for me, when I made my way to school like any other ordinary day. As my aunt continued to pray, I continued on with class. After class, I decided to go to a gym across the street to run, a cathartic outlet for me to let my brain process all the information I learn in class.

I distinctly remember looking at the clock as I left the gym, noticing it was only 6:18pm. Considering how I try to never leave downtown…

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John 5: The Faith of the Lame Man

One of my favorite moments of the week is our staff ‘Family Time’. We get together once a week to eat together, sing, learn about God and pray for each other.

bible study

Click the picture to see us singing and dancing before the bible study!

We were reading John 5 last night and we asked each person to share what verse they liked and why. Verse 11 really stood out to me.

When Jesus saw him and knew he had been ill for a long time, he asked him, “Would you like to get well?”

“I can’t, sir,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!”

Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up his sleeping mat and began walking! But this miracle happened on the Sabbath,10 so the Jewish leaders objected. They said to the man who was cured, “You can’t work on the Sabbath! The law doesn’t allow you to carry that sleeping mat!”

11 But he replied, “The man who healed me told me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’”

The lame man obeyed Jesus despite breaking the rules of the Sabbath and trying to people please. He chose to follow and obey a higher command from a person of a higher authority.

Being in a shame based culture has really opened my eyes to honor and shame. In my personal devotion times, I have been keeping a special eye out for scriptures that talk about honor and shame and my understanding has taken new depths!

Not only did the lame man obey Jesus, he did so with confidence. He communicated with the Jewish Leader….someone from a higher social status than he was! By Jesus healing this man, his social standing/honor was restored and even more was given to him. From the lowest level to one that can now speak to the Jewish Leaders is pretty incredible.

I hope I can be like the lame man in John 5. I pray I will choose to follow His commands over the world’s, no matter what may be at stake for doing so.

How has Jesus restored you? Share your response in the comments below. I love hearing how He has restored people’s lives….both from the Bible days to today!

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Oh shoe ah!

We have a very new staff and they speak a very different dialect of Thai that I have never heard spoken before. I am doing my best to try and learn a new word or phrase a day…it’s turning into about 2 words a week (but at least it is a start!)

Oh shoe ah translates to “How are you?” in the Thai dialect called “Na la mee deu law”

photo 3It is going to be the start of another language chapter of my life SO THAT I can better connect to these women.

Initially, these women were really shy and would barely speak to me. Now they come up to me and ask “oh shoe ah” and I reply “oh shoe!”. They smile. It is a start.

I shared how I want to learn a new word each day and they think of a new word each day for me. One even breaks down each syllable for me to clearly hear.

I am excited for the new relationships that will form as a result of me attempting to learn their language all audibly.

photo 2

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Merry Christmas. . . What does that mean?

 

merry christmas

It is very different living in a country where 95-98% of the people have never heard of Jesus.

On Christmas morning I went to my usual Thai Tea Vender, Koon Goong and I said “Merry Chistmas”, looking confused he replied “What?”

Me: Today is Christmas. Merry Christmas!

Mr. Goong: O, Merry Christmas! ….  What does that mean?

Me: Today is the day where we thank God for giving us a special gift, Jesus.

Mr. Goong: Why is Jesus special?

Me: Because I am safe with him. He saved my life. Without Jesus I would not be able to go to heaven because of the many bad things I have done.

Mr. Goong: But how is He a gift?

Me:Jesus was sent from God to save the world. He came to die for the bad things I have done. So now, I do not have to go to hell where I belong. Now, I can go to heaven. So today is a day where I thank God for the gift of Jesus.

Mr. Goong:  Is Jesus only a gift for you?

Me: No! He is a gift for everyone who wants it.

Mr. Goong: Ahh…I understand more now. Thank you for explaining it to me. Merry Christmas!

 

I wish I could say Mr. Goong became a Christian right in that moment, but he wasn’t ready. And that’s ok. I see him daily and we talk a lot (in 3 languages too….keeps me on my toes). We are building a relationship and establishing trust. I’ve started asking different questions besides the usual “How are you?” “Have you sold a lot of coffee today?” Instead I began to ask him, “If you could do any job in the world, what would you want to do?” “What is the one thing you treasure the most?” etc… Questions that make him think and occasionally he will ask me “What about you?” and I get a chance to share my story with him.

 

Who in your daily life can you reach out to? I would love to hear about it in the comments below!

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And…Not So Easy Transitions

Many things were surprisingly easy to adjust to, but there are a few things that were hard to re-adjust to when returning to Thailand.

Time เวลา

jet lagDesynchronosis (aka Jet lag) is hard. No matter how many times I experience it, it never seems to get any easier. Some studies have said that it takes 1 day for every hour of time difference to fully adjust. I am now sleeping during the night, but I am still tired and yawning throughout the day. All of the Thai girls laugh when I yawn as a way of showing that they care. After a few giggles, they then say, so home Pi Lip and sleep.

It was hard during church to stay awake. It was only my 2nd full day in Thailand and the pastor had a sore throat, so we watched an hour clip of another pastor preaching. The lights were off, I am sitting in a nice chair…..it was a recipe for sleeping! I somehow made it through awake and understanding 60% of what was being taught.

Physical Touch การสัมผัสแตะต้อ

hugIn America, there is more physical touch between men and women than there is in Thailand. There’s shaking hands, high fives, hand on the back and hugs. I had a hard time adjusting to this when I first arrived in the States, but apparently it became more normal for me. I realized this when I was half way leaning into a hug for my male Thai pastor. The realization came, gravity was taking over, and I managed to ‘stumble’ onto the floor knocking over 2 water bottles and an iced coffee; (falling was a much safer alternative than touching him!). The women picked me up, and ask if I was just tired from traveling so far. I said “YES!”.

Change เปลี่ยน

Apparently A LOT can happen in 6 months! Some Thai shops are no longer where they once were. Some of my Thai friends have moved on to other ministries and work opportunities. The biggest change was with the ministry. The hostel is up and running and getting customers. The rooms are different with some cool additions, and a lot more I am sure to discover.

image

A new mural in the stairway

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The new dorm rooms. they have lockers and each bed has a light and power outlet.

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Another mural in the stairway

 

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An Easy Transition

Welcome to Chiang Mai

I am back in Chiang Mai, Thailand! I thought it was going to be a much harder transition than it was. I feared I had lost too much of the Thai language to get around, or that I would not know how to find my way around again. I was far from wrong.

I landed, was able to get a cab easily and had a beautiful conversation with the cab driver the entire 30-40 minutes back to my apartment. He said I spoke clearly, like a Thai and that I have a cute spirit/personality.

I walk into my apartment, and I was home. The smell, the bed and everything was the way it was (minus not having water in the bathroom). The next day I went to pay the utility bill from the previous 2 months and said I needed a repair man to come and fit the water problem.

The following day, I begin my walk to the main street to catch the public transportation into town, when a grandfather and son start talking with me and they ended up taking me into town for free (I tried paying many times). During that ride, they insisted on giving me their bicycle.

I go and get my phone set up, and we ended up sharing a meal together. I then get to catch up with the girls from the café, and it was a simple and beautiful reunion. The girls at the massage parlor saw me walk by, and ran out to me and gave me the biggest hug ever.

And the girls at the café surprised me with a desk. All the drawers lock (a BIG deal!).

desk

I am home.

In many ways I am thankful for my time away, because it made me and my Thai friends realize what we have.

I am excited for what is to come in this next season in Thailand.

What are you thankful for?

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My Musical Breakdown

Yesterday music seemed to just break me down. It allowed so many emotions just to release from within me (without me even knowing they were all there-gotta love a logical brain!)

From the songs I cried to, I can now say that I am homesick and weary.

Michael Buble’s song “Home” came on while I was driving and I had to pull over, because I couldn’t see past the river that was forming from my eyes! The song was over and returned quickly to my errands.

Let me go home
I’m just too far from where you are
I wanna come home

Then “All because of Jesus” comes on and the lyrics have never felt more real to me.

I am alive because I’m alive in You

It’s all because of Jesus I’m alive
It’s all because the blood of Jesus Christ
That covers me and raised this dead man’s life
It’s all because of Jesus

The last 2.5 months, I’ve been sick with a parasite/amoeba. There have been many issues with trying to get insurance, unwilling doctors and me being allergic to the one medicine I finally got. I was on a very limiting diet, as I was unable to digest anything that wasn’t in a liquid or boiled form. From unable to absorb any nutrients and constant diarrhea, I was going down a steep slope to poor health quickly. For a few weeks, I was unable to drive as I was very weak and faint. It was scary. I was flirting with the depression line. I wanted to die and prayed that He would take me. But He didn’t. And it’s all because of Jesus that I’m alive. Without Him there would be no hope in continuing. He is my Healer and is still healing me.

Finally, to wrap up the emotional day of songs, was…

I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the one who gave it all
I’ll stand
My soul Lord to you surrendered
All I am is yours

This brought me back to a verse in Ephesians 6 about standing in regards to not giving up and fighting back spiritually.

“Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firmStand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth…”

Being one who like to study the structure of languages. I love how the writer ends with “stand firm” and then begins the next sentences with “Stand therefore”. It puts so much emphasis on choosing to stand, and keep on standing!

To say that I am tired and weary is an understatement. I’m homesick, want to be well and want to give up. Yet, I know I need to stand. I need to stand and fight, regardless of what I feel.

stand therefore

What storm are you facing today? Health? Finances? Relationship? Family? How will you choose to respond to the hardships you’re facing? Will you stand with me or will you give in? Comment below, I would love to pray for you!

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Happy Mother’s Day

So many times we rush from one task and event to another that we fail to appreciate those around us, especially those who truly care for us.

I pray that you will slow down and take the time to value the people around you over events, dates and social media.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mom’s out there. So many times you are under-appreciated. You deserve so much more.

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Teacher Appreciation Week

Do you have a teacher (or a few) that really went above and beyond what was asked of them and did what needed to be done?

I can recall a few amazing teachers (some of which I still stay in contact with to this day)

i knew you couldMrs. Benson, My Kindergarten Teacher. I still remember things that she did to this day. Brown Bear, Saint Patrick’s day, Learning to read, the iguana in the classroom and fun scavenger hunts around the school to find the missing brown bear! And at graduation, she gave us our own brown bears to keep! Then for my high school graduation, I got the book “I knew you could” (Thomas the Train Engine) and a grown up brown bear (the only gift that made me cry).

kelderman

Mr. Kelderman, Algebra 2 Teacher (and I later helped teach Algebra 1 with him) He really takes the time to get to know his students and inspire them to something more! I remember when I was trying to explain a concept, the student wasn’t getting and he told me to do it another way. I did, and the student still wasn’t getting it and he told me to find a way that the student understands. 4 ways later, they finally got it. He taught me how to break things down, look at the problem from different angles and explain concepts more effectively! Thanks Mr. Kelderman!

cooperMr. Cooper– Geometry, AP Calculus and AP Statistics- He is one of the most qualified math teachers I know and he is teaching those in High School. I bet he could have taught at major universities and yet I was lucky to have him teach me! He teaches so clearly. I was more than prepared for college math because of him. He prepared us well for the AP tests, college math and for life in general. Plus, he somehow kept our attention for a month after the AP tests were over!

ariettaMrs. Arietta-French 3/4 and we met many hours before and after school to help fuel my passion for language. Many considered her a hard teacher, but I loved every moment in her classes. She taught with passion, and she made learning a language fun, natural and easy. I use her teaching techniques to teach English in Thailand!

Maybe that’s why I’m so in love with languages today…..

marchandDr. Marchand– Hydrology. The first assignment we had was to schedule a time to meet one-on-one with him and just talk in his office. We talked about my dreams and where I saw myself. To this day if I were to walk down the halls, he will ask me how I am in pursuing my dream of serving in Third World countries. He got to know me as a person and I respect him so much for that, plus he’s super smart but is able to explain it clearly! I would take another class from him in a heartbeat!

hajjDr. Hajj– Pavement Design (yes, you read that right!) It was one of my favorite classes in college because of this man! He taught to make sure you learned the material. It wasn’t about how much you could cram in and instantly loose the second you step out of his classroom. It was an upper level class with graduate students and he made it challenging, interesting and fun (yes, fun). I could probably still do a basic pavement design today and it’s been 7 years since I’ve taken his class!

 

 

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! (May 5-9, 2014)

What teachers do you appreciate? Comment below with your stories! 

And if you are able to get hold of your favorite teachers, let them know how you feel!

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