Category Archives: Prayer Requests

The Voice

518430594340A few weeks ago while visiting my hometown I got to attend the “Winterfest” basketball game at my former high school. The bright lights of the gym, the sound of the buzzer, and the chanting crowds all brought back vivid memories of when I myself played on our high school basketball team in that very same gym. It was strange to realize that it was ten years ago, but the realization of the time passed was not able to erase the wonderful memories. I looked over at the bench and there was a new coach—a dear friend and teammate whom I played with for many years. But sitting next to her was my own basketball coach, the one who mentored me and taught me to play the game.

The game was exciting, with packed bleachers and yelling fans. The screams of the fans competed with blasting music and the whole building was erupting with energy and noise. It was mid game and as my dad and I watched intently as the girls played, I noticed something. “Get back on defense!” my former coach yelled. Amidst the noise and chaos his was the only voice I heard. Yes, it had been ten years since I played on his team, but something in my mind and ears was attuned to listen to and hear his voice only. While on the team, I had trained myself to block out the yells, suggestions, and voices of the crowd and to focus on hearing the instruction of my coach.

518430514500On my way home from the game I reflected on this. How could it be that after all these years I could still clearly hear the voice of my coach? How was I able to discipline and train my mind and heart to do this? But more importantly, I began to ask myself, what voice do I listen to now? Although each of us have distinctly different lives and struggles, there is one thing we all have in common—chaos, noise, competing voices steering us between right and wrong. But is there a Voice that sticks out in the crowd? Have I trained my mind and heart to hear the most important Voice, the Voice of our Father in heaven? He is the best coach of all, guiding and leading us through each twist and turn in this life. But are we listening?

Anticipation

2015-02-24 20.22.12 Do your remember when you were a kid, counting down the days until summer vacation? The anticipation was huge. Just thinking about summer vacation made your stomach tickle—it was too exciting! Some nights you lay awake dreaming of it. Tomorrow? Not yet, but soon.

I’m not sure why we lose that when we become adults. Somehow we flatline into the monotony of the day-to day, failing to feel excitement for what’s to come. That vacation in a few days, the new movie coming out, or even the delicious hot dog you know you get to eat for dinner…can you feel the anticipation and excitement??

I am living in great anticipating, an exciting day is coming and it’s just around the corner! This Saturday we have ten new students arriving from villages all over Indonesia to join our teacher training program and I just can’t wait!!! We have been preparing for them for months, searching for them, praying for them, getting everything prepared. This morning I wrote a checklist on our whiteboard in our dorm of the things we still need to do. Wash the sheets. Buy more spoons. Prepare shoe racks. Clean the house! Sometimes the many things to do can feel stressful, but it’s just a reminder to me that this life is exciting, new adventures are coming and we are growing! These ten students will be with us for four years learning, growing laughing, crying and preparing to go out and be teachers and leaders in the toughest villages in Indonesia. They will enter my heart and become a part of my family. You too will see their pictures and hear their stories.

2015-05-04 16.20.45Will you join in my excitement and anticipation, and will you join in me in praying for these ten? They are about to embark upon a journey which will not only change their own lives, but which will impact their families and villages forever. Pray that God would prepare their hears to take this big step of faith. Pray for their parents and families as they say goodbye to their students. Pray for us a we receive them, that we would be ready and that God would equip us with what we need.

Thank you so much for partnering with me as God prepares his leaders to grow his Kingdom here in Indonesia. What are you anticipating today?

Be a Part of TransformNation

photoWould you like to be a part of TransformNation, and all that God is doing through teachers and schools throughout Indonesia? Join my support team, or click here to sponsor a teacher.

Would you commit to praying for us? Please pray….

  • for the adaptation of new students in TransformNation
  •  for schools and villages throughout Indonesia which don’t yet have the opportunity for quality education
  • for our four recent graduates of TransformNation as they go out to serve and lead in under-resourced areas throughout Indonesia
  • for Indonesia as it transitions to a historic new president

Live Well

Have you ever had one of those days where you woke up and the whole day seemed to be against you? Your alarm didn’t go off, your coffee maker was broken, and already the day seemed to have more problems running at you than you’re ready to face.

The thing is, life is just a series of problems. How well you live is how well you respond to them.

IMG_0010_smThis past Christmas was the first Christmas most of our students in our teacher training program spent away from home. My eyes popped wide open at 4am. The house was quiet but Christmas lights dimly lit the living room and I curled up on the couch thinking through all that God has done over the last year. Last Christmas there were only 7 students in our program. This year, with 18, I just couldn’t believe the amount of fast growth that has occurred. As I sat there sipping my coffee, I wondered what new students would enter my life in this coming year, capturing my heart.

The girls slowly woke up and I saw them start to peak their sleepy heads outside of their doors. I knew today would be difficult–we all missed our families dearly today. How would they choose to respond? My own family had sent presents from America for each girl, and the squealed with delight as I handed them a little bit of love from America. Many had never opened a present on Christmas morning before.

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As I look back over 2013 I’m so grateful for the many problems and challenges that I faced–from my visa, students in the hospital, support raising, to relationships, each challenge was an opportunity to respond and an opportunity to live well. And while I know I failed many times, I look forward to 2014 knowing there will be many problems and challenges to come–more opportunities.

In just two weeks I will be bringing a few students to the eastern most island of West Papua in order to visit some schools and build some relationships with some people there. This is a pretty expensive trip that I have been trying to take for a long time now. Please pray for my team and I as I lead this trip.

This week our students finish their semester one final exams, and in the coming weeks will begin semester two at their university. Please pray for them as they continue their studies.

2014-01-04 18.30.55Over the next few weeks and months we will be recruiting a group of students to admit into our teacher training program beginning this summer. Please pray for wisdom, guidance, and direction as we choose our future students.

This morning I woke up to a pile of wood cravings near my bathroom door. The termites are back. The hot water heater wouldn’t turn on, so I dragged myself into the cold shower. How well will I choose to live today? I asked myself. The choice is mine. Every problem is an opportunity. How well I live is how well I respond to them.

Life Together

Even now as I sit in my room writing this update, laughter is reverberating through the dorm that I live in. I’ve enjoyed every moment with these students that I have the privilege of living life together with.

What’s in this edition:

dorm life and teacher training

We have just finished our pilot year of our new teacher training program and are excited to welcome four new students this year. The vision is to take students from undereducated villages, educate, equip, train and disciple them to be teachers, and then send them back to their villages to teach their students in the same way. Last year we had 4 students come from K-island, and just last month we added 3 from P-island and 1 from J-island. This new teacher training program has become the focus of my ministry here. Please pray for us as we build the program, and that God would open doors and guide the program in the way He desires.

visit from Mom and Dad

A huge highlight from the last month was a visit from Mom and Dad! It was great to spend time with them, live life with them, and do ministry with them for ten days. They got to meet a lot of people I work with, and we made some time to do some volcano hiking and motorbike rides through villages. Make sure to check out the photo album.

creativity

I’m passionate about creativity, and I really see it as an important part of all ministry. (If you haven’t already, watch a video about my vision of creativity.) Beginning next week, I will have the joy of teaching creativity to our 8 teachers in our new training program. Please pray for inspiration, and that God would shape them into the creative beings He created them to be.

teaching English

For the last month or so I have been teaching English to my highschoolers. We were studying Helen Keller, and I had them do a project about the Paralympics. It was great to discuss disabilities, how God created us unique and beautiful, and the many ways God uses hard circumstances for His good.

prayer requests

Here are the major prayer requests, visit my prayer & praise page to read more:

  • Pray for the development of our teacher training program
  • Pray for guidance and inspiration as I teach and live with the students in the program
  • Pray for guidance and discernment as I look at shaping my ministry over the next several months
  • Pray for our team here and the many opportunities we have to be a part of God’s work in this country

Thank you so much for joining me in the work God is doing here!

The Nit-Grit: Smiles and Sweat

What’s in this edition:

site visits

This month I have had the opportunity of taking several visits to schools and other sites our organization works to support. It was great to spend some time with our national workers, both encouraging them and also learning from what they are doing. One highlight was visiting one of our schools that is just three years old. I was encouraged to see the energy and ambition of our national partners, as they fearlessly led this elementary school with creative teaching style and revolutionary learning techniques. I am excited for the future of this school as it continues to grow. I had the privilege of teaching 1st and 2nd grade while I was there. See the photo album here.

I also had the joy of bringing my grade 9 Bible class on a short term service trip (read about it in my post “Just Jump”). After focusing a lot on community development and leadership this year in class, it was a joy to see them translate what they had learned into practical application. They taught classes, prayer walked, and picked up trash among this tiny village up in the mountains. See the photo album here.

 

s-village

Please pray for S-Village. If you haven’t kept up with the developments of S-village, you can read the first update here and the second update here. There has been an incredible amount of spiritual warfare in this village. We have sent a national teacher from our school, but there is a lot of conflict between a majority religion teacher there and the village chiefs. The village chiefs want education, but coming out of their animistic beliefs, they are not sure which religion to follow. Please keep them in your prayers.

teacher training program

I am beyond excited to be a part of the building of our new teacher training program. This will be my focus over the next year as I not only live with our teachers in training but will also be involved in the creating of the program as a whole.

Quality teachers are the foundational element to effective Christian Education. Right now I work with a “Lab school”, that is a school we hope to model other schools after that provide quality, creative, Christian education to nationals. This year we have started a Teacher Training Program to equip teachers to train in these schools. This last year, we brought four students in from another area and enrolled them in a local University. The students went to class in the evenings and then attended specialized training given by us at our Lab School. We pay for these students to study for four years and live in our dorm (which I currently live in as well) and then they commit to teaching for four years in one of our schools (we have about 25 schools in different parts of the country). This past year was the pilot year, and I am excited to be a part of the program as we grow it into its second year next year. I am looking forward to receiving five new students next year from a different remote area.

We took the four students from this year on a field trip to celebrate them finishing exams. See the photo album here.

language learning

Thank you SO much for your prayers concerning my language learning. I had reduced my official language classes to 2/week in March, and as of last week I have finished classes altogether.  I anticipate language will be something that I will continue to learn throughout the entirety of my time here, but I am encouraged to move beyond the classroom and continue to learn from the nationals I live with and the people around me. Please continue to pray that my comprehension would increase, that I might better be able to understand those around me. That being said, while this journey of language learning has been difficult, I have had some recent breakthroughs that have been very encouraging.

this summer

I am very excited as I look ahead into the next several months. Next week I will be traveling with some of my ninth graders on a short trip to celebrate their graduation, as well as returning to the 3-year-old school I described above for their graduation. I am looking forward to spending that time with my students and continuing to deepen my relationship with them. We will also be receiving five new students into the dorm I live in (as described above).

We will also be hosting several short term teams from the US. In July, I will be doing some teacher training at our school on “Strategies for using the Internet for Resourceful and Creative Teaching”. My emphasis will be on TedEd and Skype in the Classroom, and I am really excited about the possibilities both of these options have for enhancing our creative teaching here in Southeast Asia.

In August I will be taking a trip to a site out in the “Jungle”. Just today I met with some phenomenal, innovative teachers from that same area who have a passion for providing education to their next generation of leaders. I look forward to visiting the school we already have there, as well as meeting with some other people who I hope to encourage in their endeavors to develop Christian education.

prayer requests

Here are the major prayer requests, visit my prayer & praise page to read more:

  • For S-Village (see above)
  • For the short term teams coming this summer, that God would prepare their hearts and ours, and that God would open doors for their maximal effectivity
  • For the 5 new students in our teacher training program, as well as the 4 returning students
  • That God would continue to guide us in developing our teacher training program
  • That God would continue to awaken dreams in the hearts of our students who are graduating this year
  • For our grade 12 graduates as they continue on to University
  • For safety and guidance as I continue site visits

Thanks so much for your prayer, support, and interest in all that God is doing here. It’s so exciting to be a part of, and I am so grateful that you are a part of it with me!

Irony and a Prayer Request

“The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest) Oh how I bank on the truth of this statement.

Nothing can prepare you to live and lead across cultures. Before I moved here I did a lot of studying, including taking a grad class on leading cross-culturally, but I am finding the only way to learn how is to do it and fail. I am preparing my 9th grade class for a short term trip in a couple of weeks. We will be going to a school to teach in an area that was affected by a volcano eruption a couple of years ago. Like any short term trip, my hope and desire is that the students would be stretched and grown into stronger leaders.

As a part of our preparation this week I am doing an exercise in class that will aim to help them identify assumptions they have and experience a simulation of what it’s like to experience cross-cultural stress and intercultural communication. Even though the area we are going to is in the same country, every region of this country has different micro cultures, so I anticipate it will be a cross-cultural experience for everyone.

The ironic truth is this: I’m incredibly nervous about performing this simulation on Monday and its effectivity. Why? Because I myself am trying to communicate across cultures. As I prepare the simulation I am being reminded of my own assumptions: that the students will understand the rules of the game, that the students will follow the rules, that the students will participate. All of these are essential for the effectivity of the simulation. But I long ago learned that these things can’t be assumed. I know full well that I may show up on Monday and the room isn’t available, or some students are absent, or they don’t understand what I’m trying to communicate.

And so I find myself arriving at that moment Chambers talks about. I am of complete weakness. I have to depend on Him. He is the great interpretor. I can spend days preparing, but it is the Holy Spirit who does the teaching, not me. If I fail, I fail. But He does not fail.

Please pray for my class on Monday. Pray that the students would understand. Pray that the Holy Spirit will interpret. Pray that cultural and linguistic barriers would be eliminated. But most of all, pray for my students, that God would stir in them His dreams and desires.

The Nit-Grit: Transitions

What’s in this edition:

s-village
teaching
language learning
moving forward
prayer requests

s-village

A quick update on S-village: we are sending one of our national partners to S-village for a couple of months to see if it would work for her to be a teacher there. Please pray for her as she makes the extreme transition (village life there is drastically different from city life here), and continue to pray that God would provide wisdom, discernment, and workers to send to this village. If you missed the last update, read about S-village here.

teaching

Teaching has been really fun over the last month as my students and I have gone through the books of Esther and Nehemiah and learned about what made them fantastic leaders. Recently, they were each assigned a character from the book of Esther and had to dress as their character and answer questions about what life was like for their character. Consequently, that day was my sister Joy’s birthday, so here is a short video of them in the costumes saying, “Happy Birthday Teacher Joy!”

We have spent the last few weeks preparing for a short term m-trip we are going to take to serve some schools and a mental hospital up in an area a couple of hours away. This area was affected by a volcano a couple of years ago. Please pray for the students as they prepare and that God would really work in them during the trip, opening their eyes to the immediate needs of the community around them.

I just finished teaching CPR and first aid this week and I am so proud of my students! They worked hard, studied hard, asked good questions, and are now equipped with basic CPR and first aid. It was a lot of fun for me too.

language learning

I have good news to report about language! Thank you all for your prayers. I finished formal study and will move to class just two times a week. I have truly felt God’s grace on me over just the past week or two as I have felt somewhat of a breakthrough. I’m not quite fluent but I think I’m flirting with fluency. I have been recently surprised at being able to completely understand people who just a month ago I could not even understand one word. Thanks again for the prayers, continue to pray for diligence and continued breakthroughs in eliminating language as a barrier to ministry with the wonderful people of this country.

One major blessing has been being a part of small group made up of nationals from a local church. It has brought me great joy to meet with them each week, pray, share and laugh together. This has also been a huge part of my language learning. This group is made up of people from different areas of the country who all live on this island, so we unite in a shared feeling of being outsiders in this culture yet at the same time one family in Christ.

moving forward

This month has been a month of transition and I am looking forward to the months ahead. I am currently house sitting for a family who is in the US and will be here for a few more weeks as I prepare to move into a dorm to help with our groundbreaking Teacher Training Program (read about it here). As teaching and language wrap up for this year I am really praying and thinking through what my specific role is going to look like over the next year in connection with our network of schools.

prayer requests

Here are the major prayer requests, visit my prayer & praise page to read more:

  • workers and wisdom for S-village
  • my 9th grade class’ short term m-trip
  • guidance for my specific role over the next year

Thank you for your prayers!