Category Archives: Prayer Requests

The Nit-Grit: Hitting the Ground Running

Last December I was challenged to “hit the ground running” in 2012. Sick with Dengue fever, tired, and overwhelmed, all I could think of was “hitting the ground”. However I find myself in the month of March having sprinted through the last 2 months, and I don’t dare look back! Read about some of the incredible things God is doing here. Seriously, you gotta read it. It’s nuts!

teacher training center

What’s the best way to create quality schools? Create quality teachers. Years of work previously done by the team here is culminating as ground was broken to build our new teacher training and early childhood development center. The program will be multifaceted, including training for teachers from all over the country as well as training teachers who will later go teach in one of our schools out in the villages. The need is pressing, the vision is great, and we step out in faith trusting that God will provide the funds needed for this center. (If you are interested in helping sponsor the building of this teacher training center, send me an email and I’ll get you in contact with the right people.)

old dorm new dorm

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in this dorm with local college students but am excited about my upcoming transition to living with and developing students in our teacher training center. We are still praying through the details of this, but my ministry will be making a transition into greater involvement with the residence life of those involved in our new teacher training program.

s-village

S-Village is a tiny village nested in the mountains of a remote region of this country. S-village has practiced a local religion for all of it’s existence, but as times change this village struggles for survival. To save themselves they beg for education. With the new generation thirsty for a new religion, will they be quenched by a government majority religion school, or will we be able to open a school there and teach them the ways of the kingdom? Pray for S-village and for our team as we search for ways to save the souls of this village.

language learning

I’M ALMOST DONE!!!! Well with formal classes that is. Language learning has been a test of perseverance for me. I’m not fluent yet but I am encouraged as I near the end of my formal language classes. I’ve appreciated the prayers, keep ‘em coming!

teaching

Despite all that is going on, I am still teaching grade 9. It has been a great semester so far as we just finished a section on Worldviews. We will be taking a short trip to a village school up near one of the volcanos later next month. I have also begun teaching CPR and first aid to four 11th grade students hungry to learn. It has been fun for all of us.

basketball

In case you didn’t hear….WE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP! I’m so proud of my girls who came from a last placed ranking to winning the whole thing. Read the comeback story or check out the photo album.

 

prayer requests

Ok brace yourself–there’s lots:

  • for God to provide the funding for the new Teacher Training and Early Childhood Development Center
  • for God to continue to drive the vision of the teacher training program
  • for God to guide me personally as I transition to new ministry in teacher training residence life
  • for my move out of my old dorm, that relationships would remain positive and that I might still be a light to those I am leaving
  • for God to provide a teacher from our faith who can live in S-Village and start a school there
  • for God to knock on the hearts of the people living in S-Village and that they would respond
  • for my language learning, that it would not be a discouragement or hinderance to my ministry, and that my language would come quickly
  • for my grade 9 students as they prepare for national testing, and that they would continue to be receptive to what God might teach them this semester
  • for my CPR students, that they would be ready and willing to utilize the knowledge given to them
  • for the 9 teachers in town this month from all over the country participating in teacher training
  • for some of my friends who have to deal with extremely difficult circumstances due to their choice to follow our religion instead of the majority religion

Thank you for your prayers!

The Nit-Grit

I like to keep my email updates short, so here is a more nitty-gritty, in depth (and long!) update on all that’s been going on here. Thanks for being interested! I know it’s been a while since I sent an update, but the past month (or so) has been full and wonderful.

Here are the topics:

teaching

Teaching has come to a close for the semester as this week and next are final exams, and after that the students will go on Christmas break. My final project for the semester was a “Change the World” project. My students had to pick a cause or problem in their community that they care about, present on it, and come up with a creative and new approach to try to solve it. They then had to create some kind of advertisement to publicize their cause. Here they are with some of their advertisements. Some of my favorites include a creative video one student made to persuade people to not be so addicted to their Blackberrys, and a hand fan another student made to persuade people to use less energy. I was so proud of them!

language learning

I have been investing a LOT of my time and energy into language learning since I got here. I have really appreciated my language teacher as she pushes me hard and really motivates me to work hard and learn it well. We have also become quite close friends (here’s a funny photo of us)! I began Unit 4 a couple of weeks ago and well enter into Unit 5 after I return from Christmas break (usually there are a total of 6 units with an optional 3 more for further study). It has been so freeing to be able to speak more and more, I know many of you have prayed for this and I am so grateful! I am far from fluent but am making a lot of progress.

cultural learning

Wow there’s a lot to learn about this culture! Just when I feel I might have a handle on things, something will happen and I’ll realize, “Wow, I’ve got a long way to go!” Someone once told me, “If at the end of 2 years you have a pretty decent handle on the language and culture, I’d consider that a great success.” I think I underestimated how great the learning curve would be on this one, but I am in for the ride and enjoying every twist, turn and bump along the way.

basketball

If you’ve kept up with my blog you know I’ve started coaching high school girls basketball at the local International School. This has been a blast! Most of the girls are Korean, with a few Americans and one African. It has been wonderful to pour into them and disciple them, and furthermore I am able to do it in English, which is a nice break! We started out a little rough but had our first win last week, and I am so proud of the progress the girls have made. Sorry the photos are a little blurry, but be sure to check them out!

thanksgiving

I had a most wonderful Thanksgiving with my team here. Although the actual day came and went without much notice, we celebrated the Saturday after. It truly felt like Thanksgiving; we cooked all morning, ate around 2pm, then played some soccer outside before eating Pumpkin Pie for dessert. Somehow rice made it on the table, but nobody ate it! When we went around and shared things we were thankful for, I was overflowing. Looking back on the past year, there is so much to be grateful for.

what God has been teaching me

Wait, wait, wait. That’s what God keeps saying. I’ve been so anxious to get this language and culture under my belt! But God has been faithful in teaching me what it means to wait on his timing, his good and perfect timing. You’d think I would have learned about trusting his timing with the whole visa process. The truth is, any kind of growth takes time. This will likely be a continual life lesson.

what’s next

December is a full month! We are having some national leaders get together for encouragement, worship, and training in a couple of weeks, so we are busily preparing. We will also have some short term guests associated with our organization from North America come. Additionally, I will be taking another trip to a different island to visit another school and site. And this is all before Christmas! I am looking forward to a month full of ministry, followed by some time to rest and celebrate the birth of our Lord.

prayer requests

Many of you all have been faithfully praying. Thank you! Here are some prayer requests for this month:

  • Health – I have been sick several times this month as have many of my teammates. Please pray for protection for germs and amoebas and all the other things that swim around here!
  • December events – please pray for all of the ministry anticipated this month (as described above).
  • Language – many of you have prayed for this, thank you! Please continue to pray for my language and culture learning.
  • My students – please pray they would implement some of the things they have learned this semester and that God would continue to work in and stir them.
  • My community – please pray for the people I interact with on a daily basis, that I would be able to minister to and encourage them.

Thank you! Much love sent to you from Asia.

Learning and Teaching

There weren’t even enough chairs in the room, but the excited middleschoolers crammed their way into the humble classroom, wondering, “Who are these strangers? Why are they here and what will they teach us?”
Class
I glanced over at my three high school students. We had traveled together over the last few days to visit this school in a more remote region. They were nervous, and they looked at me and said, “My heart is going boom-boom boom-boom.”

TeachingBefore I could even offer a word of encouragement they were off, excitedly giving their all and imparting what knowledge they could to the thirsty middleschoolers.

Over the course of 5 days we would visit five schools and two orphanages, and each time my highschoolers stepped up and excitedly interacted with the students, giving English lessons, playing games, singing songs, and doing skits.

Excited LearningIn one remote village, I walked in to see that my students had turned the tables on their new students; they were excitedly taking notes as their new friends taught them about agriculture.

we are all learners–but we are all teachers

Cultural Visit

At the end of the trip, I posed the question, “What did you learn over these last several days?” After flushing squatty potties with redish-brown river water, eating bat (not my favorite), and sweating in scorching hot classrooms with no electricity or even a decent chalkboard, I expected a response such as, “I learned to be grateful for what I have.” Instead, one student said poignantly, “I learned that in life we can’t just know how to learn, we have to know how to teach.”

What a true statement I have found this to be since moving here. I came here with the expectation that the majority of what I would do here is learn–learn from people who live differently than I do. But it can’t stop there. I have been reminded recently that no one culture has it all figured out. We can all learn from each other, but we must also be willing to teach each other.

quick update

HikingThis past month has been packed with changes and adventures! I moved into a dorm with some national college students, hiked a volcano, and went on this trip to visit some of our schools in other parts of the country. I am so blessed to be here, every day I am reminded of the amazing things God is doing here, and I am so grateful to be a part of it all.

prayer requests

Here are some things you can pray for:

  • JoyTeaching: I am still teaching grade 9 Bible, and it has been quite challenging! Please pray for inspiration and guidance as I try to guide and teach these young people.
  • Discernment: Pray for clarity as I continue to discover all that God would have me do here.
  • Health: So far, I have been blessed by fantastic health, and I know it is largely in part to your prayers. Please keep them coming! I greatly appreciate it.
  • Boldness in relationships: Pray for my relationships with the college students I now live with, that friendships would grow and that I would have boldness to share with them.


Thanks for all of your prayers and support. It’s making a difference.I’ve added some photos from my recent trip, and more photos will come over the next few days and weeks, so check back for more! Also, I periodically will post things I’m thinking about, need help with, as well as cultural stories etc., so even if you don’t receive an email, don’t forget to check back for updates!

Kindergarten

A Need: Clean Water for Disaster Relief

Many of you know that this country has one of the highest rates of disasters in the world. Between volcanoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, wildfires and typhoons, this area has experienced its fair share of disasters.

I have recently joined a Disaster Response Team in my area that stands ready to respond to any disaster in the country within hours of its occurrence. I will likely be on the team that is initially on the ground, assessing the situation, caring for basic needs and identifying immediately needed supplies. As I prepare my “go bag”, I am in search of a small, immediate clean water solution to provide basic first aid with, as well as to filter water for drinking for the first day or two while on the ground. I know many camping stores have various solutions, however I do not have access to any of those here.

So my petition is this: does anyone know or have any ideas for a short-term clean water solution? Please send me an email if you do. Even if you have a contact that would be able to help, that would be great. Thank you!

I Can’t Believe I Get To Live Here

Beauty

I can’t help but wonder if, after God created this place, he proclaimed to himself, “Daaaang, check THAT out!”

Just within that past month I have had the incredible privilege to travel around my area and witness some of these beautiful things: waterfalls, volcanoes, fields, beaches. The most beautiful of all, however, has been the people. Please check out my new photos page to see some of the things I have been doing.

What’s been happening

This month has been busy! It was the fasting month for the majority religion here, which culminated this week with their major holiday. It has been a great opportunity to learn about the people and the culture here, and it has opened some doors for sharing. Please pray for boldness and opportunities to share on my part, and for openness for the nationals.

I have also gone full swing into teaching 9th grade Bible. This has been a growing experience as I have never taught before, but the students are wonderful. I have also finished Unit 1 of my language learning (5 to go!), so my days are busy with studying and lesson planning.

On the weekends I have gotten to see the area, visit some villages, and make some new friends! Check out my photos.

I was on a run through some hills in my area, and as I looked around at the handful of mountains and volcanoes in my view, I couldn’t help but think, “I can’t believe I get to live here!”

Similarly, just the other day I was sitting on a banana leaf in the middle of a field with some new national friends, eating raw sugar cane, and again I couldn’t help but think, “I can’t believe I get to live here!”

God is doing amazing things here and I am so humbled and grateful to be a part of it all.

Prayer Requests

Here are some things you can pray for:

  • Teaching: please pray that the language difference would not get in the way of what God desires to do in my classroom
  • Boldness and opportunities to share with nationals
  • Community: God has provided some new friendships here (nationals and Americans), but please pray for continued growth of my community
  • Language learning: that it would come quickly and I would find encouragement through future language hurdles

I appreciate and covet your prayers. You are a blessing to me.

Laughter

“Hallo!”

KidsI stepped off the boat into a sea of smiling faces; children, whom upon my offer of a simple high five, couldn’t help but erupt into a chorus of giggles. By the time I walked from the boat to the house we were staying at in this small village, we had a flock of beautiful smiling, laughing children following us, absolutely intrigued by the “white giants” that had just stepped into their village.

“Hallo! Hallo!” They echoed the only English word they knew. I couldn’t help but yell an excited “Hello!” back. These children were filled with such joy.

Giggles

We spent quite a bit of time just looking at each other. 25 or so smiling faces looking up at me, some with missing teeth. While I have been here for 3 weeks, my knowledge of their language is still limited. It didn’t really matter, I was speechless anyway.

Imitators“Bernyani!” I finally said. “Let’s sing!” I reached far back into my memory to recall some fun children’s songs I had learned through the years made up predominantly of motions. Words were not something we had in common, all communication would have to be nonverbal. As I jumped up and down, stuck my hands in my ears, and spun around like a total goofball, the children followed my every move.

After about 45 minutes of this, I finally collapsed on the ground, exhausted. I thought the children may just let me rest for a minute, but I was wrong. Before I knew it, I had a swarm of children who couldn’t stop laughing as they also collapsed on the grass next to me.

Imitators

Sometimes I get so frustrated with celebrities. They have so much influence, and I feel like a lot of them blow it. They could do a lot of good with their influence. I know it’s unfair, but I frequently find myself casting judgment on them.

Follow the LeaderStanding in that village, amongst those children, it dawned on me that I was suddenly that person with great influence. Those kids wouldn’t have known me from Angelina Jolie. And whatever I did, wherever I went, they would follow. What a responsibility!

Ephesians 5 lingered in my head:

“Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself for us.”

Just as those kids imitated my every move, we are instructed to be imitators of God. It was convicting to me just how much I could learn from these children.

Goodbye

Recap & Prayer Requests

What an incredible month it has been since my arrival! Thank you all for your prayers and support. I have spent much of this month in language school, but I have also been given the privilege of teaching a class for 9th graders at the school for Southeast Asian children. Here are some prayer requests:Sunset on Boat

  • Teaching! This is my first year as a teacher, so please pray for guidance, inspiration and creativity through my lesson planning
  • Language learning: this is a key to my ministry here, so please pray for perseverance and that it would come fairly quickly
  • The coming school year: please pray for the students and the families who are a part of our school’s family as we enter into this new school year
  • Month of Fasting: This month is the month of fasting for the majority religion in the area. Please pray for opportunities and guidance through this delicate time

I appreciate your prayers, I sure feel them.

Peace

Street SceneAs I write this I am sitting on my bed in my new house listening to large drops of rain hit the pavement outside my window, and the only word I can think to describe this moment is peaceful. It’s how I’ve felt since I stepped off the airplane into my new reality.

getting here

Train TracksI really think I felt every single prayer. The two months leading to my departure were filled with stress, a laundry list of things to do, and plenty of opportunities for the enemy to make his way into what God was getting ready to do. Confronted with many challenges, I held onto the calling I was so sure God had placed in front of me, and I held onto your prayers.

I finally departed the morning of July 4, and 64 hours and four flights later I found myself pulling into the driveway of my new place of residence. I’ll be honest, those 64 hours were painful as I finally faced the reality of what I was doing. But like I said, I really do think I felt every single prayer, and ever since I stepped off the plane and onto Asian soil, I have felt nothing but peace, a peace so beyond my understanding I cannot find the words to describe it.

#LifeInAsia

Faith in a HelmetWhat an adventure it has been already! I wish I could describe to you every aspect of this incredible culture, but I am still learning about it.

I was immediately received with open arms and love. My roommate Sharon has been wonderful! She rides a motorcycle and I have enjoyed getting to know the city on the back of her bike. Many of the locals ride motorcycles, and it is not uncommon to see a whole family loaded on one bike!

WFamily on a Motorcyclee are nested in a valley between three volcanoes, and if it is clear I can look up and see one of these peaks (sometimes our feet are covered in ash). However, the most beautiful creation of all is the people. They are friendly and personal, always willing to and desiring to build relationships.

I have recently been tweeting about some of my unique experiences, so if you don’t already, follow me on twitter and keep your eye out for my #LifeInAsia tweets.

prayer requests

I am so excited about the incredible things that are already happening here, and more so that I have the privilege of being a part of what God is doing in this place. Here are some specific prayer requests:

Man on a Colorful Bicycle

  • Language learning! This will be my full time task for the next several months.
  • School is starting here, please pray for the students returning to the school I am working with, and also for the teachers in this coming year.
  • That God would continue to shape and grow my vision for this place and the work He has prepared for me.

Thank you again for your prayers and support, and for helping get me here! Grace and PEACE to you.

Asia Here I Come!

Just a quick update, to let you all know I bought my ticket! I will be departing July 4. Please be in prayer for my visa, as I have not received it yet and need it before I depart.

Many of you have also asked me how my support is coming, and I am excited to let you know it is almost all completely in! God has been so incredibly faithful and I am overwhelmed with gratefulness.

Current prayer requests:

  • that my visa would arrive in time for my departure
  • meaningful goodbyes (and grace to get through them!)
  • peace in this time of transition
  • that God would be preparing my heart for all He is about to do

Check back for updates!