Tag Archives: photos

Give it to Him and go to Sleep

Carrying wood up the mountain.

Last week I took a group of our teacher trainees on a hiking trip up a local mountain. The goal was just one: grow in character. With 30 students and 2 nights on the mountain, we divided into small groups to coordinate food, tents, and making sure everyone got to the top safely. I tasked each student with something specific from first aid to paying the guide. I asked one student, John, to find a machete before we left so we could cut fire wood at the campsite. John’s a quiet student who doesn’t like to draw attention to himself. He’s committed to learning anything put in front of him and works extremely hard.

As we started to hike up the mountain John approached me and confessed he wasn’t able to find a machete to bring. “Don’t worry Teacher Faith, last night I went to the woods behind the dorm a cut some wood.” I looked and slung over his shoulder was a big bag filled with chopped wood. “You’re going to carry that all the way up the mountain?” I asked. He convinced me he could do it.

Carrying wood up the mountain.

About 2 hours into our 8 hour climb to the first campsite John started to lag behind. The wood was clearly weighing him down. In my mind I kept thinking, Why not just dump it, we can get wood at the campsite. We are SURROUNDED by trees! But committed to our goal of growing character, I let John carry on. “Let me carry it”, said one of his friends. John looked relieved. Over the next 6 hours we all switched off carrying the wood up the mountain.

Our whole group at the top of Mount Welirang

While carrying that wood may have brought our group together, it felt so pointless. To walk amongst trees carrying wood. It made me reflect on my own life. How many times do I carry pointless burdens, worries, grudges that are totally unnecessary and that weigh me down? I know that God will provide for me. I know that once I overcome and conquer this mountain He will be there waiting. I know worrying just weighs me down. Yet in my own stubbornness or pride I refuse to cast off my burden to God and I carry it; slowly and painfully.

“Cast your cares on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.” (Psalm 55:22)

We have a phrase in our dorm that we constantly remind each other at the end of each day: Give it to God and go to sleep. I’m learning. He’s taken care of me this far. Will I trust Him to carry me the rest of the way?

At the top of Mount Welirang. They mine sulfur here.

(click to see more photos of our hike)

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.