Friday, April 25, 2014

Thailand Update

As most of you know, I decided in March to go to Thailand to do missions work upon completion of my contract in Korea.  This decision came after months of going back and forth between SE Asia and Brazil, some stuff God was showing me, and a trip I took to Thailand.  I wanted to give you an update on where I’m, and how I’m preparing so you would better know how to pray for me.

Money:  I decided it was necessary for me to live on a minimal budget, only purchasing necessities, cutting back on going out to eat, paying for Thai class and other trainings, and only allowing myself one vacation, as cheap as possible, between now and when my contract ends in February 2015.  This is really difficult for me because I love to travel and there are still so many places in Asia I want to visit.  I also love to eat and Seoul is full of so many yummy places.  I’m using this next 10 months to practice self control and pay off as much student loan debt as possible.  I really need help and accountability in this area.  Pray that I stay committed to sending as much money home as possible and those random, uncontrollable expenses won’t keep popping up as they have been doing since I made this decision. 

Learning Thai:  I started taking Thai class and completed my second class this past Monday.  I have only managed to learn the letters and sounds of the 44 consonants and 32 vowels.  This is a difficult task.  Please pray that God opens my mind to understanding Thai.  My teacher says I’m really good but she probably says that to everyone.  :P  I feel like once I learn how the alphabet works everything else will naturally fall into place.  This was difficult for me because of the cost involved.  I wasn’t going to do it at first.  But after prayer, God reminded me that He owns all the money.  Learning Thai, far in advance, is a huge investment, so I decided to bit the bullet and go to class.

Music: I decided I want to learn how to play the guitar.  When I move to Thailand I want to be able to lead worship.  None of the team members already in Thailand can play an instrument.  I feel like it is important for me to learn.  I’m looking for a good deal on a used guitar (praying I get one for free) and someone who would be willing to teach me. 

Training: There are some things I must do with my church before I can be sent as a missionary with them.  I am in the process now of beginning these things.  In May I will start a 7 months, long term missions training.  I’m looking forward to the small, group that will be doing this training with me.  I could use some good, godly bonding time with people.  It’s something that I’ve been neglecting the past several months. 

Memorizing Scripture: I decided it was important to arm my mind and heart spiritually as I prepare for this move.  I can’t think of a better way to do that than memorizing scripture.  I challenged myself to memorize a chapter of scripture a month.  This month I am memorizing Galatians 5.  In May I will probably memorize Psalm 139.  I’m really feeling discouraged and reminding myself of that scripture I’m memorizing every morning has been helping me.  Pray that I stay focused and accomplish this goal.

Thank you so much for all your prayers and support of me throughout the years.  I am so happy to be preparing for this wonderful opportunity and look forward to the future.  307 more days!

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Different Vibe

Daegu Journal Entry: Volume 1 Issue 5
Saturday, April 5, 2014

“He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.” ~Psalm 121:3.  This was the verse we handed out today while ministering in the RLD.  What a great reminder this verse is for me personally, as I struggle to manage things in my life at the moment. 

Today, we handed out sock slippers with this verse written on it and QT’s about Grace.  We prayed for God to have Mercy on the madams and pimps in the RLD.  That God will open their hearts and meet them in their prayers.  A lot of sisters want to come out and they are praying to God that He would help them come out of the RLD.  We prayed that God would answer their prayers quickly, and allow them to come out.  We prayed for these girls to be rescued instead of kept trapped and in bondage.  And when they do come out, they will be able to worship and praise God with the Body of Christ, instead of being looked down on.

We also prayed for the men that go in there, that the ones who are Christians would be afraid of God and that He would reveal this is wrong to them so they would not come back and would be convicted eternally. We prayed for the pimps that go to church to repent and be reconciled to God.  We prayed that the sisters in the house of the “Christian” pimps can find freedom.  We prayed that through this outreach in Daegu, God would be glorified through all we do because His Spirit is with us. 

Today’s distribution happened really fast.  Normally it takes about 45 minutes but we did it in 25.  It was also really cold because of the wind.  Not nearly as cold as it was this winter but it’s been really warm the past 3 weeks so we weren’t properly dressed.  The madams we pray for normally were not there.  Many saw us coming today and it seemed like they went inside to avoid us.  We still left the gifts and QT’s on their chairs. 

Today I gave a gift to the lady that calls me American friend.  It was a bracelet from Thailand with a cross and a rainbow on it.  She was really happy to see me and really happy to receive the gift.  I tried sharing the significance of the cross and rainbow with her through a translator but she told us she was too busy to talk at the moment.  She said she appreciated the gift though.  So we moved on.

The girls are becoming pretty familiar with me and are waving back to me when I acknowledge them.  Some are even initiating waves to me.  Maybe I was just seeing things but I felt like a few of them were watching me, waiting for me to look up and notice them so they could say hello.  This is a great change compared with when I first started going and they would just look away.  They are even throwing smiles at us now that they recognize us.  It feels so great to see them smile and wave from the windows. 

I got a lot on my mind lately, mostly in regards to the near future.  I was definitely distracted before and during this outreach and have continued to remain distracted since.  Please pray for me.  I don’t even know how to pray for myself at the moment, or what exactly my issue is, but I do know I miss the intimate times I have had with God in the past and desperately want them back.  There are just not enough hours in the day for me to accomplish everything I am doing and I’m starting to develop a bad attitude in regards to some of the things I am responsible for, mostly work stuff.  I guess that is my request, that whatever barricade is keeping me from deep, meaningful quiet times would be removed completely.  I stayed home Easter Sunday morning to journal a bit and that really helped.  I love writing. 

This blog was short and I apologize, but for once, I’m speechless.  Please pray for Pastor Choi as he has been very sick and it is going to cost a lot of money to fix his health issues. 

Please pray that more people in the Daegu area would be raised up to take over this ministry so P. Choi can train more people in other cities to fight for freedom and justice in the area of trafficking.  An English Ministry in Daegu met with us today before going out and wants to partner and receive training from him so they can do the same.  We are very excited to have partners in Daegu and love watching how God is moving and equipping people to fight this injustice. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Why Do I Feel Discouraged?

So, I've been struggling once again in the regular, constant flesh/spirit battle that frequents my mind.  This morning I had to take a break from everything and everyone and journal.  Writing gives me so much clarity and makes me feel so good but I have been struggling to journal in Korea.  I wasn't going to share cause journaling is personal, but I feel like there are a lot of people that are going through what I'm going through.  I pray that this journal might be an encouragement to those Christians who are feeling guilty or discouraged about their current relationship with God.  Hang it there friends, it will all pay off.

     As I stare out my window today, Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, I can’t help but think of how great God’s plans are for me.  I mean He has plans for me that I don’t know about nor desire for my life, until I’m in the midst of fulfilling those plans.  I never planned to live in Asia yet here I find myself in Seoul, S. Korea, preparing to do missions in Thailand.  And you know what, God’s plan for such a time as this has been great, it has been beyond my wildest imagination and I have fully enjoyed every moment of this time I have been given in S. Korea.  I have gotten to experience things I never even knew existed and go to places I never would have imagined myself going to.  I’ve met some really interesting people who have shared some incredible stories and taught me so much.  I’ve grown more aware and with that more passionate about fighting an injustice that I’ve been heart broken over for over a decade now. 

     So why do I continue to fight God’s will for my life?  Why do I continue to struggle to find time to spend with Him?  Why do I think that what I want for my life is better when I know that God wants me to have a good life and has provided me with one so many times up until this point?  Why is it so hard to Trust Him with everything and just let go of my stress, fears, and anxieties?  Instead of being excited about the future, I’m worried because I have no idea what is going to happen.  There are so many unknowns, so many fears, so many “what ifs,” but then I’m reminded I have nothing to fear.  God watches over the sparrow and I know He is watching over me.

     My flesh wants one thing and my spirit another.  They are in constant battle with each other.  I just want to escape my mind sometimes because I can’t take it anymore.  My flesh wants what will gratify for only the moment while my spirit begs the flesh for time with God.  But something always comes up.  Something always conveniently gets in the way.  I am struggling.  Each day my flesh wins more and more of this battle thanks to the busyness I find myself consumed in.  Why is so difficult to open my bible and read it?  Why is it so difficult to pray?  Deep down I want the intimate relationship with my Maker I was created to have but I find myself “too busy.”  TOO BUSY for God!!!!?  How can that be?  “Be still and know that I am God” he says, but in this city where everyone is in a hurry, and everyone wants things now, there is no time to be still.  I don’t know how to make time for God in this environment.    

     This life can be so lonely at times.  I’m constantly surrounded by people (for crying out loud I live in a city with 9 million people) but they are too busy to listen, too busy to spend time together.  If they are available to hang out with, they are usually consumed with themselves or their smart phones and don’t bother getting to know me.  They just assume I only want to know about them.  This experience allows me to get a glimpse of how you feel.  I do the same thing to you.  I’m too busy to talk to you, even though you are more than available to listen.  I am too busy to spend time with you, even though you are more than available to be with me and want it more than anything in the world.  I’m too busy telling you what is wrong with me and not asking you to reveal yourself to me.  I think I know you but I don’t because I am CONSUMED WITH ME when we are together.  You care about me more than anyone. 

     God, sometimes I wish you were a physical being.  Sometimes I wish I could feel your arms wrapped around me.  Sometimes I wish I could hear what your voice sounds like.  But then what if you were?  Would I still treat you the same way?  Would I still long for affirmation from others when I can just go directly to you?  Even though you are not physically here, I can go directly to you but chose not too.  It’s easy to say I forget you at times because I cannot see you.  But isn’t that just an excuse? 

     God, on this Easter Sunday, I’m sorry for the way I’ve treated you.  I’m sorry that I turn to anything but you for comfort and guidance.  I’m sorry that I rely on things that fulfill only for a moment.  I thank you for what you have don for me.  I thank you for loving me.  I thank you for sending your Son for me.  I thank you that you are always available, even though I cannot see you and at times I cannot hear you. I thank you that your presence never leaves me, even in the times when I ignore it.  I thank you for your Word.  I thank you for your love.  I thank you for your mercy.  I thank you for your guidance.  I thank you for your provisions for my life.  I thank you for choosing me for the life you have given me.  Help me to appreciate it.  Help me to appreciate what you have given me and allowed for me to do and who I have become.  I am grateful that You have time for me and all the billions of other people in the world, and I hope that one day, those who don’t know You will.  May You use me to help others know You the way You were intended to be known.  More importantly, may I know You the way You were intended to be known.  Help me not to feel discouraged because discouragement leads to guilt, guilt leads to apathy and an apathetic heart is not a heart that I want in this life.  I don't want the burden of apathy.  

I love you Lord. 

Galatians 5   FREEDOM!!!