Wednesday, May 26, 2010

maay saap

There is less than a week until I head back to the states.  Its hard to make my brain wrap around that sentence.  I feel like I've been here for my entire life, and for 2 weeks all at the same time.  This 5 months has truly been a weird experience as far as the passing of time goes.  I am excited to go home, to return with my stories, pictures, gifts and experiences.  This season has been amazingly hard, amazingly educational, amazingly beautiful and over all amazing.  There is so much to tell, so many moments that stick out in my mind and I am worried that I won't be able to hold on to all of them.  I know that images will fade from my mind, the streets and the language that I studied until my eyes bled will slip out of my mind as I use it even less than I do now.

What will continue is the relationships that God has brought me into.  I know that the friendships that I have been given will continue and grow as we grow as people and as children of the one true God.  Both those relationships that will go back to the states with me and the ones that I will have stretching out across land and sea will mature and I will continue to learn from these amazing people.  They will also help me in remembering the things I learned here, the lessons that made me cry and laugh and rejoice.  The relationships that grew with people back in the states because of this trip here will also grow and continue as we are reunited in mutual time zones and countries. 

I have learned so much about people, and since I am a people I have learned so much about myself.  I know that the last 2 years of living in community, living simply and earnestly seeking God's face has been in preparation for whatever is next.  Where ever I am lead next I hope that the things I've learned here in Bangkok will let me follow with grace and compassion. 

So I'm heading back to the USofA.  I am not quite prepared for the 16 hour flight, or the reverse culture-shock, however I am not sure which is going to be worse.  I am terribly excited about some potential directions my life could be taking when I get back and I covet your prayers as there are some big decisions ahead for myself and how I can best serve the Kingdom of God. 

Thanks, for coming along with me on this blog adventure.  I apologize repeatedly for the lack of good blogging that I did!  I am utterly ashamed, haha.  I love you all and I am so thankful for you in my life.

Monday, April 19, 2010


I hope that this letter finds you enjoying the spring time. Here in Bangkok we are in the middle of the hottest month of the year and seeing daily temperatures of near and over 100ºF. I look forward to May and the arrival of the rainy season, in hopes that rain will relieve the heat.

We are all still recovering from our recent trip to Cambodia. Because of my kidney stones, my doctor here advised that I not spend a lot of time in Cambodia because it lacks in modern medical facilities. I stayed about five days while the rest of the team was there for almost two weeks. My short visit was truly amazing. It was strange to be in a place that has experienced extreme change and hardship over a short period in history.

My first full day in Cambodia we toured Tuol Sleng, former Office S.21 of the “Kampuchea Democratic” 1975-1979. The former high school was converted into a museum to remember the horror Cambodians have endured. The Khmer Rouge used this place to detain, torture and kill the residents of Phnom Penh. Most people who survived Tuol Sleng were taken to what is commonly called “The Killing Fields” but is officially named Choeung EK Genocidal Center. At the killing fields, bodies of nearly 20,000 men, women and children are buried in 129 mass graves. These remains speaks as undeniable evidence of crimes against humanity carried out by the Khmer Rouge regime. While we walked and looked down at the ground, we saw pale white shapes in the packed dirt. We were informed that the recent rains had revealed other bits of bone and clothing; evidence pointing to graves yet to be uncovered.

Most of the photos I took while in Cambodia were on this day because I never want to forget. While I stared into the empty eye sockets of the skulls, I was easily filled with love and compassion, and outraged at the injustice the victims suffered. As the day went on and our tour continued, I felt challenged to remember the men and women who executed these orders with the same love, compassion and injustice that filled me when I remembered the nameless dead beneath my feet.

I was reminded the divine distance between Christ and me is much greater than the distance between Cambodian murder victim and Khmer Rouge killer. Christ is similar to that little child whose life was cut short at the hands of an angry and self-righteous soldier (who is metaphorically like me.) It is easy to love and fight for a voiceless victim, to remember their story and honor them. How much harder is it to love and fight for the people who killed these

children? As much as I am called to love and serve the poor of the world likewise I am called to love and serve those who exploit and cause imbalances in resources that cause so many poverties. It is easy to love the victim; it is Christ-like to love the victimizer.

I stayed at the Missionaries of Charities Home for Children for most of the rest of my time in Cambodia. There‟s nothing like touching and holding babies and children. One is easily mired in the suffering that you see all around you when you live and work in impoverished conditions. Getting to hold and be held by little babies was soothing for both of us. Their hunger for affection was evident in the way they turned toward the sound of someone walking in the door and raised their arms in a manner that must be the international baby language for „pick me up‟. Their desire was to be where you were, without any hidden agenda or lies; just the simple desire to feel their skin against yours and your heartbeat under their ear. I was glad to be there and leaving after only two days with was difficult and tearful.

Cambodia is a strange dichotomy of an extremely old country and young country. Many people who are faithfully allowing God to use them to do amazing things in His name. Pray for Cambodia and God‟s people who there as they do Kingdom Works in their everyday lives.

My stay in Bangkok is winding down and that is hard for me to believe. There are less than two months here and I‟ve already been here for over three months now!! As interns and servant team, we are starting to look ahead to what happens next. I have applied for a couple of different positions and been searching for opportunities. I am especially hoping one in particular works out and when I know more details I look forward to sharing it all with you! For now, could you keep all of us (Bekah, Seth, Simeon, Caroline, Angie and me) in your prayers as we are looking forward while continuing to be here fully? We would all be so grateful!!

I am thankful and overwhelmed by how generous you have been. To date, I have $4217 in my support account. I only need $2783 to completely cover my mission expenses (travel, accommodations and food.) I am confident that God will provide! I know I can ask you to prayerfully consider giving to this ministry I have been called. I feel a calling in my life to full-time ministry and I am excited to see where God will lead me next.

In His Love, by His Grace,


Monday, April 12, 2010

Bad bad blogger

Ok, so I am realizing that I am super bad at blogging.  Which is weird, because I enjoy sharing, and I enjoy writing, and I enjoy things about me, and this is what blogging is all about.  So I am unsure of my reason of being a bad blogger, but I do intend to do better.

Its Tuesday, which is my official day off.  Today promises to be a delightful day of relaxation and reflection of the activities of recent weeks.  I wish I could share all of the details with you, but I will be able to once I get back to the states and I can share so much more with you all. 

God is teaching me so much every day.  I have wondered at the reasons for being here, the reasons for God has lead me down this path, and while I don't have an answer I do have his promise to grow me and complete what he has started in me. 

As many of you know Thailand is going through a period of political unrest that has recently lead to some violent protestings and sadly the death of 21 and injuries to about 850 people.  It is strange to be here and to know all of this is going on but to not really see much of it.  Bangkok is really a huge city and covers a lot of area and the areas that all of this is happening is far from where we live.  It is near where we do a lot of ministry and so we haven't been able to do that to our usual capacity lately which is a little annoying at best.  We are all praying for this city we live in and love.  Many of our neighbors and friends are affected more than we are, mostly because they know what exactly is going on and are affiliated with once side or the other.  We ask that you keep us and our friends here in Bangkok in your prayers as things grow more and more heated. 

Everything else is going well.  We have had some recent emotional and spiritual growth in our community that I think will lead to us becoming closer as a household and will allow us all to become greater friends and have a greater ability to love and care for each other.  I am excited about where God is taking us as a community and am really looking forward to the next month and a half or so.

We are all looking ahead as our time here is winding down a bit.  I myself have an interview coming up that I am very excited about and hope goes very well.  It is awesome to see where God is pointing us during this time and how this has been a time of preparation and training for the next season of our lives.

Look for a newsletter coming out soon, I recently finished it and my hardworking mother is acting as my publishing company stateside is mailing that out and editing, and printing and doing the hard part for me, and I am so thankful.  I will hopefully get it posted here too!

Thank you so much for your prayers and support!  I love you all!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

February Newsletter

February 20, 2010

Dear family and friends,

So much has happened since I was last able to sit and write you a letter. It all really started with my recent trip to India. On January 20th, Bekah, the Hupe family and I flew to Chennai which is in the south of India right on the coast of the Bay of Bengal. We were there to attend the Asia Regional Retreat that is held once every 3 years. It was so interesting to be able to meet and spend time with all of the Word Made Flesh Asia Field Staff. We were there with the Nepali and Indian staff members. There are two WMF fields in India: one in Kolkata and the other in Chennai. One of my favorite parts was being able to meet the Chennai staff, the Samuels family because they are the very first WMF field and have been staff for the last 18 years!

Bekah and I helped out two fabulous ladies with childcare so that the parents were able to really focus on the retreat and having fellowship. It was really a lot of fun being with the kids. I felt so blessed to be there in beautiful Chennai with them.

We were actually in two different locations during our time in Chennai. After the Regional Retreat, we went with the other Field Directors to a separate meeting for them. There we spent time wandering around the interesting little shops, playing on the beach and taking tons of pictures that I am can’t wait to share with you.

After all of the meetings were concluded, we headed north to Kolkata for a few days. I am still in the process of emotionally recovering from my time there. While I wouldn’t have traded the experienced for anything, it was hard for me being there, and if you would like a more detailed and physical description of the city I will direct you to my blog:

The first day was partially spent at the Thai Embassy applying for our re-entry visas and then after that we headed to Sari Bari and met with the fantastically beautiful women who work there. If you are unfamiliar with the work of Sari Bari you should go to and look at their amazing creations. Basically, Sari Bari is a place where women wanting to get out of the red light district are able to seek shelter, learn a skill and put that skill to work and make a living for themselves and for their families.

Old and used saris are purchased and these women clean them, reshape them and sew them back together to craft brightly colored quilts, blankets and various bags. The process is the same as God goes through with us sinners: we are purchased, washed, broken and reshaped into something beautiful and useful. The women are welcomed with open arms and hearts and experience firsthand the healing and redemptive love of Christ.

On Friday our last day in India, we were able to go the Home for the Dying and see where Mother Teresa lived and worked. We were hoping to volunteer but we weren’t able to because they had too many volunteers, which is an awesome problem to have. We went to the Mother House and saw Mother Teresa’s tomb which is a lot like the lady herself: beautifully simple and surrounded by the word of God. That night we spent in community with the WMF staff. Keep them in your prayers along with the rest of the Asia staff as they serve and try their best to do Kingdom work.

Spending that time in India made me so excited to come back to Thailand. It really felt like coming home. I loved India but my heart is definitely in Thailand. Many of you know that as an intern my specific job is to care for women who come to live with us who are in need. Since returning from India that aspect of my job has begun. I am not able to give details at this time, but I can tell you that two of the most amazing women have moved in with us. Their stories are horrific; many of the details seem too much to believe. My responsibilities are to oversee their primary care and making sure their basic needs are met.

We have been getting to know them over the past two weeks and I have made two awesome friends that I will carry in my heart forever. Their names are Joanna and Marianna* and they are amazing. Their beauty and grace is something to behold. Everyday we grow closer and our bond is growing stronger giving them what I hope is love and stability that has been so missing in their lives. Joanna is a new believer and her enthusiasm for Christ is so wonderful, her dark eyes sparkle when she talks about God’s love for her and how he has changed her life completely. She has been attending a local Burmese church herein the city and it has been a great family of community for her. Last night she took Bekah and Marianna and I with her to a home Bible study.

Living in the south I thought I knew what hospitality was, but at this home Bible study I really experienced genuine hospitality. Here I was in this tiny room, maybe 20x5 feet with about forty people sitting and leaning in windows and the doorway to hear the word that was given and to fellowship. After the message was given we all ate together. The food was the most delicious Nepali food, everyone eating family style in bowl after bowl of food and plate after plate of fruit. Bekah and I were welcomed so warmly and embraced by everyone. People there were explaining the message that was given in Nepali so we could understand, introducing us to their families, asking about our lives and giving us more and more (and more!) food. It was beautiful. We had our Father in common and so we all were equal. It was community.

Compared to me, these people have so little and yet they give to us without reservation because the same has been done for them. As I reflect back, I wonder what this would have looked like in America. Would we go so far out of our comfort zone to welcome two Nepali girls into our church? Would we sit with them and translate the sermon, would we without question offer up our bed for them to sleep in, given them all of our food or would we they get lost in the busy shuffle of the production and show of Sunday worship? Would the language barrier be too great, so we don’t leave our group of Sunday friends to welcome Jesus in the form of two foreigners? I want to believe it would be no different, but I know that I haven’t been the one to step out, even when there is no language or cultural walls. I still don’t step out of my comfort and welcome them. Thankfully God is changing me and teaching me through Burmese churches to do so.

The Servant Team arrived here this past week. They are now in the process of becoming familiar with their surroundings and everything. I am excited to get to know the more and share awesome experiences with them the next few months.

Financially, I have a total of $3800 raised. I need a total of $7,000 to cover the expenses of this trip, and have it raised before the first of June. All that I have left to raise is $3200! That’s really not so bad. That looks like 32 people donating $100, or 64 people donating $50 or 160 donating $20. With tax returns coming in soon hopefully you all are able to share with me what God has blessed you with so that I am able to do the work he has called me to in Thailand. You can donate directly to WMF at or to me directly by clicking on the donate button at my blog ( Thank you for your continued support and prayers, they mean so much to me! I love and miss you, and look forward to seeing you soon!

In His Love, by His Grace,

*Names changed for their safety & protection

Friday, February 5, 2010

Kolkata: Its a long one

Kolkata is nothing like you expect, simple because people don’t allow themselves to think or imagine so many people living that way. Everyone who goes there should be shocked at the conditions of people living and dying in that way, and if you are not, I will pray for you.
My first impression of Kolkata is hard to recall because all of my senses were at one once overload and unable to single one out the most outstanding impression.
Sight is often the first of our senses that we rely on to pass information to our brain about our surroundings. In Kolkata however, especially at night, the fine grit of dust and pollution that hazes the city prevents a clear image of all that is near. At night the lights of hundreds of taxis and other cars cause this thick are to clare strangely sepia around you. Not only is it hard to see in general, but the dust settles over the moisture of your eyeball and every time you blink it away it settles softly again. Watery, crusty red eyes in Kolkata is part of your time there. Once the day breaks, the haze is pierced by the sun and you are able to see all of the color and the beauty that is nearly hidden by development. Evidence of English occupation is clear in the buildings and every where you look you see it. The buildings are brightly painted and peak between bodies through crowded sidewalks and roads.
Instinctually your ears strain to compensate for the lack of vision clarity. Immediately the ear canal is packed with incessant car horns, long and short hongs layering over the top of each other. Underneath that you can hear the deep and raspy voices of Indian men rapidly firing words in Bengali and Hindi at each other. The roar of ancient exhaust pipes fill whatever space is between the voices and horns and creates a symphony that lacks both rhythm and melody but still manages to synthesize musical currents that incite reactions from your body. Muscles tense and step forward, and immediately jerk your leg back, but rather than dancing this is the natural response to the fear of the fear of being hit by one of the careening taxis.

Finding out two primary research senses handicapped we breath deeply through the nose. A more basic sense to tell us what information we need to survive our situational landscape, the nose tells us many things as Kolkata is a plethora of scents and smells. Once we get past the general musty smell of dust and car exhaust that we knew were coming because of what you are able to glean from the eyes and ears, the nose is able to discern the scent of pungent body odor. Indian men smell like no other mass of unwashed bodies on the planet I think, haha. This tangy and salty smell mingles with the sickly sweet smell of slightly over ripe fruit and vegetables. Spices tickle you nose and often redeem the general lingering smell of decay that clings to your nose hairs. The delicious smell of Indian food wafts by on the draft of racing buses and Tuk-Tuks. Weaving in and out of the smell of various pipes and cigarettes and the intriguing aroma of strong marijuana burns the back of your throat as it makes its way into your lungs where the rest of this polluted oxygen is filtered into your blood and is pumped through your body.

Scent at taste of often one in the same, and in Kolkata the are partners in the experience of your stay. The dust in the air films over the inside of your mouth each time you part your lips. It absorbs in the saliva and causes you to feel thirsty most of the time you are on the streets. Of course the food is a huge part of the India taste experience. All of the food is a rich and complex as the culture. Eating with the right had to shovel food in ads salty skin flavor to a touch of dirt that is forever engrained in the grooves of your fingers. Savory dahl and spicey masala seems to flavor the naan like exotic bread and gravy. A pleasant slow burn lingers over your tongue and lips like you’ve just kissed that person you’ve waited your whole life to kiss. It makes the lips feel swollen and puffy and draws more stares from the suggestive eyes of the Indian men all around.

Our final and most personal sense touch is on full alert from every angle. There are people everywhere in India and the gender is primarily men at what I figure to be a 5:1 ratio at any given time on the street. Pressing around entirely me body is hyper aware of the sly brushes of swinging hands and nudges to the softest more feminine areas of my anatomy. Not wanting to jump to conclusion and assume the worst of this new culture the doubts in your mind fade as the brush happens again and the nudges grow bolder. In the markets my sense of touch feels the feather like silks and softest cashmere scarves and stiff cottons on saris. At the end of the day evidence of our textual curiosities is evident by the gray tinge to my fingers.

This is my physical description of Kolkata. I am not able to emotionally, spiritually and intellectually describe Kolkata yet- if I ever fully will be able to. I have seen suffering, and extreme poverty, prostitution and oppression- I have been face to face with all that is represented by third world countries. This wasn’t new conceptually for me. The difference is the magnitude of Kolkata and that it is everywhere. Every city has a slum; there is always a rundown part of town where poor people live, except Kolkata doesn’t have that. There is no part of town, no other side of the tracks, because it is a city of 20 million plus living in a slum.

Kolkata is humanly fixable. There is no sense of hope lingering in the eyes of the people who live there of times getting better. This is life for them; they are resigned to live this way because this is how it is. Yes the hope is there in the missionaries and the people who come and live there, but even their eyes and hearts grown hard and blind to the evidence of homeless and starving all around them- and who can blame them as it happens as a way to survive; a callous that protects their hearts as they work everyday to a possibly unreachable goal. While I was there I was thirsting to death to hear redemptive stories of life and quenching love that fuels the soul and body to press on and finish.
Kolkata broke me totally. I am still scrambling to hold myself together so that my guts don’t spill out because I have things to do in Thailand. I couldn’t stay there; it hasn’t been given to me the strength to see that place every morning. I have been blessed to see I believe so that I can tell others what they refuse to believe exists. I am so thankful for those God has given the strength to answer the call to Kolkata, to serve there, to take on the problems of the people there as their own problems and struggles, it is a testament to your faith. I respect you, and love you and pray for you doing what I don’t have the strength to do. Thank you.

To those of you, who don’t know about Kolkata, learn about it, because it will make you uncomfortable. Being in Kolkata you see images of Mother Theresa everywhere. I was thinking of her life and how God gave her such an amazing calling. That isn’t the amazing part though, her calling anyway, because her calling is the same as the calling we all have issued to us in the gospels. The amazing part of her call is to where she was called and who she helped and the fullness in which she answered her call. We all have the call Mother Theresa received, the only difference is our responses. Im not saying we are all called to Kolkata, but we are all called to love until we are uncomfortable- to love as much as we love ourselves. The outside looking in image is that we Americans love ourselves a lot.

**Abba- break me. Please may I never cease to be broken and cry at the sight of human suffering. In my brokenness show me how to serve to the best of my abilities and gifts. Pour your love through me, the never ending flow of your love that I will pour it out and make you evident to those around me. Thank you for this chance to see suffering and to know this life was never your desire for those you created and love and the promise that you will restore and reconcile us to your perfect plan and kingdom. I love you, not as much as I should but I am growing in you by your hand into the woman you desire me to be and I am thankful for your faithfulness t me and my life.**

For behold, I create a new heaven and a new earth and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind. Isaiah 65:17

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Quick Update

Hey All,
 I hope you are all doing well, and enjoying winter.  Personally I sort of miss it, its really weird to sweat everyday in January. 

Things are going well here, we have a couple of days left in our first language Module and then a day after we are done with that we will be going to India.  Language has been going really well.  It is a little overwhelming at times with us being taught on average 70 new vocabulary words a day and everyday building sentence structure around those.  Our teachers are really excellent and very understand and patient (as most Thais are with farangs...) and help us learn however we can. 

I have been having bouts of homesickness where I just miss family and friends and being able to flush the toilet paper, haha.  But for the most part I am well.  I have been sleeping really well, haven't had issue with being sick from food or water is is a huge answer to prayer. 

Our 'front' door

Friday, January 8, 2010

Oh the places you'll go

I am finding it really hard to wrap my mind around the fact that I have been in Thailand for nearly a week. It could be that my mind is not very stretchy right now cause it is full of Thai vowels and vocabulary, full to the point of bursting it seems.

I have been taking Thai language classes for 3 days know, but that really means that I have learned 6 days worth of information. The class is usually 20 days long, but because of our upcoming trip to India (in 12 days!!!) Bekah and I are taking the class in half the time, so 6 hours a day, two days of information in one. Phew. Its going well, surprisingly enough I seem to be picking it up pretty well. Yeah I still sound like a farang and it takes me 10 minutes to say a sentence but I am learning.

So far the food, amazing. It seems like everything I try is better than the last. I really wish I could share the food with you all cause it makes American food look like mush. There have been some issues with stomach aches and stuff, but over all its pretty worth it.

Amy and Tim and Ella and Arielle are amazing hosts. Last night we had a mexican feast (which Amy skillfully prepared) of homemade tortillas, onion, broccoli and tofu chipotle fajitas, mexican rice, black beans and the most amazing chipotle sauce I've ever had. We had some quality get to know you time with a rousing game of 2 Truths and a Lie, and we all learned just a tad too much about each other I think, haha. It was really nice to just relax with good food and friends and have fellowship.

I am not sure really where I stand on the fund raising front.  It has been a while since I got an update and I know there were a lot of donations since the last one.  Just a reminder however that I do need a total of $7,000 for the entire span of my trip.  This goes to pay the rent in our house, my food moneys as well as travel expenses for visa runs.  Please prayerfully consider donating to my fund.  You can either click on the "donate now" button on the right side of the screen, or you can go to and click donate.  Thank you so much, it means very much to me!

Anyway, its nearly time to get home and hit the books, or in this case the flash cards! I hope you all are well, and I am missing you and holding you in my heart.

Sawatdii Kha.