Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Leaving Time

So the time has come for me to head to Thailand. How crazy.

This is short and sweet- if you want to contact me you can text the number 504-298-9061. Please please dont text the 336 number.

I am not saying I will txt a lot, or often, but i you miss me, or need to tell me something you can send it there. And of course email works (

Thanks everyone for everything, I am so excited and I am looking forward to sharing it all with you

Thursday, December 24, 2009

His law is love, his gospel is peace

I hope you all find yourselves with loved ones celebrating the time we remember the birth of our Redeemer with your own traditions.

This time of year has come to mean so much more to me as I continue to learn about the huge sacrifice that it was to willingly walk away from everything Jesus had as the Son of God in heaven. The comfort of paradise was his, the power of creating and sustaining the universe was his, the warmth and community of the trinity was his, and for me, he became a cold, tiny, crying baby born in an animal shed. Yes, dying for you and I was Christ’s greatest sacrifice but I just am reminded this holiday season what a huge sacrifice strapping on some sin-craving, pain-filled, limiting skin was for him.

Understanding the whole fully God/fully man thing is hard to handle sometimes, but fully God/fully baby? Even harder to wrap my head around, I mean is there anything more vulnerable than a newborn baby, who can't hold his head up? And is there anything less vulnerable than the all powerful King of Kings? That is so the opposite way that we are taught to think to live- we don't do anything to limit our own power. It makes me think about Mary too, what an amazing young woman she must have been to be chosen by God, not only to share DNA with Jesus, but to protect him and care for him when he was an vulnerable little baby who depended on her entirely for his physical needs.

So this holiday as we are rushing and stressing, remember this is the time we remember the ultimate Missionary going to his mission field. Sure that sounds a little corny, but its true, Christ relocated from every comfort and ultimate power, to earth, to suffer, to be mocked, disrespected and ultimately murdered and all because he loves us so much that he didn't want to live in eternity without us there with him. There isn't any gift, under any tree in this entire world that can beat that.

Hard to believe that there are only 8 days before I leave for Thailand!  I am busy with getting ready, and spending the holidays with family and friends.  Mom and LiAnna have planned a going away reception on the 27th, and if anyone would like to go contact me for more information, but I would love to see everyone and get a chance to say goodbye for a while!  Financially I am doing pretty good got an update from WMF and right now I have $2,588.  Still shooting for the $4000 before I go, and over all $7000 but I believe that it will come in and I am so thankful to amazing friends and family for all the support and prayers.

Be safe, and have a very merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

In all (F)actuality

So, I wanted to update the ol' blog here and give you all some stats on the situation as a whole. 
  • While I haven't recieved an official financial update in a couple of weeks, I figure my fund raising to be around $2,150.  Woo! 
  • When WMF went to purchase the ticket for me to leave on the 20th of December, there wasn't actually a ticket to Bangkok from Charlotte, NC on that date.  So right now I am leaving on the 31st of December, which is nice since I will get to spend the Christmas holiday with my family and friends.
  • This also means that I have a little more time for the fund raising, and as of now I have 30 days to raise atleast $1,850.  So in reality that is 92.5 people to give $20, which seems doable to me (although, I don't know which of you counts as half-a person..I whole love you.)!
  • When going to the Word Made Flesh website ( to donate there (that way you are able to take advantage of tax deductions) on the donation form, it says "Designation  I desire that this gift be used for:" that is where you put "Meredith Layne" (thats me!) or "support of Meredith Layne" or something along those lines.  The other place is if you want the gift given in someones name or memory.  Hope that clears up any confusion.
  • I know my birthday and Christmas are fast approaching, and if you are considering getting me anything for either, I ask instead that you would please give towards my goal, that would mean so much to me! 
As for me, right now I am doing well.  I am working a lot, and my last day at the YMCA is coming up on the tenth.  I wanted to go ahead and leave there just so I dont run the risk of getting sick right before leaving, the H1N1 is going around there.  So I will be picking up some more hours at Border's which is nice.  I have been doing a lot of reading in the free time that I have and enjoying that very much.  Right now I am reading Compassion: A Reflection on the Christian Life by Henri J. M. Nouwen, and it is really good, I encourage you all to read it and take it to heart.

I covet your prayers.  I am being reminded that I am going to a dangerous part of the world, and while I am not scared at this point, I am worried about being afraid, that doesn't even really make sense, but I don't want to be afraid, because I wasn't made with a spirit of fear, but one of power and love and smarts.  I know I should be careful, and pay attention and be cautious, but I don't want to be overcome with that or let that be a focus at all.  I want to be focused on God, and that means being compassionate, and loving and broken, not fearful and timid. 

"Compassion asks us to go where it hurts, to enter the places of pain, to share in the brokenness, fear, confusion and anguish.  Compassion challenges us to cry out with those in misery, to mourn with those who are lonely, to weep with those in tears.  Compassion requires us to be weak with the weak, vulnerable with the vulnerable, and powerless with the powerless.  Compassion means full immersion in the condition  of being human." -Henri Nouwen 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

daily struggles

Life never ever works out the way that you think it will. You and I can put all sort of stock into what we think will happen, in the probability of certain events and outcomes, and we will be surprised and reminded Who is really in control every time.
I have had a lot of recent anxiety about the money issues for my trip to Thailand. I am way under the goals right now, and talk of it happening or not happening are more serious every day.

Two weeks ago, someone walked back into my life that I thought I would never see again, a past relationship that never really had any sort of closure. I was given a choice, and just like always it wasn't an easy choice. I struggled, i stumbled and debated and racked my brain going over things; weighing my heart my desires and my will against God's heart and desires and will. I was being offered what I had previously wanted more than anything. It was mine for the taking, my hearts desire was right there in front of me, all I had to do was take it, and walk away from everything that had changed and happened in the last year. Why, is it still so hard to resist the wrong thing? I knew the entire time that this was wrong, it was bad for me, and it would change my life back to where it was, which was a dark and desolate place.

It wasn't that I still didn't want that type of relationship, that I still don't desire everything that relationship represented, that I don't someday want to have the chance to have that. In fact, walking away from this chance was terrifying because I am so scared (still) that I won't ever meet anyone that I share this type of connection with, that I walked away from love, and it won't be an option again, even though I know that it won't ever happen with this particular person...does that make sense? Yeah, I didn't think so either, but we all know logic and the heart don't go together so well.

What did happen is that the desires of my heart had altered, because I had been finding my delight (Turkish?) in the Lord. I love how that verse doesn't mean that God will give you whatever you want, but rather that you will most desire what He has to give you.

So I said was really hard for me, first because I have never been the one to end things with this person. Whenever our attempts at working it out had failed in the past, it was always him who walked away. For me to be the one to end things, or to even put a stop to anything happening at all, was really weird for me. It was a role reversal and it was hard for me to willingly hurt him. It was hard to not have that option anymore, to completely step out on faith and trust that God was going to take care of me, and understood my needs.

Once I got over the initial hurt, and tears...the anxiety was gone. I wasn't worried anymore about the money coming in, I wasn't worried that God knew what I needed and was perfectly able to provide for me. I'm not saying that I don't think I will struggle with this anymore, but I see this as a precedence of sorts, that if I have resisted this temptation once, that if it or similar should ever come around again, I will have the knowledge that I can do it again.

Since then, my donation amount has doubled, and while I am still a long way from my goal, a plane ticket is being bought for my trip today. Since I no longer had a "back up" and believed that God was going to do what He said, the support has been coming in and I have felt so much peace.
I am still scared, still daily stumbling under the cross that I am called to take up and follow Him; but for now, for this moment, which is how I/we have to take it, I am steady in the steadfast love of my King.

For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever. Amen. (!!)
Romans 11:36

Monday, November 16, 2009

Stick it to the man

Hey everyone, I hope you are all doing well.  Just wanted to post on here about donating and things.  If you are interested in donating and it being tax deductible then you need to donate directly through Word Made Flesh.  If you give the money to me, I unfortunately can not give you tax deductions.  Here is the link that you may use in order to directly donate to WMF:

Thank you so much for the donations I have already recieved! 

Monday, November 9, 2009


The healing from surgery is going good.  I get my stitches out tomorrow!  Yay!  I head back to work on Wednesday which is good, I have missed the little kiddos and the books haha.  Thank you for your recovery well wishes and prayers, I like it!

So, things are going pretty good on the Thailand front.  Reading the books and just really hitting this fund raising thing sort of hard as I am running out of time.  I've written some letters, sent them out, posted some blogs, been sort of annoying about and most importantly I've been praying. 

I really need the funds guys.  I mean I need a ticket to Thailand in order to minister to people in Thailand as I feel that God has called me to do. I have a couple hundred dollars raised so far, and that is great!  I am so thankful for everyone who has been able to donate.  The thing is I need $4,000 before December the 1st. 

Fund raising is my least favorite part, because it's embarrasing to ask for money, but it's been a way that God is teaching me that I can't do this alone.  That I need the support of the people he has put into my life.  So I am doing my part, I am humbling myself, putting down my sinful pride and asking you all for help.  I know money is tight these days and there isn't a lot to go around, but whatever you can spare is very much needed.  Thanks so much again for your prayers and support, you all mean so very much to me.

Monday, November 2, 2009


So, a lot has happened since I last posted an news for you.  First, my friend and brother Braxton (teammate from Mission Year) got married!  It was a beautiful celebration of the love God has blessed them, both recieving and giving, for each other.  Most of my roomies (we missed you Joy!) from Mission Year came, even Irvin our fabulous City Director, and we had a great time of fellowship and fun.

A couple of days after the wedding, I had surgery on my hip.  During my time in New Orleans my hip bothered me several times and we noticed a large, hard lump that was sort of in my stomach.  When I came back, I went to the doctor and had him check it out.  Turns out I had two osteochondromas (bone tumors) on my right hip.  While they were both benign, one was pressing on a nerve and was causing numbness and buzzy sensations down my leg; it was also pressing into my abdominal wall and causing some discomfort there as well.  So, on Monday, the 26th, they were both removed!  The surgery was good, I was in the hospital over night, but back home on Tuesday evening and have been recovering ever since.  I have another week or so off work, and then will be checked for regular activities. 

My books have been provided!  Thank you all for your generous donations, and because of them I have recieved all of the books I need for my trip!  I am excited and can't wait to get reading.

However, I am really having trouble fund raising, and if I can't get the funds, then the books wont be needed because I wont be going anywhere.

I was supposed to have raised $2000 by November 1st.  And the first came and went, and I have about $60 raised.  This is a big problem, because my next goal is to have another $2000 raised by December 1st, for a total for $4000.  I really don't know what else to do.  I keep praying about this, and I just keep feeling like God is continuing to tell me to trust him, and to trust the contacts that he has given me to raise the funds.  I do, I trust him, and I know that he can help the funds come in.  So, I am waiting to see what will happen.  Just please continue to pray about this, and be generous, and give to this ministry.  Thank you all so much.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sweet Reunion

This weekend is terriby exciting!  A number of my teammates from Mission Year are coming to visit and we are going to Virginia to see our dear brother and friend, Braxton get married!  It is going to be an awesome wedding, seeing the union of two amazing people is inspiring and beautiful, and I am excited for them. 

David, the one from Texas, got here last night and we already shared some good times around the bonfire with good treats and fond memories surrounded by tons of laughter.  I can't believe how much I have missed him, and having him back for a few days just brought it into the brighter light. 

Preparations for Thailand are well underway.  I sent off my visa application for India yesterday, and I hope really praying that I did it right, I was a little nervous and stressed making sure I did it just the way the instruction explained. 

Thanks so much to those of you have come forward with the books for my reading list, that is a huge help, and if any others have any books they can give or share from the list that would be great. 

I will try and take lots of pictures this weekend and get them posted, and share all the stories of our good times and celebration of covenants and family.  Love you all!

Updated book list:
Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger
The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey (thanks MY Alum!)
Culture Shock Thailand by Robert & Nanthapa Cooper
Compassion: A Reflection of the Christian Life by Henri Nouwen
Twilight Labyrinth: Why Does Spiritual Darkness Lingers Where It Does? by George Otis
In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri Nouwen
Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider (Many blessings and gifts from the far west ;-))
From Brokenness to Community by Jean Vanier
Companion to the Poor by Viv Grigg
Asian Sex Slaves by Louise Brown
Street Children by Phyllis Kilbourn

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Hey again everyone!
 I am wondering if any of you have any of these books and would either be willing to give them to me, let me borrow them, or let me buy them from you.  Thanks so much!

Books I need to read before I leave:

Chasing the Dragon by Jackie Pullinger

The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey

Culture Shock Thailand by Robert & Nanthapa Cooper

Compassion: A Reflection of the Christian Life by Henri Nouwen

Twilight Labyrinth: Why Does Spiritual Darkness Lingers Where It Does? by George Otis

Books to take with me:
In the Name of Jesus: Reflections on Christian Leadership by Henri Nouwen

Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger by Ron Sider

From Brokenness to Community by Jean Vanier

Companion to the Poor by Viv Grigg

Asian Sex Slaves by Louise Brown

Street Children by Phyllis Kilbourn

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Next stop...Well, I am not totally sure!

Thanks for stopping by my blog. Hopefully this will act as a way for all my family and friends to keep up with me as I walk this path God has laid before me to Thailand. I am currently in the process of getting everything set up and established for the trip including insurance, visas, fund raising and all of those little ins and outs and seem mundane. All of that isn't influencing my excitment level however! I am having trouble distinguishing the excitment and the nervousness, but I am trying to lean fully on my King in this time and trust him with all of it.

So, not terribly interesting but here is my first newsletter that I have written with some details and information about what is going on! Hope you enjoy it, and I would love feedback. I covet your prayers and love you all.


October 6, 2009

Dear Friends and Family,
I know that it has been a few months since you’ve heard from me. I am so thankful for all of your prayers and gifts during my year in New Orleans. It was an amazing time for me, and I will never forget a moment of it, or all of the things I learned, the people who I met and influenced my life and hopefully I was a blessing to.

Since leaving New Orleans I have been living at home with my Mom, Dad and sister. I have been spending lots of quality time with them. I have also been working, 2 jobs actually. My first job is working for the YMCA doing before and after school care at Moore Elementary school in Winston-Salem, NC. I am really loving working with the kids, and helping them with their homework. I have also been working at Border’s bookstore, which is sort of ironic since I spent a good deal of time at a Border’s in New Orleans on my Sabbath days. Both jobs are great, and I love them.

In my last letter I wrote to you, I told you of an opportunity that I was applying for with the organization Word Made Flesh (WMF). I applied with them for a Servant Team position that I thought would place me in India. Once I got back to NC I had a phone interview with WMF, and waited a while to hear something back from them. Last week I heard from them, with the news that they would like to offer me the position of Intern in Thailand. Wow. I was so surprised and overwhelmed by this jump in the process. I had originally been interested in WMF in a full time capacity, and when I researched that I found that in order to be eligible for that I would first need to complete a Servant team course.

It all still feels a little surreal to me at this point. Right now the game plan is to leave for Thailand on December 20th so I will have Christmas in Thailand, and I will be there for about 7 months. I will be moving to Bangkok, which is the capital city of Thailand as well as the biggest city. I will be living and working with one other intern, though I have yet to learn her name, I am excited about the chance to make a new friend and live in intentional community once again. My primary ministry will be to a couple of women who will be living with us. They are both recovering victims of the human trafficking that is rampant in this part of the world. I will also be assisting the permanent WMF staff members in any way that they may need me.
Right now I am praying about the financial aspects of this journey, and I am fully relying on God to supply all that I need.

I am not worried because I am His daughter and as the Perfect Father, I am secure in the knowledge that He can take care of me. Through my prayers I have determined that he has given all of you as a community, even if we all don’t live in a cramped 2 bedroom apartment, you are my brothers and sisters, and as you are all taking part in this mission to Thailand with me, I feel confident in asking you to support me financially. I am not going to ask you to however, I am simply going to let you know of my need, and trust that God will move in your hearts to share what He has given to you with me. Of course the first logical step in a ministry in Thailand is getting to Thailand, and so the need right now is $2,000. While that sounds like a large lump, realistically it looks like 100 of you to sharing $20 with me, now that doesn’t really seem all that crazy! The overall amount that I will need for the duration of my internship is $7,000, but the smaller picture is $2,000. I am hoping to have this amount raised as soon as possible so as to purchase the ticket. If you feel lead, then I thank you so much, and you can fill out the enclosed flyer and send a check, or if you would rather you can give your donation to me and I can send it in for you.

I am so very excited, and so amazed that God has seen fit to bless me in this way that I get to travel and to share His love with people who have yet to experience it. The love of God is my most valuable possession, and I can think of no better thing to do with something that holds so much value than to give it away. I am blessed also that you are all my family to share in this with me and to surround me with your love, your prayers and your support. I love you all.
Blessings and Peace,