Moments that Make My Heart Sing

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Have I mentioned recently that I LOVE my little students? Teaching would not be my first career choice, but I absolutely adore the opportunities it presents. Caleb and I are very blessed that we teach at a Christian English Programme so most of our students speak pretty decent english. And although it is a Christian school, most of our students still proudly wear their Buddhist necklaces. While these necklaces break my heart, they create the PERFECT opportunity to ask them questions and talk about Jesus.

Every teacher here is required to teach a club. My club is swimming (praise the Lord for swim club in this crazy heat). Every week I have at least one student ask me to hold his or her Buddhist necklace- which means each week I have the opportunity to ask them questions about it. Today I had the opportunity to speak with two grade 5 students. I learned the boy, Nine, is a Buddhist and the girl, Ivy, is a Christian. What I love about this young age is how willing they are to listen. Nine could not tell me much about his Buddhist beliefs, but he could answer my questions about the Christian faith. However, he believes that the Bible is fiction. When I asked him why he believed the Bible was fiction he simply stated that his parents told him it is. Sweet little Nine agreed to talk with me next week after club about what he believes and why I believe the Bible is true.

Please be praying for the Lord to plant seeds, to provide wisdom, and to speak through me. Little conversations like these fill my heart with so much joy. It is moments like this that remind me of why I love Thailand.

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A Good Story

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I love a good story. Stories of adventure, stories of history, stories of love, stories of life. Recently the Lord has opened my eyes to another part of my students stories. Yet another heartbreaking part of their lives that I yearn to fix. The past couple of weeks I have spent countless hours pondering different stories. Because let’s be honest, we all yearn to play a role in a great story.

As I thought about these stories, I began to think about my own story. What is my story? My quiet times have been so sweet recently and each day I am humbled by the incredible stories in the Bible. I look at men like Paul- a man full of passion, full of adventure, full of stories. If we were to sum up Paul’s story in a sentence I bet it would probably sound something like this: ‘an ordinary tentmaker whose mission was to pursue & share Christ.’ Paul’s day job was simply to make tents, yet his story left a legacy. Or we could look at men like Noah- a man full of so much faith that he was willing to sacrifice all to listen to the Lord. Or we could look at men like Daniel, David, or Peter. All of their stories are inspiring. There is no doubt  Jesus is the center of their lives- the center of their stories.  But can others tell that Jesus is the center of my story? Can they see Him day by day in my life?

I was listening to a podcast recently that posed the question, “early on in conversations with people, what is something you want them to know about you? What is something you want people to know about you right upfront?” What is so important in my life that I can’t help but bring up? Or what am I so excited about or passionate about that I want to talk about it all the time? Is it Jesus? Or does something else come to mind?

Our stories matter. Our story will be our legacy. And I want my story to sing praises to our Heavenly Father.

So over the next few weeks I will continue to pray diligently for the Lord to help reveal more of my story. I want to make sure that my typical everyday reflects that Jesus is the Lord of my story.

What do you do everyday that shows that Jesus is the Lord of your story?

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New Dreams & New Ideas

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The Lord has been stirring up some really exciting ideas & dreams into Caleb & my heart the past few weeks. Caleb and I still find ourselves pinching each other to make sure we aren’t dreaming. The Lord really brought us to Thailand and He really is shaping and molding us. One of our prayers prior to moving was that the Lord would open our eyes. We want to see as He sees. We want to love as He loves.

Over the past few months we have seen a reoccurring theme here in Thailand. This theme is sad because it really seems like such an easy fix. {We will share what the theme is soon, we are in the process of praying for direction in how we can help}. We would appreciate it if you would come alongside us as we pray for direction in how to help our students, their families, and our new country. We know they need Jesus and we know that He supplies every need. But if we can share Jesus by tangibly helping them, well then glory to God!

Words cannot begin to explain my thankfulness for each of you- my friends, my family, my prayer warriors. Excited to see where the Lord leads us {yes, as a prayer warrior- you are included} in this journey!

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Celebrating the Islamic Ramadan

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After a month of Ramadan, the holiday is about to come to a close. When we moved to Thailand I knew that we would be surrounded by Buddhists and that we would have a few Muslims. What I did not know is just how many Muslims would be in our city. It really is a beautiful culture- at least here in Nakhon it is. The women are extremely modest and from my experience, very kind. I have found nothing but love and affection from each of them. Some of our students are Muslim and they truly are little balls of joy- even though they are currently fasting for Ramadan. And the families are so close and do everything together. Who would have thought that I would come to enjoy the sound of their chanting multiple times a day? {Each time I hear it I am reminded of why I am here & my calling in this city.}

One of our streets has been closed most of the month due to the holiday so a plethora of Islamic carts could sell their foods, clothes, and other goodies all in the same place. {Pork is a HUGE thing here in Thailand, so I love Islamic food carts because I know I won’t get any pork in my meal- hip hip hooray!}

Over the past 3 months I’ve learned just how much I enjoy soaking up other cultures. {still can’t believe we have been here for 3 months! It still feels so new & yet so comfortable at the same time.} It is so humbling being the minority and being forced to embrace a new lifestyle. The world is so vast and we play such a small role in it. Living here has been such a beautiful reminder that the world doesn’t need me. The world needs more Jesus.

Have you ever experienced another culture that you absolutely loved? Or that you learned from?

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Scary Adventures Big Rewards

IMG_4428The other day I confessed that I am different by the sea. And sadly, it is true. I am so much more aware of our Heavenly Father’s presence when there is salt in the air and sand between my toes. Because of this I was not surprised that the Lord spoke so much truth into my heart during our week in Railay.

Railay is known of rock climbing. While I am not really into climbing cliffs, I do love hiking and being adventurous. And our resort was in the perfect location to be adventurous. While sipping our coffee one morning, we noticed two ladders mounted to the cliff. We assumed you had to pay to be clipped in to climb these ladders because of the sheer height of them. From the ground you couldn’t even see where they lead. So naturally, one of the men in our group asked the nearest local. Surprisingly enough, the local told us anyone who was willing to try the climb could go on up. {welcome to Thailand- where anything goes}

Many of you may not know it, but I am terrified of heights. When I thought we would be clipped in and safe I loved the idea of climbing up the ladders to see the view… but without a safety harness?? Luckily, it started to drizzle on us so our potential climb was postponed. After 24 hours I gained the courage to make the climb. And goodness am I glad I did. The view was spectacular. There was a platform tucked into a little cave in the cliff and a rope was attached to the wall so we had something to hold onto.

As I sat on the platform the Lord reminded me that sometimes the scariest adventures give the greatest rewards.

Was I scared to climb up? Absolutely. But was the view worth it? ABSOLUTELY. We had a true birds eye view of the entire beach, the cliffs, and the wildlife. {Literally, a 5 foot lizard that I swear was a leftover dinosaur joined us in the cave… Caleb & I both had a minor freak out moment when he came near us.}

Sadly my camera died while up top. Guess that means we need to go back and take more pictures ;) Hopefully next time will be filled with a bit more sunshine and blue skies!

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Railay Beach {Part 2}

IMG_3962After only a few days back in Nakhon and we are already dreaming up plans to return to Railay Beach. The Lord truly spent extra time designing this postcard worthy scenery. I am so glad Abba thought it was a good idea to put sand and oceans together. There is something delightful about listening to the waves crash onto the sand as you read His Word. While God is the same everywhere, I am different at the beach. I can hear Him and see Him more clearly. It is my happy place- especially when my husband is soaking up the beauty by my side.

In Railay, not only is the beach picture perfect, but the enormous cliffs that frame the beaches are perfect. If you ever want to be overwhelmed by the splendor of the King, visit Railay. The sheer magnitude of the cliffs alongside the turquoise blue water will humble you and remind you just how small you are in comparison to our Heavenly Father and His designs.

Caleb and I traveled to Railay Peninsula with 2 other couples who we have become friends with. One couple is from Ireland and one couple is from England. We stayed at the Tonsai Bay Resort on Tonsai Beach. We absolutely loved the resort. We had a little bungalow with a front porch overlooking the lush palm trees, bamboo trees, and massive cliffs. And each day we had a few monkey visitors. Each morning we would walk to our resorts beachfront restaurant and enjoy a free breakfast and unlimited coffee/tea while soaking in our beautiful surroundings. Oh, did I mention this resort only cost about $26 a day?

While we loved the Tonsai beach and the fact that there were only a couple other people on the beach at any given point, next time we would like to spend more time exploring Phra Nang beach. Phra Nang was a decently short hike from our beach and has only one resort on the entire beach. To anyone traveling to Thailand, Railay peninsula is a MUST! Truly, pictures do not do this place justice. {and our weather wasn’t the greatest, so you can’t tell just how incredible the water was}

{Railay Part 1}

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our bungalow and porchfollowing the monkeys to our bungalowfollowing the monkeys to our bungalow

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Railay Beach Thailand

DSCN3896It’s official- Thailand is quite possibly the prettiest country. It has everything from gorgeous mountains to breathtaking beaches. This past week Caleb & I packed a backpack full of clothes, left our computers and phones at home, and headed out to one of these gorgeous beaches with some of our friends.

If you have ever seen a postcard from a Thai beach or a picture of one of the many Thai beaches on pinterest, I can almost guarantee the image was taken on Railay. There is a good chance Railay is one of the prettiest places I have ever been. Caleb & I spent hours walking around hand-in-hand soaking in the beauty. Truly, God spent extra time making this place. And it is rainy season in Railay which means we practically had the beach to ourselves. Rainy season also brought a cool breeze, refreshing rain,  and unfortunately- few blue skies and choppy water. Even with the seasonal weather, it was breathtaking. We will definitely be back!

I will share more details about the trip soon! Just couldn’t keep these photos to myself anymore :)

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Aha Moments

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Have you ever had one of those ’aha moments’ where the Lord so clearly speaks to your heart? Well recently I was blessed by one of those moments. I recently {very recently} began running again. I have finally gotten used to the 80% humidity and 90+ degree weather. The other day was gorgeous so I decided it was the perfect day for a run through the park. Caleb was off playing sports with the boys so I got to have some personal time alone with Jesus.

Thailand truly is one of the most majestic countries I have ever witnessed. The rolling mountains, lush greenery, and abundance of animals create the perfect setting for a run {until your run gets interrupted by a herd of wild cows like mine did today… at least I didn’t run into wild warthogs again}. The Lord truly was smiling down on my quiet time with Him. In the midst of my run I heard what sounded like an intense gust of wind blowing through the palm trees in the distance. When I turned around to look I realized the “wind” was actually a crazy rain storm in the distance. In the States I had seen the “walls” of rain coming and going- but this “wall” of rain was unlike any I had ever seen. It was so defined, so beautiful. And the mountains sat just behind this wall of rain. A few sunbeams even snuck through the clouds and danced on the mountain. It was breathtaking. 

I stood their in awe and wondered out loud how anyone could see a view like this and not believe in an Almighty God. Almost instantly the Lord humbled me. Abba whispered to my heart, ‘how can you know Me, an Almighty God, and not be completely transformed by Me in every way shape and form?’ Slap.in.the.face.

If I am being completely honest, I have not been allowing the Spirit to lead my every step. There have been multiple instances this past week where I have allowed my sinful, negative nature to take over- and it is not pretty. I needed this sweet whisper- this humbling reminder. It is not enough to simply know God. I need to be pursuing Him, walking according to His Spirit, and listening to His every whisper. It is not enough to simply recognize Him and know that He is Lord. As a Christian, I am called to be born again into a new image- His Image. My every action should bring praise to His name. My every thought should be holy, just, and good. My every word should be a song of praise to His ears.

“And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Colossians 3:17

Praise the Lord for moments of clarity and beautiful whispers of truth! Because what is the purpose of life if we are not living it for His glory? I want to make the most of every opportunity. Life is a fleeting gift- let’s make the most of it :)

Have you had any ‘aha moments’ recently?
What has the Lord been teaching you?

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Taking Risk

IMG_1360Risk. Over the past couple of days the Lord has been reminding me the importance of taking risks. The Lord has given me a heart full of big dreams. I want to make a difference in the world- even if that difference only impacts one soul. But making a difference requires taking risks.

It is time to stop wasting time. It is time to let go of the excuses.  It is time to be intentional. It is time to take that leap of faith. It is time to take risks.

Too often I find myself thinking ‘it would be easier if…” And you know what? I am right. There will always be obstacles. There will always be more “ideal” situations.  But the Lord put me here- with my circumstances.  I need to focus on what I can change, not on what I cannot change.

I’ve also learned the more risk is involved, the better the reward.  Some of life’s hardest/scariest choices lead to the grandest adventures.

Risk will never disappear. So it is time we face risk head-on.  Because you know what is scary than facing a risky adventure? Not pursuing your God-given passions. Not pursuing God’s Will for your life.

Let’s be brave together. Let’s take risks!

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Be Brave in Your Routine

 If I were relying on my own strength and abilities, I would have failed a weeks ago. But praise the Lord, He holds this adventure in the palm of His hands. He supplies my energy, He supplies my strength, and He supplies my every ability. The past 2 weeks have been an absolute roller coaster. Between being sick, preparing the students for their 9 week evaluation tests, and our city being almost completely out of water- I am pretty much exhausted.

The past week specifically was rough. After being sick I felt drained of energy and emotion. I felt as though I was in a rut- stuck in a monotonous routine. I began to wonder how the Lord was using me. Thankfully, the Lord blessed me by having my parents remind me of stories that brought Him glory. They reminded me of sweet, lightbulb moments my students have had. They reminded me of some of my conversations with students about Jesus and who He is.

Then, the Lord blessed me again through my sweet friend Katie. She reminded me {and all of her internet friends} the importance of our callings- even when they are boring.  Jesus had boring days filled with routine and monotony. But they were all part of His bigger picture.

Sometimes we need the reminder that it is okay to be stuck in a routine. And it is okay to be bored by the monotony of a routine. But during this time it is important that we seek the Lord. It is important that we pursue Him and listen for His whispers. Because He is preparing us during these times. He is building our strength and preparing us for something greater. He is helping us build character.

We need to imitate Jesus and remain steadfast in our calling. We need to be brave with our lives- even in the midst of routine. Be brave with you life, be brave with your love, be brave with your passion, be brave with your forgiveness, be brave with your grace. Be brave in your routine.

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