Tuesday, July 26, 2011

It all comes to a close...

Wow! That is really about the only word I have to describe what has gone on this summer. I can not believe that it is over. What an amazing experience this has been!

Since the Friends Forever retreat, our team really just tried to spend as much time as we could with the Thai students and staff before we had to leave Khon Kaen. Monday the 18th we had the opportunity to go out to dinner with the CO NEU staff at a restaurant called Mama Big's. This was a time they had allotted for us to encourage each other and thank the staff for everything they put into this summer. It was such a sweet time to reflect on the amount of work that Sano put into our ministry on campus. After dinner, all the CCP girls went over to Sano and Honey's house to exchange gifts and gratitude. They were so sweet and thoughtful in the gifts that they gave to us. I was overwhelmed with joy to have spent an entire summer with the most wonderful women.

Tuesday the 19th was a day that I knew was going to be bittersweet. Not only was it my 21st birthday, but we had to leave the city where I spend so much of my time and grew to love. The entire day felt surreal. Before the day really got started, Hannah and Taylor woke me up by bringing me my favorite breakfast food [a pineapple pie from 7/11] and birthday cards. They were so sweet to think about me. The craziness started with deep cleaning our rooms and packing up all of our stuff. This was definitely not easy. I think I was in denial the entire time I was packing my suitcase. After a long time of packing, we took a break and went to the student center for lunch with students and the Christian girls. Well, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Not too long after we walked in, I was greeted by Sano and a few others singing Happy Birthday and carrying about a dozen donuts from our favorite place [Mister Donut]. It was so sweet and I was able to share with everyone there. After exchanging gifts with the students, we did all our last minute packing and crammed into 2 song tau's with a ton of students and made our way to the airport. Through out the entire day I had not been emotional, but it was like the airport had something in the air that made me the biggest cry baby. Seeing the looks on the faces of the students that we had spent 2 months with show me that they were really affected by our presence there. Even though we did not actually see anyone come to know the Lord, I could just tell that they did not want us to leave. [This is the part where my birthday became a sad memory]. There were so many hugs and more than enough tears, but all in all it was so hard to say goodbye. Part of my heart will always be passionate for those students that we met and the relationships that were formed. After making our way through the easiest security, I hear someone calling my name and telling me to come back because someone else wanted to say goodbye [it was really easy to go out and back through security]. As I went back though the doors, I saw Jom [the law student who invited us to her house] and her mom, sister and aunt. I immediate burst into tears again. Jom and her family had driven 3o minutes from their hometown just to come and say goodbye. To be completely honest, after that goodbye, I really did not want to ever leave Thailand. After a two hour flight, we made it to Bangkok and immediately went to sleep.

Wednesday and Thursday were kind of like a whirl wind of adventures. With the help of Guy, we were able to travel around Bangkok to see some of the major sights. The first place we went was the King's Palace. I was speechless the entire time I was there. There was so much gold and jewels and so many idols. Even though all the building were so intricate and detailed, I still couldn't believe how much work they put into their religion. While we walked around this temple, I just kept thinking about all the students that we knew that put their faith in this stuff. I just continued to pray for their hearts and for them to be open to the Truth of the Lord.

When we left the Palace we made our way to a mall that had a lot of Thai good and souvenirs. This was very relaxed just a time to get out of the sun and sit down and eat together. After shopping, we headed back to the hotel [after learning how to maneuver through the sky trains]. As a team we headed to the mall that night and ate dinner at McDonald's [typical team dinner] and came together that night for a debriefing session. We did the same kind of debriefing in the morning to prepare our hearts for heading back to Summer Project as well as home and school. The whole day on Thursday I just kept thinking how surreal it felt that I would be back in America. But, I had a lot of time to reflect on what the Lord had done in my life through the experiences that I had this summer.

The flight back was hard. The plane was a lot more comfortable, but it was actually a longer flight back to the States. When we arrived in Houston, we were so happy to finally be back in the United States [and to use our cell phones]. That night of sleep in Cleveland was probably the best night's sleep I have had in a very long time. My first meal I enjoyed in the States was Chick-fil-A and it has never tasted so good in my entire life!

Again, I want to say thank you to all those who supported me financially and prayerfully this summer. It would not have been possible with out your support. [I will be posting pictures in another blog after this one].

Monday, July 18, 2011

Almost done

This might be my last post before I leave Khon Kaen. [But I will updated while in Bangkok and Sandusky!]

I just want to start off by saying thank you again to all those who have supported me financially or prayerfully. This has been the most incredible experience and I will never forget about it. The things I have seen, the people I have met and what God has revealed to me this summer was worth everything it costs to come here.
As I said in the post before, we spent two days in Udon Thani, Thailand. It is a little village about an hour outside of Khon Kaen. We stayed at the Inter Resort [don't start thinking resorts like you see on TV, it was a nice place, but nothing like those places ha ha]. We were split up into groups of three for each room and each house accommodated 9 people. I had the pleasure of living with Noon, one of the Christian girls, and Praw, a student we have been hanging out with all summer.

I love these girls!

Well, as soon as we got there we ate lunch together and had a welcome meeting. This meeting mostly consisted of splitting into teams and playing really random games. [I was on the Blue Team!] After a few games, we had a coffee break and we able to move into our rooms. After we moved all our stuff in, we walked around the resort and decided to take some pictures and just hang out with the girls.

Some of the girls on the retreat! [plus one boy! ha ha]

The little lake that was around the resort

After our free time, we took a whole group picture! [They had most students that have ever gone on a Friends Forever retreat this year]. It was a little overwhelming at first to think that there were going to be so many girls on this retreat and I wanted to hang out with all of them.

We were able to all eat dinner together and just get to know the students more. [I have to admit that the food was definitely different and I took full advantage of the snack place at the resort.] Our next meeting started off with a little dance performance by the CCP team to a popular Thai song called "Loving you Too Much So Much Very Much." Our team had learned the dance that they do in the video, and it was quite a crowd pleaser. After the dance, I had the opportunity to share my testimony with everyone there. Following my testimony, we watched the movie The Chronicles of Narnia 3 in a way to share the Gospel with the students. When the movie was over, many of the students were tired and decided to go to bed.

In the morning, Guy shared with the students an explanation about the movie and related it back to the Gospel. [Even though we could not understand what he was saying at all, because it was all in Thai, we knew that he was sharing the Truth with the students]. In the afternoon we played two of the funniest games. The first game we played was only girls. It was a little like Ultimate Frisbee, with a ball and kind of like basketball in that you had to make a basket to score. I have to say, the girls did not take it easy. There were lots of dog piles, hitting and slapping the ball away. In the end, it is definitely a game we want to take back home.

The second game we played was another mixture of dodgeball and capture
the flag. Except instead of dodge balls, there were socks filled with flour. This game definitely wins in the most eccentric game I have ever played before. After the game, there was a slideshow of all the pictures from the weekend as well as sing a few fun songs. Then, it was back to Khon Kaen. I was really hoping to be able to have a conversation with one of the Thai girls, but they were all so exhausted that almost all of them fell asleep on the bus. However, I am confident in the fact that whenever the Word of the Lord goes out, it never comes back empty. Even though I do not know of anyone who officially made a decision to give their life to Christ, I know that he is working in the hearts of the 58 non-believing students who were on the retreat!

This is a picture of me and some of the girls on the retreat! I will truly miss all of them so much!

So, as we prepared to leave Khon Kaen and head to Bangkok, I sit back and think abut the entire summer I have spent here. I am really going to miss this city, the people and the culture. This summer has been such amazing practice for having my own ministry at home and at school. I am thankful for all the lessons I have learned here about ministry and my own personal faith. I hope to continue to use this blog to update those of you who are interested in the Campus Outreach ministry in Lexington and my own personal ministry on Georgetown's Campus. Thank you to all of you who have been faithful in following my blog and praying for me while I was in Thailand! I can not wait to see you all when I return back to the States! :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A small note..

I am so excited to share with you all what we get to do this weekend!!! This Friday and Saturday is the annual Friends Forever Retreat. It is a retreat that is put on every year by the Campus Outreach staff! For the last week and a half or so, the staff and CCP team have been trying to recruit students to go! The students only have to pay 200 Baht [equivalent to about $6.50 for a 2 day one night retreat].

I ask that you all pray for the students who are going that are not believers. There will be about 24 girls and 34 boys going that do not know God. All together there will be 26 Christians attending the retreat [including CCP and Staff] for a total of 84 people.

I also ask that you pray for Hannah, Ross, and myself. Hannah and Ross have the chance to share with all the students about their time here in Thailand and what they have liked most about being here. On the first night [friday night], I have been given the opportunity to share my testimony. I am very excited to share my story about how God brought me out of darkness and into his marvelous light [1 Peter 2:9].

Update will be coming soon after the retreat! [with lots of pictures, hopefully]

Monday, July 11, 2011

Ok, again, I am going to apologize in advance. Because I haven't had the chance to write since Wednesday, there has been so much that has happened and I want to tell you about all of it! Therefore, this is going to be a longer post, but I encourage you to read all of it [there are also a lot of pictures, so it probably looks longer than it is.] God is really working here in Thailand. It may not seem like a lot, but the smallest step here would be compared to one giant step in the States [because so many of the people here have never heard the name of God before, just getting one student interested in going on a Christian retreat is a big deal!] So, here I go...

Thursday: We were beginning the first of 3 jam packed days! It started by going to a ceremony that was going on in the auditorium at NEU to recognize the professors. This ceremony ended with an open mic karaoke session [very hilarious].

After we left the ceremony we waited for 2 girls to meet us at the student center and then headed over to Central [the best and coolest mall ever] to go see the movie Transformers 3. I had previously seen the movie in 3D and English earlier that week so it made watching it in Thai a little easier. However, having to watch a 2.5 hour movie in Thai is definitely something I probably don't want to do again. The 2 girls we went with, Bon and Blah, have already committed and paid to attend the Friends Forever retreat [I will explain more about that in another post].

Friday: This day could definitely win in the competition of most activities done in one day while we were here. After having team training in the morning, Sano, Stephanie, Ice and myself went and had lunch together. This is always a good time because we can encourage each other and talk about how ministry is going on a more personal level. After lunch we met up with a student named Jaa and her 3 friends [I am having trouble remembering their names] to go shopping at a market type thing called Prot Tu Nam [favorite/cheapest place to get clothes]. It was a very very hot and humid day, but we still managed to have a good time with the girls! Everyone was able to buy something, except for me... I was a little sad! Ha ha.

After Prot Tu Nam, we headed back to campus to watch several different faculties [majors] do different kinds of cheers and songs. We left the cheer early to pick up some of the Christian girls and head to Bon Tone, a village just outside of Khon Kaen. Jom, the student that we went with, is a 2nd year Law student who has been around Campus Outreach for over a year, but has yet to give her life to Christ. When we got to her house, we immediately went to the market to pick up a few things before dinner. While we were at the market, it started to pour [which was very needed, it had not rain for about 4 days]. So, we waited for the rain to calm down before heading back. Before we got to her house, we stopped in to meet her aunt. She was so sweet. She makes these mats that the Thai's use to sit on, sleep on and eat on. She offered to give us one as a gift and I was so excited because I was going to buy one anyway!

We finally made it to Jom's house for dinner. But before we started eating, Jom's Mom, Aunt and Grandmother wanted to give us a Thai blessing by giving us 3 different string bracelets. Even though I could not understand a single thing they said, it was very sweet that they wanted to make us feel welcome. After dinner we sat outside and talked with everyone. Sano was able to go back into a room with Jom and talk with her more about being a Christian and some of the challenges that Jom faces with making a decision like that. Sitting outside with Jom's family was so much fun. Thai families are so welcoming and hospitable. They did everything they could to make us feel comfortable. Jom's Mom informed us before going to bed that we would be getting up at 4:30 am to go see the sunrise. At first I thought she was kidding, butthen I decided that I would actually really love to do that. 4:30 am did not come quickly. I was definitely not use to the way that Thai's sleep, and was only able to get about 2 hours of sleep. But, I was still so excited to see the sunrise!

Saturday: So, at 5 am, we all hopped into the back of a pick-up truck and made our way to the lake. I don't think I can put into words how beautiful it was to see the sun coming up over the lake... IN THAILAND. I know that I have been here for almost 7 weeks, but I still can't help but think how crazy it is that I am half way around the world.

After the sun had risen, we began to drive around the town looking for a water buffalo. The Thai's seem to think we are crazy when we ask them if we can see the water buffalo, but I have never seen one before. Our trip was successful, and I have to admit, as excited as I was to see the buffalo... they are really fat and ugly animals! Ha ha. Altogether, the trip to Jom's was a blast. It was great for her to spend some time with Christian girls, but it was also good for us to be able to get to know her better! Pray that she will come to the Friend Forever retreat!Around 9 am, the CCP team plus Marc, Sherry and their daughter Sophia took a day trip to do and see things that are very unique in Thailand. The first stop was the King Cobra Bokzing [thats seriously how they spell it] Project. I have to say that this was BY FAR the weirdest/scariest thing I have ever seen. It was a bunch of men literally punching and kicking King Cobras.

I definitely do not want to ever go back there again. After we watched the fighting, we walked around a little zoo type thing where we were able to see more snakes, monkeys and peacocks! Very random assortment of animals. Once we left the King Cobra village we headed to a huge lake for lunch. We got to sit in little bamboo huts that were over the water. The view was beautiful! Everyone was able to eat together and fellowship with each other! After lunch, we split up into groups and took a ride on a banana boat.

It was definitely relaxing to be in the lake and rest in the bamboo hut. However, Stephanie and I were running on very little sleep. It made it a little difficult finding the energy to play around in the lake.

Because I knew that I would be exhausted, and I wanted to treat myself to an early birthday present, Taylor and I decided to check into one of the nice hotels in Khon Kaen called the Pullman. It was an amazing night! Even though we were the only 2 to stay the night, the other girls came and joined us for dinner. I love hanging out with the 3 other girls on my team. They are such an encouragement to me and we have grown to be very very close! After dinner, Noah and I were scheduled to Skype with the Summer Project [each week 2 different team members video chat with the Summer Project and just tell them about what God is doing here]. Afterskyping, the rest of the team joined us upstairs in the room and we were able to play games, talk and continue to get to know each other better.

Here is a picture of the view from the hotel room.. I forgot to take some of the entire room.. sorry].

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wow, what a wild couple of days! We have been keeping so busy with all kinds of ministry things!! Last night [Monday night] Stephanie and I got to hang out with some of the Christian girls and go to one of the night markets for a little while. After we got back to the student center, I got the chance to share with one of the girls a more intense version of my testimony. She and I are very similar in our walks with the Lord. What a blessing it was that God gave her the understanding to hear what I was saying and comprehend it [with out a translator!!]
Tuesday after spending time with the team in the morning, my ministry team and I got to travel to another students home for the afternoon. I don't actually remember the name of the city we went to, but we were able to visit Nam Phong National Park ["ph" does not make the "f" sound in Thailand, in case you were wondering]. Until we got there, Stephanie and I were completely
unaware of what we would be doing there. Much to our surprise, we ended up hiking. Having
no knowledge of this fact, the attire that Stephanie and I chose to wear did not reflect the activities we would be doing. Below is a picture of Stephanie and I with some students.
[In case you cant see, I am wearing a skirt and TOMS shoes, and Stephanie is wearing sandals]

Other then the clothing miscommunication, we had a blast! The things that we got to see while hiking were simply indescribable. Each time we went to a new location, God just kept getting bigger and bigger. I love hiking for that very reason. God created every single thing as he says in Colossians 1:16, "For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things were created through him and for him."
After hiking for about 2 hours, we headed over to one of the students home and got to meet her mom, dad and little brother. They were so sweet and gave us a lot of water [for that I was truly grateful ha ha!] It was such a fun trip to be able to hang out with some of the Christian girls and get to know them better. One of the girls that went with us, however was not a Christian. But she was very comfortable with us the entire time! She loves hanging out at CO Club but has yet to give her life over to Christ. So, please pray that she will see her need for Christ.

I want to say thank you again to all my supporters who are reading this. These kinds of opportunities would not be possible without your support. So, thank you for giving me this chance to come and share my life with the students of Thailand.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

God Bless America!

Well, because I am all the way around the world, we definitely do not really celebrate the 4th of July. However, the Campus Outreach Thailand staff was gracious enough to plan a party for us on Saturday [July 2nd] to celebrate America's Birthday! It was a blast! We were able to go to a pool called Raja City with the Campus Outreach Thailand and Birmingham CCP. It was such a fun day just to relax and get to know the other CCP students. It definitely wasn't your traditional 4th of July celebration, but we did have fried chicken! Below is a picture of our 4th of July feast!
Our meal consisted of 2 different kinds of pork, fried chicken, spring roll, and "cow neow" [sticky rice]. It was very very delicious but very different!

Sunday was another amazing day here! Well, their was a MAJOR election that was going, so there were not very many students at church so we didn't hang out around church too much. Instead, Marc and Sherry drove us out to one of their friends houses in a small village in Khon Kaen. This woman works at Sherry and Marc's house 2 days a week as well as plants rice basically in her backyard. She was the happiest women I have ever met, she could not stop smiling!
P'Noug [I think thats how you spell it]

She let us walk around all over her land and take pictures. After we saw her house and asked her lots of questions about rice, she took us to this open field where sellers bring their cows. This was also the field that we thought we were going to be able to see water buffalo, but they don't come out until Monday morning. So we just got to see a lot of cows!
I couldn't help putting this picture in here. I love it! :)

So many cows!!! There were even more of them as the day went on!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Unexpected games

Big C Supercenter is definitely one of my favorite places to go in Thailand [it's better than WalMart!] Well, Thursday night a small group of us decided to go [Stephanie, Sano, Jaae, Am, Tick, Taylor and myself] to get a few things. Well, when we got to Big C, we got a little separated. Which resulted in Taylor and I walking around Big C with 2 Thai girls who spoke "need noi" English ["a little" in Thai] with no translator. Can you say a little intimidating? Well, I have to say that I will probably dominate at charades when I get back to the States. That was basically the game that Taylor and I played for a little over an hour. Below is a picture that we actually used to describe where we were from in America as well as how we got over here. All together, I have to say that it was so much fun trying to communicate with them and teach them English while they taught us Thai. One of my new favorite phrases is "Pud pasa Thai my die" [obviously thats not how you spell it but how you say it] and it means, "I do not speak Thai."

On a different note, today [Friday] we got the opportunity to come together with the other CCP from Birmingham as well as the Campus Outreach Thailand staff. The day we spent together was called Campus Outreach Vision Day. Each region got to share with everyone about their ministry on the campus as well as prayer requests each one had. Just for those of you who know about my involvement in Campus Outreach, I could not be more thankful for the role it has played in my college years so far. So, I will list the 6 prayer requests that Matt and other staff members have come up with for Campus Outreach Lexington.
1. That the last 4 weeks of our Summer Project [and last 2 of CCP] would be as strong as the first 5.
2. That Multiplication [seeing more people come to know the Lord and help them in that journey] would continue on all 4 of our campuses [EKU, UK, Georgetown College, and Centre College]as a result of the Summer Project and CCP fruit.
3. That the staff Fall Planning will be sound and productive.
4. That the Fall Kick-Off events will attract many freshman and refresh "old" friendships.
5. Staff Health-- transitioning roles [moving campuses, promotions, or new jobs], moving cities, new marriages, new babies [and adoptions], and increased leadership opportunities.
6. The Official Relationship with Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington KY would be finalized this fall as they are planning on becoming our hub church.

Thank you for your prayers!!

Funny picture: at Big C the other night, Sano bought s
tephanie, herself and I the same t-shirt, so we all matched Friday and took a few pictures! :)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

On Monday, all the CCP girls had the opportunity to go to PuWiang [a village about 1 hour away] with some students and here are some things we got to see!

We got the chance to meet one of the students grandparents. They were so sweet
CCP girls with the Dinosow [Dinosaur in Thai... I think thats how you spell it...] PiWiang is known for the place that found a dinosaur bone while digging for Uranium. We got to go to different sites while hiking and see some of the fossils they have found.

Here are a few of the Thailand flowers we got to see!

YES... that's definitely a big lizard looking thing..

My friend Prow and I at lunch! She has been hanging out with CO a lot since the very beginning!
EEEKKKK!!!!! Luckily these have not been in our rooms.. [just in the jungle]

This basically defines every day life! Ha ha! I love my ministry team!!!

All the girls that went hiking with us!

PuWiang was beautiful, and I would love to go back one day! I was so thankful for the opportunity to be able to explore outside of Khon Kaen and see more of what Thailand has to offer!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

A little bit of everything

Well, I have heard from a lot of you that you would love to see pictures!! So... Here you go!

Here are a few from the Scavenger Hunt we did in the Mall as our social on Saturday!
Hugging a random person

Whole team drinking out of one coke

Holding a cute guy/gals hand

Helping a random person with their bags [Definitely thought it would be easier to ask an American for this one! Didn't want the Thai's to think I was stealing their stuff!]

Well, in the end, my team won!! WHOO HOO! It was definitely the best scavenger hunt I have ever done! [the language barrier was hilarious]

Thursday, June 23, 2011

On A Lighter Note :)

Here are 2 Thai songs that have a chorus that has English in it that we like to sing with the Thai girls. We also sing them at Karaoke! Which is totally different here. In Thailand, there are private rooms for each group, and you just sing for your friends. Not in front of random people you don't know, it's actually a lot more fun and less embarrassing this way!!

Links for the songs:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ca8DDFSAWEU [1 2 3 4 5 I love you]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0q1UBc32RwE [Too Much So Much Very Much]
Not a good picture, but you get the idea!!! [Stephanie and I were singing one of the few English songs we knew!]

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Adding to the Kingdom

When I was preparing to come to Thailand, I am not really sure I knew what to expect [don't take that the wrong way, its been great since I have been here]. But, ministry wise, I have not really had too much personal experience in giving my life to other girls. Since I have been here, I have been able to see the rewards and challenges that come with sharing my life with other people. Not only have I been able to learn from and grow with Sano and Stephanie, but I have been able to walk along side of the Christian girls that have been involved with the ministry for a few years. These girls have so much dedication to Campus Outreach and to their walks with Christ. They have been such an encouragement to me.

While I love to learn from these girls, I have definitely faced some challenges of my own. There are definitely challenges that I face here in Thailand that I never could imagine facing in the States. But they are challenges that I am willing to take and conquer. I have faced a couple days where I have struggled to find the joy and willingness to go on campus and meet new people, as well as spending time alone in the Word. However, there is a Thai phrase that we have learned that I have continually had to repeat to myself and have others say to me. "Soo-Soo" in Thai means "Fight Fight." [When girls hold up what we call a peace sign, for them it represents this phrase]. Even though the Thai's say this with out having any kind of biblical knowledge, I find it so easy to relate to Biblical principles. 2 Timothy 4:7 says "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Each and every day, I
am constantly seeking the Lord's strength, joy, peace, patience and love. And I know that He is faithful.

To go back to the girls that are Christians involved in the ministry. We got to experience the coolest most humbling church service on Sunday. This Sunday was "Baptism Sunday." There was a group of 11 students and one older gentleman that got baptized! It was so cool to see each of the students be washed by the water and outwardly show their commitment to the Lord. What I loved most about the afternoon was seeing an older gentleman probably about 60+ years old kneel down in the water and completely surrender his life to the Lord. [Just a quick background about the Buddhist culture... Men are expected to become monks at some point in their life, even if its only for 3 days, they believe that if they do this their mother will be able to go to heaven.] My only thought about this man was "I wonder how long he lived his life serving Buddha, and how sweet the rest of his days will be serving the Lord."
What a blessing it was to be able to see so many people perform the "outward sign of the inward reality of regeneration.":)

On a lighter note, this tuesday night Stephanie, Sano and I went to the Karaoke place with some of the upperclassmen students. It was the weirdest Karaoke place ever. Each group goes into their own room and you get to pick your own songs from a book that is full of Thai songs with very few recognizable English songs. It was definitely fun, but very different!!! We definitely enjoyed ourselves!! :)

Friday, June 17, 2011

Busy, Busy Bee

I apologize for the small sabbatical from posting on my blog. We have been very busy with students as well as the Internet going out for a few days. That was a little stressful trying to figure out how to fix it, but it finally started working today!

This past week was a little bit of a blur. We were warned by another CCP team from Birmingham that the second week would fly by, and to our surprise, it definitely did. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night we had the chance to hang out with three different groups of friends play games, eat good food and get to know each other. Tonight [friday night], Sano had bought some desserts and we walked to girls dorms and said hello and talked for a little bit.

One highlight of our weeks was that Stephanie, Courtney, Sano and I had the opportunity to teach English to 3 girls on Thursday night. I definitely think the English language is one of the more challenging ones to learn after this night. While we had so much fun teaching them conversational questions, it was very challenging. We will get to teach these girls every Thursday for a long as they want to show up.

Just real quick, I will give you all a tentative schedule of what our weeks look like: [it was always subject to change at the last minute.
Sunday- 12:00 Lunch at Church
1:00 Worship with Thai community
1:30 Break-off for Perspective time [in English]
2:30-? Hang out wit students, eat fruit and play games
The rest of the night the team usually goes out to dinner or something
Monday- Sleep in :)
Lunch with girls/whole team
4:00 Go to student center/campus to hang out with students
Tuesday- 9:00 Mission Training [Taught by Marc Lewis]
10:30 Pray/ Schedule with ministry team
11:15-2 On campus meeting students
2:00-5:00 Need Of The Hour/Rest
5:00 Back on Campus/Dinner with students
Wednesday- 9:00- CCP Training
Same as Tuesday
Thursday- Same as Wednesday
Friday- Same as Thursday
Saturday- Morning is free/CCP Social [usually at night]

So, that is basically what my week looks like, however, it changes almost every single day. Some days we will get a 4 hour break in the middle of the day and other days we won't get a break at all. But, I like the spontaneity and go with the flow kind of attitude that most Thai people have. Until next time...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

One Week Down

[I apologize if this is a little long, but I promise you it is worth it to read the whole thing].

So, it has officially been a week since we arrived in Khon Kaen. I can not believe it! Time is moving too fast! We are starting to more acclimated to the culture and the schedule we will have every day. However, a few of my teammates and I are started to feel a little homesick for America! [Definitely pray that we can overcome this.] However, we have found a few ways that make us feel at home. For instance, there is a starbucks at the mall, they sell ham and cheese sandwiches at the 7/11 [which are really good!! Despite the fact that they are from a convenient store] and they have McDonald's [which I haven't been to yet, but I can't wait too].

The past few days have been very cool/tiring. We have been able to go to the mall, go out to eat and hang out at the student center with some of the new freshies [this is what they call freshman] we have met. Doesn't sound too bad, but when you add 90 degree heat plus humidity, it can wear you out. It is so cool to see that even thought there is a language barrier, God can over come and still bring students to us so that we can build friendships. Below is a picture of the CCP girls with some of the students [3 of the 4 are not believers. The girl at the top, Ice, is who I walk around campus with to meet students].

Today [Saturday June 11], we had the most amazing opportunity. A couple weeks out of the summer, our team and some students will be taking "Vision Day Trips". During these trips we will be going to different places around Khon Kaen and serving others in what ever way they need. So, today we got to go to The House of Mercy. This is a home/orphanage for kids of all ages with HIV/AIDS. All of the kids there were HIV+, but none of them have progressed into having AIDS yet, praise the Lord.

While we were there, the two english speaking volunteers [from Australia] told us about their mission for the home and why they have such a passion for the kids. The mission of the home is to raise children up the way they need to be in order to be healthy. They teach them that they are loved and created by God, as well as feed them, play with them and educate them. Then, we got to play with the kids for about an hour and a half [which was not long enough]. I could have easily stayed there all day.

One of the girls I met, Bo Yee [thats how it is said, not spelled ha ha] was so sweet. She could actually speak quite a bit of English! She took me by the hand and took me to the basketball court to play. Now I have to tell you, I am a TERRIBLE basketball player. But she didn't care, and neither did I. The entire time we played she just had the biggest smile on her
face. After we were done playing, we all gathered in the dining area and had the chance to pray. While I couldn't understand the prayer [because it was in Thai], I was able to pray silently to myself. I could not thank God enough for such a wonderful opportunity. After our leader was finished praying, a little boy stood up and began to pray. I didn't care that I couldn't understand what he was saying, I had chills all over my body just to hear this little boy cry out to our Lord.

As it was getting time to say goodbye, I went up to Bo Yee and gave her a hug and told her goodbye. I was doing everything I could to fight back the tears. She didn't want to let go. She kept giving me one more hug. Those children are truly little blessings that God placed in our lives today. I hope that we will have the opportunity to go back before we leave.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Laughter is good for the soul

What a great couple of days it has been! We have gotten to spend so much time with the Campus Outreach students and their friends. Tuesday night Sano invited Stephanie and I over to her house to have dinner and play games. Some of the CCP boys and the Thai friends they have made came over as well. We had so much fun eating and playing UNO.

Wednesday morning was actually our first real day on campus. Tuesday- Friday each week we will be going on campus from 11:30-2ish and basically just walking up to students and trying to get to know them. It may sounds like it is awkward (and sometimes it is) but it is actually very fun and gets me out of my comfort zone.

Ice, one of the Christian girls, and I walked up to a gazebo full of girls today and just started asking them questions like "what is your name", "where are you from", "how old are you", etc. From the beginning of the trip, our team has been learning how to say some common phrases in Thai. It has been very challenging because the Thai language is very complex, but it is very funny when we try to say something and it comes out completely wrong! We have definitely learned to laugh at ourselves.

On a funny side note, we have the luxury of not having to do our own laundry :) It's great! Today was the first time I took my laundry to get done. The lady that does it will wash our clothes, hang them dry and iron everything. I mean EVERYTHING (my underwear was even ironed!!!!!!!!!!!!) ha ha I think that is something I could definitely use back in the states (what do you think mom?? Want to help me with that?)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Without God we can't. Without us God won't

Monday night (June 6th), one of the staff girls Sano invited Stephanie and I (the three of us are a ministry team) to go to dinner with her discipleship group. There are 5 girls that she is discipling (Ice, Kade, Am, Josh and Noon). Kade was still at home, so she was not able to join us, but we went out to dinner to this really cool place. We rode motorcycles (they are more like motor scooters, its the main form of transportation) to the restaurant. When we got there, it was kind of like a buffet of raw meat that you could pick from, and you took it back to your table and cooked it on something thatlooked like a table grill. (Below is Sano and the grill we cooked on)

After dinner, she took us back to the Campus Outreach student center with all the girls and we got to share our testimonies with each other. I have to say that hearing the girls talk about the work that God has done in their lives made it really real that I was not here just to see Thailand or to get to know Thai students. My purpose here was to show these lost Thai people where they can find True Joy and Peace. While it was very difficult to understand them (if they were speaking english) I was so thankful that Sano was able to translate for us. Also, while I was sharing my testimony, it was definitely a challenge to talk slow and pause so Sano could translate for the girls who didn't understand english very well.

One cool thing that all the girls had in common was they were all affected by a CCP student who had spent time with them and loved on them. This was so encouraging to Stephanie and I. Even though we may not be in Thailand to see God transform their lives, I know that God will use us to plant seeds and share love with them. So, over all, it was a great and encouraging night! I hope there are many more to come!!! :)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Chaco's are not the best running shoes...

So.... WE MADE IT!!!!!!! After over 40 hours of traveling, plane rides, and layovers, we are safely in our apartments! I can not believe it!

Lets just say that its already been an interesting trip so far! I will try to keep this story short, but there are so many necessary details! So, here I go:

We drove to Cincinnati, and checked in and made it to our first plane which was headed to New York! JFK is crazy!! We got there, ate lunch, then tried to go through security only to find out that we needed to go get new boarding passes... so after doing that and standing in the line for security (which was probably the craziest part of JFK) we make it to our gate. From New York we would be flying to Singapore with a short stop in Frankfurt, Germany. The plane we were getting on was massive! It had 2 floors (we snuck up to the second floor in the middle of the night to check it out :) ). The women that greeted us on the plane looked so beautiful! They had on these really pretty outfits and their hair looked so neat! This flight was going to be our longest flight of the trip... 21 hours total. I definitely got to sleep some, watched a lot of movies, and ate. I have never been served so much food on a plane before. We were served a lunch, a dinner, a snack, and breakfast! As surprising as it may sound.. the best meal we had was scrambled eggs! So after a looong plane ride.. we made it to Singapore! I have never been so happy to be on the ground again! In Singapore we got to use the free internet to get on email and of course facebook! From Singapore, we flew to Bangkok.. this is where the story gets really good! (I hope I haven't lost you yet!!) In Bangkok, we had to go get out luggage and check in with another air line. So, as we walk up to the baggage claim, there is a lady standing there with a sign that has Moran (Noah), McClellan (Duke) and Mardlaw (Me, yes that was the name that was on the paper.. not Wardlaw.) She was there to inform us that our luggage was still in JFK (so good news.. it wasnt lost). So, we went to the baggage claim services and tried really hard to communicate with the people there to figure out how to get our bags. After having that figured out, we go upstairs and see the Campus Outreach Director of NEU Guy! It was so good to see a friendly face. We got to eat lunch and get our new boarding passes. Guy told us that we had enough time to go into the city on the train. We were so tired, but still wanted to go see the city. So Guy took us to the biggest department store/mall I have ever been in. It was insane! So, we head back to get on the train only to find out that it was delay about 10 minutes. We didn't have any other choice but to wait. By the time we got on the plane, it was about 15 minutes from our boarding time. We finally make it to the airport, and as soon as the train doors open our team busts out in a full sprint to try to get through security fast. Well, when we got to security, a boy had been helping me carry one of my very heavy bags. He was behind me in security, so I wasn't able to see that my bag didn't make it through security until after he had to chase me down. I was scared at this point that I wasnt going to make the flight. I had to sprint (with chaco's on... they felt like they weighed 10 pounds each) back to security to get my bag and run to the airplane. Out of complete stress and adrenaline, I started crying as soon as I made it on the airplane. It was crazy! Just like my mother, I now know why I always have to be 10 minutes early to everything... its stressful being late!!!

Even though all of this was stressful and very crazy, it was totally worth it when we showed up at the Khon Kaen airport with a big welcome crew and a sign saying "Welcome to Khon Kaen!" It couldnt have been a better way to end our traveling journey!!

God was completely sovereign in all of our travels and journeys we have had so far! It has been an amazing experience! :)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Its Here!

So, in a few hours I will be getting on a plane headed to Thailand. I can not believe that it is here already!!

I wanted to give you all of who all will be traveling with me this summer.

Back Row: (Left to Right) Matt Murray, Brent Klein, Noah Moran, Duke McClellan, Ross Buskey
Front Row: (Left to Right) Courtney Murray, Taylor Church, Daly Wardlaw (me), Hannah Trivitt, Stephanie Lynch

Now you have faces to put to names for the entire summer! :)

I will try to update soon after I get to Thailand!! Pray for safety!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Big Things!

This next week coming up has some really big things in store. Not only do I have the opportunity to go to Thailand (in 8 days), but I get to be a part of the joining of two lives this weekend. My brother, John, and his fiance, Meghan are getting married this Sunday.

I can not tell you how thankful I am to be a part of this day with them. While all this may have come about very quickly for John and Meghan, it is so evident that God had a plan to bring them together to glorify Him by getting married. What a cool thing!!

After the wedding, I will have 2 days to fully prepare for this summer with no distractions! :)

Monday, May 23, 2011

9 Days...

So, as I am sitting at church Sunday night, we sang this song right before we left and it really captured the idea of what we are getting ready to do in 9 days (the word "song" has a link on it if you want to listen to it! :) )

In 9 days, I will be leaving with a team of 9 others to live in Khon Kaen, Thailand for 7 weeks! As many of you know, this is an opportunity presented by Campus Outreach Lexington. We will be working with the Campus Outreach Thailand staff on Northeastern University's campus.

I wanted to make a blog to share with those that have been on this journey with me from the beginning by helping me raise support, pray for me or even just ask question about our trip. This will be a way for me to be able to communicate with you all about what God is doing in Thailand as well as the funny/cool/adventurous stories we may have along the way.

I hope you all enjoy! :)