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: [1 2 3 4 5 I love you] [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! :)