Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Takeaways from Thailand

Our family recently took a wonderful vacation to Thailand. Summary- it was great! Here are a few snippets of our time there that I wanted to share!

-The first 10 days we were there, we spent time at a resort with Kyle's mom and dad, who met us there. It was AMAZING to be with them, and I wish it weren't only 10 days every year or year and a half. Anyway, after that, they went back to the good ole USA and we traveled to another city for some meetings. At those meetings, we caught up with lots of friends we've met since living here! I was talking with one of those friends, whom I greatly admire, about how the hardest thing about me living here is being away from family. People ask us a lot if we are coming back for another term, and our answer is "we'll see!" It's so hard for me to live away from our extended families, and some days I dream of what it would be like if we weren't on the exact opposite side of the world from them. People also ask us if we might move to another city. (Our city is known by many as being one of the hardest cities in the world to live in, and everyone likes to tell us how terrible our city is- even the ones who have never visited!) Anyway, I was telling my friend that if we live overseas, it will be in v-town. The main reason for not liking living here is that my family isn't here. Nor is my family in Delhi, Mumbai, Paris, London, or even Sacramento. My heart would still have that longing. Then, my friend (who actually lived in my city for 5 years!), in her great wisdom told me this: she longs for family while she's living in South Asia, and she longs for her South Asian family when she's back in the States. But she likes that 'tension' because it helps her always remember that this world is not her home, and we're never going to be settled until we're in heaven! I'm not quite there in "liking the tension," but I really appreciated her attitude and heart toward her calling here. Thanks, friend!

-While we were at the resort with my in-laws, the breakfasts were served buffet style. My 3 year old darling girl decided she wanted to carry her plate back to the table by herself and then promptly dropped it, contents spilling everywhere. We must not have been there long enough for me to relax yet, because that pushed my angry-mom button. I didn't say anything to my sweet girl, but I'm sure my face said enough. Another mom (of older children) whom I had yet to meet, came over with a broom and dustpan and cleaned up my daughter's mess for me while I was searching for napkins. I was so moved by that. It wasn't anything outstandingly abnormal- she just swept up a mess, which I'm sure she does quite often at home herself. But to this mom of 2 littles, it was huge. She loved a stranger and became a blessing the instant she saw the opportunity. As simple an act as that was, I think I will remember her lovingkindness for many years, and I hope I can love on others, especially moms, the way she loved on me that day! 

-While on vacation, we were on a country that worships Buddha. Despite the extreme beauty of Thailand, it's impossible to not still see the lostness of the people there. And that made my heart sad. Thailand is know as "the land of smiles," but the people there are still without hope. While we were at the resort, we went almost daily to a fresh fruit smoothie stand right next to our resort. Each day, I felt God leading me to share with the woman who runs the stand. Each day, I cowardly declined. Until the last day. I got up the nerve, and started the conversation. Turns out, others have shared with her, and she has a Bible, but wasn't very interested in talking about it. And that was okay. I know she has the opportunity to know, I know she's been told, and I know that I was (finally) faithful to what God wanted me to do. I say this to encourage you- you're never "on vacation" from God's commands for your life! As Lecrae says, go hard or go home! 

-Many of my female American friends who live overseas have organizations and activities that they are involved in to help women and to share the good news. I, also, train women monthly, using a Sanctity of Life curriculum. But, during our meetings one friend brought up (in a large group meeting) that not every woman's calling is to be involved in an organization or activity. Some women are called to stay at home- to run their household well, to love and support their husbands, and to love and train their kids. And for some women that is enough! Not that they don't want to do more (though that's sometimes true), but that God hasn't planned for them to do more. I also find so many women comparing themselves to other women when they live in totally different worlds! Different cities, different jobs, different numbers of kids, different ages of kids, different giftings- I could go on and on! The point is this- beseech God! Ask Him what HIS will for your life is, and do it with all your heart. And, then, have peace about it and joy throughout it. That's my goal, and I'd love prayer from you that I would be able to do that well during this season of my life!

-Thailand is amazing! It was my 2nd time to go, this time to the beachy south/east, and previously to the jungly north, and it's pretty much amazing everywhere! You should totally go! (And I'd love to go with you!) Here's our family photo from paradise!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Corinth's First Day of School!

Corinth has been doing homeschool for right over a year, and has LOVED it! However, she doesn't have very many opportunities to spend time with other kids her age. For some time, my heart has wanted her to have more local friends who she can spend time with, learn from, and show love towards. Well, then, my good friend, who happens to live on my street, decided to open up a preschool! We weren't planning on putting Corinth in at first, because I really do love doing homeschool with her, and she loves doing it with me. However, I saw the opportunity for new friendships, so she is now doing preschool 3 days a week and homeschool 2 days a week. We've only had 1 day of each so far since we started, but it is going great! Both days she did really well, and is excited to go back! :-) This year, you can pray that Corinth will grow in her knowledge, but also in her love for one another as she learns how to love so many new friends. In our house, we say what makes you beautiful is how you show God's love to one another. You can also pray for me and for Corinth's teacher, that we will guide her well in knowledge and love! :-)

She was so excited! 

On our 2 minute walk to school!

So happy! She had a great first day!


There is a woman in my city whom I lovingly refer to as "Bhabi. "'Bhabi' (pronounced 'bobby') means sister-in-law. I call her that firstly because she is my good friend/language helper's bhabi (my language helper's brother's wife.) But I also just really love her and enjoy spending time with her when we can. Bhabi has been married for 5 years, 4 of which she and her husband have been trying to get pregnant. They have both had all of the tests, which all have come back normal, but still nothing happened. They, especially Bhabi, have been so discouraged for so long. Then, Bhabi came to a Sanctity of Life training that I and my language helper did at my language helper's home. She invited her neighbors and family, and 15ish people came (which is a fairly close-to-perfect number for a training!) We shared the knowledge we had with these women, knowing there were women in the room that were struggling with many different things. Some had recently had abortions. Some had grow to old age without ever having children. And some, including Bhabi, were of child-bearing age, but could not conceive. Well, Bhabi must have been paying close attention, because 2 months after the training, she was pregnant!!! She didn't believe the doctors, and asked me to come over to her house. I read the paperwork and told her, yes, she was pregnant. After my confirmation, her eyes lit up- now she believed! I got to tell her all about the first weeks of pregnancy (as she was only 3 weeks along when she found out and told me!) She told me she wanted me to come to all of her doctors' appointments with her, to which I gladly obliged! (I guess I'm now her unofficial doula!) I am so thrilled! :-) We went to her first ultrasound a few weeks ago (when she was 8 weeks pregnant), and she got to hear the heartbeat and see the baby in an ultrasound for the first time. I wish I would have videoed her response, because it would bring tears to your eyes. I snapped a picture of the moment, so I'll let you imagine the rest. Pray for Bhabi- she is not a follower of Jesus. I pray that she will know Him personally one day, and that she will also know that this baby is a blessing from God (as all are!).