Here it is! Time for another update and the first one of 2018. Another year in the books and what a year it's been!
What I've been up to recently:
1. Christmas has come and gone, for which I am thankful for. Sometimes it feels like too much over here...everyone trying to compensate for what we might be missing out on in our home countries. I stayed with friends overnight so we could wake up together for Christmas morning, eat breakfast together and then exchange some gifts. Then I spent the day with my other grade 6 teacher teammate and her family. I made salt-dough ornaments with her girls and then ended the day ingesting a whole year's worth of carbs, cheese and starches at the German buffet in town with some awesome families. Overall a great day.
2. Made a quick 3 day trip up to Luang Prabang, Lao, which happens to be a UNESCO world heritage site. Although a bit too inauthentic for me, highlights were: eating Laotian food, riding bicycles around the town bordering the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khang rivers, taking a weaving class at the Ethnic minorities textile and arts center, feeding water buffalo, learning about the native agricultural and livestock practices of the area, hiking to the top of a hill overlooking the valley (such beautiful scenery) and visiting a sapphire blue waterfall, Kuang Si. Guess there was a lot crammed a lot into a few days...no wonder I was tired when I returned.
3. After returning from Lao, I hosted my annual Christmas cookie baking and decorating party with some of my little friends. My Thai teacher's daughter and her friend (first time ever going to a farong (foreigners) house and decorating cookies) and then my teammate's two daughters. Everyone had fun trying to construct gingerbread houses out of sugar crackers and frosting and then making all shapes and sizes of cookies, including a hedgehog for Ollie. I will definitely miss this tradition next year! Love spending precious time with these dear friends!
7 2017 highlights:
1. Travel, and lots of it. My highlight trip not in Asia was definitely Scotland. I hope to return someday. Iceland was a close second. In Asia, Vietnam and Malaysia.
2. Counseling at QRC when I was home for a few weeks this summer.
3. Progressing in Thai language learning-reading and writing ;)
4. Exploring more of the hills and border of Thailand
5. Sent one group of 6th graders on to 7th grade and received another round-two kiddos (previous 4th graders of mine who I taught 2 years ago) and survived teaching my first year as a grade 6 teacher and ALL that entails!
6. Building relationships and serving in the Thai community with the children's ministry club, Diakonia.
7. Attending a home fellowship that has become like a family. I've enjoyed growing in community and relationship with these people. I've learned and continue to appreciate the faith journey's and ministries of each person in our fellowship and couldn't think of a better fit for my current season. This is the same fellowship I've been a part of for 3 years, since it's beginning. We've tripled in size, but we all love it even if we are squished into the living room on the tile floor of someone's house :)
1. I have little planned for the next few months. Besides the normal teaching routines I am just trying to live presently and enjoy being with people here that God's placed in my life for this time and season.
2. I wish I had a better idea of what the "next step" is and when it will unfold, but at this current time I do not...which is quite a large prayer request. I am experiencing disruption in many areas of life. This is is good, but also potentially contradictory to what I had planned. I am in the process of applying to grad school/seminary to earn a 2-year MA in Intercultural Studies, but beyond that leading, I have no clue. All that I know is I would love to study and have a job that broadens my experience and understanding of marginalized people, whom I have a heart for. I've been reading the book "All The Places To Go...How Will You Know?" by John Ortberg, which emphasizes open doors of opportunity and how we need to walk through them even if it means they will close or take us in another direction. Pray that I'll have the courage to walk through the doors even if they are unexpected and risky. Also, that I'll have wisdom and revelation for what God is working in me and what He is leading me into. Whatever happens, I know God is sovereign!
1. #ADVENTurewithus17 Many of the photos in the slideshow above appeared on my instagram and facebook, providing a glimpse into my day-to-day life for the month of advent. It was a powerful experience for me. Each day there was a new word that I was challenged to filter through the lens of reflection. It was helpful for me to see that each day is a gift and to discover there is meaning in daily life we often take for granted.
2. For all the experiences, travels, and people that I've met the past year that have helped shape who I am today. I'm thankful for the way God orchestrates all these things for our continued growth and His glory!
Just A Quick Thank you!
I am continually reminded of the blessing of so many of you in my life. Your love and support of me gives me the ability to be here doing what God has called me to at such a time as this. Thank you isn't enough. Thank you for journeying with me this far. I look forward to sharing what future paths I take with you all, but more so excited to see what this year brings for each of you!