Isaiah 42:16 (NLT)
I will lead blind Israel down a new path,
guiding them along an unfamiliar way.
I will brighten the darkness before them
and smooth out the road ahead of them.
Yes, I will indeed do these things;
I will not forsake them.
This week has been one of the toughest and most challenging weeks yet on this journey of becoming a teacher abroad so far (keep in mind that I'm still state-side). I've felt discouraged at times and hopeful at others. This verse has been such an encouragement to me as I've been at TeachBeyond training in Chicago this week. I believe that this training came at just the right time. The past week I've been living on the Wheaton College campus in Chicago, IL and trading my everyday, summer hiking day camp job for sitting in 8+ hours of training in lecture halls (real fun...I know :)). I'm leaving with a much better understanding of what I'm experiencing right now, what transitions I'll go through, preparing to leave the familiar and adjust to a completely different culture and environment in Chiang Mai.
I'm truly proud to be a member of TeachBeyond now and and glad that the Lord has provided me with an organization that will take care of me overseas in addition to Grace International School. I love their mission statement and vision for the impact education has on societies and communities around the world. "Transformational education means sending educators out into the world to provide teaching and learning services to promote holistic personal growth and enduring social benefit." I was so blessed to meet new friends that are being sent out all over the world to live and teach and change the world for Christ. The testimonies shared revealed that many of us that have been called to teach overseas and we all have much in common and we are all now aware of the risk and transition that will come with stepping out in faith. I'm thankful I was not the only one feeling anxious about raising support and leaving my comfortable lifestyle for someplace I've never been. It's an exciting time, yet I know that in the weeks ahead I will face many challenges and I'm sure there will be a number of challenges as well as joys while living in Chiang Mai.
I've viewed the curriculum I'll be teaching! That is something new I'll have to get used to, but happy to use. I received my VISA packet! I found a place to live with two other ladies who work at GIS or in the surrounding area. I have been advised it would be in my best interest to buy a MOTORBIKE, since I'm living a little farther from the school and when I arrive it will be monsoon season and just a bike won't do. That is definitely something I'm anticipating!
So things are coming together in Thailand for my arrival, but I'm still working on the departure side of this process. I have yet to buy my plane ticket, since my MONTHLY support is not fully pledged quite yet. Everything is becoming more and more real, but I think once the ticket is bought that's when it will really feel like I'm going to Thailand.
Please continue to pray my support comes in! Only 3 1/2 weeks until Grace International School would like me to arrive and I'd love to make it in time to settle and prepare my classroom before kids come!
Time is running out and as I'm packing up my house in Greeley and "officially" moving into my parents, I can't help struggle with saying goodbye to this place I've called home now for 7 years. Saying goodbye is bittersweet but necessary as I move on and look ahead... looking ahead to the vision that has been placed before me and in my current state of "blindness" trusting that it will all come to light. :-)