Psalm 143: 8, 9- NLT
"Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you."
"Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. May your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing."
“Home is behind, the world ahead,
and there are many paths to tread
through shadows to the edge of night,
until the stars are all alight.”
The world ahead...
Those words seem so foreign, mysterious, exciting, and daunting. Yet, these are literally all the feelings I've experienced the past month as I've been doing copious amounts of paperwork, reading, praying, meeting with people and preparing to say goodbye. As I am writing this, I'm sitting outside watching the Colorado sun go down, signaling the end to another warm, sunshine-filled day and breathing in the sweet 5280 air, I can't help but reflect on where I've been and think ahead to where I'm going.
A year ago, I was visiting my dear missionary friend in Peru and I would have never thought I'd be preparing to finally teach abroad, nonetheless teaching in Asia a year later. I've always had the desire to travel/teach overseas, learn about new places, cultures and meet new people. Up until recently, I never had the desire to serve in Asia. Obviously, God changes the hearts and minds of those who are willing and points our feet in other directions, often on "foreign" soil whether at home or abroad.
After returning from Peru last summer, I adjusted and resumed my comfortable lifestyle in Greeley which included my second year teaching 3rd grade, volunteering and serving in my church. At that point, I finally considered Greeley home after living there for 6 years. I seriously considered that I would stay for a couple more years if it was THIS comfortable.
Of course, right when I started recognizing that I was comfortable, something in my heart started stirring...a knowledge that really, in my time of comfort, the Lord was actually pulling me towards letting go and stepping out in faith towards the uncomfortable. This being: "Leave home and what you've always known and experience ME in a new setting and in the unknown."
Thanks, Lord...for teaching me this truth. Although, I don't understand His timing, I know it's always perfect for what He's going to do.
I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own. We are not able to plan our own course.
Where I am headed and what I am doing is the result of HIS leading, MY following and often times thinking over and over "Lord, YOU ARE CRAZY!!!" But I will gladly go to Thailand because He has given me peace that I've never had before, He has made evident to me that this is my time to venture out of comfort to teach me about myself and the people of Chiang Mai. I cannot wait to see what great things are planned for me and to see the blessings of His work in Asia in this next adventure!
SO with all that said. What will I be doing in Thailand?
I applied, was offered and accepted a 4th grade teaching position at Grace International School (est. 1999) in Chiang Mai (a supposedly beautiful, lush, tropical city in northern Thailand). I have never been to Asia, so I have a vague idea of what to expect. Grace International School (GIS) is a Private International School and is a community made up of over 550 students and over 90 teachers grades K-12. This is going to be a completely different teaching experience than what I've been used to the past few years, but I'm anticipating these differences and new challenges. A majority of the students that attend GIS, are missionary kids (MKs) whose parents are serving through various missions organizations throughout the city. A majority of the students that attend are also Thai nationals. This creates a fantastic student body with students representing Thailand and a variety of countries from around the world. In order to keep the cost of attending this 'western' school in a foreign country low for the students (since many are MKs), all hires are required to raise financial support to live and teach in this community. Truly, an amazing opportunity to practice faith like I have never had before. Trusting the Lord will work and move in the hearts of others to give prayerfully and financially to be a part of this journey....for I cannot journey alone.
I have been accepted and will be sent through a renowned sending organization, Teach Beyond. Teach Beyond is an organization designed to connect teachers with schools around the world, equip them with the skills to teach overseas, and then send them out to teach while giving them guidance and support along the way. I'm excited to work with this organization in raising support so that I may have the best experience possible teaching at GIS and living in Chiang Mai. This is a two-year contract with Teach Beyond and I would also like to stay at GIS for a two-year contract as well.
How you can help.
Grace International School would like me to arrive in Chiang Mai by JULY 25...basically the end of next month! I have signed on to teach for the 2014-2015 school year (same academic length as American schools) and I will be sending out prayer cards, financial support letters and speaking at churches all starting within the next week. Time crunch! Whew. Please prayerfully consider partnering with me and supporting me financially if possible. Every little bit helps. I would like to arrive in time to begin the school year with my 4th grade class. You may click on the "Give Online" map of Thailand link on the right of this page or visit the "Giving" tab of this site to receive more information on how you can support.
I will continue to update this site with more information about Thailand, GIS and Teach Beyond as well as giving updates as they come! Also, I'm excited to post pictures and blog more in the near future!
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this and I'm looking forward to sharing my thoughts, experiences and this journey with you all in the coming months!
Grace and Peace to you,