With the sun setting on 2014 and a new 2015 dawn, it seems only natural to reflect on this year and anticipate another.
I don't even know where to begin. It’s been a year for the books…that’s for sure. Nothing that’s taken place this year is something I could have ever planned for a year ago or ever (in some cases). Nothing. And yet it’s been an incredible start to a new chapter of my ongoing journey. Thailand is only the beginning to something more.
There is an abundance of learning. Learning how to trust not just the people in my path, but trusting God who is all powerful and capable of doing more than what I can dream up, who is all knowing and was fully man, is spirit and a loving father in one. He understands and knows me better than I can ever know myself, He transcends all time…past, present and future. I cannot allow myself not to trust Him more. In the trusting, I find the adventure…what He’s laid out before me. It is then I desire nothing more than to walk in the way. He is my guide and I pray that this new year will be one of continual reliance upon Him and in that find more peace and joy that is far beyond my imagination!
God messes with me. I had plans for just me, myself and I. Of course, He was brewing something in my heart, I just didn't know the details or how everything would go down.
I went from comfortable surroundings, yet being completely unhappy with myself to “stepping out of the boat and walking on water” ultimately trusting that everything that happens is for a reason even if I have absolutely no clue what that reason is…
I learned to say goodbye…to say goodbye to things (my bike, car and wonderful living situation) and people I love (although not all permanently) and a first career.
I learned to say hello to my long desire to teach overseas.
I would have NEVER picked Thailand. Would have NEVER picked Asia. I was surprised at how God had been preparing me for it for quite a while!
My doubts proven wrong again, I never thought it would be possible to be accepted to an International school and raise support within 6 weeks. A miracle. One I am so incredibly grateful for.
Standing on top of my 17th 14ner and a week later landing in Chiang Mai.
My first day of school with a class of 17 kids. Amazed at their deep hearts and love. They inspire me!
It had not previously registered with me that not all Asians are Chinese. So blessed to see how huge Asia is and the number of people groups and tribes represented within each Asian nation.
The opportunity to travel to South Korea and step into North…never dreamed, but such an incredible cultural awakening. My heart has grown for this population.
Seeing my kids participate in events and piloting children’s outreach and ministry has been one of my favorite adventures so far.
Learning another language and culture with my students.
My heart melting when spending time with children at children’s homes.
Never imagined to be standing in fields of sunflowers that envelop entire hillsides and mountainsides. My favorite bloom made my heart so happy.
Dancing in the dark with glow-sticks taped all over with fellow teachers for the Talent Show. The joy of doing something crazy for my students. Priceless.
AND more dancing. Participating in the King's Birthday Celebration flash mob. Fun!
Organizing a field trip that included carnivorous plants and scorpion holding...still lived to tell the tale.
Why not visit Hong Kong for the weekend? If I never went, I wouldn't have discovered that as big and beautiful as the harbor or view from the peak is at night, I am not a big city girl. The history of HK, China, the political issues from the Opium wars to present day umbrella movement is interesting and heart breaking. I am continually thankful to live in Chiang Mai and to be from Colorado.
Ziplining the longest in Asia? I lived to survive yet again.
AND I really never thought I'd ride an elephant, bare-back through the jungle :).
I was so blessed to spend Christmas Eve baking cookies with some awesome kids and dinner with a precious family, followed by a midnight candlelight service welcoming our Saviour's birth. On Christmas day had a simple Christmas spending time with another dear family.
Traveled to the Thai capital of Bangkok and viewed the Royal Palace and remnants of the old kingdom and Buddhist cultures. Growing in understanding of the culture of this country is always fascinating to me.
AND now today. New Year's Eve. I've spent the past few days on a pristine island in the south of Thailand, resting, recharging and soaking in the vitamin D...reflecting on this year. Again, NEVER dreamed I would be floating in emerald seas with warm white sand surrounding me. A truly amazing end to this (and in many ways-unexpected) year.
With that, this year comes to an end.
I look forward to a new year ahead. Thanking The Lord for all He has done for me and given me. Praying that this new year brings a better understanding of who God is and who I am in Him and developing a deeper heart for His people near and far. My hope is that more people will know His saving grace.
Thankful to all of you for your constant prayers and support! I miss you all and pray that this new year brings all good health, positive outlook, happiness and many, many laughs. May we all fix our eyes on Him,
Sara Gurule c/o