I'm at the start of my second week of school with students, my 4th and final year at GIS. It's a bittersweet feeling. Today after my Thai lesson, I took the long way home (as I often do) through the villages, rice paddies and by the wats (Buddhist temples). It is a beautiful night...not raining and as humid as it has been, almost everyday since I came back. The surrounding mountains so lush, vibrant and clear against the colorful clouds in the sky. This place has forever left a mark on my heart, despite the many, MANY days I complain-of how difficult the language is, how confusing and frustrating the culture and so many people a challenge to love. I think of how this place has changed me, shaped me in ways I'm still discovering and providing me with experiences I could never have hoped for. All, which I am so grateful to God for. I am hopeful that this last go will prove to be my most impactful yet. I want to SOAK in all that God has for me in this season, and continue to trust him with whatever the next may be.
I will try to not make this blog too wordy, the pictures can speak for themselves. This summer was one I definitely won't forget. So many incredible places to see, memories made and moments with people that left me thankful and encouraged. I feel truly blessed.
1. The gift of 2 weeks in Chiang Mai-successful passport and paperwork issued, and the time and space to rest, renew & prepare for the travels that followed.
2. Travels in Iceland and Isle of Skye, Scotland with my good friend Summer. Thankful for good conversations, wild adventures (river crossings in our Ford Escape) & beautiful views & walks. Although, I preferred the quaint and simple views of the Scottish highlands...
3. What an honor it was to counsel high school girls at QRC camp in Colorado. To learn from them, their struggles and be a support & encouragement to them.
4. Spending time with family & friends, camping, day hikes, eating Mexican food (I did even eat some Thai-couldn't stay away...), and visiting Greeley. The gift of so many of you in my life, your prayers, financial giving, words of encouragement and love is a tremendous source of strength for me as I am on this journey. Thank you isn't enough. It would be much more difficult to follow this calling without it.
5. Now that I'm in Chiang Mai once again, I've been busy adjusting back to life here. Orientation week consisted of kicking jet-lag, prepping for students and playing cajon (box drum) for the worship team at school. I have enjoyed plugging in again with my house church and excited to grow deeper with them this year! The first week of school was a blur. It's always difficult to be "on" and up in front of kids all day, talking, after having a break. Hoping to settle into a routine here soon. Started up Thai language again...2 days a week this time! Will begin finalizing plans for Diakonia soon...pray for someone to step up and help out with this endeavor and can carry it on after I leave.
AND I have a new little addition and love in my life...
A baby hedgehog named 'Ollie'. He is one of the cutest creatures ever! I'll be taking him to school a few times a week. Excited to have a class pet, but a bit nervous...especially one that I actually like (not a rhinoceros beetle like the kids usually find on the playground) and I'm praying he stays alive for a while.
Hope you enjoyed the MANY photos!
1. Thankful for this season...it's been a great few months of exploration and growth.
2. Smooth travels all around the globe
3. The school year is off to a good start
4. Thai friends who are experiencing answered prayers of blessing and provision
1. It's been much more difficult to get into routine this school year, than years past. I returned with various problems with my house, vehicles and community. Not easy to step into after a full summer. Pray for protection, patience and grace for these adjustments.
2. Someone to co-lead Diakonia with me and potentially someone to train in preparation for next year.
3. For my students (40 total that I teach) as they learn and grow this critical year in grade 6. Pray for patience for me and the other grade 6 teacher, Erika. We have wonderful, yet challenging kids this year.
4. This is an accreditation year for our school of which I am on a committee for. This is going to require a lot of extra time, work and motivation (which I'm currently lacking) between now and Christmas. Prayers would be to not procrastinate on this project!
Thanks everyone! Until next time! -S