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Saturday, September 22, 2012

When you run out of words

As I write this blog, I'm trying my best to block out the sounds of Thai karaoke that echoes only two blocks away from the Thai church. Mind you, singing and praising to the Lord is great. All for it. Just not at a level so amplified the whole soi can hear you. Seriously, they can go on for hours...well after the sun has set. So, forgive me for any incoherent rambling as my thoughts are having to compete with loud music.

I love developments, don't you? They add spice to your life so it doesn't stay boring. In all honesty, some developments we love and some we hate, but that's what life needs to move forward--developments. This past week, I was bed-ridden because of the flu. I was out of work for four days and in the bed for three. The last time I had the flu was junior year of high school, but man the coughing, sore throat, fever and aches were all too familiar sensations that my body did not want to welcome back. I've pretty much returned to normal, with the exception of some slight coughing and mucus membranes that want out of my body.

The mission held a farewell/welcome party this past Thursday. There was lots of food and yummy pumpkin pie. Yum yum yum. All the admin was there and everyone who worked for the language school was invited to attend. They welcomed me and gave a tribute to the secretary of the mission who had worked here for 26 years. I say "the secretary" to denote the fact that she was the secretary of the mission president, so I guess the main one. Because there is an executive secretary, a.k.a. the vice president, who also has a secretary of his own.

I was in awe of her service and dedication. She gave a speech. She started getting teary-eyed and everyone took pictures. I didn't know her, but I'm sure her absence will be felt. The moment was a little bittersweet for me because, although I appreciated the mission's efforts to welcome me and I myself appreciated the secretary, I felt like I was in a place where I didn't belong. It's like, yes, I am here and will be here for a while. At the same time though, this is not my home. I don't fit in with this group of people. I felt like an alien, and it's not a great feeling to have. Oh my, the ups and downs of being a missionary. During our AVS orientation, one of our main speakers was talking about the "ouches" you'll experience going back home, things like how you can't quite connect to your friends the same way you used to and just how life in general will move on without you. I'm kind of experiencing that here. Life does indeed go on without you, and sometimes you want it to stop and wait for you to get on. Recently, I've been hit with news and friends and family members who are facing dire health problems, some who have died. That's a big ouch. For your loved ones to go through such pain and you're thousands upon thousands of miles away.

In other recent developments, I had been contemplating whether I should return home after I finish out my contract or if I should stay here another year. There was much internal debate going on, a lot of weighing of pros and cons. But when it got down to the nitty-gritty, I had to listen to the voice of God. And the voice of God was saying He wanted me to go back home. Would you miss me if I stayed another year? ;) I kept thinking to myself, "Why do I have to go back? It would feel like taking a step backwards instead of moving forward." But then, I really had to ask myself, are you wanting to stay here because you're running away from something, or is it because you truly want to do the Lord's work? And if you do want to do the Lord's work, is this where He's wanting you to be? I truly want to serve God, but it turns out that He has more plans for me still in the U.S. of A. Oh, just walk with God. Walk with God. Keep your eyes focused on Him. Remember, the mission field is not a haven. You can't run away from your problems. You have to face them because they will always be there...waiting for you. That's all for this week. Check out the links below. The first one is a blog written by another SM in Thailand. I was really impressed with his first entry. God has truly been using and transforming him. The second link is a vlog created by an SM friend in the Philippines.

Peace to all and much love.

Sawadee ka!


Aaron's blog

Melissa's vlog

Friday, September 14, 2012

Accepting the call

 A year ago, I found myself at the beginning stages of applying to serve as a student missionary in Thailand for ten months. Fast forward one year, I am no longer in the beginning stages of anything. I feel like I'm past the initial transitioning process and am set on the journey ahead. I am truly in the thick of things; matters of life are appearing to be more complicated and clear black and white lines I once thought were distinct are blurring together. But no fear, dear readers. It is all part of the learning process.

Last week, I attended my official orientation training. Somewhat delayed I know, but nonetheless I left those sessions with much gained. I learned quite a bit from our speakers and I have made a new family in Thailand, our little AVS family. Something I wished I had grasped back home is the fact that we really can't do it alone. We need the support of fellow believers. That mindset, that thinking, has been something I am trying to apply to my daily life. I hope that you can also understand this idea and take it to heart.

I was touched by a blog entry that a fellow sm in Thailand wrote just this week. He's really learned a lot since starting his mission, and it sounds like he also took so much from the orientation meetings. I felt so inspired by his honesty and the way God is using him here in this country that is so in need of God. I guess I share some of the feelings he's expressed, and some of his thoughts really struck a chord with me. He said he wasn't the same person he was before he left. Granted, once you're out on the mission field you do change, but it's something you have to experience; it's not just brain knowledge.

Dear readers, I am changing, and that is a good thing. I don't want to go back to the life I knew before. He is truly changing my heart, and I am so grateful for that. There is another sm I met during orientation and she recently renewed her AVS contract for another year. She truly wants to do the Lord's work, and that's where I want to be--serving the Lord. I've been thinking about my options after finishing this work in Thailand. I'm in a unique position in that I have a degree, so I don't have to go back to school and have more time to serve, if I wanted. Naturally, because of the nature of being an sm, most student missionaries are unable to do that. I'm not sure where I'll be come May 2013. Only God knows. I just need to have faith...and patience. As it says in the Word: "Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And he shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" (Psalm 27:14).

I hope you are well and happy. Many blessings to you all and have a blessed Sabbath. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

How vulnerable are you allowing yourself to be?

Hello all! Thanks for taking the time to read this blog. I know many of you have very busy lives, so I'm grateful for the few minutes or so you take to read these words. I'm writing early because I'll be having a four-day orientation starting Wednesday afternoon. The following three days will be all day, so I won't have the time to blog on Friday. It's actually quite funny, because when I saw the email regarding our orientation schedule I thought, orientation for what? Um yeah, I got here in July and they're just now scheduling orientation for all the SMs and AVS people. Oh well. At least I'll get to see what the other SMs are up to. It'll be nice to catch up with them.

It would be nice to catch up with you guys too. If you're on Skype or FaceTime, message me your contact info and maybe we can schedule a date. ;)

In regards to this week's title, I don't feel like I've truly been opening myself up to God, completely. You would think that missionary prototypes have it all figured out, that they're already spiritual warriors and are in tune with God. At least, that's what I thought of missionaries when I was younger. I always thought that their faith didn't waiver. The truth is, being a missionary just means that you're in that much "higher" of a position. People in your mission field (and more importantly God) expect a whole lot more from you. You can't just go out and do whatever you want. That might sound contradictory to what being a missionary is all about, but you'd be surprised at the number of people who lose sight of their mission and start living comfortably. But for most missionaries, we still struggle. At the end of the day, we don't have it all figured out. I am all too human and have my own weaknesses and vices that I have to surrender to God. There are times when I feel so broken and I can't do anything on my own anymore. But that's what God likes. He doesn't want us to do it on our own. At times when I get too caught up in myself I hear God's still, yet powerful voice saying to me, "Shekaina, it's not about you. So get over yourself." We need to get over ourselves and stop living in our little heads. God can't work miracles in and through us if we're worrying about how a situation is going to affect us. I guess I'm learning that even when the scary/uncertain parts come my way, I have to be willing to fall and let God carry me through.

I was listening to a familiar song this morning, and I was moved. I first heard this song back home through a local radio station and it is that much more meaningful to me because I believe that God uses radio as one of His ministries. I mean, do you not believe that God can reach someone millions of miles away using only a radio? It's amazing. The song's lyrics chronicled a girl's journey with God, how He was always with her despite the tough times. You hear people talk about God's love for us, but it hit me hard and resonated with me in such a way that you can only experience when God is personally calling out to you. We have a God who is desperately in love with us, relentlessly pursuing us. And we don't even deserve it. If you think about Jesus' story it's pretty incredible-- that he took on human flesh and was crucified to save us. Our human minds cannot even fathom what all of that means. It's too great and wonderful. My hope for you is that you won't be afraid to let God in, completely in. I'll probably have a few moments during this week where I forget that, but there's always hope. I'll be praying for you.

Much love,


Thursday, August 30, 2012

And life will go on

Sorry folks, no blog for this week. I'll update you when I have some interesting thoughts to share.

Friday, August 24, 2012


Tan works at an animation office, creating projects that her company uses for different films. She wears dark eye makeup, but her eyes look tired and her face flushed. She would like to travel, but her dad doesn't like her going off by herself. Her brother is also a student at the language school. He is a doctor and has a successful job, but he feels worthless.

Taan is a video editor. He works hard, spending the entire day sitting in a room editing videos. When he shoots them, sometimes the process takes as long as 7:00 in the morning until 5:00 in the afternoon. He wants to go to America, New York specifically, to study photography, but he has to have his visa approved first. Taan makes a lot of money, averaging 30,000-40,000 baht per video, but most of that money supports his family and a sick aunt. His father and older brother do not work, but he would rather work hard for them rather than face a confrontation.

Andrew is a former prisoner turned Jesus lover turned missionary. He grew up in a loving, supporting environment but never knew God. Before high school, the school bus drivers would suspend him from their routes because they heard about his bad reputation. He stole candy bars from safe houses and stores. At 16, he became the driver of a getaway for a gang that performed a series of home invasions. He met God in prison. He spent two years in solitary confinement as a juvenile and eight more years at another jail. His heart is with God. God blessed him with resources and education. Andrew truly loves God and wants to share Him with others. He says God saved his life and he wants others to be saved by him too.

During my preparation for Thailand, a part of me felt like I was going kicking and screaming; I wouldn't always want to go to Thailand every minute of every day. I didn't understand why God was calling me to this place, and on certain days I still don't quite know why. What I do know is that God is teaching me things I would have never seen or experienced if I stayed home. At times I find myself thinking, "Man, it's going to be so hard to leave this place." I feel moved and blessed by what God is opening my eyes to, and I would like to stay. There is much more traveling and seeing ahead; I still want to work and live in Japan, France, and the Philippines, and visit other countries (and return to Thailand). However, there is a strong voice telling me to return home and finish the work I am called to do.

Maybe God is teaching me to love His people. I mean, we certainly do not always love each other, but maybe we should try? I've had my fair share of conceptions and generalizations of the Thais, but I think that maybe stereotypes and generalizations hinder us from getting to know a person. When I talk to a student or met someone new in the office, my heart kind of melts after hearing about their problems and stressors in life and God always puts me in awe. I cannot really express the gratitude I have to live through these opportunities and be changed by these people. I don't know how much "progress" I've made, but I want to learn much, much more, and I want God as my teacher. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

What to say, what to say

I almost didn't write this week's blog because I couldn't think of anything to say, but then I thought that wouldn't be fair to you guys, so here we are. I went to the market today and found out that there's so much more there than I remembered seeing when I went with my neighbors, and it's cheap. You can stretch your money quite a bit and find all the produce and meat you want. Plus, it's a muslim market so you know that their meat's clean.

From my last post, I mentioned making more of an effort to go outside myself. However, I seem to be doing just the opposite of that. Instead of going outside my comfort zone and just talking to people I seem to be withdrawing inside myself. I think I'm defective, or something. I just can't seem to do it, and I don't know what to do.

So, I posted some pictures from my Pattaya trip on my Facebook page. I didn't take pictures of people and I really should have. When my neighbors and I were in Pattaya, we visited the Adventist center there, which is really a house church. They've been church planting, and it was such a blessing to be a part of that. Since I've been back, I found that I'm hungry for house church, not just a big, ornate ceremony with a large congregation. We need that in Bangkok; people are searching for it. I mean, isn't that how people started their churches, with one pastor building a strong group of disciples to lead in one area and then going to another area and starting again? I think the idea of a big church with the nice music and filled pews has led us astray. Please, bring me back to the old days.

Okay, so you know that boy issue I mentioned? I don't think it's going to be much of an issue anymore. The (not Thay as I've misspelled) hasn't been the kind of person I was expecting him to be. He's nice enough and he has a deeper desire to know God, but I don't know if anything's clicking between the two of us. It seems like he feels awkward around me, or maybe he's not interested either. It's too bad though, because it would have been nice to have a half-Thai, half-Filipino baby. I know I'm supposed to wait on God, but sometimes I'm tired of waiting. I shouldn't though, because God wants us to wait without complaining or asking Him why when we don't understand.

Since we're on the topic of love, I thought I should be honest and express my firm desire not to marry a Filipino. I don't know why. I don't have anything against them, and they're certainly better than Thai men in general, but my mentality is too different from theirs. If I were to marry a Filipino, he would have to be mixed or a third culture kid. My mom believes in "improving the race," meaning that I should marry someone outside my race because filipinos are dark-skinned, and by marrying someone of a lighter skin color it will somehow be better for my children. Call it what you want, racial profiling, stereotyping. It sounds bad, and it shouldn't have to be like that. But the reality is that if you're not white people look at you differently and they also treat you differently. I haven't had much opposition because I'm Asian, but it happens and it's something we have to deal with because we live in an imperfect world. I'll get of my soapbox now. I hope you have a blessed Sabbath and good weekend. Until next time....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Holiday in Bangkok

Hello again, dear readers! This coming Monday marks Queen Sirikit's birthday and, subsequently, Mother's Day, so I will be enjoying a long weekend. Tomorrow morning, I embark on a trip to Pattaya with my neighbors who were kind enough to invite me along. The husband was invited to speak at one of the local churches, so we get to go. Yay for invitations!

As a missionary, I am supposed to be a witness to others here. However, I tend to get sidetracked because I have so much free time on my hands. I don't suppose it's all that terrible. It gives me more time to focus on the reason I'm here, more time to be intentional about the things I'm doing. One of the things that I need to work on, and I think will help me, is going outside my little box and talking to people. For those of you who know me, you know that I am not the most extroverted person out there. I can be quite shy and timid if I don't feel comfortable in my environment. Still, I must try. I'd like to think that God wants me to be a stronger, bolder person, not a little mouse who runs away all the time.  This is really something that I have to pray about because I cannot do it on my own will or strength. On the bright side, I look at it as part of the refining process. Think positive, think positive.

So we have a problem readers--there is a boy. His name is Thay. Thay is Thai and he is a pastoral student, or his occupation involves pastoring, ministry...something of the sort. I first met him during my first week or so here and didn't seem him that often, with the occasional bumping into each other during lunch at the local vegetarian shop. Well, I saw him this past Wednesday, three times--once at lunch, another during work, and yet another time during prayer meeting. Oh yeah, he's also looking for a single Filipina. :/ It seems that a little love interest has been developing and he's been a distraction for me. After all, missionaries are not supposed to date. Grrh. Boys. I've been praying about it and I have decided to surrender that part of my life to God. If Thay ends up being the person God's brought into my life, then great. I can wait. If he's not the person, I'll be okay too. In the meantime, what I can do is develop a "strong platonic relationship with him" as my neighbor has suggested, and if any further feelings develop afterwards then perhaps I can move forward with that.

To wrap things up, I want to talk about my dearest mumumsy. I don't want to belabor the details about her surgery because you all know about that, but this past year there had been concern that one of the tumors from the surgery was growing. The doctor said there's a lot of scar tissue, but the good news is that for now it's stable. My mom says that as long as it's not growing she won't do anything, and I think that's the right decision. Her body went through so much from chemo and radiation; she couldn't handle seconds. I have felt this added stress since I came here, and to have that burden lifted is a huge blessing. In all honesty, I'm not ready to lose my mom, but I also have to trust that God knows what He's doing.  Worrying won't do much for me, but He has a plan. I need to let go and just let God be God.

In closing, may the good Lord keep you well and happy. I hope you are savoring the lazy summer days. Enjoy it, because school is going to come by fast. ;) Much love to you all. A bientot!

Friday, August 3, 2012

A paragon diamond

Hello again, dear readers! I hope this post finds you well. As for me, I had some fun today exploring downtown Bangkok. I went to three malls-Emporium, Central World, and Siam Paragon. Unfortunately, I am soo tired. I walked from Emporium to the other two malls and then walked part of the way back from the train station to my apartment. When you decide to walk to anyplace in Bangkok be aware of the fact that your journey will be longer than what you expected.

One of my past times since I've been in Bangkok has been getting lost. But it's not really a bad thing because there's always a main road and if you can't find what you're looking for it's probably because you've gone too far or haven't gone far enough. Even if you're destination is on a soi street (side street) they are numbered for you. So there you go. If you're ever in Bangkok, don't be afraid to explore and get lost in the city. The only bad thing is that the constant traffic makes it very noisy and the pollution caused from it isn't good for your body. Oh yeah, and it rains at random intervals so bring an umbrella.

There was a hint of sadness yesterday as I left the classroom. Simply put, I wanted to visit someone and that person wasn't home. I didn't think I was supposed to feel bad about it because she was having dinner with her family. But as I was walking back I saw my neighbors watching their kids on the playground and it hit me-- I was lonely. Everyone had somebody here they could share their lives with, and I didn't. When I was told I would be the only missionary in Bangkok I figured I would be okay; I would just plug into my community. But it hasn't been quite that easy. Most people here are older than me, they have jobs, they have families. They have lives. I figured it would be nice to have someone I could vent to, someone who could relate to my experience.

Sad to say, I think I had a little pity party in my room. And I say this because when you're listening to pop ballads in Spanish when you don't even speak Spanish and are eating oreos with peanut butter and nutella you've probably hit just a little bit of a low point. But I'm okay now. I have to get past that, because I will need my emotional strength for bigger things ahead...or maybe this is one of those bigger things? In any case, please pray, pray that I won't feel so lonely.

Before I forget, I wanted to share with you guys the word paragon. I was intrigued by the name Siam Paragon so I did a little research on the word. The word paragon refers to something that is perfect, flawless. The Thais called their mall Siam Paragon because it's supposed to reflect a level of perfection in Thai culture, but paragon also refers to the diamond. The paragon diamond is the tenth largest colorless diamond in the world. It's huge, weighing over 100 pounds and it's cut in a unique kite shield shape. Simply put, it's perfect.

I say all of this because it made me think of how God is trying to perfect us through our own experiences. We're supposed to go through that refiner's fire because we'll be stronger, more mature, better people. It's going to be hot, but the blade can't be sharp without the heat, just like we can't grow without the trials God gives us. It says in 2 Corinthians 7:11:

"For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner; What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter. Therefore, although I wrote to you, I did not do it for the sake of him who had done the wrong, nor for the sake of him who suffered wrong, but that our care for you in the sight of God might appear to you."

Keep on, fellow Jesus lovers, keep on. I've included some pics from my mall excursion and then a little extra. Because it's the Olympics, I have to pay patronage to the US women's gymnastics team for their team and all around gold medals. Go USA! Also, the Korean Air commercials crack me up sometimes; they really play up the chicness and luxuriousness of their services. Cherries on top of the airport, anyone? But really, they're quite a sight to see. When I was waiting for my flight in Hartsfield, I couldn't help but notice the fleet of porcelain skinned, silk wearing, blue ribboned flight attendants. For those of you who've been to Korea or have flown Korean Air, you'll know what I'm talking about. That's really all for now. Until next week!

I had to take this one. I love hair straighteners.

                                 The text isn't very clear, but one of them says Best Dad and another Best Mom. 

Friday, July 27, 2012

Learning and hoping

Hello, readers! Sorry to have kept you waiting. I had been without a laptop for two days, but now I have a new charger and I can be connected to technology again. FYI, this blog was meant to be a Friday blog. I think when I wrote my first entry it was thursday evening back home; sorry for the confusion. But for the folks in the States, this will be here when you wake up. ;)

So Wednesday was Payday! My first check here. It was nice to finally get some money for groceries and other necessities. Before this week, it had seemed to me that during some point of every day I was in a state of despair. This feeling of despair usually stemmed from the fact that I barely speak Thai and am incapable of finding my way around the city. I think all of that changed when I went to Pantip (the IT mall). My neighbor friend Kim went with me, and I was really grateful for her time, considering the fact that she's been busy working on a book. There's something about the human instinct of survival and also knowing that God will take care of you that pushes you forward. Once I knew how the bus system worked, it was actually kind of thrilling to ride on a bus that flew (Thai bus drivers, and probably taxicab drivers, on crack will be saved for a later story).

There's a Filipino teacher here named Cherry and apparently her aunt grew up with my dad and uncle. I met her the other day and she's very nice. When I think about how old my uncle is, I'm puzzled by the fact that she was his high school classmate because she looks much older than him. I think the years have been unkind to her. Several years ago, auntie Lily's husband died in a sort of bizarre accident that you hear on the news but never think it'll happen to you. He was waiting for a bus and someone in line was pushing him; it was probably crowded and people were probably squished together. Well, he ended up falling onto the railroad tracks and hit his head and died. I can't imagine how hard that must have been for her. She has a daughter too, but she's back in the Philippines. That must have also been hard for her. That's probably why auntie Lily looks old, from the years of grieving.

One of the things I'm learning here is that I can't be too quick to judge people. During prayer meeting, my fellow Filipinos (because the international church here is actually 50% Filipino, maybe more) were praising God despite the storms in their lives. Quick to dismiss them as cookie-cutter christians, I doubted the fact that their mission compound, adventist school lives encountered much turbulence. But maybe they have had rough times and I was just needing to look closer. Whether or not they are sincere "sufferers", we still need each other. It's like this Thai idiom I learned of recently: How can a ship go without water, or how can a tiger survive without a forest? The essential message is that we need to work together. At work, you have to collaborate with others to finish a project. As christians, we have to work together for a different mission: to build God's kingdom.

My last, last point, I promise. I've been talking about how I've had moments of despair since I got here. Well, when I was eating at the A & W in Pantip (yes, they have one!) Kim and I came across a man who said he was tired of all the poverty and prostitution in the Philippines; he was probably living in Manila. She told him that wherever you are, if you're in a new place you have to focus on the reason why you're there, otherwise you can easily become frustrated or confused. I think I did lose sight of why I am here, of why God called me here. Instead of letting God handle my battles, I dwelled more on the negative. I have to focus my mind daily on what it is I need to do here; I have to give it all to God, even when it's hard.

But besides my clear-cut mission in Bangkok, the country's plaguing issues of prostitution and human trafficking have formed a big, dark cloud that hangs over my head. I don't know how much in-depth knowledge you have regarding these issues, but the stats brought despair to a whole new level. If you're talking about prostitution, Thais are generally tolerant of the practice, and there have been previous efforts to legalize it; that's just the way their moral code works. I know it's different from many western perspectives, and I find it to be troublesome. With the issue of human trafficking, numbers upon numbers are tricked, coaxed, or kidnapped into becoming sex slaves and labor workers. Many of these individuals are children, and many more come from out of the country. It's funny to think about how, almost a year ago, these same issues detracted my desire to come to Thailand. Now, I feel really sad about it, and I want to help. Realistically, the success of shutting down human trafficking rings and networks are nearly impossible because these guys (and girls) work together on an international basis, and in a lot of countries corrupt governments are in on it too. I think ideally, ideally, I would want to be a part of an undercover operation that was successful in this feat. Why not? I can still pray and believe, and God is still God. If I want to help them, God wants to save them.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Keeping My Eyes Open

The title of my blog entry was inspired by a song called "Keep Your Eyes Open" by a band I really like, called Needtobreathe. I thought the title was aptly named, considering the fact that I'll be spending the next ten months of my life in Bangkok serving the Lord, as He has called me to do.

The beginning of my journey has proved a little rough. I arrived at the Suvarnabhumi International Airport around 10:30 pm on Monday night, only to find out that I would have to sleep in the airport. Yes, I slept in the airport overnight. Apparently, the people picking me up (the president of the mission and his wife) were waiting at a different gate than where I was at. Needless to say, the experience was a bit scary and I really didn't get any sleep so much as I had a nap. Thankfully, the next day I was able to contact a friend of my dad's who lives in Bangkok and he was able to pick me up, feed me, and send me in a taxi that brought me to the school.

My dad freaked out about the airport incident. He made my mom call the school that sponsored me to come, and she confronted them. I can understand where they're coming from, especially my dad. I've learned that most of the resistance we get from our parents stems from a deep fear of something terribly wrong happening to us; they just want to protect us from the harsh realities of the world and make sure we're happy, not starving, etc.

Dear readers, the first forty-eight hours of my arrival were plagued by jet lag and homesickness. I'm adjusting much, much better. It's cool to think about how I'll be able to survive in a huge modern city like Bangkok. The city life is exciting, but at the end of the day I don't think I would choose to live in a place like this. It's dirty, noisy, and hot. You will sweat here, as I have been sweating bullets since day one. But the Lord has called me here for whatever purpose He intended, and that's what I have to hold onto.  I know there will be dark moments ahead, and there will probably be more days when I want to leave and go home, but I have to let these trials shape me, to let God mold me into the person He has in mind. As one wise soul has told me, I must "cling" onto God, and the more I cling onto Him, the closer I grow in Christ.

There's not really that much to report right now. From what I've observed so far, living expenses in Thailand is very cheap, fruit is in great abundance, and there are many filipinos living in the city. :) The people here have been so kind and helpful with my transition. I honestly think that any good backbone to a mission field is a having a strong community that's invested in the growth of their missionaries. I also want to thank you, dear readers, for all of your support. I would not be surviving without your prayers, so please continue to keep me in your thoughts.

Sawadee ka!

Greetings from Bangkok