Sunday, December 21, 2008


Dear Readers,
Will you forgive me? I completely left you hanging somewhere back in October! I'll have to say life was a whirlwind of change and constant activity while in Cambodia and as much as I desired to keep up on my blog... well, we can all see that it just didn't happen. My limited time at the internet cafe was spent responding to emails.
I want to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported me financially to be able to do what I did these past five months. Family, friends, and lovely people from The Bridge. You sowed good seeds into my life and I pray the Lord blesses you in return!!! "Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap." Luke 6:38 And to everyone who prayed... I am humbled by your kindness and care. Thank you for thinking of me and heaping blessings over my life through your simple requests to our Father. I pray you can see the fruits of your prayers, because I know He heard them all.


So - I'm back. Back in the Tri-cities. Arrived on the 5th and have been adjusting ever since. Life was so different in Switzerland. And even more so in Cambodia. Both cultures so different from America. From the Tri-Cities. And both so extremely different from one another. To go from one of the wealthiest, cleanest and beautiful country - to one so in need of a massive clean up crew, medical team, moral government, parents... you name it. Shocking. To have God show you the beauty in people and relationships and the meaninglessness of all this other stuff we worry about daily. And to find such a peace and simplicity in the truth of just loving one another. Extending grace for weaknesses, failures and love for aching hearts. Why does it take being stripped away of everything you own, every false foundation you've built your life upon, everything we find our security in to realize that there is such a beauty in the people around us. Even in all their imperfections. To look at them with the eyes of God and really begin to understand. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Why? He has eyes that see past the filth, past the sin, and into the very heart of the man He created. And He deems it Worthy of Love. "The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love." That's Real. That's our Living God. He is full of grace. "God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God and God in him." 1 John 4:16


Coming back takes some adjusting. Life here doesn't have that same simplicity. We have all this stuff and it's just how we live. But it becomes our distractions... from the ones that matter most. God - and people.

Just a reminder to place value on the things that matter most.

We were ALL made in His image.
Take joy in those around you and try seeing them through His eyes.

Past the imperfections and straight into the man or woman that God sees when He looks at them. The very one He loves.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

Adventures in Cambodia

Friends,

It's been awhile! Sorry to keep you waiting on an update. This should be an interesting post... a collection of emails that I have sent people and a list that my sister friend Stephanie made of Cambodia. Enjoy :)

(Steph's list) - YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN CAMBODIA WHEN......

- The waitress is picking her nose while taking your order
- When you adjust the shower and it falls off the wall
- When your vegetables are being washed in the same bucket that the person's feet are in
- When Raid becomes your new deodorant
- When the bathroom sink falls off the wall (...it was a really lucky catch)
- When you have to ask if the meat on your plate is snake or chicken
- When your lungs have to siphon the oxygen out of the air
- When your Tuk Tuk driver doesnt care if you dont make it to your destination alive
- When Jelly Grass Drink becomes the new Coke
- When you become a little toooo regular....
- When sweat starts acting like God.... it never leaves you
- When cockroaches chase you
- When you mistake a rat for a cat
- When it takes half an hour to load your hotmail (!)
- When you run around with dogs and naked kids
- When your street smells like a urinal
- When its ok to stop and poo on the sidewalk (yes this one happened after church)
- When your shoulders and knees become 'private parts'
- When your supermarket groceries come to a figure of 290,000 (ie 70 US$)
- When your skin forgets what hot water feels like
- When you pray protection over your bed each night (from rats, cockroaches, lizards & mosquitos)
- When hand sanitizer replaces your moisturiser
- When ants swim in your cereal
- When driving up the wrong side of the road is fine
- When people wash their dishes in the mall bathrooms
- When amonium and charcoal tablets become your multi-vitamins

And this is just the first week.. :)

So more serious stuff thats been happening... We've been to an aids orphanage, it was really hard but so rewarding to be able to put a smile on those little faces and bring dancing to the lifeless bodies. We're planning to pump some money into the orphanage and buy them things to play with.

We spent a day cleaning up the streets. This was a really cool experience and made a big impact on the local neighbourhood. (I might have to show you a photo sometime so you have a concept of the amount of rubbish, scraps, poo that is all over the place). While we were doing this we came across a lady sifting through a dumpster so we bought her some groceries for her and her little son.

We did maintenance on a tiny local church here in Phnom Penh... there were a few little surprises that we're still getting used to! (rats and man-eating cockroaches). While we were there they asked us to run their service on Sunday.

We saw some of the sights a few weeks ago... the killing fields and the torture centre that was used by the Khmer Rouge during the 70s. And the temple of skulls from some of the 2 million that were brutally murdered. It was a really heavy day. We're hoping to go see Angkorwat on a day off its one of the 7 wonders of the world and only 5 hours away.

Email 1 -

We went to church this morning, I lead two worship songs while Luke played the guitar. I am hoping to have more opportunities to do this, I like it a lot! Right now we are at the mall in a nicer internet cafe. I am using my leaders laptop. This week... there is trash everywhere here, all over the streets. We didn't have any ministry set up on Thursday so we prayed about what we should do. We felt like we should walk the streets and pray and pick up the trash. In the bigger picture, the whole city is littered with trash, we walked maybe a handful of small streets. Made a very small, temporary impact... the streets we picked up would be covered with trash again within the day. I don't think that was the reason why we did it though. It was more to set an example to the people who witnessed. That we aren't any better than them, we here to help. In the afternoon we visited an Aids orphanage. We walked into a small room that had three windows with decorative bars over the windows. Small children were sitting all over the floor. I sat down next to three of them and one of them sat in my lap. I played with him for a while but I couldn't help but notice a little boy just sitting in front of motionless. staring off at the wall. I reached forward and tickled him a little bit but he didn't even respond. The two kids on my lap left and I pulled the other boy towards me and held him in my lap. He wouldn't look at me. Stood up and he laid his head on my shoulder. So sweet. We looked out the window together and I was finally able to get him to look me in the eyes. I decided to throw him in the air and when I did he burst into a smile and laughed! So I did it again and again. There were little paper animals hanging from the ceiling and I lifted him up to touch them. Long story short by the time we left he was playing on his own, smiling and happy. The transformation was beautiful. I won't forget him. We will be having bible studies with local small groups this week. I think I am going to lead one about the book Esther.

Email 2 -

We are doing bible studies with each other yesterday and today to get feedback from the group before we start tomorrow teaching Cambodian small groups. I went yesterday morning and we read the book Esther, I focused more on the verse about how Esther became a Queen for such a time as this, to save the Jews. She was a Jew who through God's favor became a Queen and in turn saved the Jews. Beautiful story of our lives... God's grace welcomes us into the royalty of the kingdom of God and He determines the time and the place in which we shall live... we aren't given this position only for our own benefit but for a greater purpose. I can't imagine the boldness and trust in God it took for Esther to go before the King and plead for the lives of her people. Very inspiring. I then shared a bit of my testimony and correlated it to the story of Esther. I think it was effective and I'm excited to share with the Cambodian people.

Yesterday afternoon it rained so hard. The streets were flooding. Some people from our team went to the store to buy things for dinner and had to take a tok-tok back because the water was up to their knees! Thunder was really loud too. Exciting!

SO... A tuk-tuk is a motorbike with a carriage type sitting thing (haha) attached to the back of it. Two benches to sit on. We are able to fit four of us on each bench and then someone else sits on the floor with their legs hanging out the back. Its fun :) The driving is so crazy here, but you don't feel unsafe because its normal! The lanes in the road really don't mean much, two lanes going different directions can become three going on way and one another, because of people trying to pass each other. No street lights at intersections, you just put yourself out their and cross in between the oncoming traffic. People stop and let you go because that's just how it is! Quite humorous :)

Email 3 -

So we started bible studies this week... it was a bit different than we all expected. The small groups weren't small groups, they were actual families and our idea of teaching in a classroom in a church was completely off. We have been doing two sessions a day one at 8 and then one at 2. We have two tuk-tuks come and pick us up and then we drive out to a family's home and sit with them in their house, give a testimony from one of us and then someone else teaches something from the bible and then they tell us their testimonies and what God is doing in their lives and we pray for them and then leave. It is so amazing! The first day was a shock. We were all expecting to pull up to a church building and go inside to teach young people but the driver stops on the side of the road next to all this trash and the rice fields in the background and tells us to get out. We all were a bit confused but we got out and the pastor was over by this shack. He motioned for us to come in. The family was sitting up on this wooden platform that had a straw mat laying across it. Flies were everywhere. I have never seen so many in my life. The family was smiling at us and then they just started to sing Khmer songs. David preached about the Law vs. Grace and rats were running around in the garbage about 10 feet from us. Welcome to Cambodia... We went to about 8 homes this week and each one was different. The first was probably the poorest. I lead the bible study on Friday afternoon and I felt like I was suppose to talk about the power of praise instead of talking about the book of Esther. So we drove out to the house of of the main roads and the road was extremely bumpy. Ruts filled with water, we were all laughing and bouncing everywhere. We got to this massive puddle/lake in the middle of the road and the driver revs the engine and floors it... we made it half way :) Two people got out and pushed the rest of the way. The bible study went great. God really gave me peace and it just felt like we were a huge family sitting down and sharing together. A Cambodian lady shared with us that she lives out in a home that gets flooded when it rains and she has to walk through the water to get to her house. She has a little girl and is pregnant as well. Her husband is having affairs and doesn't let her leave the house. Only on Fridays and Sundays to meet with her Christian friends. She sometimes doesn't have money for rice and is worried she won't have enough money for a good hospital for her baby. After church yesterday we went out to visit her. Walked through water up to almost our knees to get to her house and she cooked us a small meal. Felt so blessed. Small home with water marks on the wood where the water came up to during monsoon season. There is another team here from Kona, Hawaii that is part of the health care school and they were able to find a midwife here in Cambodia that is willing to help this woman. We told her this and she was so blessed. Her eyes would get all watery and she said, "I am so happy today, thank you, thank you." Other families we visited had prayer request that they wanted their kids to go to school but it was too expensive and they needed that money to buy food. They said school was 1000 reil a day per child. That's only 25 cents. And yet even the education system can be corrupt. Those who pay more get better grades. It is so hard to know where to start in such a corrupt, unorganized, needy country. Need is literally everywhere, just like the trash. It has been such a blessing though to build relationships with these families we are visiting and knowing that we are making an impact on their lives and encouraging them. On our way home from her house yesterday we floored it through the massive puddle again and then some random lady on the side of the path was holding two crabs. She started walking towards us and holding them out. I thought she wanted us to take a picture so I got out the camera, nope, she throws them into the tuk-tuk and stands there smiling and laughing to herself as we scream and wonder what is going on? haha. We rode the whole way home with our feet up on the seats and two crabs running around on the floor. Then our tuk-tuk stops working and 5 guys immediately swarm us seeing if they can help while another guys stood at the back saying "one dollar" and pointing at his motor bike, haha. That's the culture, if you stop people just come over and hang around to help. We have our nightly entertainment of leaning over the balcony and watching the rats run all over the alley. We bought some rat traps a few nights ago and put oreos in the middle and it was a huge event. They were huge sticky plates so when they stepped on them they would get stuck. A guy ended up trapping one in the corner. Shows how much there is to do at night when we resort to messing with the rats...

So today is our day off and I'm not sure what will happen. That's usually how it goes... We leave in a week for the life center. I might preach at a church next Sunday? God is completely stretching me!

Thanks for all your prayers and love, until next time... xoxo


LOVE YOU ALL!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Overwhelming Hope


Our amazing staff!
Cambodia leaders are Daniel (dark blue) and Ruth (hot pink)
Capture the flag (couple weeks ago)
Close-up of the mud...

YWAM baby :)
Love Feast for the April Quarter Korean DTS
All the money came in for outreach!!! Thank you God :)
We leave next Saturday!
Some things I read this week in a book called Hope in the Dark:
"We know that Americans pity Africans," he told me. "But sometimes Africans pity Americans."
"How so?" I asked him.
"Americans seem to expect that everything will be provided for them. For us," he said, "this ear of corn is a gift from God. This evening's rain is a shower of mercy upon us. This healthy breath is life-giving. And, maybe tomorrow we will not have such things, but our hearts are so full from God's provision."
When she gave birth to an HIV-positive child, she named the baby "No Hope," for there was none. The mother's life was an isolated tragedy of stigma, abandonment, and fear. But her community began to shower love instead of judgement, support instead of neglect... and everything changed. Glimpses of grace entered into the darkness of pain, and hope made itself present. She has changed the name of her child to "Jesus is my Hope."
Everbody smiles in the same language. And for that, I am so thankful.
We walked along the dirt road to Muungano village where these words rested quietly on the brick wall next to a pharmacy shop. "What does Piny Pek mean?" I asked. "Heavy world," they said. As I dragged my feet along the gravel with my head down, I found myself asking, "Why God?" He told me, "Broken world, Daughter. Sin is real. Know and repent of your own, and then seek Justice and Love for My children. Do not lose hope, My child. Be an agent of mercy." ANd I slowly breathed in the stench, but allowed hope and God's promises of mercy and healing to remain. This peace that lies within me is one of eternal pain but surpassing faith in God's ultimate desire to shower mercy in the heaviest and most broken places.
If you want to know the pulse and strength of Africa, spend a day with the women of a village. In the midst of deep suffering, domestic abuse, societal and poverty constraints, the woman are the stability of Africa. They will carry the buckets upon their heads, touch the wounds of the sick, accept the burdens of helping the village survive - and all the while, they will be singing praises to God.
People ask me, "Doesn't it paralyze you to walk so closely and intimately with suffering?"
"No," I tell them. "If I have learned anything from my time in Africa, it's that though the suffering is overwhelming, so too is the hope."
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Monday, September 8, 2008

Something changed...

Something changed inside me broke wide open all spilled out
Till I had no doubt that something changed

Never would have believed it till I felt it in my own heart
In the deepest part the healing came

And I cannot make it
And I cannot fake it
And I can't afford it
But it's mine

Something so amazing in a heart so dark and dim
When a wall falls down and the light comes in

And I cannot make it
And I cannot fake it
And I can't afford it
But it's mine


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSdP6PqsbJY
(Little side note: The 11,000 dollar need God has been faithfully providing for and we have seen it go down to only a 3,000 dollar need for outreach!! Praise God, if you want to help support feel free to contact me.)

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

Dear friends,

It's a little windy today, but sunny and filled with joy all the same.

Last night we played capture the flag in the forest and it was the most exciting/scary game I have played in my life. We smeared mud all over ourself and wore black clothes. It was almost dark and everyone was sneaking around through the thick of the forest trying to get the other teams flag or free the people in jail without being captured by that team. Three other people and I started out together and then two were captured, so me and the other girl crawled through the trees to save them and we were only 10 feet away when she was spotted and a giant of a boy chased her down and captured her. I was hiding behind a stump and I barely saw a black figure poking their head out from behind a tree and look my way. Fight or flight. So I booked it so fast, I had no idea where I was going and could barely see. I ended up running into a pile of twigs, surrounded by pokey plants and had to assess the situation a bit. Long story short. If you want an adrenaline rush, this is a great game to play. No one ended up winning because it was nearly impossible to sneak up on the flag, but a guy from our team was able to free half of our team from jail. I'll post some pictures from this soon. :)

This morning I had a reality check moment. We leave in 20 days. That's so soon! Our leaders were able to find really good flights and so they booked them this week, praise God! We will be flying out from Geneva to Vienna to Bangkok to Cambodia. I don't know what to think sometimes, a part of me knows it won't seem real until I am actually there in Cambodia. We have been having more team meetings lately and they make me so excited for what's to come. The dynamics in the group are so good and it just feels really right. God knows what He's doing ;). We will be doing ministry in Phenom Penh, Battombang, and some of the provinces as well. Our visas only last for 30 days so we will have to leave Cambodia and stay in Thailand for a few days while they are renewed.

Prayer requests:

Unity among the team, vulnerabilty and love for one another
Wisdom and discernment for our leaders, Ruth and Daniel
Protection for the team
Health
To accomplish all that He has for us to do
Have God's heart for the people
To believe and trust in Him

The DTS as a whole still have people who are in need of finances for outreach we are believing God will provide for them. In total we have a need of almost 11,000 dollars. This may seem huge to you but to God it's not! Being here I have heard so many amazing stories of how God has provided for people, of how faithful He is.

"Therefore I tell you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" Matthew 6:25-27

Your prayers in this area are much appreciated! This is when faith in God becomes real, He really is our provider. Our needs give Him a chance to show us just how much this is true, just how much He loves and values us!

This week we learned about the Father's heart and just how much He loves us. We hear it so often, Jesus loves you, and we forget the power and truth behind those words. He really does. In such a vast and intimate way... and He reveals His love through His word, through creation, through the people around us, through those little moments that fill our hearts with joy.

His word says that, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."

He gives because He loves.

Another thing that changed my heart: our teacher spoke on how Jesus came to reveal the Father. How He only did what He saw the Father doing, He only spoke what He heard the Father speaking. Everything that Jesus is came from the Father. This truth is restoring my image of the Father.

He is who He says He is.

He does not change.

I love this scripture... "They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them..." Nehemiah 9:17

"This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him." 1 John 4:9

He came
"to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness."

If you don't see, know or understand His love for you ask Him to open your eyes. Growing in His love for you is a lifetime process. Those that are hungry to know Him and His love will know it!

"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied." Luke 6:21

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

I pray that He will create a hunger in you to know Him more. To walk in relationship with Him in your everyday. Be blessed today :)

Friday, August 22, 2008

Almost September?

Last week we went on a 400 K bike ride! We took the train to Romanshorn and then from there biked five days back to Switzerland. The first night we stayed on a farm and slept in the barn where the cows normally stay. It smelled a bit, natural? :) Then we had bread, cheese, and coffee for breakfast. The next night we stayed in a church basement and then woke up to a rainy day. We rode about 50 K and then realized we were extremely lost... we called out leader and told her where we were and she said, "You're where?" We were so far off the trail in some random city that she didn't even believe us. We ended up taking a train with our bikes to the place everyone was suppose to meet for lunch. Then from there we rode in the pouring rain to a Christian retreat center and ate amazing food!! After that we stayed at another YWAM base the next night and then in a church the last night. Our leaders surprised us on the last night and took us to a pool/spa. After five days of biking - wonderful!

This week we learned about missions and worldview. So interesting! We talked about the biblical views on education, government, etc. Gods ways are always so good!

Four weeks until we leave for Cambodia... September 19th. Our team met together on Monday and our leader wrote 10 ministry options on the board. We all prayed and felt drawn towards working with the orphans, those dealing with HIV/aids, and prison ministries. On our bike trip we met a woman at the other YWAM base who had lived in Cambodia for five and a half years. She gave us alot of practical information about their culture, history and background. It is really hard to grasp the reality that I am going there. It will be such an eye opening experience.

I wish I had more time to write about the things I am learning, there's so much! Thank you for your prayers - they are effective! I love you all :)













Tuesday, August 5, 2008

GUESS WHAT???

We found out our outreach teams about an hour ago...


I'm going to CAMBODIA!!!


It feels like a dream. It is so amazing to see how God hand picked the team! Everyone went to God and recieved His direction on where they were to go, Brazil or Cambodia, and it worked out perfectly! God is so good. Just a testimony of His goodness: we didn't know any details about the locations or leaders of the two countries when we prayed for direction and no one could talk to each other BUT - I ended up with my one-on-one (person on staff that you meet with individually, she's amazing!) and the other leader is a guy from California who tends to remind me of Andrew, haha. AND the girl that I have connected with the most and really had some sweet times with is on my team. I feel so blessed! The other two girls on my team have been really close also!


I see such a heart of compassion in the people on our team. We watched a documentary on Cambodia tonight and I was speechless. This missionary desire in my heart is becoming a reality. I am so filled with hope and faith for what God will do through our team. Wow, what an honor! I know that this won't be easy, but I am so open to God changing and stretching me... opening my eyes and giving me His heart for the people of Cambodia.

Thanks for all your comments and encouragements, they are so special to me! Please be praying for me and my team (Ruth, Daniel, Justin, Luke, David, Jana, Hannah, Stephanie, Bethany)

Blessings of peace and joy in your hearts :)

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Outreach, Love, Hike

First thing: Thursday we were lead into the classroom and welcomed onboard an airplane. Pretend of course. We all sat down in the chairs that were set up like an airplane and then they had us take a paper from off the bottom of our seats. Each paper had a letter on it and we all had to put them together and figure out where we were going. We finally figured it out after about five minutes and everyone was screaming. :) We had 24 hours to pray about it and then yesterday we all revealed our decision seperately to our leader. I am so excited!

Here's the letters for the two locations...
AAAABBCDDIILMNORS

Have fun guessing! :)

~.~.~


Last weekend we went on a hike and it was beautiful!
Here are some pictures mixed in with quotes from a book called
"Fruits of the Spirit"



"Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning... but let it be the hidden man of theheart, in which is not corruptible, even the adornment of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price." 1 Peter 3:3,4


Love is patient, kind, generous, humble, courteous, unselfish, good tempered, guileless and sincere.

God is Love.

We are called to become like Him!


"Be courteous; not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing"


"We are to be thermostats, not thermometers, affecting the environment, not just reflecting it."


"Real love that is the fruit of the spirit is the love Christ showed toward mankind."


"You may give without loving, but you cannot love without giving."



"How can we have joy, peace, long-suffering, or all the others without first being saturated thoroughly with the same love Christ knew? When we learn this love and express it, there is a beauty that comes to life we never knew before."



"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Regeneration and Sunday Beauty

View from Montreux looking across Lake Geneva

Beautiful Korean Dance



:)




Breakdancing
Looking into the Library through a hole in the door? :)
This one is for you Jessica :)
hahaha :)
Friend from Russia




Laying in a field of flowers, so peaceful!

Love you all :)