Saturday, February 21, 2009


While walking back from town this afternoon, Courtney and I were stopped by a small crowd of Thai kids (well, they looked young, but turned out to be in their 20s). They wanted to interview us to practice their English. So we sat down outside the grocery store, prepared to answer a long list of interesting questions. By the end of our interview, we were goofing around with them and having quite a lot of fun. They asked for our email addresses, told us they'd email us, and offered to drive us home on their motorbikes! I am so excited about this because I've been praying for girls our age to hang out with. I want to be a part of the community here - not just hang out with all of the foreigners. Plus, Courtney and I were just talking over lunch about how we wanted to make friends here! Thank you Lord! So pray that they e-mail us and that they'll want to come over for coffee!

This is also exciting because it's the same way I met my two best friends in North Africa. Sarah and Koutar stopped my friend and I and asked if they could interview us. And just about everyday after that we hung out with them! I'm really hoping this turns out the same!

Ok, I haven't posted anything in awhile and I'd like to blame it on the electricity and internet being out, but that was really only for the last 24 hours so it's a questionable excuse. I've been taking language lessons nearly every weeknight with Nima - an incredible woman who really needs to write an autobiography because she's got quite the story. So it's sometimes hard to study there, because I just want to know about her life. She's a great teacher and I feel like I'm learning a lot - but there is SO much to learn.

Tomorrow in a neighboring town there will be an eye surgery clinic. Some visiting eye doctors will be seeing patients that have some real serious eye problems and hopefully changing their lives through surgery. I will be helping out with that. Just administrative stuff, taking names, making sure the doctors have what they need, etc. Thankfully some people from the village we work in were able to make it across and will be having surgery this week.

One is a boy who is probably about 13 years old and seems to be completely blind. I'd never seen him before, but he heard about the clinic and came to the church this morning to be taken to the clinic. This kid is brave and clearly feels like this is his only hope. I don't think he knew anyone on my team but he got into the truck -not having any idea where (geographically speaking) we were going - and not knowing anyone, without a parent. He looked really scared but something in him looked hopeful, even excited. I mention him because I want to ask for prayer for him. I'll see him tomorrow at the clinic and maybe after that to keep you posted on how things turn out for him. He's so young. He has a whole life to live with or without vision. I pray that his eyes will be healed.

Monday, February 9, 2009

My New Home

Here are a couple pictures of my new home. The first is of my home, the second of the view from my front porch. I really want to include photos of the children, but for safety reasons I have to be very careful about what I post.

Oh, and here is a picture of my house gecko.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


So today...
It's real hot. Wow. Maybe the hottest day yet. We've been in our new home now for about 5 days.

My house is so cute. It's tiny -glorified dorm room really- but way above what I had expected. No kitchen, and a three-in-one bathroom...about the size of your coffee table. Still, my home is much above the average living conditions in my town- which I have really mixed feelings about (mostly negative, except the selfish ones that make me glad that I'm comfortable). It is on a hillside overlooking a banana plantation. I have two house lizards, one anole and one gecko. The gecko's tail looks like the Wicked Witch of the West's tights. It gives me the creeps...but it has cute little suction cup fingers and toes!

On Saturday and Sunday we went to the village that our team works in. It doesn't look like it at all but it's bigger than Central Lake - about 1,900 people live there. They have a really iffy water supply now but our team is working on a water supply project that should finish at the end of this month. It's really cool how the program is set up, Mercy Teams International (our organization) is basically loaning them the money to put it in, and they will slowly pay it back, giving them ownership over this huge project.

There is also a medical clinic, school, and children's home in this village that our team help run. This village is where I will be working. I'll be landscaping the school grounds with help from some of the older boys in the school. I'll be teaching them a little about agriculture through this landscape project. I'll also be teaching a few classes on agriculture.

My project is very overwhelming and intimidating. The area I'll be landscaping is a huge mound of dry, cracked clay, there isn't much extra water, and all the plants are foreign to me! But I was reading in Matthew this morning - the story of Jesus feeding the crowd of five thousand with just five fish and five loaves of bread - and I decided I might only have five-fish-worth of horticulture knowledge, but God will use that five-fish knowledge and multiply it enough to do the job, just as he multiplied the fish to feed the crowd. If I commit myself to Him and give Him my five-fish-knowledge, I know that something amazing will happen...and it probably will be nothing like what I expect, but way better!


We spent about 12 hours in Bangkok - collecting last minute things (coffee!), enjoying some pad thai, and taking a side trip to one of Thailand's biggest red light districts. In this one area, about the size of a city block there are over 4,000 prostitutes - keep in mind that the ones that were counted were the ones that could be seen. Many, many more women are kept in hiding, literally locked up in cages. And it's not just women, but also many young girls - as young as four years old.

Yes, some of these women have chosen to go into the business, but many have been sold into it at a young age (sometimes under false pretenses), and even stolen from their families and taken into these places. The majority of the women are unable to get out, they are indebted to their pimp and unable to repay their debt.

So obviously, even after all of the stories I've heard from friends who have been there, books I've read, and photos I've seen - this was really eye opening. We went in to pray for the area and simply to educate ourselves - to help make sex slavery real to us. Not just stories we read or photos we see, but real. The best part of the night was that we ended up staying with a Jesus-loving family who's whole life is devoted to giving these women an alternative. Giving them somewhere to go if they choose to (and are able to) leave. Teaching them practical skills and helping them get to a place where they can live on their own. But this is just a start...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

We're flying out to Bangkok this morning! We will arrive to our new home tomorrow night, after a seven hour bus ride. Hope you all are well and I'll post another message as soon as I have the internet!