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One Final Post: The End of a Season

Since I've gotten home I have tried to put words to this past summer, but it has been an overwhelming task. I have realized that I will never be able to fully give justice to the experience through an email. Instead, I would like to share some of the things I have learned with you and rest in the fact that this experience will be carried with me for the rest of my life.

 

I know I have not shared very much about how my team spent our time the past two months, so I will give you a run-down of a normal day. From 8am-10am, we had individual quiet time with Jesus. This is a practice I want to continue in the years to come. He speaks so sweetly when we listen. Next, we had team time from 10-noon. Everyday the team would come together for check-ins and a Bible study on John and Proverbs. Around noon, we would each head out to find lunch within our budget…this was always quite the adventure. We became good friends with "The Chicken Lady" who sold fresh chicken strips for about fifteen cents! 

 

After lunch, ministry time started. To keep this email shorter than a Game of Thrones book, (which I started reading on the trip and love), I will just give you the link to the ministry where you can find more info on what ministry looked like. http://www.lighthouseinaction.org/ We got to experience every aspect of the Lighthouse in Action as well as head up a new college ministry and play with children in a nearby slum community.  The work of these ministries is focused on the prevention of human trafficking because the kids we met are prime recruits into the sex industry.

Going into the trip, I had no intention of ever having kids. I just didn't see the point and, honestly, I always saw kids as a nuisance and a distraction from being able to love the people of the Lord well. I didn't like kids and I had no intention of going to the slums. Thankfully, I gave it a shot, though. And goodness, the Lord broke my heart! I ended up falling in love with the slum children. I went to the slums every chance I could. It is so funny how we make our plans. On our last day of ministry, I realized something profound: I don't dislike kids as much as I thought I did…and even crazier…I LOVE kids. Saying goodbye to Ben and Loso and all the others brought tears to my eyes like nothing else did. My heart swells when I think of those beautiful children. For the first time, I think I felt a hint of what the Father feels for His children. I could not hold in the HUGE affection I felt for them. My heart ached when I could not be with them any longer. 

 

I learned so much about the love of God through being with those children. We do not have to say anything to Jesus. We do not have to speak His language or be perfect or give Him anything in return. LOVE is about RELATIONSHIP. I built a relationship with those children by just being with them. That is it. That is all it takes to be loved by someone and to love them back. The Lord used those children to shatter my expectations of what it means to be a Christian. My relationship with my Heavenly Father reached new intimacy through the love of young Thai boys and girls. It is so beautiful how He breaks down everything we think we know and just draws us into His perfect arms…to experience TRUE love. Thank you, Jesus, for not fixing me, but just showing me what "love" is!  

 

Any who, back to our schedule…Ministry ended at about 6pm, just in time for dinner at Zion Cafe. Every Friday, Zion held an open mic night. Thanks to these nights, I realized that I love dancing! For the first time, I let Jesus release me into the freedom that comes through dancing like a fool in the middle of a cafe with huge glass windows on a busy street in Thailand while people looked in and laughed. You should all try it sometime:) I think that is the freedom that the Bible talks about. I can't wait to explore this new affinity for dancing in the years to come. 

 

Goodness, there is so much more I can say, but for now, I will leave you with this: I fell in love with Jesus this summer. Seriously, IN LOVE with Jesus. I experienced what it means to be a daughter, to be a friend, to be loved, to love out of a place of overflow, and how to rest in the love of another. I am so excited to continue this journey in Austin in a few weeks. I pray that God will continue to give me more revelation of these things I have learned: what it means to be a better daughter to my earthly parents, a better sister to the best brother, a better friend, a better listener. I am learning to be free. To love. To live fully. 

 

Thank you all so much for supporting me in this journey. I will carry it with me to eternity. 

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