Sunday, August 11, 2013

Not now...

I’ve always considered myself to be a patient person…maybe I just haven’t been in situations where it was really difficult to be patient.  But here I am, after 6 weeks (that was supposed to be 3 ½) still in Akron waiting for something I have no control over, and realizing that my patience is running low.

In Theory:  Patience is a fruit of the Spirit—it is important for us to show patience to others as we reflect who God is.  I know that I am so underserving of the endless patience God has already shown me throughout my life as I fail again and again.  It is important for us to have patience with God.  His timing is perfect and when we get angry when He is not doing what we want…well, you can tell just by thinking about it, that’s a little backwards.  To have patience I have to trust that God is in control and knows exactly what He’s doing.

In Practice:  During the first week I was in the States I got poison ivy all over.  If you have ever had it, you know that it is miserable and takes a lot of patience in the intense itching, the sleepless nights, and just in taking so long for it to go away.  So that was my first challenge.  Then throughout the summer God continued to challenge me in having patience with my family, with living at Grandma’s, with having to go out somewhere with free Wi-Fi to use the internet, and with the delay with my visa.  These are all fine and life goes on, but I was surprised by the attitude that came out of me in certain situations—an attitude of pride and a sense of entitlement to things going my way. 

So what do I do?  My visa for China is having major complications, so it looks like I will be here for another month.  Of course, I am asking all the “why” questions and wondering whether I was supposed to go in the first place.  But I am still certain that this is what God is leading me to do—just not in the way that I thought it would happen.  In this situation especially, there is nothing I can physically do to work it out.  I have to choose to trust and rely on Him to take care of it—not only in my head, but in my heart and my attitude.  Then I thought if I’m here, I might get some sort of job to help pay for things and give me something to do.  Well, I slipped in the rain and ruined my knee so that will be impossible. 

I was reading back over my journal from the end of my time in Cambodia, and read how I prayed that God would prepare my heart to serve at a new school and to love my new students because I did not feel that it would be possible.  Maybe God is providing for this request through my extended time of rest and waiting.  The battle against my human nature and against my brain continues and my angry moments don’t go away, but I want to choose to trust, choose to let go and allow God to do what He is doing.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


Dear Friends,
Thank you so much for your patience with me and for supporting me and loving me over the past 2 years!  I am sitting here trying to figure out how to update you on what has happened in the past… 4 monhs?  Definitely not me getting better at blogging. J

Let’s work backwards.  Right now I am sitting in a coffee shop in Akron, Ohio.  I’ve been in the States for a month now staying with my grandparents, visiting friends, trying to get things sorted for the next part of life.  Some of you know I am now an aunt, and I got to meet my beautiful niece Saphira Grace since I’ve been here. J Before flying to the States I spent a week in Hungary with the rest of my family—it has been such a blessing to get to see them more than once this year!  And before that I was finishing up the school year at Hope in Phnom Penh.  Time continues, life is happening, but the last few months seem very incoherent.

I hope that most of you have already heard that I finished my job in Cambodia in June and am moving to teach at an international school in China.  I am now just waiting for my paperwork to be processed so I can get my visa and get there as close as possible to the start of the school year.  If you could join with me in praying for this process with timeliness and complications, that would be great! 
Here are some pictures from my last week in Cambodia.

 My beautiful 10SL pastoral group. I will miss them so much!
Our amazing tuk-tuk driver.

Working will never be the same without Youjin and James- love you guys!

My last music classes.

Time with the wonderful housemates.

I left my classroom more organized than it ever had been.  Part of trying to end well. J
Leaving my home for the past two years was not an easy decision, and though I know it was right, I still feel guilty about it and am working through some of that.  It broke my heart to leave my students and I have yet to fully understand the finality of the move.  Starting from nothing again in a new place seems a little crazy, but I truly love teaching these students and believe that this is what He is calling me to.  I also know that God will continue to provide and be the constant in my life.  I am finally starting to get excited for this new adventure in China and am looking forward to getting started and meeting my kids. J

Similar to my school in Cambodia, I will be paid enough to live on but need to raise some support for extra expenses.  If you would be interested in supporting me financially either with a one-time gift or monthly, please let me know.  I am serving with Oasis International Schools and my project number is 003759.  You can use this link to donate .  Thank you!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The start of the lasts

Dear Friends,

I apologize for not communicating with all of you lately.  This year has been a whirlwind full of wonderful things and difficult things, and when I try to explain in words what is happening, I find myself overwhelmed and unable to express the way I want to.  I think also, it has been a confusing year in some ways and if you know me well, it is hard for me to talk about something if I don’t have it figured out. J
I cannot believe how quickly the time has passed, and here I am at the beginning of May, thinking about how to end my time in Cambodia well.  It seems like a just got here! 
This week I had the privilege of being on an adult TCK panel where parents at the school were invited to ask questions about life as a TCK and how it has affected us.  I really enjoyed the evening—just getting to share experiences and trying to communicate to parents that even though there are tough things about it, they are not messing their kids up by living overseas. J I teared up a couple times as I always do when talking about the life of a TCK.  And every time I hear others’ stories, I am amazed by the unique lives, and the way that God works in us so personally.   Of course, one of the main topics of questioning was about transition.  Transition to the host culture, transition to the passport culture, transition to university after graduating… never-ending transitions it seems!  And that is the hardest part of this life.  It never gets simpler really to leave.  With the re-entering I have made some progress and found some things that work for me, but the leaving is gut-wrenching every time. 

So that is the phase that I am going into right now.  I have about 6 weeks left at school with my kids, with my friends and in this city.  Last night I had my last concert with the community choir that I have been a part of during my time here.  It was a good one!  And I know the next few weeks will be filled with “lasts”, so I am trying to prepare myself to be able to enjoy them and to end this phase of life well. 
I am still waiting for direction about where to be next year.  I have some exciting options, but would appreciate prayers for wisdom in this decision.  Thank you!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Time continues to fly.  Days are getting quickly filled up with rehearsals and school work.  It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas…actually not at all with the weather and all, so I have to keep reminding myself of the facts.  My Christmas concert is in 5 weeks, so yesterday we started working on props and costumes—a much simpler process than last year!  Last week we had auditions for our Spring Musical, Cinderella.  I am excited to get started on that! J Needless to say, we are making schedule after schedule and hoping that it all somehow fits together.  The life of a music teacher, eh?
These past couple of weeks I have started thinking about decisions that are coming up in my life once again, having to do with where I will be in the coming year or two.  The process always seems so complicated—in any decision.  And it’s so easy to get caught up in it—so easy to worry.  But I have to remember the way God has directed my decisions so far in my life.  And the fact that my worrying does no good at all, and that He will provide in the exact moment that I need it (whatever it is).  My perceived timing needs are so wrong sometimes…and sometimes He is just waiting for me to remember to ask.  A few months ago I was walking home from school.  I am pretty much exhausted by the time I leave school, so I was walking along, past all these people and thought “Why do You have me here among all these people that I will never get the chance to invest in or even just get to know?”  And as I turned the corner, I heard “Sister, sister!” and a group of 4 girls were trying to catch up to me.  So we talked as we walked the rest of the way home and it was great.  And things like that happen over and over again.  Why do I even think about it when I know better?  Sometimes it’s just habit I think—what a crazy habit!  So yes.  Take it as it comes, God's got it under control.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A few quick pictures

View out my bedroom window.  We live next a dump/recycling place.  The contrast is hard to wrap my head around sometimes.

Our kitchen area.  So thankful for the lovely space.

Entrance/living room area.

 Buddhist shrine right outside out door.

 Little fruit/vegetable stand right across the street.  They pop up everywhere.

My street.  We are very fortunate that it doesn't flood.

 People spend their days outside in the open for the most part.  Life is public.

Little bananas. The fruit is great!

Me in my moto-helmet.  I carry it around with me when I go out.

Just a few pictures to help visualize a bit.  :)
Come visit anytime!

Please pray for Cambodia this week, there is a tropical storm coming through and people in the provinces are worried about flooding.  Last year we had bad floods and many lost their houses, their ricefields and livelihoods.  They can't afford to have that happen again.

Reaction check-up

Life is going so fast.  And I think in my attempt to keep up with it and to be able to function, I haven’t found ways to communicate what is going on in my life right now.  Many times over the past few months, I’ve remembered and told myself that I should write a new post on my blog—but somehow, even when I have had the time, the thoughts haven’t been full…or I’ve struggled with what I want to say and put up on the internet. J

The past two weekends I even came up with topics for my blog.  Two weeks ago I was supposed to take pictures and talk about things that have become normal to me since living in Cambodia.  Last week I was going to write about how Asian Hungarian culture is.  Which both might happen soon!

But today something different.  I have been learning a lot about myself lately.  Life is not as smooth as I thought it was going to be, and as new situations come up, it’s interesting to notice my natural reaction.  For example, I’ve never had a problem with following rules, but I am finding now that boundaries that are put up that I don’t completely agree with are difficult and don’t bring out the best in me.  Also, realizing the influence I can have whether good or bad, simply by the way I walk through the door has to change the way that I react to the thousands of things that happen in a day. 

So this morning at church the sermon was on suffering, from 1 Peter.  It’s a topic that I have discussed in many one-on-one conversations, many Bible studies, I’ve lead classes on the issue…it’s not something I haven’t thought about.  But usually the conversations have to do with the presence of suffering rather than the reaction to suffering.  This morning one of the key phrases mentioned was “the presence of suffering does not necessarily mean you are in the wrong place or doing the wrong thing”.  Which is true when I think about it, it makes sense.  But I have never thought of it that clearly before.  Pain is not something I readily welcome into my life…not many people do—but I think my natural conclusion with pain is that there is something that needs to be changed…whether that is me, or the people around me.  The situation or my location.  But the presence of suffering does not mean we have to change something, it doesn’t always mean that I need to make adjustments to make the suffering stop.  Such a simple concept, but so complex at the same time.  The hardships, conflicts, frustrations that may be going on can be part of the life-process rather than a clue to turn the other direction.  For me this is an important thought right now as I react to everyday situations.  I hope this encourages you too.

More to come on life in Cambodia.  For sure. J

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A good week

The summer is almost halfway over!  It sounds like such a long time and then it goes so quickly. J For the first time in my life (as far as I can remember), I do not have something concrete to do with my time.  So I am taking things as they come up, taking some Khmer lessons, and doing some work for school. 
Last week—perfect timing because I was starting to get bored—I got to help lead a service trip with some of the high school students who are here this summer.  We went to an orphanage called Jumpah in one of the nearby provinces mainly to help with jobs needing to be done around the site.  It was my first time spending more than a day in rural Cambodia so it was a good experience for me to be sleeping on the floor, using squatty potties and bucket showers. J I was challenged again with thinking about the lifestyle I live and the way I use my resources.  Besides the manual labor we got to help with evening English classes, play volleyball and just spend time with the kids there.  I also got to teach a music class to a few of the students there, which was one of my favorite things.  I wasn’t sure where to start with them or what their musical abilities were so I asked if there was anything specific they wanted to learn, and one of the young men said “I want to learn anything that you know”.  J With the music and with English classes it was so encouraging to remember the joy of learning as we interacted with the kids.  It was also a joy to watch the students that came with us step out and love people and be challenged themselves.  At the end of the week we were dirty and sore but we got to serve and get to see more of God’s work and His people in Cambodia.  Here are a couple pictures from the week…