Friday, February 26, 2010

God is at Work!

Do you ever have those weeks where you don't have even a moment to sit down and take a rest and just do nothing? I'm not saying that I haven't had any free times over the past...(woah) 5 months, but it has been very busy. I want to apologize because I was hoping to update this blog much more often.

Maybe I can just blame it on boys. They have a way of taking up all of your free time. And I have found a boy. His name is Kevin, and he is wonderful. He's the youth pastor at the church I attend, ECB (Evangelical Church of Bangkok). We have so many things in common including a passion for the lost and the same exact birthday (we'll both be turning 24 on the 20th of March). It's been really cool growing in the Lord together as we seek His will about the future and as we both serve in this lost country.

There's no way I can catch you up on all that's been happening the last 5 months of my life and I'm sure even if I could, you wouldn't want to read it because it would be long and boring. Thus, I will just give you some of the highlights.

Youth Group
I have been helping out with youth group at ECB. Contrary to popular beliefs, I did want to work with them before the time of "Kevin and me". It's been really cool to get connected to the church in this way, to make friends, and to encourage the youth to follow Jesus.

4th Grade
I only have a month left in this school year with my Grade 4 students. It's been awesome to see God work in the last couple of weeks. One of my students, Minnie, who I've seen questioning and struggling and pondering this year, finally told me that she believes in God! I'm not sure I've ever felt so much joy. She believes! And over the past couple weeks I've seen that belief become real to her! One morning after our morning prayer she raised her hand and said, "Miss Jill? While we were praying Mo was putting something on my face. I want to believe in Jesus, but how can I when people are distracting me?" She wants to do everything she can to grow more in the Lord, and it's awesome! She's very verbal about her belief and I'm just so excited to see what God will do because Minnie is very outspoken and she is well liked and I truly believe God will use her to bring many others to Christ. Minnie is not the only one I've seen the Holy Spirit working in. It's so cool because I know it isn't anything I've said or done, I know it's completely God's moving and for some reason He's allowed me to be part of the amazing things that are happening! Would you pray for two specific students in my class who are really questioning right now? Their names are Kelly and It.

The last 5 months
I went to Mai Sot (on the Burmese border) and the Chiang Mai in October.
In November Kevin and I started dating. =)
My parents visited me in December and we went to Southern Thailand beaches (beautiful) and to Vietnam.
January was full of what...I can't remember.
I'm glad February is over because it's been a stressful month trying to get a lot of things done for work.

Next Year
Well, when I came here I had no idea what was going to happen. I didn't know what the school was like, I knew little about Thailand, I didn't have any friends. Now almost 9 months later, God is calling me to come back for another year. I see God at work, not only in the school, but in Bangkok! I know he's moving and I want to be a part of it! I will be going home for April and May. I arrive home April 8 the day before my sister Cassie is scheduled for her c-section. I come back to Thailand the day after my friend Danielle's wedding on June 6th. I'm excited to be back next year! I'm trusting that God is going to do amazing things!

As I was reading in Nahum the other day, this verse caught my attention. It says, "Look, there on the mountains, the feet of one who brings good news, who proclaims peace. Celebrate your festivals, O Judah, and fulfill your vows. No more will the wicked invade you; they will be completely destroyed." I know this is speaking of Judah in the Old Testament, but how cool would it be if Bangkok would be completely changed by the Lord! I see God at work. Minnie is going to be a light for Christ! Her feet are going to "bring good news." Many others will be lights for Christ and as they proclaim peace. When that day comes that people believe there will be something to celebrate!

My love to all of you! Hopefully I'll get to see you when I'm home on break!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"Greater Things Have Yet to Come"

I hope everyone has heard the song "God of this City" written by Bluetree. It's a song that was written in Thailand, supposedly in the city I visited last weekend. Pattaya (the city I visited) is a city often compared to Sodom and Gomorra. Prostitutes fill every street corner, the night life is the main life, and while we were there we even found a bag full of needles floating in the ocean. Walking down the beach while I was there, I always had "God of this City" playing through my mind. This song that was written for this city seemed so fitting. He is God of that city! He is hope for the hopeless! He is light in the darkness. God has greater things for that city! As I sang, I so badly wanted to be part of what God was doing there! But what could I do? I don't know Thai. I live in Bangkok which isn't that close to Pattaya. How could God use me to help change Pattaya? Then I realized that what I am doing at GES is a small step in that direction! The students I am teaching will hopefully grow up to love God and will be able to, in their own language, make a difference in Pattaya.

God made this truth even more real to me when this week one of my students came to me after school and started asking me some really good, really hard questions. Kelly always asks lots of questions, but it's because she wants everything to make perfect sense in her head. She doesn't want to get any answers wrong, and because of this she is one of my best students. When she came to me after school she came with these same kinds of questions, but these ones were with a new sense of urgency.

"Miss Jill, how do we know God is real?"
"Miss Jill, can we believe in Buddha and in God?"
"Miss Jill, my mom and dad bow down to Buddha, but they still believe in God."
"Miss Jill, will my dad go to heaven if he believes in Buddha?"
"Miss Jill, I WANT to believe in God, but I just don't know what to do with what my family believes about Buddha."

The excitement that filled me as I did my best to answer all of her questions, was mixed with a bit of sadness knowing how hard it was going to be for this dear child to believe in the ONLY one who can save. It's not easy to believe in something, no matter how true you know it is, with no one backing you up at home. Kelly isn't the only one who asks these kinds of questions! There are so many students in my class who ask these kinds of questions every day. They want to believe! Please pray for all of them as I try to answer questions that come up. Pray that they will see that Jesus really is "THE way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him." Buddha isn't going to get them there. Pray that they will be bold enough to believe, despite what their families believe or think of them. It's going to be a hard road for these kids, but I have faith that God will bring them to himself and that they in turn will be part of the "greater things that have yet to come" in Thailand!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

How Blessed I Am!

Walking down the streets of Thailand used to seem like such a big deal. Lately I've been noticing myself forgetting where I am more often. Forgetting that I'm half way around the world from where I grew up and from what I really know. Then it will hit me. Why is everybody staring at me? Oh yeah, I'm the only white person on the street. It's in those moments that I remember how blessed I am to have found a place where I feel content so far away from home. God truly has blessed me. The amazement that I'm actually here and the desire to share Christ's love with the people here only grows stronger the longer I am here. Thank you God!

God knows us so much better than we know ourselves! He knows what we can live without and what we will be so much better off with. One of the ways God continues to reveal his provision is through the friendships he brings my way and the activities he gives me to do. The following pictures will show you a little glimpse of how blessed I am.

Brenna is one of my dear friends here. Since her birthday was on a Saturday, we had the chance to spoil her on her birthday. It was fun!

This was after a music night at the Baptist Church located on our school. It's so fun to be around all of my brothers and sisters in Christ even if they don't speak my language!

This is Kurt, the med. student we met who is traveling around Thailand for a month looking for clinics to do work in. (Yes, he is as strange as he appears in this picture *smile)

And now for some pictures of my class!

Measuring how much their plants had grown in science. These girls are GREAT!

Playing Fraction Bingo. I am continuing to love my kiddos! They are so much fun. I feel so blessed to have such a well-behaved class of students! Praise God for that so I can actually focus on the material I'm teaching them a bit!

Another co-worker and friend's birthday party. We got to enjoy some Swensen's! It was delicious!!!

Thai Barbeque is one of the best dining experiences (in my opinion) in Thailand. You get to cook as much as you can eat on the little bbq right at your table.

We had to get tested for syphilis to get our work permits, so here we are waiting to be tested. This was quite the unique experience!

I felt very confident using the bathroom here! hehe

I was supposed to get the baby I will be visiting from here on out, two weeks ago, but he has pneumonia, so this is my replacement baby. Hi name is Bon pun. He is so sweet! He loves it when I cup his face with my hands. It always makes him laugh and he also loves it when we play patty-cake. Every time he laughs, he seems to end up getting the hiccups, so I now lovingly refer to him as "hiccups". I'm really looking forward to getting Kitty-Phom, but I'll really miss my 'lil Hiccups!

At the market, this man asked for volunteers and I didn't really know what was going on, so I volunteered. What he ended up doing was taking Chris and my hands and spending 5 minutes or so trying to get them just perfect so he could dip them into wax and make a wax mold out of our hands. It was a very unique experience and the hands looked pretty cool when he was done! We didn't buy it though :)

Dinner with many of my co-workers and friends.

I hope as you look at these pictures you can get a little taste of what my life is like. It's great! I have so many fun and unique experiences. I'm so thankful that God has put so many things in my life to enjoy!

I would appreciate your prayers though! In my classroom I share truths from the Bible every day! It's exciting to see some of the students respond to this and to ask questions. I believe that all of my students have Buddhist parents. The fact that these kids are understanding and beginning to accept is huge and will probably impact a lot of parents as well! Pray that their hearts will really be open to the Holy Spirit's leading! Pray for the parents that I come in contact with and that I will be a shining light to them! Pray that I will not forget God's plan for having me here-to share Christ's love with EVERYONE. "He must become greater, I must become less." -John 3:30. Sometimes it's hard to do this when I'm trying to take care of myself and be content in my new home, but God is helping me to make it happen. Pray that I can focus on God first and then loving others and sharing with others will just flow from that.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Descriptions :)

You have all been most gracious blog readers! I've been realizing that I tend to write when I want to vent, and so my posts often contain very little description on what I am actually up to and tend to be more focussed on how I'm feeling. I would love to actually tell you though, what it is like over here in Thailand!

Let me start off with my neighborhood. I live in a suburb of Bangkok called Nonthaburi. Unlike the quaint, pretty suburbs that we in the states are used to, Nonthaburi is a sea of activity. All up and down the road where I live are shops and vendors. There is a steady stream of taxis, motorcycles, and buses that makes every attempt to cross the street a threat at your life. (It doesn't help that even after nearly a month being here I have a hard time remembering that cars are coming from the "wrong" direction). It is definitely more busy than I was expecting, but I can't complain too loudly because we teachers here at GES definitely take advantage of all the things near us. We go to the 7/11 at least once a day. We visit our favorite restaurant "Som Bots" every other day. And I like to make my weekly trek down to the "Big C" grocery store and least once a week! We use public transportation to get everywhere. Taxis, tuk tuks, motorcycle taxis, buses...I've ridden in them all and they all have their perks and disadvantages. So despite the fact that we breath in exhaust all day, we can't see the sky through all the buildings, and I've forgotten what nature looks like :) living smack dab in the middle of this city is not too bad.

Now to move on to my apartment. I live in an apartment with 3 other girls, that is way nicer than I expected. It has three stories and three bathrooms (one for each floor). The bottom floor has a nice kitchen and a wonderful living room. I have my room on the second floor, along with Bridget. 3rd floor belongs to Kira and Amanda. It's just the four of us living in this spacious abode (besides the geckos, ants, and cockroaches) and we seem to do pretty well with it that way!

My Class. I've only been with my students for less than 2 weeks now, but already I am so attached to them! I'm not sure there could be a more perfect combination of 20 kids. I have the quiet shy students and I have the loud students to balance them out. Every one seems to know that if they behave class will go well, but if they don't, there will be consequences. Their lower English level makes it difficult to teach at times, not knowing what they are understanding or what I need to keep going over, but I guess that is part of the job. Sometimes I feel like I'm more of the student than they are! I'm learning so much about teaching...I still have so much to learn!

Thai kids have the funniest names! I have a Minnie in my class who has a brother named Mickey. In another class there are siblings names Seven and Eight. It is the name of the boy who reminds me of that Abbott and Castello skit "Who's on First". When a fellow teacher had his leg rubbed by one of my students, I asked if he knew who the student was. He said he didn't know who it was. I asked the teacher, "Do you know who It is?" Frustrated the co-teacher replied, "No, I already told you, I don't know who it was!" Living in Thailand brings a whole new side of humor to that skit!

Well, there's so much to write! I think I could go on and on. Instead of just jabbering away though, I'll leave it up to you! Feel free to ask me questions! I'd love to answer them! Or ask me to write about something specific, and I'll do my best at that too!

I'd love to hear about how everyone is doing! I'd love to be praying for you as well! Feel free to email me at my gmail address :)

Thanks for reading! Love to you all!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Reality Hits

"One of these day's I'm gonna fly, over the mountains.  One of these days I'm gonna ride on a silver lining.  One of these days I'm gonna witness all that I've been of these days."

From sun-up to sun-down for the past week I've been working on getting my classroom set up and on lesson plans.  There's never enough time in the day or enough energy in my body to get everything that needs to be done, done.  Last night after spending the entire day setting up my classroom, I finally had to call it "good enough" and figure that God would take care of the rest and that my day would go fine.

3:00 am-Oh great!  I ate something that didn't agree with me.  After several trips to the bathroom and several prayers out to God that I would be well enough to make it to my first day of classes, I finally threw up (sorry if that grosses any of you out!) and felt oh so much better.  Good enough to get a few more hours of sleep and to feel rested enough to make it to my first day in my OWN classroom!

God is so gracious!  I had a lovely first day with my class!  All of my students are well behaved and seem like they are going to be so much fun.  I feel inadequate as a teacher sometimes, not sure what to do always, but my kids were just great the whole time!  :)

By the time 2:00 (the end of school) rolled around my legs and feet were aching, my head was cloudy, I was hot and sweaty.  Looking at the prep that needed to be done for the next day was overwhelming.  And it's in these weak times that we miss home the most.  I started thinking of all my friends and my family back home.  I was down-right homesick!  I miss you all!

A good nap helped to cure many of my problems!  Tasks didn't look so daunting.  My body felt rested and refreshed.  But I still missed home :)  I got what I needed to done and I feel ready for another day tomorrow!

This all may seem kind of random.  I'm not complaining (although I do covet your prayers).  I'm just realizing how amazing heaven is going to be!  I long for that day.  But I'm excited that it hasn't arrived yet, because I think that God has a group of 4th graders that he wants me to be a light to!  How exciting!!!

"For my power is made perfect in your weakness".  

Sunday, June 14, 2009

My life in Thailand


This waterfall is in the middle of a mall near us.  It's pretty sweet!

Kira and I decided we wanted to dive into the pool at the bottom of the waterfall!

Getting to the mall we decided to travel Thai Style: see how many people you can fit into the back of a pick-up truck.  It was fun to see all the looks we got from the Thai people as a bunch a forangs (white people) passed them on the streets.  Their faces would go from emotionless, to surprise then they would usually yell one of the English phrases they knew at us and wave.This man is making Roti.  We love to buy Roti from him, not only because he's adorable, but also because his Roti--flat bread, fried, and then drizzled with condensed milk and sugar, is like eating a little piece of heaven!  NO JOKE!!!  It's so amazing!

On our adventure to the mall we found a very comfortable massage chair.  If it hadn't been for one of the other teachers, Chris dragging me out of it, I may still be there. 
These are the four of us girls who live in our apartment together enjoying some bowling.  On the left is Bridget, then Amanda, then Kira, and then me!  They are all GREAT!!!

Oh how I do enjoy Kira!Well friends and family,  As you can see I have not been bored since I've been here!  God has blessed me with so many fun, friendly people!  He has already given me so many adventures!  I can't believe I've only been here two weeks.  I'm starting to pick up on some of the language, and feel more like I might be able to go do something small on my own.  In fact, today I went shopping at Big C and took a took took home by myself!

This upcoming week is pretty relaxed.  We don't start school until Thursday, so I have until then to finish lesson plans and to get my classroom set up.  There's so much to do still, but at least I've got some time to do it!  If I don't have time to write more before, please be praying for me on my first day of school!  It's kind of scary to be teaching my first day as a new teacher, at a new school, in a new country.  Pray that I will keep remembering that my reason for being here is to share Jesus with these kids!  Pray that God will open up their hearts to hear the truth!  I love and appreciate you all!  If there's anything I can pray for you about email me at   God Bless!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

In Your weakness I am strong!

I know this last week was just the beginning of these words of Jesus becoming so real in my life.  Throughout this week of lesson planning and setting up my classroom, the feeling of insignificance overwhelmed me many times.  "You're not smart enough."  "You're not quick enough."  "You're not experienced enough."  Were some of the lies I was fed this week, and sometimes I believed them.  And in truth, on my own, they may be true, but with Jesus on my side, my battle is already won.  I know I still have a lot of work ahead of me and that it is NOT going to be easy teaching this year, but I also know that with God ALL things are possible.  So I'm just going to keep trusting that God is going to be made strong in all my weaknesses!

posting pictures soon!