Note: I was meaning to make this a “one week left before I leave” post, but honestly, I have been lazy, and also have been putting it off.
There is a song that has been so relevant to what I am going through called The Voyage by Amanda Cook. Everything in the song describes the experiences I have been having, and all of the emotional mess that has come along with preparing to leave.
Speak, even if you’re voice starts trembling
Please, you’ve been quiet for so long
Believe, it’ll be worth the risk you’re taking
There is a lot that comes with leaving home. More than I had so naively thought the first time I left and wanted to stay. More than when I had come back and thought that going for over a year was a fair amount of time to be away. When in reality the whole process of getting accepted into the school took at what seemed like forever. And what seemed like would never happen, but as it says in Romans 4:17 “[call] into being things that were not” which sounded like ‘when I get accepted’, and ‘ when I go to Thailand’ instead of ‘if I get accepted’ and ‘if I got to Thailand’. It seemed as if it were taking forever to hear back. At this time my voice was not trembling, it was firm and sure and confident. I was not quiet, I was as loud as I could be. I was going to Thailand no matter what anyone said. Whether they believed that it was a waste of money since I have to pay for it, and got people to donate to my trip, or if they thought it was too dangerous since Thailand is the #1 country in the world for human trafficking, I was going whether you liked it or not. My voice since has gotten quieter. Since the reality that, according to the whole world and a whole lot of my friends I was going halfway across the world because “the invisible man in the sky told me to.” I was leaving everything and everyone behind because I heard that I was called to do work over in Thailand that, somewhere, sometime in my life will bring an end to human trafficking. Walking in faith is a whole lot different than saying “yah, I am going over to Thailand. I got so many encouraging words about going over to Thailand, so I am walking in faith and going after what God has called me to do!” I would actually say that I was not walking in faith at that time, but walking is an action, and there are many aspects that come along with walking. All of saying “I will” and “when” was walking. Everything from even just choosing to apply, and trust was walking. Everything with saying goodbyes to so many friends, seeing them off into what God has for them, and all that their future holds in Mexico, Portland, California, Ireland, Biarritz, and so many more adventures along the way, it had come around to my turn. They had their journey before their adventure, and now I am experiencing my own journey before my adventure.
I have been quiet about saying that I am not ready to leave; emotionally ready. God knew that I needed the extra month that came along with choosing to still go early this year and take online training instead of in class which I could have in September this year. I feel like it is almost bad? to say anything about me not being ready, even though I am, but feel like I am being torn apart. The extra month gave me time with friends and family, but time to grow so much closer to everyone. Which is the worst but the best because having friends that make saying goodbye even for a day, or a week hard, and saying hello as if it has been weeks since I have seen them. I do not know any more, but I know that when I leave I will be on a high. Of excitement and the never ending emotions that go from one extreme to another.
There is plenty of risk involved in leaving. All including safety in the country, which is not as bad as everyone thinks it to be considering every country has its own conditions that make it ‘unsafe’, but also friendships, whatever they look like while I am gone and when I come back. The risk of everything that could be in my future that could have been had I chosen something else for my life. Whatever these 5 months could hold if I chose to stay. The first time I left I knew it would be life changing. I was told that before I had even left that it would be life changing. But all the years I had wanted to go on a missions trip I was expecting ‘life changing’ to show up in a character way. That I would never be the same and come home totally changed. I came home exactly the same. I did not feel like there was some life shift and character shift, a soul shift even! I felt the same as I had left, but angry because I had to come home. But I risked coming home to deepen friendships, meet people I would have never met if I didn’t come back, or even not even come back, but everything in my life has led up to this moment. This decision I have made to go out into the unknown. When I was applying to go to Thailand I was always saying that I didn’t want to be comfortable. I did not want to go into anything ‘knowing.’And I am now feeling the weight of everything I am risking to go.
It will be worth it. And all that goes further than worth it.
You’re afraid, but you can hear adventure calling
There’s a rush of adrenaline to your bones
What you make of this moment changes everything
I wish I could honestly say that there is no feeling of fear, and that it is all excitement. Because in all honesty there is more fear than I care to admit. I am travelling halfway around the world all on my own, going through airports all on my own, living in a country, not all on my own, but apart from everything I have ever known. I am excited for the new experiences, the new people I will meet and encounter, and the places I will go. Above all the fear that comes in small and massive waves, I can hear adventure calling, that sounds more like God calling, but none the less. I was so excited after the first trip to come back, and leave immediately to go back to the place that I wanted so desperately to call home. To go and jump and dive straight into what God has for me and for everyone I encounter to encounter Him! There was so much adrenaline for a good 2 months that the idea of leaving, being as nearly as impossible as it is now, seemed so easy and as if it would not even bother me. That I actually would not care about leaving everyone behind. But thats not how it works. When people care for you as much as you care for them it is not at all easy to leave. The thought brings tears and joy and, really, it is just emotional parkour 🙂
The moment I sent in the application for ISM (Impact School of Missions) everything changed. The moment I sent the email wanting to know more about Short Term Missions (STM) everything changed. The moment I made the decision to go to Thailand through STM and sent that email, everything changed. The moment I booked my flight to Thailand, everything changed. But far before then, the moment I said “yes” to God, everything changed.
What if the path you choose becomes a road
The ground you take becomes a home
The wind is high, but the pressure’s off
What if the path you choose becomes a road?
I could have easily said no. I could have walked away. I could have wanted nothing to do with missions. Nothing to do with anything at all. I cannot even imagine what my life would like now. I would not have the amazing friends that have become family. I would not have the opportunities I have had that have come along the way.
I chose this path. To leave everything behind, which sounds really dramatic for only going for 5 and a half months, but really, I am leaving everything to into a culture that I have barley even looked at. Have even experienced. If I were to describe my “experience” in Thailand I would say that it is like driving 100km/hr, passing a flower and only recognizing it as a flower because it was a purple blur and you could tell it apart from the green and brown blur of grass. If that makes sense. In the same way these 5 and a half months are going to be that blur in the rest of my life in terms of time, but they will be what marks the rest of my life and the ground I choose that could become my home.
Set your sights, sailing far beyond familiar
In the rising tide, you’ll find the rhythm of your heart
And lift your head, now the wind and waves don’t matter
When I first applied to go over to Thailand I remember telling friends that I didn’t want to go back ‘comfortable’ and I no longer wanted to live a comfortable life. Throwing myself into a culture that I had barely even dipped my toe into is something that rings ‘uncomfortable’ and ‘unfamiliar.’ However, when I was looking at places to go back, I went with Imagine Thailand because I had known them, so a little familiarity, but also wanted to go back to where we went the first time, and some comfort. I thought that it would make sense that if I were to go back to where we had gone before it would be OK since it is my first time leaving home and I did not want to be thrown into something completely unfamiliar. But, let it be known that is not my heart. During the Skype call for my interview with Imagine Thailand, I told them that I would be willing to serve anywhere they needed me! Which, I did mean it, but there was a place I already had in mind, Mae Sot. After narrowing down the choices to two places, because I like working with children, Takua Pa, was not my first option. I was also told that they would not need me down there. I got an email saying that I was ready to go to Mae Sot! But that all changed when I got an email asking if I was still open to serving anywhere, and that is how Takua Pa happened. I set my sails far beyond familiar. Far enough that where I am going there is one English speaker and I have chosen to take a month out of my time there to spend in Bangkok taking language classes.
I have been really patient in learning as I go. Usually I am the person who needs to know exactly what is going and know the details, but I am taking things day by day. Plans change regularly and it is something I have to be expecting to adjust and adapt to.
I have to be honest and say that it has successfully taken me well over a week to finish this post. I am also fairly sure that it had little direction, so my apologies, the next ones I will have more direction! And you can actually probably expect one tomorrow with some very good stories!
“…’Go in peace; your way in which you are going has the Lord’s approval.'” Judges 18:6
With much love and thanks,