Friday, January 29, 2010

5-month thoughts . . .

January. Wow- it's been a really full month, and I have a lot on my heart to process. I have now been in Laos for a whopping FIVE MONTHS :) It's definitely been an interesting transition process with many ups and downs, and I've been humbled again and again at my inability to do live and work apart from the Father. He has been so incredibly faithful through every detail of life.

During this month, a senior university student from Washington named Emily interned for about 3 weeks here with CAMA. While I don't have much to offer as far as a guest room in my house, there is an extra room (used for some storage) with a mattress on the floor- so it worked out for her to stay with me for about half of her time here, and she stayed with a Lao family for the other half. We borrowed some sheets and towels and voila :) In some ways, I felt inadequate to show her around- as I still feel "new" myself. In other ways, it was encouraging to realize the process I've made in learning the roads, places to eat, the culture and language, and just "doing life" here. I'm excited to see how He leads Emily in the future- very gifted lady who is celebrating a birthday today- SUK SAN VAN KUD Emily!

It was very encouraging to have Emily here- as I had a new friend to "do life with." Many times I can get discouraged by coming home to an empty house, eating dinner alone, going to fellowship alone, etc. In those times I often think to myself, "It would be so nice to have a husband"... which it would :) However, the Father really spoke to my heart recently about this. He is calling me to draw closer to Him, and draw closer to others. He reminded me of our family verse- Is. 41:10... and of His own journey on earth which must've been so lonely at times away from His heavenly home and Father. Yesterday I read in Lk. 6:12-16 and was struck again by his example- of drawing close to the Father and to others. And when I get the urge to have a pity party, I need to think about whom I might be able to encourage or invite over... and also have been using the lonely times as an opportunity to ask the Father for a heart Lao friend. Will you ask for this with me?

Of course, I also would love for you to ask for a husband, too. However, as my Lao teacher told me, it would be strange in Lao to "ask for a husband"... instead, when you pr. in Lao, the literal translation that would be appropriate is to "ask for a blessed match"... basically a pair that is approved and ordained by the Father. I love that! I don't just want to be married- but want to be with someone who He has planned- that together we can be more effective for Him. Will you ask that for me too?

Some people that I have been blessed to draw close to when I feel alone have been my Lao family. I wanted Emily to meet these special friends while she was here, so I took her with me to visit one night. Usually when I go, Kip (my 8 yr. old little sister) runs out to meet me before I can even turn off my motorbike or get my helmet off. However, she didn't run out. We went inside the house, and heard that she wasn't home yet- which was late- but I figured she was running an errand with her mom or older brother. A few minutes later, a man came to the door and spoke to Kip's uncle. Her uncle turned to us and calmly said there had been an accident, and then put on his shoes and left on his motorbike. Their family lives on a main street, so I figured there was an accident nearby and people had come to their home for help.

Things got a bit more complicated- when my Lao mom came in and said there were foreigners outside and asked if I could talk to them. I went out, and there were three men from Turkey- all of whom spoke English and one who spoke amazing Lao. They explained to me that a young boy had been driving quite fast and ran into the back of their car at a stop light. His leg was hurt, but his little sister was OK. I was shocked- as Emily and I began to piece everything together- that it was my host brother and sister who were in the accident.

Maybe I should've pieced this together earlier, but from such a lack a emotion from Kip's uncle or my Lao mom, I just didn't think the accident happened with anyone in the family. Back to Lao Cultural Basics 101- Lao people are experts at concealing their emotion! When Kip walked in the door, I ran to meet her and just hug her, ask if she was ok, if she was hurt, etc... showing more emotion that anyone all night probably. I realized in that moment how much I really love her. My mind was racing thinking about how differently that night could've played out, and I was beyond grateful. Yet I also pondered the fact that if things had tragically turned out worse that night, the Father would still be sovereign, in control, loving, and good. I cried out for the people in Haiti who have experienced major tragedy upon tragedy.

Kop returned home with his leg in a cast, but miraculously had no other problems. Neither were wearing helmets :( I'm sure once we left, there were some stronger emotions in the home, but it blew me away to see the composure of an 8-year-old who was in a motorbike accident... the only sign of emotion were her big eyes and somewhat reserved and still nature rather than her normal spunky self. Emily suggested we play a game of UNO to take her mind off things- and I'm glad she did- I totally forget we brought the game with us! PTL for His protection and ask for continued safety on the roads.

On another note, I went to a wedding reception on Friday night. I took my Lao mom on the back of my motorbike- and it was a really encouraging evening. I felt that I didn't have to depend on other foreigners for lack of knowing people, or lack of language. Conversations seemed to flow, and I felt elated to understand maybe 70% of what was being said around me! Maybe that's a high estimate, but that's how I felt :) And the past two Sundays at fellowship, I felt I could truly worship with a few of the songs in Lao, and even listened and took notes on the teaching (without the use of translation headphones)!!!! After hours of study and hours of sitting through teaching and conversations with VERY little understanding (which is very exhausting)- these are HUGE breakthroughs. THANK YOU for continuing to uplift language study.

The feeling of being new and not knowing people and always having initial conversations gets old for me at times, and Friday night I didn't feel so "new." There were multiple people to greet and catch up with a bit. Ahhh... relationships are starting to go deeper! It's an exciting time. There will be another wedding next weekend for my Lao teacher Kham (pictured in a previous post), and I already have plans to meet with some gals to do hair and make-up before the wedding... so I won't go alone :) Would you continue to ask for divine appointments and relationships with followers and non alike?

I was talking with my friend and teammate Lindsey today about how grateful I am for all of you back home. I know I couldn't be here without your thoughts and encouragement. He so faithfully uses you in big ways in His work here and in my life. Thank you for journeying with me!


em said...

i'm asking all these things for you! thanks for sharing so much and so honestly; i can just see you functioning in your own element after all that hard work-what joy to finally understand! congratulations and know you are in my conversations with the Father.

Anonymous said...

Great blog know we're remembering everything that you mentioned +
Interesting cultural details about the accident...that had to be very sobering. Where was the pic taken in front of the house...on your December trip?
love you sweet girl,

Anonymous said...

thinking of all you've mentioned... so glad you are living out a life of sacrificial love amongst those who need it.

angie said...

Thank your for your honesty and being so real about life. . . I appreicate it and remember all these things you have shared - especially this time with your mama and the retreat!
Angie B.