2011 Recap


Southeast Asia Team
 Back starting on left: Nelson, Rachel, Me, Anna
and front starting on left: Sara and Noelle
Someone asked me about my year. A seemingly simple question, right? Well answering this took a little time. While recapping? I wanted to share about where I have been this year and what I have been doing. I also wanted to share where I am headed (keep scrolling this one is at the end–hint it is back to Turkey!).  I hope you enjoy!

Thank you for journeying WITH me. I could NOT do this without each and every one of you. 

Me trying to back before I left Nashville!! I wasn’t sure what to bring.
My journey began last year in February of 2010 when I left to do a Discipleship Training School in Oxford, New Zealand with Youth with A Mission (YWAM). With God and with journeys they always begin before the actual event and this was no exception. Prior to leaving the USA, God showed up in a BIG way and facilitate d me leaving. God divinely placed people in my life to mentor and pray with me through the preparation process  (and the entire year!), others were sent to rent my house, and another  person came  into my life to step into the job I was leaving. I know that me leaving to follow God was nothing short of a miracle.
Oxford, New Zealand– incredibly beautiful country!

The backpack I carried around the world was ALWAYS FULL!

Attending Discipleship Training school (DTS) in New Zealand allowed me to know God in a deeper way and directly from knowing God? I also got to know myself.  One of YWAM’s foundational values is to Know God and make Him Known. After finishing the lecture component of training I went with a team of 5 to serve God throughout Southeast Asia. Our journey had a huge justice focus.
While in Thailand our ministry allowed us to reach out to prostitutes in bars. We would order a soda or juice and tell the girls that we were there to see them, tell them they are loved, tell them about God.  We also invited them to the  FREE English classes we taught. In those classes we got to encourage these women and LOVE them.
Walking down streets in Thailand.
Justice was also the focus as we bussed from Thailand to Cambodia taking transportation the way local people would travel. There we prayed and encouraged women and men who had been in the sex industry. The organization we were coming alongside was providing hope through the vehicle of training. The organization catered to women AND men who had worked—by choice or coercion in the sex industry. There were three different tracts to learn in: sewing, salon work, OR café  training. This NEW training afforded women new job opportunities. Jesus was woven into this program through corporate worship times and the healthcare that was provided through the organization.
Near the river in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Me at Siem Reap Temples, Cambodia

Announcing an announcement! Parked on the streets in rural village. 


Rice fields in Southeast Asia.
Little girl in India washing dishes near where I was living.
India was the next stop. India was more different than the previous three countries which due to geographic proximity had more similarities in their cultures.  While in India we had more exposure to different types of ministry: we tutored children, lead bible studies, encouraged local YWAM leaders, visited girls’ schools, performed dramas, and helped with medical visits to nearby villages. In each country I fell in love with the people and struggled with leaving!  
India– the taxi’s made me think of “Roger Rabbit”
Little boys playing during a rural village medical treatment in India.

After serving in these countries our entire school (of 25) met together in Israel. We visited holy sites, and werecommissioned on the Mt. of Olives during our graduation.
Dome of the Rock and Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, Israel 
After the discipleship Training  school, God brought another opportunity before me: to attend a Strategic School of Missions (SOSM) with YWAM in Turkey. This was an opportunity to learn more about God and Missions and ON the field! After much prayer I felt like God was saying, “yes.” From September until December I was attending school in Turkey learning principles from highly respected missionaries with years of experiencing who were living  in different countries in the field.  
I am on the far left– this is the SOSM photo of all students and staff! An amazing group of people!

This contraption heats up a sweet milk drink. Istanbul, Turkey.
Turkish Church
My Turkish pottery friend at work in his studio.
Reconstructed ruins of the library located in Ephesus, Turkey.
i had the privilege of hearing From Believers with Muslim Backgrounds sharing their coming to faith stories and what helped/hurt them while they were being discipled. people with business expertise shared with us about running Businesses as Mission programs.  Someone with experience  pioneering new works  shared valuable principles with us to apply to new situations. While others  Taught about community development, mobilization, worship—I’ve learned principles that I can apply to any and all situations I experience for the rest of my life! While attending this school I learned so much about contextualization, and how to communicate love and respect in ways that other cultures will understand. 

Turkish artwork for sale in local shop.


So what is next? The second component of this school is an internship, and I will be  returning to Turkey in February of 2012 to serve. My team consists of two other women: a Kiwi (from New Zealand) and a Canadian. We will be engaging in language study, forming relationships with Turks, and being mentored by a long term mission team focusing on Church Planting who is already living there.
I am standing on three foundational scriptures that are fueling me. Fulfilling the Great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…And the second is like it: ‘Love your negihbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37,38); Walking out the Great Commission: Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.”  (Matthew 28:18,19). and the goal: After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb (Revelation 7:9). 
The vision is to share the Gospel in a way that is contextually Relevant. I want to help grow and encourage indigenous Believers to find and develop what it means to be a local Believer–NOT importing a western version of Church that they need to conform to. Justice is an issue close to my heart. In the city where I will be there is trafficking/prostitution that happens. (Actually, I believe that it happens in all places, including our back yard).  I would LOVE to do artwork with these women. I have a background in art and hope to share both God and art with these women. I am praying God would open doors and relationships to help make this happen here.  While in Thailand, I discovered that I enjoy teaching English and would love to connect with an English club.  I have a lot of ideas, and trust God to open opportunities as I meet local people and engage with workers that are already there. I have prayerfully made a commitment to be in Turkey for the next six months and am EXCITED to see what God will do, and experience what God has invited me to be a part of. 

Our team serving in Turkey– Elysa, myself, and Amy

Sharing is Caring 😀