Thursday, July 22, 2010


Yesterday I was listening to a podcast about poverty, the developing world, and Christians' responsibilities in regards to it all. It is a series that I have been listening to for a while now, but I hadn't had an opportunity to listen for a while. So, yesterday, I busted through four episodes while I picked blueberries. Now, I feel like I need to go listen to them all again because they were that good!
There was one line in particular that really struck me in listening. In one of the episodes and gentleman who was being interviewed about his work in Mozambique said something in a way I had never considered before. He said, "Satan loves to overwhelm Christians into apathy."
I feel like that statement packs a powerful punch, and one that is true more often than I would like to think. As an individual who strives not to become overwhelmed by all of the needs in the world but rather focus on those that I can do something about no matter how small, I know that I sometimes DO get overwhelmed. I think about how big the world is and how small I am. I see pictures of people in lands I have never known suffering from ails I will never know, and I wonder whether there is really anything I could do to make a difference in their lives. I walk down the streets of lands that I know and see people in need and hope someone else helps them, justifying my behavior by focusing on my perceived lack rather than my actual abundance.
I often have people tell me how wonderful the work I am doing is and how admirable it is that I would give up my time and energy to work for no pay in order to be in Cambodia and reach the people there. While I understand why they say these things, I know that for me there is nowhere else I would rather be. And, for me and what God is asking me to do, I need to continually be examining myself. Am I being overwhelmed into apathy? Regardless of where you are or what you are doing, I think we all find ourselves there sometimes. But, I desperately want to be overwhelmed into action, not apathy. I want to know what is going on in the world, and I want to throw myself full force into making the world a better place. One step at a time. One life at a time. It is the only option I have, and it is what my King has required.
"So any person who knows what is right to do but does not do it, to him it is sin." James 4:17

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I will thank my God...

"i will thank my God every time I remember you
i will praise Him constantly for my brothers, my sisters, my family
my brothers, my sisters, my family"

I just wanted to put a post together to give a shout out to my super amazing family! I do not tell them often enough how much I love them and how thankful I am for their continual support. I am sure that they often think I am absolutely crazy, but they never fail to support me 110 percent to follow what God has put inside of me.
My parents are wonderful, and as much as I know that it does not thrill them for me to be living on the other side of the world, they are nothing but supportive. I am sure that when I was a shy little girl and they told me I could do anything I wanted, this was not what they had in mind. And, I am sure it has occasionally occurred to them that they had wished they had put a few more stipulations on "anything I wanted."
My sister and brother-in-law are a constant encouragement to me. It has been such a huge blessing to me to watch them over the last several years, to walk through difficult situations, to hunger for more of God. I am so excited for the journey they are currently walking through, and I can't wait for Caleb to come home. Caleb, you have some really great parents, and even though your aunt may not be around much, she loves you more than you know!!!!
My two favorite nieces inspire me every day. I am watching them grow (though not as closely as I might like) into beautiful young ladies who love Jesus and love other people. Riley is always seeking to give to others, and I love that! I pray you never lose that generous spirit, Riley. And, Caroline. She makes me smile! I love her determined spirit. There is no doing something halfway. That will serve you well in the future, Miss Caroline!
My brother and sister-in-law have blessed me more than they know. Their commitment to God and the work He has called them to do is exciting. They have certainly showed me what it means to bloom where you are planted without growing too comfortable by still remembering to dream and prepare for the future. Tyler is quite a little man! He's definitely a mover and a shaker, and Aunt Heather likes that, Tyler! It bodes well for the future God has for you. And, Aden, I love our cuddles and your smiles, and I can hardly wait to see what God is going to do with your future!

"i know your love has shaped me like water in a gorge
my Maker knew what i'd need and He gave me much more"
alathea, "my family"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

where is everyone?

I have been back on American soil for a couple weeks now. I have been enjoying seeing family and friends and sharing my love of Cambodia with anyone who cares to listen. Life in America is certainly different from life in Cambodia, but I haven't been terribly shocked by anything upon my return. There are some things that I don't like and are just strange or difficult or make my heart hurt. For example, I find it difficult to go into WalMart. The sheer number of choices is overwhelming to me. Honestly, all I need is toilet paper, but there is an entire aisle. I am bombarded with ply? two ply? three ply? quilted? charmin? cottonelle? double roll? 4-pack? 12-pack? AHHHHH! Ok, I am better now, but I just thought I would give you an example of the thoughts racing through my head.
One thing that I have experienced since being here that caught me a bit off guard was during one of my morning runs. (I ticked that one off the list the first morning I was home. I totally didn't care that I didn't get home until 3am. I got up and ran in the morning!) I was out running one morning around 7:30, and as I was running through town, I kept thinking how strange it was that no one was outside. I mean no one. I was out running for over an hour, and only a handful of cars passed me (I'm from a really small town, folks) and didn't see a single person outside in their yard. It wasn't super early. So, for nearly an hour I pondered where everyone was.
Then, it hit me.
I remembered. People don't spend their lives outside here. People do not get up in the morning have their breakfast and then sit on their front lawn enjoying the cool of the morning. People don't get their haircuts or buy eggs on the streets. People don't swing their children in hammocks to take naps on the front porch. Instead, people stay inside.
You see, in Cambodia everyone is always outside. Between 5 and 6 every morning, people emerge from their homes. They set up plastic chairs in front of their gate, bring their breakfast outside, hop on a bike to go down the street a block to get a haircut, drive their moto to the market to pick up some fresh meat for the day, and sit down to chat with all of the neighbors as if something exciting has happened in the 8 hours that they were sleeping.
The community and social environment in which the Khmer people live is beautiful. And, I love it! (Well, except for when the wedding music starts at 5:30am) I think it is amazing and encouraging how friendly Khmer people are, how everything is about community, how things are shared, how conversations are struck up between complete strangers while sitting at a corner restaurant or even a stoplight. I love how even those who are privileged enough to have a television practically move it as far as they can out of their house, so they can be nearer to the excitement on the street. I love that people and relationships take precedence over stuff and selfishness.
I had prepared myself to face a lot of things. I had anticipated the difficulty of choosing toilet paper and the huge shelves filled with cereal. I expected to miss the wind in my face when riding on the back of a motorbike. But, I had not considered how much I would miss buying a diet coke from neighbor's corner store or being asked by another neighbor's daughter what my name was every day while she rode her bike back and forth between our gates. I did not realize how normal it had become to see men getting their haircut on the street or the familiar red and yellow tent with pink and yellow ribbons indicating that a wedding would be taking place in the middle of the street that day.
It makes me wonder who really has things figured out...