First of all, I want to start off by saying thank you to everyone who made our trip to Mongolia possible. The prayers, the donations, and even just those who read our story and who keep up with us. Every little thing means so much, and to know that people are interested in what we are doing and are interested in helping us fulfill God’s plan for us means more than words can ever explain. So, a huge thank you to everyone.
Thursday, April 5, 2018. 2:45 in the morning.
My friends and I woke up after only 2 hours of sleep and began our trip together. It was amazing to see how awake we all were because of the excitement that we were going to another country! Our flights went well with just a small delay and we landed in Mongolia somewhere between 8:30-10 at night.
The next ten days were eventful and filled with so much joy. We met, played with, and taught the kids at the kindergarten that we were helping with. We finished multiple outside projects, including our main one.
We met and got to make friends with the youth group.
We went to a viewpoint on top of a mountain and sat and prayed for the city and experienced a church community that was completely different to what we were used to.
We explored the country side and Mongolian culture. We rode camels and held eagles and vultures. We went to the Chinggis Khan horseman statue.
We tried a lot of different foods. We got sick and we had hard times. We shared one shower with an entire building. We experienced snow and cold weather for the first time in a while. We stood outside in Thailand suitable clothes for thirty minutes, waiting for the bus and singing songs. And most of all, we made new and grew in friendships. We made memories that can never be replaced or explained and that will always be in our hearts.
But also while we were there, I was able to see God work through all of us.
Before heading to Mongolia, I was completely content with how my life was going. I thought that I knew kind of how my life would pan out over the next few years.
Like most teenagers, I had been struggling with my future for a while. I didn’t know what career choice I would follow, I didn’t know where I wanted to live, where I wanted to study, where I wanted to end up, and I was stressing over it a lot. I talked to God everyday, looked for signs of what he wanted for me, and I talked to the people who lead me in my walk with him. I didn’t hear anything for nearly a year.
Then, in January of this year, I began feeling a new certainty about my life. I was certain that I would be in Thailand at least until I finished college. I knew the language, I knew the people, I knew the country, I knew the ministries, I had a good church, I knew good universities, and so forth. I started looking into it more, researching universities and different majors, talked to my friends, and I talked to God. I was sure that the new certainty was a sign from God. I knew that I was still being called to do his work, I just didn’t know where and when, and I was okay with that. I figured he would use me in Thailand until I finished college and then I would go from there.
So I left to Mongolia with all of this in mind and two days later when we went up to the mountain, I just felt this overwhelming peace wash over me. I looked over the city and my mind was clear from all previous thoughts. I heard God say that he has different plans for my life that I don’t yet know. And even though I have never been as clueless as to what that is, I’ve never been as certain as I am right now that he has a plan for me. And while I still love Thailand, I know that what I thought before was wrong, and that I won’t be here long term, but for now, I’m happy living here until I’m called elsewhere.
But, one thing I realized this trip- or rather remembered- is that one of my favorite things about being able to travel to new places is meeting the people and finding a connection. Especially meeting people your age and seeing how even though you come from two completely different places, you’re still very similar in interests and humor. Knowing people from all around the globe is worth the heartache of having to say goodbye every time.
And the truth is that, saying goodbye is always hard, whether it’s with children, peers, adults, or a whole country. You never know what you’ll end up feeling towards certain things. We said goodbye 3 separate times to 3 completely different parties- the kids, the youth, and the country- and each time I couldn’t keep the tears away. Each time I felt a tug at my heart that I had never felt before, and even just writing about it is hard for me, and we were only there for 10 days. But for the past year, thinking about leaving Thailand has been hard, but not once sad or tear inducing as it had been two or three years ago, and I’ve been here for 6 years.
I left Thailand feeling content with my life, and I came back feeling more uncertain than ever before. I knew that I would like Mongolia but I had never imagined that I would ever have fallen in love with the people, the culture, and the country as a whole. I didn’t even know that it was possible to feel so emotionally connected to a country, especially at my age. I had loved countries before, but never like this, and I knew that my mom had talked about feeling the same way about Cambodia, but I never truly understood how she felt until now.
God has used this trip to lead my life in a way that I never imagined. He has opened my eyes to things I’ve never considered and I’m excited to see what is yet to come. And for the first time in a while, I’m not scared of the future, even though I have no idea what’s coming.
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