I’m riding the bus home from the YWAM Central Region Conference in Pattaya. To say I am a mess is an understatement. I came here knowing God would give me answers but not knowing the work he would do in me in two days. Sometimes my heart gets so full that the things inside of it don’t have anyplace to go except up my throat and out my eyes. So, I’ve cried – nay, wept –for things I didn’t even know existed much less lived inside of me. That’s scary and exciting that God saves such good things for such great moments.
I went into the conference knowing I wanted to pray for journalism’s place in missions. I came out knowing it will get done, and that God is pacing me, and propelling me, for something bigger than I feel prepared to handle.
I wrote to you not long ago about wanting to share journalism for missions through workshops and seminars, which is still very much alive and part of God’s plan. But since I wrote to you, I keep feeling this nudging, this urging, this (ok, let’s get real) PUSHING to do what I wanted to do from the start – a school, a full three-month school with an outreach in a location … right where we are.
During the conference, we prayed for each province in Southern Thailand. We prayed for ongoing ministries. Those already working in provinces stood on their locations on a giant map, and we lifted them up in prayer, because everyone grows weary and gets discouraged. We prayed for a harvest of workers and for God’s light to shine in the dark places.
Then we prayed for provinces with no ministries. We prayed for our province, Nakhon Pathom. And I stood on the map, alone on our province, which is how I often feel at home in our province – alone, unequipped, petrified of moving in the direction I’m called to go. I stood there in the center of this big map, tears streaming, heart pounding, hands open, and I heard our director say over a microphone, “You were called here for a reason.”
And that hurt.
It hurt because – here’s some brutal honesty for you – I don’t like our province. I don’t like living in Nakhon Pathom. I don’t like the loneliness that comes with it. I don’t like our neighbors. They are not nice to us, and I’ve given up trying to be get even one smile out of them. One old lady went into our gate and smeared a huge pile of dog poop on Justine’s bike tire not too long ago. That same lady, along with another one, has followed the girls down the street taunting them and teasing them because we are foreigners and don’t speak much Thai and don’t live the way they live. I feel like a monkey in a zoo every time I walk down the street. Noses turn up at my hellos. People stare but don’t smile. It’s unnerving, and yes, there are days I don’t just not like it, there are days I physically and emotionally hate it.
But I was challenged this weekend to love my neighbor as myself and to shine a light in the dark places of Nakhon Pathom because God knows it needs it – and He put me there for a reason. Some days I just want to say, seriously God? But He knows that, so we’re cool.
I often walk and listen to a song called “Wasteland” by the band needtobreathe. There’s a line that goes, “In this wasteland where I’m living there’s a crack in the door filled with light, and it’s all that I need to get by.”
Sometimes that line is the only thing that gets me successfully through another day. It propels me forward to do what I was called to do and to love who I was called to love and to teach what God has so gracefully, perfectly, beautifully and faithfully put on my heart and entrusted me to teach.
But I can’t do it alone, and I know I’m not expected to.
God has created a great picture, and he’s been giving me one piece at a time:
- I received a blessing from YWAM Circle 18 to join back under the umbrella of the global communications team.
- I’ve been corresponding with the dean of communications, whose first email response to me said, “Hi Korina, This makes me so happy! I have been praying for someone to resurrect this aspect of training in Journalism within the college and yes, of course I can help …” It’s a bit overwhelming to think that I am that person who a guy in Ireland, whom I’ve never met, has been praying for. That’s God for ya.
- I spoke with our YWAM Bangkok director about my fears and hopes, and he encouraged me and invited me to have a brainstorming session with other leaders to see how God would like this school to get started and where it should go.
- And I felt a definite confirmation that I will do a full three-month school in our province – possibly on our own street! – with an outreach that will generate stories to break hearts and break those heavy chains that bind beautiful humans who can smell freedom but can’t taste it.
And that’s when things got real and tears started streaming and a few other things all got bunched up down deep in my soul, and wow, I think my husband thought I’d gone a bit mad, but he’s really getting used to that. (I hope.)
So, now I really need you. I need you to listen. I need you to pray. I need you to come beside me and help me to do what you sent me here to do because I can’t do it without God’s people, and guess what, you are those people.
So, as my Grandma Mabel liked to say, I’m not going to pussyfoot around about it. Here’s what I need from you:
- I need you to pray for this school I need you to pray for a school of field journalism in missions like you’ve never prayed for anything before. This isn’t about learning to write news stories. This isn’t about designing a Web site to share those stories. These things will be taught, yes, but there is something greater here. There is a crack in the door filled with light. Pray to break that door wide open and flood this place with truth, justice and freedom, the very platform I will design this school upon.
- I need you to pray for a location, one God has handpicked just for journalism students in missions.
- I need you to pray for equipment and furnishings. It’s one thing to have a location, but when students come to study, they need computers to work on and beds to sleep on – and I don’t have any of that, nor do I have the finances to get it.
- I need you to pray for finances. I want to do this right. I want to do this well. I want to do what I’ve been called to do and make my students feel welcome when they arrive. I want to be able to continue. I don’t want to teach one school and call it good. I want this to be my work, and I feel it will be, one way or another.
Can you do this for me? Can you do this for freedom? For truth and justice in all nations? Can you call together your small groups and congregations? Can you get down on your knees beside your bed tonight? Can you lift this school up in prayer to the Most High? Can you intercede for Southeast Asians, who can’t stand on the sidewalk and express their frustrations, who are bought and sold into slavery for an hour’s wage, who can’t ask their governments for equality without getting arrested – or sometimes murdered? Can you help me pray this into being?
Because that’s what it’s going to take.
Thank you for standing with me, with the Greatest Most Beautiful Light that shines brightly for truth, justice and freedom, not just on my tiny little unfriendly street but in the hearts of all men and women, right where it belongs.
Much love and many blessings,