It’s hard to believe we will be in Cambodia for only one more week. We will go back to Thailand Sunday, May 27. Our two months here have been more bountiful than I ever hoped. We spent the last two months not only ministering to young children, university students, small adult groups, and even prisoners, but also discovering our own passions and stepping out in faith in ways we never thought possible. God makes all things possible. He has proven that to each of us in one way or another during the last five months.
And did you know God also plays baseball? That’s right. God plays baseball, and He throws one heck of a curveball! I was standing right at the plate, my eye on the ball, and I never saw it coming.
When I started DTS, I thought I wanted to be trained as a disciple in order to use media to reach the unreached. I had every intention of continuing on to the School of Frontier Media to learn how to make evangelistic films.
About the second week of training, however, God reminded me I am a writer, and He began to show me ways to hone those skills and reach out to people who need to hear more about Jesus. What a blessing! I have not only discovered how much I love to take a Scripture, research it, and write a message about it, but I also have discovered in Cambodia that I love to preach that message as well!
In addition to that, God has shown me my heart is working with youth, prisoners, and tribal nations – specifically Native Americans. I knew two and a half years ago when we took our youth group to the Navajo and Apache reservations in Arizona that I left a piece of my heart there, but God had to call me to Thailand to show me how big of a chunk I actually left behind.
God speaks in the most amazing – and sometimes comical – ways. Our first week of DTS, during a team-building exercise, our team had to put together a “puzzle” made of blown-up portions of a magazine cover. Once we had it all put together, the magazine cover read “Arizona.”
“Are you talking to me, God?” I asked, already knowing the answer. “But why on earth would you send us to Thailand only to call us back to the United States?”
During our third week of lectures, God sent a Thai woman to speak to us. You know what she spoke about? She spoke about the impression the United States has made on her country. I slinked in my chair the more she spoke.
As Americans, we often proudly presume the world is admiring us. And we are correct. People do admire us. They admire our freedom to marry who we want, dress like we want, live with whomever we want, talk like we want, spend money like we want, and pretty much do and say whatever we want.
Still proud to be an American? There’s more.
Many Thai people who haven’t bought into the temptations of the Great American Dream are afraid to shake Americans’ hands because they are scared of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. You can thank the world-renowned industry known as Hollywood for that.
There is an epidemic in Thailand known as the “lady boy” community. These are young men who have admired America’s transvestite community from afar and have decided to bring it home and make it real. Lady boys are often confused, scared, abused, abandoned boys who are so desperate to be loved that they will change their whole being. Hey, Americans do it, why shouldn’t they?
This woman did not talk about the needs of the Native Americans, but she did implore us (the four Americans in the room) to go back to America and make changes. Change often starts right at home by simply loving your neighbors.
“OK, God, was that you again?”
During our fifth week of lectures, an American who has spent the past 37 years in Bangkok spent a week talking to us about the Holy Spirit, human trafficking, and compassion. He also spoke about the needs of the Navajo Indians in Arizona.
“God, seriously, I’m in Thailand. Can you talk about the needs of Southeast Asia?”
Week nine rolled around, and guess what our speaker talked about? That’s right, we heard about the Navajos in Arizona.
“OK! OK! I hear you!”
When we arrived in Cambodia, a pastor spoke at a graduation ceremony for another DTS team. Do I need to tell you what he spoke about?
After his sermon, I asked him where he went on the Navajo reservation.
“Oh, that was 20 years ago,” he said. “I’m not even sure why I talked about that.”
I told him exactly why he spoke about it.
“I think it’s probably a good idea for you to go minister to the Navajos,” he said.
So, I swung at the curve ball God threw at me … and finally connected. My heart is on the reservation. After graduation, I will apply to join the Flagstaff YWAM base, which ministers to the Hopi and Navajo Indian tribes, as a full-time missionary. The base is called Tribal Winds. Staff members there provide youth ministries as well as prison ministries. More information is available at www.tribalwinds.org.
Before I apply, however, we will finish our time here and take the opportunity to participate in a couple other outreaches during July and August.
Our DTS will finish June 17, and we will stay in Thailand for another month to help finalize details for the upcoming School of Frontier Media. I have volunteered to cook for the first three weeks of the SFM and serve as a helper to the base director until July 19. Then we will travel to England, where I have registered the girls for a youth outreach that will take place in cities around London during the summer Olympics. We will not attend the Olympics, but we will be part of a nationwide ministry that will reach out to people who are visiting England for the games, and also to serve communities as they host all these travelers. You can read more about it at www.ywamengland.com/justgo.
YWAM has a long tradition of sending out thousands of missionaries, both youth and adult, to minister during each Olympic games. The outreach we will join is geared toward youth and serves kind of like a “mini DTS” for children and young adults up to the age of 21. We will join one of dozens of teams, and I will serve as a supervisor and also participate in the same mission work as the girls. The outreach takes place from July 22 to Aug. 5.
After that, we’ll return to the U.S., and hopefully, all my paperwork for the Flagstaff base will be in order and approved, and we can begin our “new lives” as full-time missionaries.
Thank you all for your prayers during our time in Thailand and Cambodia. We hope to get back to Oklahoma – maybe before Christmas – for a week or two to visit all our supporting churches and give a full report of our time here.
Until we see you again, however, bless you. We will keep the e-mails coming wherever we are, and of course, the blog is always open at www.jugglingfire.wordpress.com. We love you all very much!
Korina, Jaynee, Justine