It’s time. In just one week, I am planning to be home in Colorado and am looking forward to reconnecting with many of you! I fly out from Chiang Mai on the seventeenth, and am planning to be in Colorado Springs for about three weeks. From there, I am preparing to return to Bethany Global University, in Minnesota, for my final semester the first week of January.
These last few weeks have consisted of lots of preparation for transition, goodbyes, and final adventures, along with logistics such as finishing up coursework for this semester and packing. The only word that seems sufficient is “bittersweet.” It has been difficult to say goodbye. I have been deeply impacted by my time here and the people I have lived alongside. I have friends that I do not want to part from; there is work that I do not want to leave undone; there are ways in which I have felt like I just started to really gain momentum – depth in relationship, greater proficiency in language. Yet I am also content with knowing that my time here was for a season. Too, the Father has used knowing that my time is limited to make it so much more sweet in some ways.
Furthermore, I have a growing excitement to return. I am expectant for what the Father has in store – both in the near and more distant future. I am looking forward to time with family and friends; attempting to share my heart with you through stories and pictures and answering questions; familiar Christmas traditions and festivities; Colorado mountains; and being a senior on my university campus. I am nervously excited for what the future holds, as well. Those “uncharted waters” still feel intimidating, mysterious, and infused with potential. I also feel like they are slowly beginning to take shape and form – a shadow of what they might actually become.
I was struck this week by how much Romans 12 speaks to my time here. I have attempted to debrief and reflect on this season, and I know that I will continue to do so in “bits and pieces.” It is difficult and somewhat overwhelming to attempt to truly do so, yet at the same time, there are a few key themes that stand out to me. These themes include what I have learned about Thai culture and myself, aspects of this internship that have been most significant to me, and ways that I hope to implement what I have learned in the future. I am so grateful for how the Holy Spirit has worked and provided. Including through each of you.
As I prepare to end, I want to share a brief story with you as a glimpse of what you have been part of: I have developed a friendship with a university student, pursuing her Master’s degree in Mathematics. She identifies herself and her family as devout Buddhists, but she is still very open to foreigners and Christians. She has been a lot of fun to get to know. I met her through the English conversation group my church facilitates, so when my pastor planned a “goodbye party” for me, she was sure to go. It was such a sweet blessing to me. The pastor invited people to share words of encouragement with me, and my friend tearfully expressed her appreciation for my friendship. She shared that she felt like many of her fellow classmates were too focused on themselves to be good friends, and that she really valued our time together.
We had only connected a few times throughout the course of my time here, but we had a couple significant conversations and fun outings. I believe that the Holy Spirit wants to continue to use my church and potentially the new interns to continue to befriend and minister to her. I think he uses the context of relationship as a powerful means of communicating truth. I hope and pray that he used me to breakdown some of the barriers that would keep her from coming to Christ in the future. I have experienced the power of intercession in this context in some unique ways, and I want reiterate to you that your investment in me and into the Kingdom is and has been powerful and effective. Thank you for being part of my story and my journey in this season.
With love and blessings,
As you feel led, please continue to pray for me in this time of transition and as I seek the Lord for future steps in ministry and other relevant decisions. Please also know that I would love the opportunity to partner with you in prayer, especially in person, if we get the chance. Please feel free to reach out!
P.S. If you will be in the Springs, I sure hope I get to see you on the 19th at my house, 6:30pm (or whenever you can come!). If not, I would love to facilitate another time for us to connect.