As I promised in part 1 I want to share what God showed me during my trip! If you haven't read part 1 click here to do so.
As I mentioned it the first post about Cambodia, it is a very spiritually dark country so I really made sure to begin each day with the Lord in the word and in prayer and it really helped me during the trip.
During the two weeks He showed me a lot, so here it is!
Be Courageous (Joshua 1:1-9)
This was the passage that we read from during our first team devotional. I feel like this is one of those common passages and because we say it's cliche we loose sight of the power of the message. The Lord is speaking to Joshua and tells him to be strong and courageous. We too are to be strong and courageous, of course we can't do so without God but in verse nine the Lord promises to be with Joshua EVERYWHERE he goes. He is with us EVERYWHERE we go and if we hold on to that we have no reason to be fearful. God is with us and will protect us.
Set Yourself Apart (Joshua 3:5)
As believers we are to be set apart, it's mentioned so many times in the Bible. In this particular verse Joshua is using the word sanctify which is to be set apart or declared as holy. By setting ourselves apart we are not only showing others how we are different but we are allowing God to do a work in us. As Joshua puts it "...The Lord with do wonders among you." In order to be sanctified we really have to stay in His word and meditate on it. We have to truly place our trust in Him and believe that he can do those wonders.
Don't Worry (Matthew 6:25-34)
During my personal reading time I have been in the book of Matthew and I read this and it's not like I had never heard it before, but this time it really resonated. Too often I find myself worrying about my future or just silly things. But I read this and then later out we went to a small village and it was so neat to see that even though these people had very little they had what they needed they had clothes and food but most importantly they had put their trust in God. It was as if this passage had come to life.
Counting the Cost (Matthew 8:19-20)
We often say that we will follow Jesus but we don't fully realize what that means. In these verses we see a scribe who is telling Jesus he will follow Him everywhere. Jesus kindly tells him that it isn't going to be easy. I felt like Jesus was saying, "This is what it's like to be a missionary, people will let you in their house but you won't have your own." I think that as Christians in America this sounds so crazy to most people, for the most part American Christians place so much value in material things and that's not how we are supposed to live.
Spiritual Health is Most Important (Matthew 9:2)
I read this before we went on the prayer walk and outreach in the brothel-infested area. I was really thinking about it and was wondering how I could apply it. Jesus told the paralytic he was forgiven before telling him to walk. I think that there are so many times we see people who are ill or in certain situations and we just want to see them healed and out of those situations. In reality we should be more concerned with their salvation than their physical being. So as much as we want to see all the women out of the brothels we have to:
There Will Always Be a Need
In the missions field specifically there is ALWAYS going to be a need for help. It is so important to go to a place that God is calling you and not just where you want to go. Even if you go to a place God isn't calling you, He is still going to do a work but I think it will come with more challenges and it won't necessarily be as powerful. Especially with going on short-term trips you see so many areas that can use more people and you create relationships but that still doesn't mean that God wants you there longterm. We have to remember that we aren't the miracle makers we are merely vessels.
If you want to learn more about my trip, feel free to reach out with any questions!
Hello everyone, I just got back from my Cambodia trip and would like to share some highlights with you!
Going to Cambodia I didn't really know what to expect because I had never been to that part of the world and I wasn't going with my home church. However, this trip was truly life changing and eye opening. During the two weeks I learned so much and was exposed to a different side of missions.
For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you saw how much I enjoyed Cambodia. What you didn't see, is the reality of Cambodia. Cambodia is a spiritually dark place, as much as the people are open to learning about Jesus and having a relationship with Him, it is still a very spiritually dark place.
To give you a very brief history of Cambodia I am going to explain the genocide that happened in this country. In 1975 the Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia and killed millions of people, the genocide lasted about four years. So many Cambodians who live today have experienced the horrific loss of loved ones.
Aside from the genocide, sex trafficking is a big problem in the country. During our trip we participated in an outreach that was in a brothel-infested area, which I will explain more about later on.
As indicated in the title this is part one, I am solely talking about outreach highlights and will follow up with a post sharing all that God showed me!
Taley & Chan-Sen Village
We partnered with a local pastor for two days to do outreaches in nearby villages and to assist him with his weekly church service. We drove on a bumpy, dirt road to a village where we did had an outreach that had easily over 100 kids in attendance.
The local pastor had just began going to this village a few months ago but it was evident that these kids had respect for authority, were attentive and excited to learn about Jesus Christ. It blew my mind to see how even though they didn't have Bibles they still retained the Word and memorized stories and scriptures. Throughout the lesson they stood in their lines and you could see the community-oriented minds they had, they weren't just looking out for themselves. What blew my mind even more was seeing that most, if not all, of the kids had walked quite a ways to come and hear from us.
Children of Hope
Children of Hope is a local, Christian foster home that houses just about 24 kids. The kids live there because their families cannot afford them or their familial situations aren't safe. The ages range from about 4-20. Girls can stay there as long as they want as long as they are attending university. At 15 the boys go to Water of Life, which is connected to Children of Hope but is strictly for boys.
There is a wonderful woman who is mama to all those precious children and she makes sure that each child feels loved and cherished. Going to COH was amazing because these kids have so much joy in their hearts, they are so happy just being outside playing soccer or playing a card game. We spent several days at COH spending time with the kids, doing VBS-style lessons and crafts. Some of our team members even helped build a rooftop garden which was pretty awesome.
In order to protect the children we are not allowed to post photos of them which I agree with 100%. As usual there were so many kids who stole my heart and asked if I will be returning next year, as much as I wanted to tell them yes, I told them I am praying about it and if it's in God's will I will be there. There was one teenage-girl who made me a bouquet of origami flowers and wrote me a letter when we went to tell them bye, those are things that I will cherish for a lifetime and will serve as a reminder to pray for all those children.
Girls House of Refuge
Girls House of Refuge was the one ministry that really exposed a whole new aspect of missions to me and pushed me out of my comfort zone.
Girls House of Refuge is a home for young women who can come from impoverished villages, slums and possibly victims of sexual exploitation. At Girls House of Refuge the girls study the Bible three times a day to gain a solid foundation in Christ.
It was with Girls House of Refuge that we went and did an outreach in the brothel-infested area. To say that was life changing would be an understatement. So you know, brothels are illegal in Cambodia but are disguised as KTVs (karaoke bars) and massage parlors. When you pass by a KTV you will find many women waiting outside all done up, waiting to be purchased for a given amount of time, depending on the price they're being bought for. KTVs are very tall buildings filled with a ton of rooms where the women will work.
You may be thinking, "How do the women end up there?" Well what usually happens is their families are in debt to someone, so then the daughters are basically pimped out to pay off the debt. The girls are under the impression that they are going to be a cook, KTVs are very sneaky as they have pictures of food menus on the outside to make it look like they are selling food. Little do the girls know is that they will be sold for sex and are under the control of a master.
We went out to the area at night to do a prayer walk and it was so heartbreaking. All the women are just waiting and there's even young kids around witnessing it all. We returned in the morning, around the time that the women would be ending their night.
We explain to them that there is a safe place for them to go to receive help and actually make money, although the women are being purchased a majority of them don't get any money. Some women were willing to communicate with us and you can see that they want help, but once their masters came out you could see how much control the masters have. It was so saddening and heartbreaking.
A part of me was doubting that we were even doing good. Yes, we want to save these girls and bring them to a place of rescue but their masters can punish them for even speaking to us. But if we don't reach out to them they won't know of the resources available.
That outreach really opened my eyes and exposed a community that needs a whole lot of prayer.
Once again, for protection I cannot post photos of girls from Girls House of Refuge, but I do have a photo of where we did the outreach. Please pray for that area.
Mercy Village was probably my favorite area, even though I didn't go there much. There is a local pastor in Mercy Village, who was once an orphan. But he definitely has a genuinely love for God and a desire to see the people saved. Mercy Village has had a few fires and the homes were burned. But God spoke to this pastor and promised him that He will make beauty from ashes. Sure enough, God provided and there is a building for the locals to gather for church and there are homes that have been built. I loved Mercy Village because when the people worshipped it was so genuine and beautiful, if you follow me on Instagram you can hear for yourself. The presence of God in that area was so evident and felt.
Thank you for reading and getting this far! Stay on the lookout for part two to see what God showed me!
With graduation and summer quickly approaching I've been praying for God to send me on another missions trip. And He is sending me somewhere, a place He has been showing me but I never really told anyone or actually thought I would go. I will be going to... CAMBODIA.
You're probably like, "What the heck?!"
That was my reaction too! I was like, "Are you sure God?"
But over and over He kept revealing it to me and I don't want to ignore His call.
All I know about Cambodia is that it is in South East Asia. It's truly a God thing how it all happened. Last year God started showing me Cambodia but I didn't think too much of it, I was just like, "Oh that's cool," and even when I spent the summer in Mexico, Cambodia was revealed to me there. More recently it has been coming up A LOT. A pastor spoke at our church and briefly mentioned Cambodia.
I texted my friend and told her, "I am so SHOOK, Cambodia just came up again." I had recently shared with her how much Cambodia had been popping up in my life and we knew it was something that required prayer.
Following the service I went and introduced myself to the pastor, I expressed my heart for missions and told him I was interested in going to Cambodia. Turns out his church is taking a trip in June.
I don't know why God is calling me there but it's so evident that I need to go and I cannot ignore that. I shouldn't be begging God for confirmation, if HE revealed something to me I need to accept it and not keep asking for signs.
Lesson of the day, if God is calling you to do something do it, and I am not saying that I am super obedient. We all know I can be a stubborn person but when God calls us to something we have to trust that even though we cannot see it at the moment He has a reason.
The trip will be for two weeks and I do not know one person from that church so it'll be a whole new experience for me. I don't know if this is a place God wants me to go for long-term or just a one time thing. But I am truly open to wherever HE wants to send me and I just want to go.
None of this is coincidental and I am so excited to see what this trip will lead to and what else God will reveal to me. I am in so much awe at how perfectly timed this is all happening.
Please keep me in prayer that I remain obedient to God, open to His plans, pray for the preparation of the trip not just for me but the team that will be going and the people we will be ministering to.
I've been home from Mexico for about two weeks now and figured it's time to share a little more about my experience. I wanted to spend time just absorbing everything and trying to get adjusted to being back home.
Transitioning was not as easy as I thougth it would be. When I got to Mexico it was so easy for me to adapt, I didn't get homesick or anything. Yes, there were days where I missed my friends but it still wasn't hard like I thought it would be. Coming home, on the other hand has been quite a transition. Reverse culture shock is something I didn't think that I would experience. I was warned about it but didn't think I'd experience it. But going from living quite a simple life and only having the stuff that fit in my suitcase for two months, and then coming home and having a whole room full of all my belongings was quite overwhelming. It made me realize how much stuff I have and that I don't need a lot of it. It's pretty safe to say that spending two months in Mexico changed my perspective on a lot of things.
I've realized how materialistic I am. I've always wanted the cutest clothes, nicest shoes, best makeup...you get the point. In reality, none of that really matters. Am I saying I hate all of that stuff now? No, I have just come to the realization that all of that isn't important, it shouldn't be a priority and what consumes me. I'd rather be known for living a life that is pleasing and satisfying to the Lord than to be known for having the best outfit.
Something else I realized, was how important it is to spend quality time with the Lord in prayer and His word. Without it we can’t pour in to others. And it really is obvious in the work that we do. We need God to equip us before every battle whether it be small or large.
I felt God stretch me to do things that I would never have imagined myself doing, and that proves that it was HIM doing things through me and not myself.
As I prepared to come home I worried about how my friendships would be, what my role in ministries would be, what I would do for two weeks before starting school and work. But the Lord has worked all that out for me and it's stuff that I don't need to worry about.
Even though my time in Mexico has ended, my mission isn't over. After I finish school this year I want to return to Mexico for a longer period of time and then eventually serve God as a missionary in South or Central America. I really don't know whats next, but I am excited to see where God takes me.
I'll forever be grateful that God chose me to serve Him and be able to witness His greatness. I am so thankful for the wonderful people that I met, thank you all for constantly pouring into me, mentoring me and showing me God's love.
It's so crazy to think that I've been here in Mexico for a month already and only have one month left. I already know that once I get home I'm going to miss being here. Over this last month the Lord has shown me so much and I know there's so much more that He wants to show me. And of course as I sit here to write about my experiences so far, it's difficult to narrow it all down. The reality is no matter how much I write there's not enough words to express everything.
When I first got here I was excited to go out and do the everyday missionary stuff, you know like go and do outreaches everyday. We do have outreaches, but that isn't all there is to missionary work. Being a missionary really isn't any different than being at home. Well I mean it is but let me explain this more. Just like at home theres housekeeping to do, actually I never did any of that at home but now I do ( I hope my parents aren't reading this). Being a missionary is just being a Christian in a foreign land. There's days that are ministry-filled and then there are off days. There are days where we go to church and days that we sit in class learning more about the missions field. Everyday isn't filled with evangelizing but it is filled with serving God.
The fact that I don't speak Spanish is definitely a challenge. But people don't care if you speak their language. Sometimes all someone needs is a smile or a hug. And when it comes to kids they're just happy to have a new friend to play with. Above all of that, God's love is universal.
Over this first month we've really focused on what it means to be a servant of God. It's really convicted me and made me realize how lucky I am to be chosen as a servant. It's so easy to think like "I'm just cleaning the bathroom, this isn't serving God," but that's so wrong, everything we do should be an act of service to Him.
We've been going through a book called "On Being a Servant of God." And this book really illustrates how we are to serve and what I have learned is that we're not always able to fix peoples problems, but we can guide them to Christ who can. And for me that was sort of a wakeup call because I know I am so controlling and strategic so when people come to me with certain situations I like to give them my plan and try to fix the situation for them. But really I need to point them to Christ.
I've also realized the how important it is to start your day in prayer and in the word. It's so easy to get caught up in serving God that you can easily neglect the relationship, I know it sounds strange but it's so true. Recently in my personal devotional time I was reminded that God should be our number one ministry and I have really been trying to remind myself of that daily.
The more I am out here I realize that this is my calling. I mean I guess I have kind of always known that but I've always tried to deny it. Looking back on this past school year and seeing the internships that I didn't get makes me realize that God was closing those doors because He wanted me to be where I now am. At the time, of course I was disappointed but in this moment I am so grateful and I can honestly say that I don't regret spending my summer here.
Yes, there are moments when I miss my best friends but they know that I am doing what the Lord has called me to do. And in the grand scheme of life, two months is really nothing. On the plus side the Lord has brought new friends into my life that I would've never met had I not came.
In just a month I will be entering my senior year of college and I know that after I graduate I will be serving on the missionary field. Some might think "What a waste of an education," but it's been my prayer to be able to use what I learn in school to glorify God. And already I have been able to do so. It's honestly been such a blessing to me to be able to do that.
I honestly don't know exactly where I'll be this time next year but I am excited to see where God takes me. Until then I will just continue seeking Him and enjoying every moment.
If you made it this far I love you so much, bless your heart!!!
On Monday morning I arrived at the Calvary Chapel Training Center in La Gloria, TJ where I will be spending two months as a missionary intern.
It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be to leave. I think the hardest part for me is not being able to get in my car and go an adventures with my best friends. But it has been really neat to spend more time with the Lord and draw closer to Him.
The first week has been pretty smooth, a lot of it has just been learning how everything works here at the training center.
During the week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday there is an after school program called Niños del Rey (kids of the King), the kids walk to the training center and are given a homemade meal and then there is a Bible study and time to work on homework and play with their friends.
On Thursday we went to El Ejido where many kids go and hangout once they're done with school. During this time we were able to do worship, have a devo and simply just play games with the kids.
On Monday we will begin our missions class and have a busy week prepared for us. I am really excited to see what else the Lord has in story for these next two months.
Please continue to not only pray for me but the other two missionary interns as well as the staff here at the training center.
On June 11th I will be leaving to spend the summer in Tijuana, Mexico.
Over the past few years I have gone on weekend-long missions trips with my church.
In the summer of 2012 I went on my very first missions trip which was in Panama. Reflecting back I had just turned 17 and was entering my senior year of high school. I can't really recall what prompted me to go, but now I know the Lord had a plan all along. Before going on this first trip I was nervous because I don't speak Spanish, I questioned how God can use me. But that was me doubting Him,in Luke 18:27 it says
“What is impossible for people is possible with God.”
But at the time that's not I was thinking, I was thinking about myself and what I can and cannot do, not the things that God can do.
After spending 10 days there I realized how much I loved serving in the missions field. I saw how universal God's love is and that although I wasn't able to communicate the way I wanted to that I was still able to share God's love.
Following that trip I began going to Mexico, November of 2013. By this time I was out of high school. Still unable to speak the language, I am able to dance along to the children's worship songs in Spanish. It can be tricky because the kids think I speak Spanish because I know the songs!
Throughout the years I began to really grow a love for Mexico. There are so many opportunities to serve, we often visit orphanages and just love on the kids that are there.
Last summer I went to Panama again. I was so excited to back to the place that sparked my interest in the first place. So much had changed since the last time I had went. I recognized a lot of the people from our church there. I remember thinking to myself "I really want to stay here for more than just 10 days."
Coming back from that trip I knew that there was more for me to do. As I continued to pray about it and continue going to Mexico I spoke to some of the missionaries in Mexico. It's incredible to hear their stories and see how God has worked in their lives during their time at the training center.
In November I finally decided that I'd apply to be an intern at the training center. It took me a while to actually fill out my application because I was having second thoughts. It's something that has been so heavy on my heart for years now but I've always put it on the back burner.
During my last trip in February I finally turned it in! So this summer I will be staying in Mexico learning what it really is to be a missionary. My church has been going out there for 7 years and this is the first time anyone is actually going to stay out for longer than the weekend. Me and two other girls will be going.
During these last few months I have been saving my money so that I can go. It's been incredible to see how the Lord has provided over these last few months. At work I've been getting some very generous tippers and can't help but to thank God. I am also thankful to have a flexible job that will let me return to work when I come back in August.
Counting the cost is something that I've been learning. And I'm not just talking financially. Serving God comes with sacrifices and being human I have had selfish thoughts wondering "God do I really want to miss on this event to serve you?" And then I am so humbly reminded of the sacrifice Christ made on the cross.
With that being said, I ask that you keep me in your prayers as I prepare for this trip and to continue praying for me this summer. Pray that I am open to what the Lord has in store for me and that I have an obedient heart.
Thank you so much for reading this, be blessed.