Wednesday, May 25, 2011

South Asia-- Days 1 & 2

Hi! I am so excited to be here, and I wanted to update everyone on how things have been going.

I had a 12 hour lay over in Newark on Monday, and while I was there, I got to hang out with some really cool people that were also going to be at the same training I was going to. Here are a few "cheezy airport pictures". :

The plane-- it was huge! :)

Cheesy airport photo :)

My new friend, Sarah! We hung out together for our insanely long lay overs-- hers was about 10-11 hours, and mine was 12. We got to know the Newark airport very well, lol, and it was great getting to know someone who was going for the same reason (although on a different assignment). :)

The flight path showing how much farther we had to go. Getting closer! :)

An attempt at taking a picture with my teammate while we were on the plane. The Father answered our requests that she was able to make the flight! Her flight to Newark was delayed, so she was running to make it, but since our flight was delayed by 15 minutes, she was able to get there just in time! Yay! And, as an added bonus, we got to sit together on the flight! Fourteen hours gave us plenty of time to get to know each other! :)

My dinner tonight! I asked the waiter to recommend something spicy (since I love spicy foods!). It was awesome! And I think he was pleased when I said that I could even eat it spicier, because he brought out some peppers!

... And I tried them! Not bad, lol. I think I amused some of the locals who were eating there, because they were staring at me and smiling, lol. What can I say? I was raised in Louisiana and love eating spicy food! :)

We also went shopping for cultural clothing this afternoon, and I bought some really cute outfits. This one is my favorite. I will post pics later of me wearing it. :)

Anyway, that's all for now. I will post more in the next few days/weeks. Internet is not always reliable, but I will try. :)

Thanks again, so much for remembering us when you talk with the Father. We are definitely appreciative, because we know that we could not do it without Him. :)

-Mary Lin-

Monday, May 23, 2011

Today's the Day

I left early this morning for this summer. I am currently sitting in the Newark airport, and my flight to go overseas leaves tonight at 8:15 (EST).

I have been a mix of emotions all day today. Saying goodbye to Mom & Dad was hard this morning, but we had a sweet time of talking to our Father before I left, which helped some.

Along with the excitement that I feel about all of this, this morning, I also was incredibly nervous and kind of scared. This is definitely a huge step out of my comfort zone! My Father reminded me of His promises, though, especially the one I have been claiming all along. I know that He has not given me a spirit of fear/timidity, but a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline, and I am trusting Him to keep that promise!

Thank you to all of you who have promised to lift me up. I could not be doing this without all of the extra support from you!

I definitely am looking forward to all that is in store for this summer! I will try to keep this updated as I can throughout the summer. :)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


In traveling home for LA State Bible Drill/Mother's Day weekend, I used my GPS so that I would not get lost trying to find Tall Timbers in the dark. I also used it on the way back to LR just as a precaution, even though I had driven this route several times over the last two years.

When I was trying to find Tall Timbers in the dark, I got really nervous because I was afraid I was going to miss the entrance, and since it had been a year and a half since I'd been there, I couldn't remember which side of the road it was on. Even though I had my GPS on, and it kept showing I had X amount of miles/feet until I reached my destination, I was still nervous about missing it. I think part of this is because my GPS only gives one direction at a time. I prefer knowing when I need to turn and what comes next a few steps before I reach the next point on the map (years of mapquest, I guess, lol). I did trust the GPS and made it just fine, but this experience got me thinking.

I think sometimes my walk with the Father is similar to my preference for mapquest instead of (or in addition to) a GPS. Instead of trusting Him to show me, step by step, one piece at a time, I want to jump ahead and know what is coming next. Throughout this whole semester, I can look back and see how I have had a tendency to get excited when He reveals one little piece of His plan for me, yet it is not long afterward that I begin saying, "But what's next?" or "You showed me this, but what do I need to do about that?" He has been so faithful in revealing to me what He wants for me, and I can truly see His hand on every decision I've made, step by step.

Here are just a few of the ways He has guided me step by step this semester: When I struggled with whether I was supposed to go to Haiti or not and how I was going to pay for it (He provided in AMAZING ways!), He confirmed this in amazing ways. When I was unsure of what school to apply to for the fall, He gradually narrowed it down for me from all of them to four, and then to one. When I debated about what to major in and the concentrations I wanted to pursue, He showed me a way that I can get training in both of my passion/calling areas. When I struggled with fear and with my shyness, He helped me to learn to trust Him to get rid of that spirit of timiditiy and fill me with His spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. When I struggled with whether to go to Fort Worth or to stay here in LR, He was faithful to show me that He wanted me to let go of staying here.

He has faithfully revealed all of these things to me as I trust Him, one step at a time! So why is it that I have trouble trusting Him to continue revealing His will one step at a time?

I am struggling with this right now for several reasons. One reason is that although He has been so faithful to provide for over half of what I need to be able to go this summer, I still have about $2500 left to raise, and I only have a short amount of time in which to do it! A second reason I am struggling with this is that I have no idea of what I am going to do when I get back this summer. I know that I am going to go to Fort Worth in the fall, but I will have a month when I get back in mid-July where I have no plans. I know that I need a job of some kind since my apartment's lease is not up until the end of August, but I have no clue where to look. Who really wants to hire someone for only a month? Thirdly, I am struggling because even though I know He is leading me to Fort Worth, I still don't have any idea of how I am going to pay for it, or where I am going to work once I move up there. I know that He is going to provide for all of this, but the desire for a mapquest answer rather than a GPS answer is hard for me to overcome.

I am going to commit to trusting Him in all of this, wherever He leads me. Just like my GPS got me to Tall Timbers because I trusted it to tell me where to go, one step at a time, I know that my Father will continue to lead me one step at a time. I just have to place all of my trust in Him.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Pr. 3:5-6)

Sunday, May 1, 2011

It's Not Always Easy...

Tonight was our last Proclaim meeting of the year, and we had an end-of-the-year party/fun night. We had pizza and played a game where the kids had to guess which adult had which favorite (and of course, we gave them candy if they got it right).

Yesterday was State Drill, and they all worked so hard and did well. We all had a BLAST, and the fun Wacky Time Live game show that was at the end of the day was so fun! Several of our kids got to participate in the different games, and they even got me to go on stage for a silly song, wearing a clown's wig that was way too small when they asked for children's workers to come on stage. (I kind of hid a little, so there was no good picture of that one, lol).

I love these kids SO much! They have become so special to me, and I absolutely love watching them get excited about learning God's Word. I have gotten pretty close with their parents also, and I truly feel like they have become a second family for me.

Tonight, at the end-of-the-year party, I had to tell them that I will not be back next year. :( That was probably one of the hardest things for me to do. I love them so much, and I love my church family. I honestly don't want to leave, but I really feel like God is leading me in a direction that does not involve staying in Benton. It seems like everywhere I turn, as I said in my last post, I am hearing Him say that He wants me to go, and to let go of staying here. Even the story I shared in Sunday School this morning when I taught seemed to scream at me that I need to IMMEDIATELY obey what I feel like He is saying to me, even though it is not what I really want to do. The man in the story wanted to stay with Jesus, but Jesus told him no. He told him to go back to his village and his family and friends and tell them all the wonderful things God had done for him. The man didn't question Jesus. He just went-- and he went not just to his village, but TEN different villages, telling what Jesus had done for him, and everyone who heard him was amazed.

It seems to me that obedience is definitely a theme that I am hearing and learning, everywhere I turn. And not obedience with a hint of hesitation, but IMMEDIATE obedience, without question. I have had a tendency to say yes to God but then hold onto one little thing. Right now, that thing is staying here in AR, which has become my home. It's almost like I have kind of half-heartedly said that I am willing to go, yet I have still looked for ways to stay here. As my mom used to tell me ALL the time when I was growing up, "Delayed obedience is disobedience." If I am still holding onto staying here, I have not truly surrendered that to Him and said I am willing to go wherever He sends me. That is being disobedient.

Tonight, even though it was hard, I told the Proclaim kids and parents that I will not be back next year. I am going to follow God to Fort Worth to go to seminary and continue to listen to what I feel He is telling me. I cried on the way home tonight, because I love those kids so much, and I can't imagine not being with them. God never promises that being obedient and following Him will be easy, but He does promise that He will always be with us. Even though I hate the idea of leaving my church family and my home that I have come to know over the past two years, I know that I have to be obedient. I don't know exactly what God has in store for me, but I am looking forward to following Him, one step at a time.

Eph. 3:20-21: "Now to Him who is able to do immesurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen."