I guess I had this preconceived notion about what deputation would look like – and it wasn’t pretty. For some crazy reason, in my head, I had this scale with “fun” on one side and with “God” on the other. I could have some fun and some God, or all God and no fun, but I felt like I couldn’t have both. So you can imagine as I was getting ready for deputation how nervous I was. My balanced scale was about to be drastically tipped towards God.
At SeaTac airport, my inner drama queen took over. Instead of my REI travel backpack, I carried some variety of personal torture devise (a cross felt too BCE, was it an electric chair? Realistically though could I carry that on my back?). I hugged my parents goodbye and told them I would be fine, as any decent martyr would, and prepared for a summer of following God. I was about to live out the biblical command to “carry your cross daily” and it was going to suck.
Fast forward to now: we are sitting in a hotel room with air conditioning and free wifi on a tropical island. Yesterday, for Laura’s birthday, we got pedicures, ate every meal on the beachside restaurants and finished the day with a bevy of honey boo boo child youtube clips. I can honestly say that the hardest part of my day was figuring out the optimal time to put on sun screen to avoid getting sun burned while still getting that “yeah I was on a tropical island” glow. Is this real life?
This whole time, we were trying so hard to be selfless and serve, but God kept showering us with more and more blessings. That’s not to say that this trip has been easy. We have witnessed physical abuse, been surrounded (literally) by the sex industry and had to walk past people worshipping idols on every street corner. But I can honestly say God has been here the whole time. We have seen girls leave the sex industry only to go back into the bars for outreach, telling workers about what Jesus has done for them. The ladyboys we work with have taught us so much about being passionate and trusting in God. So even when times have been rough and I feel like God is challenging us, He has never left our sides and is only trying to make us better and more like Him.
In summary, God rox and life truly is so much better when focusing on Jesus. Although it took 20 years, I now think of fun as synonymous with a relationship with the J-Man. As the trip comes to a close, I really think the hardest part will be leaving the people we have grown to love and integrating back into American life (TG we can still watch Honey Boo Boo) but I know we will have each other and this amazing community. I’m sure everyone on deputation has had as many life changing encounters as we have and we can’t wait to hear about them!
Sawadeeka, Copcoonka, Cowtoteka and Sabideemiika,
^just throwing in literally every Thai phrase we know to seem cultured
Yordanos, Laura and Lisa
Sawadeeka! Hello from Thailand.
It’s been and unbelievable 3 weeks to say the least. Our first few days were a blur we were so incredibly tired due to the 14 hour time difference. We arrived on Saturday at midnight and started work on Monday morning.
As I read the other Deputation posts, I get excited knowing that in 12 hours, I will be arriving at the airport. Shortly after that, I will be on an airplane with two other fantastic ladies on our way to Bangkok, Thailand! I can honestly say I don’t know where the time has gone, but here I am!
When people ask me how I feel about the trip, I am never 100% sure how to respond. Yes, I am excited beyond words, however I think there is this underlying feeling of hesitation to be fully excited. I am indeed expecting to have fun and have exciting adventures, but I am also expecting a lot of growth. Although growth can be fun at times, there are also growing pains. I’m expecting to be placed completely out of my comfort zone – I already have been through this process! I know that I will be tested and stretched, which is such a beautiful thing. Growth is beautiful! Yet I fully believe the Lord molds us and at times this isn’t all fun.
I’m expecting my eyes to widen. Not only does engolfing myself in Thai culture enliven me, but I am expecting to be amazed by the Lord. I mean that I believe this trip will show me a hint of God that I could never see or know otherwise. I expect my faith to be powerfully challenged and yet incredibly encouraged and ultimately strengthened.
As unusual as it sounds, I haven’t felt anxious or scared about this trip. I mean, leaving to a foreign land for two months is a scary concept, but I have not felt fear. Actually, I have been completely wrapped in peace about this trip ever since I picked up my Deputation application. It’s funny how God works things! Who knows how long this will last; I’m sure I will be nervous when I reach the airport. But I know that I need to just be still and remember that He is God.
And He is enough.
-Laura Nagel (Thailand team with Lisa Lehmann and Yordanos Beyene)