(Here are excerpts from a letter I have written concerning my upcoming trip to Thailand, for which I leave October 14.)
For many months, almost a year now, I’ve had the building sense of change and transition. I sensed that God was asking me to dream big, reach far, risk much, and set my sights beyond my “home” in Lancaster, where I’ve been living these past four years since my last excursion abroad.
After graduating from Millersville University in May of 2013 with a BA in Anthropology, I was again ready to “spread my wings.” After seeking God, I felt Him calling me to stay in Lancaster for at least another year, and take a position at the hardwood flooring company where I had been working during school. The process of surrender was difficult, but I chose to stay.
Now, I sense the door has opened, and once again God has given me the freedom to go. In the past, I’ve felt drawn to getting a TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) certification to teach English abroad. I see this as a healthy, positive way to live abroad through building relationships, making a practical impact, and receiving an income through employment, all while becoming familiar with a local and national culture in a specific social setting, hopefully while learning some of the language as well. Southeast Asia has been placed on my heart. After praying, I decided to pursue Thailand for the TESOL certification and English teaching through a non-profit organization, GeoVisions. My initial teaching commitment will probably be around 6 months, after which I will pursue the next step. There are many unknowns, aside from my 1 week orientation in Thailand, and 120 hour TESOL certification course in Hua Hin, Thailand. I believe this to be just the first step in a greater journey; part of a much bigger picture than what I can presently see.
When I traveled for a month in Thailand in 2010, I had the privilege of (unofficially) teaching English on two separate occasions. These memories came back to me during a time of fasting and praying earlier this summer, and I recalled those experiences as being some of the most life giving ones I had during my travels.
During this season, I would value your prayer and support. Thankfully, I am able to cover the GeoVisions and TESOL fee, as well as the plane ticket and visa. While teaching, I will make a modest income (relative to the local standard), which should give me enough to live off of. I am not asking for financial contributions, however, if you feel led to give in any way, feel free to do so.
Even though it sometimes seems as if all I’ve been waiting for in the last four years is to leave again, I find that as I step out in this direction, it’s been much harder than I initially thought it would be. I’m counting the cost of all I’m leaving behind: friends and some of their new families, my family, nieces and nephews, relative comfort and ease, a home, opportunities, choices, options, a larger income… Yet, something has pushed me in this direction. I can’t tell you exactly how I arrived here, why I’m leaving to go where I am, to do what I’ll be doing. It’s as if there’s a story being told from another’s pen, being written slowly on the blank pages of my passing days. I didn’t foresee how much would have to die for me to find new life; how many old relationships, passions, dreams, and desires would need to be surrendered in order to follow my heart in this way. Indeed, saying yes to something means saying no to even much more. But, when old dreams are waking up inside and new adventures are beginning, there’s not enough room for the present and the past, the new and the old.
Finally, I have so very many individuals to thank for their friendship, encouragement, and belief in myself and God’s calling, all of whom I will never be able to repay. To all of you, my sincerest thanks and gratitude as I enter this next season.
If you would like to give a tax deductible contribution, here’s how you can do so.
Go to the following link: http://www.doveusa.org/mission/south-east-asia-mission-nielsen-greiner/
At the bottom of the web page under “Online Giving,” there are options for “Monthly Giving” and “One Time Gifts.”
Thailand is almost 84% Buddhist, and 1.3% Christian (0.5% Evangelical), with a population of over 67 million people (source: joshuaproject.net).