Tag Archives: traveling

Pre-recorded Blogging for Asia

I’m writing this from my warm, GA-residence bed knowing that while you are reading this, I’m in southeast Asia. That is blowing my mind right now.

P1190912

I just wanted to let you know that all is (probably) going amazingly well (although, writing this, I’m not actually there yet, so I can’t say for sure). I wanted to remind you to keep praying fervently for us and the kids. I want to personally thank you for the prayers you have piled up on our behalf before the Lord. Words can’t adequately express my gratitude. You are doing more than you know.

Before I left for Asia (man, it’s so weird writing from the future. Or the past. Whatever. I’m so confused), there were two very clear verses that I felt pertained specifically to this trip.

The first, is Exodus 33:17-23:

“The Lord said to Moses, “I will also do this thing of which you have spoken; for you have found favor in My sight and I have known you by name.”

Then Moses said, “I pray You, show me Your glory!”

And He said, “ I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the Lord before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion.”

But He said, “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me and live!”

Then the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by Me, and you shall stand there on the rock; and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by. Then I will take My hand away and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”” NASB

The prayer of Moses here has been my prayer for this trip and for southeast Asia as a whole. I pray that the Lord would show us His glory. That He alone would be glorified; that we’d see Him in everything from our worship, to our prayers, to our service, to our fellowship. That just like Moses, we would get even just a glimpse of the depth, and breadth, and height, and width of the glory, holiness, sovereignty, and love of the Lord.

The second verse is Ephesians 1:17-19:

“. . .that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might. . .”

I actually woke up one morning before we left with this verse on my mind, although I couldn’t put my finger on why I was thinking about it (*cough* Holy Spirit) or even where it was in Scripture (thank you Google).

First, it talks about God being the Father of glory, which is the same theme echoed in Exodus 33. I hunger to see His glory and see His glory revealed to the nations, specifically India. I also hunger for His spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. For myself. For our team. For the kids. For India. For southeast Asia. For the world. For you.

That the eyes of our heart. . .

Can we just take a minute and sit with that language? That we wouldn’t just know it in our minds, or see it with our eyes, or even just feel it with our hearts, but that the vision of our hearts would be aware and opened to His calling, riches of His glory, inheritance of the saints, and the greatness of His power.

Calling. Glory. Inheritance. Power.

Yes.

Yes and Amen.

Thank you for your prayers! Keep them coming! I can’t wait to tell you all about the glory of the Lord in India when I get back. Hopefully, I won’t be the same.

Love you all!

The Weapon of Prayer

I was just in the air. And then I was in Paris. Now, after years of dreaming and praying, I am in Southeast Asia.

What.

I’m here with a team from our church to work with several missionaries we support. Then later, we’ll be running a camp for some amazing kids and their unbelieving friends. We’ll be doing work with some local ministries, but more than anything we’ll just be learning about God’s heart, covering everything in prayer, and making ourselves nothing so Jesus can be truly glorified.

Partnering with me, the team, and the long-term missionaries in prayer for both the country and this trip is the most important and worthwhile thing you could do. Prayer is the backbone of missions. There have been numerous famous and hundreds more unknown missionaries to these closed countries, and yet so few profess Jesus as their Savior. In a countries with an incredible spiritual dynamic, prayer is often the most potent weapon. Past missionaries, to spiritually dark places have said the same:

“I have felt the impact of your prayers these past weeks. I am certain now that nothing has had a more powerful influence on this life of mine than your prayers.” Jim Elliot

“Prayer is the mighty engine that is to move the missionary work.” A.B. Simpson

“Pray for great things, expect great things, work for great things, but above all pray.” R.A. Torrey

“It is possible for the most obscure person in a church, with a heart right toward God, to exercise as much power for the evangelization of the world, as it is for those who stand in the most prominent positions.” John R. Mott

“The history of missions is the history of answered prayer.” Samuel Zwemer

“We can reach our world, if we will. The greatest lack today is not people or funds. The greatest need is prayer.” Wesley Duewel

“I believe it will only be known on the Last Day how much has been accomplished in missionary work by the prayers of earnest believers at home…I do earnestly covet a volume of prayer for my work — but oh! for a volume of faith too. Will you give this?” James Fraser

I’ll be the first to admit my discipline in prayer is extremely lacking. But praise to be to God who is stirring up my heart, burdening me for His people and places. Will you allow Him to move your heart for the work He is doing around the world?

We would be, specifically I would be, honored if you would approach the Throne of Grace on behalf of me, the team, the missionaries, the camp, and all of Asia. Let the intercession of God’s people pile up before His throne, just as Revelation 8:4 says,

“The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand.”

That being said, some specific prayer requests:

pray-for-india

For me: Pray that I would decrease and Christ in me would increase daily. Pray that Jesus would reveal Himself and His love for me in new ways. Pray that I would be filled with more of the Holy Spirit and more of the love of Christ, that confidence and humility would be married in my heart. Pray for real and lasting grace, boldness, and joy.

For our team: Pray that there would be incredible unity, that the team would grow close through selfless service to one another. Pray for protection during travel. Pray that Jesus would reveal Himself in new and deeper ways, that there would be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit for each team member to bring back to their area of influence in the States.

For the camp: Pray that Jesus would open the hearts of the kids who don’t know Him, that they would be moved to repentance, faith, and lifelong service to the Kingdom. Pray that the leaders would be anointed by the Holy Spirit to speak life and truth to these kids. Pray that it would be a fruitful, blessed, memorable, and fun experience the produces lifelong testimonies of the glory of the Lord.

For the missionaries: Pray for grace and peace, that they would experience new depths of Christ’s love for them. Pray that they would be refreshed, not overwhelmed or discouraged, in their area of ministry. Pray for blessing and steadfastness, that their hearts would be warm and un-offended.

For the kids: Pray that they would know the tangible love of Jesus. Pray that the older ones would have clarity as to their future and know the direction God is leading them. Pray for identity and confidence, that they would have boldness and wisdom in sharing the Gospel to and later discipling their friends.

For specific countries in Asia: Pray that the spiritual darkness would be lifted and the light of the Gospel would penetrate the hearts of the Indian people. Pray that there would be revelation and salvation for the lost. That that as it is in Heaven, so to would God’s redemption be in Asia.

Words cannot thank you enough for enveloping me, the team, the missionaries, and Asia in prayer. And to Him who alone is able to bring life and salvation, blessing, honor, glory, and power forever.

Happy Monday, friends.

Packing for Two Weeks

I’m leaving for southeast Asia in a few days. Excuse me while I go pinch myself, collapse, and scream in excitement simultaneously.

I’m planning on doing another post before I go and obviously write about my experience when I return, but there’s a practical side I wanted to share with y’all. And that was my packing.

We are going to be gone for two weeks and since we are running a camp while there, we need all our checked bags for camp supplies. That means 2 weeks worth of personal items had to fit in a carry on. But wait. That includes sheets, towels, shoes (including a pair of “shower” shoes), hats/hair coverings, medicine, toiletries (including toilet paper), and clothes. Oh yeah, and our clothes had to be loose pants that covered our ankles and longer sleeved shirts that covered our behinds. Even typing it, that sounds like a lot. I’ll admit, I had a mini panic attack when I saw it all sprawled out on my bedroom floor.

IMG_7561

Exhibit A.

But after scouring blogs for packing tips, I took the plunge in fitting all that in a carry on. I am living proof that all things are possible.

IMG_7568

IMG_7569

Exhibit B.

If you’ve ever had to pack 2 weeks in carry on you know it can be a crazy challenge. And if you’ve ever done it for a mission trip, which means bringing extra items that a hotel or friend’s house or even a neighborhood Walmart would normally provide, you know it can be daunting.

So, I want to offer you the best advice and strategies that I found helped me get that mess in picture 1 to fit nice and neatly into the bag in picture 2. And c’mon, you know you don’t want to be that person on your next trip who has to check a bag.

• Get a good carry on.

Go for a study bag with lots of extra pockets and expandable space. It’s really cool that I can say I packed for two weeks in a backpack, but it makes a world of difference that it’s a Christmas-present, REI, carry-on sized backpack. Something easily transportable that fits within the carry on limits. I’ve heard hard shell cased suitcases work well, if your more into the rolling ones.

IMG_7567

• Use a good personal item.

I know we are going to be traveling a little when we arrive, and I needed another bag anyway to hold overnight-ish items, so I don’t have to unpack and repack my backpack. I also knew I wanted my camera, my kindle, my phone, and my journal at my feet on the plane. I used an old messenger traveling bag for three reasons: 1. it is sturdy enough to travel well but small enough to sit comfortably under my seat, 2. it is large enough to give me room for personal items that won’t fit into the jam-packed backpack, and 3. it is a messenger, so I can hold it while I have my backpack on my back (if you have a rolling suitcase, I’d probably be more in favor of having a bigger backpack or laptop bag as your personal item).

IMG_7566

• Roll your clothes

It’s really amazing how tightly things roll up and how many articles of roll-polly clothing you can squish together. I put rolled everything and created two layers of rolled clothes inside the bag, grouping pieces of clothing I plan on wearing together, closer together.

Now, I know what you are thinking. You are thinking the reason everything fit into the backpack is because I only brought a few pieces of clothing. Think again.

IMG_7551

First of all, the clothes are bigger and baggier than I would normally bring on a summer trip, so that was the first obstacle to overcome. Second, I’ve never been to Asia before and wanted to make sure I was prepared for a variety of circumstances.

Included in my suitcase is 2 pairs of jeans, 3 pairs of cargo/linen pants, 1 pair of pajama pants, and 2 pairs of leggings (that’s 8 pairs of bottoms).

Also, 6 T-shirts, 2 dresses, 2 button-ups, and 4 “Indian-looking” tunics (that’s 14 versatile tops). Plus 2 cami-like tanks, several bras/sports bras, 14 pairs of underwear, 5 bandanas, 3 headbands, 2 headscarfs, 2 hats, a pair of socks, and 3 pairs of flip flops.

And no, I’m not including the outfit or shoes I’m going to wear on the plane.

IMG_7554

IMG_7555

IMG_7556

• Pad the bottom, top, and sides of the suitcase

I lined the sides of the suitcase with my undergarments and headwear, I used the towels to cover everything on the top, and I used my sheets and shoes to pad the bottom. My clothes fit nicely in the center and under everything. This way, everything is easily accessible once the towels are taken out and it adds a comfortable layer of protection when my bag is jumping around in the overhead bin.

IMG_7571

The key for me was thinking simple and compact. Do you really need it and if you do, what’s the most space-conserving way you can fit it into the suitcase? Smaller items, like medicine, pens, and hats should go in last; leave a little room and they will generally fit wherever. Roll clothing items. With bigger, hefty items like towels and sheets, the rule of thumb that worked for me is if they rolled up and I could circle two hands around them, they should stay rolled. If they rolled up and I couldn’t touch fingers around the circumference, they should they as flat as possible on the top. That way, they aid in compressing and protecting everything else.

When it doubt, there is probably some room for you in a checked bag. I have a small ziploc with some snacks and over 3oz bottles of liquids to put in a checked bag. Some things you just physically can’t carry on. It’s the nature of flying and it’s nothing to be ashamed of (I’m talking to myself here). But as I’ve proven by this little experiment, an incredible amount can fit into a carry on. If I can pack two weeks worth of not just clothing, but items necessary for living as well, into an airline approved backpack, you can to.

And if you are still having problems, give me a call. I have an odd love of packing and re-packing suitcases (sometimes, I pack my clothes up just for fun, not because I’m going anywhere). You just have to pay my airfare to get to your house. But don’t worry, I’m already packed up and ready to leave.

Happy traveling!

Update: I actually ended up taking another carry on – a rolling suitcase, because I realized the dimensions of the expanded backpack wouldn’t fit in an airplane overhead bin. *sigh* I also found that rolling clothes and putting them in ziploc bags helps cut down on unnecessary empty space.