Tuesday, July 27, 2010


When I was preparing to leave last Fall, the thing that was heaviest on my heart was knowing that I had to leave my family.

When I moved away from home at the young age of 18 [:P] I suddenly became closer and grew to appreciate my family. A year later I returned home and got to spend 5 wonderful months with the Phams.

I grew to know my father in a whole new way. The job I had required me to wake up before dawn, and we would often meet in the kitchen, tiptoeing and preparing for our day while trying not to wake the rest. We bonded over cooking Vietnamese food and working on my car (which always had a problem)

My mother was (and is) my biggest supporter. She always encourages me to find the best that God had. I remember her always telling me, "I want all
the doors to be open to you." (this was usually when I refused to study a certain subject in high school, but I know she meant well.) She is still pushing me forward to explore as many opportunities as I can. I know that she is always on my side.

My siblings and I were able to grow close as well. We have always loved each other, but sometimes it takes that distance and a few years of maturity to have true appreciation. Now I value them more than words can describe. If I had 30 bot for every time I whipped out their photos to show off to my friends here I would be a rich woman. I'm so proud of who they are becoming.

To be a disciple means great sacrifice.

There is a man I know, who stood up to do what was right. He sacrificed everything:his job, his safety, his relationships, he even was willing to put his life on the line. All for justice, all for freedom. He sometimes talks to me about his family. He talks about the love he has for his mother, the respect he has for his father, and the tender care he has for his younger sisters. It has been years since he's seen them. He doesn't have much hope that he will see them again.

I feel... I feel petty... I feel petty when my heart aches over my family. I have no excuse. After all, can't I talk to them on skype? Don't I keep in contact with them through facebook and email? Don't I have a date set for when I will return home? He cannot hear their voices and he can never return home.

"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-yes, even his own life-he cannot be my disciple."

I'm not saying that I'm going to leave my family and wonder off into the wilderness, but I think the key is that I must be willing to give up everything to follow the Lord. If you cannot separate yourself from it, then it is something that comes between Jesus and you.

Just some of thoughts.
I've been in Thailand for almost ten months.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

We are all Poor

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—

to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of his splendor.

Isaiah 61:1-3

With each new day, God replaces hatred and despair with love and hope. As my heart breaks over the broken relationships I see, I'm reminded that His Kingdom will one day be Whole again. I can do nothing but give and give. I can do nothing but Love.

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
Deuteronomy 15:11

Friday, July 9, 2010

Holy Rage

I think about Burma a lot. It’s hard not to. I see the result of the military junta everyday. I see the poorest of the poor digging through garbage, because even that is better than the life they had in Burma. I see men who have had their lively hood stolen from them by a landmine, now with no choice but to hobble streets on one leg, unable to work. I’ve met children whose parents were murdered before their eyes, now living as orphans in a foreign land. I’ve met a man who stood up against the government and was imprisoned and forced to flee the country. Now, he is unable to return to Burma without being caught again. It’s been twenty years since he’s seen his parents.

I think about the victims. I blame the leaders and the army. But, the other day it occurred to me that the victims just aren’t the obvious poor, broken people. There are hidden victims as well. What about the soldiers? Those men are Burmese. They have families; they once had dreams and goals for their lives. They are looked at with fear, and secret distain for the horrendous acts they commit, but maybe on the inside their just as broken as those they are persecuting.

I wonder what that young soldier thought the first time he was ordered to attack that village. What flashed through his mind as he lit the bamboo huts on fire, and shot at the men, women, and children who emerged? What do they think as they plant the landmines bent on destroying the lives and crumbling the spirits of people who are not so unlike themselves? I think that the soldiers are victims just as much as anyone.

Prayer. There’s not much I can do. I can’t storm into Burma in a Holy Rage. I can’t make the military leaders give up their power. I can’t even enter the jungle to bring basic help to the millions of people hiding in fear, but I can pray. And, so can you. So, let’s pray. Let’s pray that the soldiers will see that they were not created for brining destruction on the innocent and helpless. Let’s pray that the soldiers will be brought to their knees before Jesus and that they will refuse to do the dirty work of the government. I pray that they will join with the people, that they will become one voice to declare, “We don’t want this anymore.” There’s not much that we can do on our own, but there’s everything that He can do through us.

*Yesterday I entered Burma and was able to see and experience for the first time the fear people live under. As I walked across the bridge that divides Thailand and Burma, I suddenly felt vulnerable and very unprotected. As I walked around the small border town, I felt an overwhelming presence of terror. Later, as I sat and prayed in Thailand, I was moved to petition for these people. Every few weeks or so, I’m going to go to the border and sit. I’m going to go to the border and pray. I’m going to go to the border and prepare my heart and will to be broken for the people of Burma. Would you like to join me? This week, I’ll be praying for the soldiers and military leaders. As God reveals to me ways in which we should be praying, I will share with you, or if you feel God is putting something on your heart then share it, and we can all join together to bring peace to Burma.