Tuesday, October 31, 2017

The raw look at my life...

Have you ever felt so alone in the middle of a crowd? There are conversions going on all around you, but you can’t follow any of them because non of them include you. I’ve recently experienced this. I went to lunch with a group of women, women I really enjoy being around, I look up to and want to always have in my life. But I have never felt so left out before. I felt like I was completely invisible to everyone there. I wanted to just get up and leave because they probably wouldn’t have missed me anyway. It was a horrible feeling. But it was also the first time I realized that something was majorly wrong with me. Because it was at that time that the thought had crossed my mind that “life would be better if I wasn’t here” “they wouldn’t even notice if I was gone” “why am I even here?” 
I was talking to someone a few months ago and I said “God won’t give me more than I can handle” to which he responded with “maybe God is giving you a little bit more than you can handle so you learn to trust more in him”. That has stuck with me every day. But why would God give me so much more to where the thoughts of ending my life would even cross my mind? Why would God be making me suffer through all of this?? Why me? What did I do to deserve this?? Why would God allow me to go through all this? And why does it keep coming back!? I’m tired of fighting. Fighting thoughts, fighting pain, fighting rejection, fighting for health. I’ve never been a fan of fighting but it’s literally all I’ve been doing the last 8 months. I’ve been so afraid of things. Afraid of life. 
But what is fear? 

Fear: a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, *pain*, etc., whether the threat is real or *imagined*. 

   Fear has been holding me back for awhile now. Fear of disappointment; whether it be me disappointing or being disappointed. Fear of not being accepted. Fear of not being good enough. Fear of being compared to others. Fear of being rejected. Fear of not being 'enough' for someone. Fear of succeeding. Fear of not living up to the standards. Fear of slipping back into the thing that took me down. Fear of just giving up.
People keep saying 'there's nothing to be afraid of. You are an inspiration and I wish I could be like you'. Trying to believe that has been a tough one because I know me and at times I'm not sure I want to even be me. Things happen in life and get sucked into the sins of this world... and then trying to say no to them. But they keep popping back up. They are attacks coming from Satan and Sometimes I win. But sometimes I lose. Right now, I really feel like a loser. I fail every day and it sucks. But learning from my failures is what's really important. If I don't learn from them and change my ways of living I'll keep falling and giving in and failing. But all of these fears are 'the spirit fear' that the Bible talks about. 

BUT; Beneficial fear is encouraged. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and leads to understanding (Psalm 111:10). The fear of the Lord leads to life, rest, peace, and contentment (Prov. 19:23). The Fear of the Lord provides a security and a place of safety for us (Prov. 14:26). In Isaiah 41:10 it says "do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand". Every day I fear the future of my life, but God cares for even the smallest bird in the air, He knows the hairs on my head. So how much more does He care and provide for me? One of His children. Psalm 56:11 says "in God I trust, I shall not be afraid. what man can do unto me?" What is the key to overcoming my fears? Total and complete trust in my Lord and Savior. But that is after understanding His power and knowing Christ as my savior. No matter the circumstances (fears) God brings into my life. Trusting Him is refusing to give in to the fears that follow me every day, sometimes every hour. "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." Job 13:15. Only until I learn to fully, 100% completely put my trust in Christ, can I then completely rest in Him and place those fears aside. 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

As the trip comes to an end...

     It is so sad how fast this trip is coming to a close. I haven't been sleeping well the past few nights again and I think it's kinda because I don't want this trip to end yet. This trip has been so amazing and such a blessing to be here with the Baldwin family and the people in the countryside.

     On Tuesday Wiwin and I took a ride in a tuk tuk to go shopping. I'm not the biggest fan of shopping, but it was so much fun with it just being she and I. We were able to get a bunch of stuff for family and enough coffee to last me a little while once I'm home. Haha jk the coffee has plans to go to people. Then we went to lunch at an expensive place, which was a treat. Had chicken pot pie and fries. It was really good too!! The place targets westerners, So it was my kind of place. Haha and thankfully I didn't get sick from eating there!! :P

      We found out last Sunday that one of the translators were not going to be able to come this Sunday with us due to something going on with his church. So we didn't know how things were going to work with just 1 translator. I was pretty bummed because I wanted to be able to hit my villages one more time before I leave. So I prayed about it, and God heard! We will be getting a 2nd translator from ITCS!! Such a blessing and an encouragement that we will be able to hit all the villages while I'm here one more time. I can't wait to see the kiddos again!! God works in wonderful ways!!!

      I had my last playgroup with the kids here in the city. Wiwin tricked me into thinking she was making a cake because Zachary wanted it, when in reality she was making it to celebrate my leaving. Just kidding....kinda. Yes, she made it because I'm leaving but it was more so a "mourning" cake. But whatever kind of cake it was, it was DELICIOUS!!! Cakes made in rice cookers are actually pretty yummy; just FYI.

      I leave Monday early afternoon. Around 12:40 our time, so about 1:40am all yalls time. So pray for me as y'all go to bed. I won't complain to you if you get up in the middle of the night to pray though. ;) haha anyway, I know this post is short, but not a whole lot has happened since Sunday. But packing up soon and getting ready to head home. It's been awesome and brings tears to my eyes not knowing when I will be able to get back here. It's been a blessing and I am so thankful that I could be a little help here at the house and in the countryside while I've been here. No greater joy then doing what the Lord wants you to do and no safer place to be than in the center of His will. God is gracious!

In His Service,

1) so far, the car has still been running okay and things seem to be okay.
2) we were able to get another translator to help this weekend
3) the ministry doing well

1) the last weekend of going out to the countryside to go well
2) the kids will do well with having me (who speaks next to no Khmer) and a new translator
3) packing everything up starting on Saturday.
4) the ministry to grow even more and bring more kids in!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

An exciting weekend

    So this weekend was the last weekend of VBS and it is one I will not soon forget. Having big groups of kids and just the fellowship with the kids and adults of the villages is such a blessing. It's been an amazing weekend!!! On Saturday we had a pretty good adventurous trip home. I got to drive here in Cambodia: a 3 manpower car! Simply meaning, Pastor Mark's car stalled on the way home and he and the 2 translators pushed the car while I was able to steer it off the road. Thankfully the traffic wasn't too heavy and it was pretty simple...on my end. But of course I was not the one pushing. :P the car is back at the shop though. Thankfully the mechanic was nice enough to let us borrow his car again for Sunday to go to the country side. Lord willing Pastor Mark will be able to get his car fixed today and back to him before long. I feel bad, the whole month I've been here it's been filled with stress of the car, lack of sleep, the college changing Pastor Mark's teaching schedule and all. But we've made it!

    We had really good numbers on both days for VBS and it was pretty tiring! But we made it through and lived to tell about it!! :) yesterday there was literally a fight breaking out between 2 little girls over who was allowed to stand by me and hold my hand. The girls were from 2 different villages and the one didn't like that the other was was here in her village taking my attention, shoved her away from me, stood there with her hands on her hips yelling at the little girl. I then came between them showing that I have two arms and two sides and that I can hold both hands at one time and they can both even sit in my lap at the same time. (You learn to play hand motions here and eventually they understand what you're getting at) They were both okay then. So no fights. Haha

      This week at the Pastoral Confrenence at ITCS, Mr. Srong was able to attend all week. I was able to ask him (through a translator obviously) how it was and he was very encouraged by the Confrenence. He said he understood most of what was talked about. Which is phenomenal and very encouraging to hear him so excited about learning more of God's word!

      On Saturday we were in the village eating lunch and all these kids came running down the street looking back. It never occurred to me to look up the street. But then a few minuets later and elephant comes walking down the street!! Pastor Mark says he sometimes doesn't see elephants for years here but since being here my elephant count is at 2! :)

      So this weekend, I'm not sure of the best/exciting/exhilarating thing. Was it seeing the elephant? Getting to 'drive'? Getting to break up the fight between two girls? Getting a drunk guy pretending to kick the car as we drove by them, who was on a moto? Or was it almost getting run off the road by a huge dump truck that decided that he wasn't going to move to his lane and take almost the entire road to himself? Which ever one it is, it all made for an awesome weekend.

       So this week will be filled with going out and getting stuff I want/need to bring home. One week from right now I'll be back at the air port getting ready to board and come home. How can this trip be coming to a close already!? Tomorrow Wiwin and I are going to take some time alone and go out either by Tuk Tuk or moto and do some shopping for me. It'll be fun. My times with Wiwin are always memorable. I love our times together!

    God has been good on this trip and I am so thankful for the opportunity my church, family members, and everyone else who has supported me to get here and to minister to these kids and adults in Cambodia. It has been such an awesome and life changing experience. And now more than ever I am keeping it before the Throne on if the Lord is calling me here full time or not. The Grandmas in the village told me that I need to stay longer, to which I replied "if it's the Lord's will, I will." So I know what they are praying for now. Lol :) it's all in the Lord's hands!

     Looking forward to coming home, but going to thoroughly enjoy my last week here, for this trip.  So excited to spend what little time I have left here with the Baldwin family, especially my little buddy, Zachary!

In His Service,

   1) VBS finished off well with awesome numbers of kids
   2) the use of the mechanics car for the weekend
   3) safety on the roads
   4) Mr. Srong being able to attend the pastoral conference at ITCS

   1) the car to be fixed and ACTUALLY fixed this time
   2) the kids in the country side to not get all the persecution from adults as they come to church
   3) Zachary to learn to be gentle with Anna
   4) my last week here to go well, one more trip to the country side!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18

    Howdy! So this week has been full of going to ITCS (International Theoloical College and Seminary) that Pastor Mark teaches for. It has been nice to get to see some people that we knew from 4 years ago, and meeting new people. I've been hanging around more this time than the last so I've been able to get to know them more, which has been awesome. Pastor Mark has been teaching this week at the pastoral conference they have been having this week. It is where they have invited men from all around the country to the school, give them food and shelter for the week and teach them more about the things of Christ. Pastor Mark has been teaching on Hebrews this week. My plan was to be in all the services but I've got caught up in talking to the students and have missed half the messages. Oops. But I have new friends! :) so that's always a bonus. Haha

      I was feeling pretty crappy the other day. Pretty sure I was running a low grade temp at some point. But I feel much better now; for which I am so thankful! It's no fun being away from home and not feeling well. So thank you for all the prayers. I am very appreciative for them!!

      Today when heading home from ITCS, Pastor Mark and I stopped to get some chicken and ice cream for lunch and then headed to go get the car from the shop...again. They were supposed to be fixing the alignment and something else. But when we got to the shop it wasn't done yet. So we took a tuk tuk to the local market where I was able to do a little shopping. Come to find out I'm decent at bartering, which comes in handy when you're at a place like that. So I got a few things to bring home. But hopefully I'll make it back there and be able to get a few more things. I need a new Cambodian Tshirt for myself since mine from 4 years ago is pretty gross. Just walking around the market was nice to get an idea of what they have and what I want to get for people. We got to the gross part of the market...the part that ALMOST made me gag and throw up. But thankfully I didn't. The produce section. Meat hanging out, dripping yummy juices on to the veggies laying below them. *shudder* It makes me all that much more thankful for America and what we have there. Walmart doesn't seem so bad after all... After we finished up at the market we walked back to the car shop and waited a little bit while they test drove the car and washed it when they got back. To only get in and the alignment still hasn't been fixed. *facepalm* So, it'll have to go back to the shop next week to actually be finished...hopefully. It seems like it's just been one thing after another with it. So, we're praying that everything will get fixed this next time. But we've been praying for that since I got here almost a month ago. Lol

         I took Zachary down to the pool for a swim after we got back this afternoon. It felt so good to get in the cool water after being out and about all day. It was rather refreshing!! Zachary loves the pool but still doesn't know how to swim yet. But loves to jump in. So you have to stay pretty close to him at all times because you never know when he'll jump from the kiddie area to the adult part. But, I keep a close eye on him and he loves it. He's getting so used to me being around, as Pastor Mark and I came home he comes up to me and goes "oh auntie, there you are". Haha then I asked him if he wanted to go swimming and oh goes "ohhhhh okay!!" Lol he's so adorable. It's hard to believe that before I got here he wasn't talking much. Because HE TALKS ALL THE TIME!!!!!! Which is a good thing. :) he's 2, it's about time he started his whole non-stop jibber jabbering. I'm going to miss this kid when I leave!! ❤️

        I leave Cambodia in less than a week and a half and will be back to Florida in 2 weeks from today! It's hard to believe this trip is almost over!!! As But who knows; Maybe I'll be back here soon. :) I do miss everyone at home; students, family (nephews especially!) church family. Everyone pretty much. (As everyone in Florida is headed to Camp, the greatest place on earth, I'll be on my nice loooong 12.5 hour flight home) But I wouldn't trade my time here for anything. God has been so good to me and the ministry here.

     One more weekend of VBS and then a Sunday to follow of normal Sunday school lessons. So crazy. This month has FLOWN! So much has happened since my being here. The Lord has called home 3 people I know and love but 5 babies have been born (with a 6th one due any time actually!). God is so amazingly awesome and I am thankful for His hand of protection!

        In His service,
       Sharon :)

Happy Birthday, Peter!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

First week of VBS

    Greetings from Cambodia again! We have had a wonderful weekend filled with games, crafts, fun and SUN. So much sun which makes A LOT of heat. Pastor Mark said that he knew for sure it was hot when the Florida girl said 'wow it was hot today!' Lol not being able to really avoid the heat on weekends is rough and really takes a lot out of you. I've been continuing to try to stay hydrated, but haven't been the most successful. Pastor Mark has this salt stuff to drink, which basically is flavored salt water, and I've drank some of that both days to try and help with the dehydration.

     Saturday VBS; in the first village we actually had no kids show up because they all had morning school, not afternoon. So we hung around the village for the time we were supposed to be teaching and we were able to fellowship with Mr. and Mrs. Srong. Which I really enjoyed getting to do. Then one of the older girls that used to attend the advanced English classes they had there (who I had gotten to know a little the last time I was here). She is now in school in the city and skipped class to come see me. It was very sweet of her and it was good to see her again. She is going to be going to Israel for school in September and will be there for a whole year. Pray for her! We took Zachary with us on Saturday because Pastor Mark really didn't have to do anything because I was doing all the teaching, so he kept and eye on him. But Zachary got to see his best friends ever in the villages, the ducks. He loves to run and trap them make them fly and wack him with their wings in the process. Haha 
In the second village we had a small amount, but that's normal, but it was smaller than normal because some kids had school too. This village was super sweet and we had an awesome thing happen. We had been telling them that we would be back on Saturday and some of them then asked 'can you please not come on Saturday because we have school and we don't like missing'. Talk about encouraging! It was cool to hear them say that (well it was translated for me ;) ). So we agreed, so we'll skip that village on Saturday and only do Sunday. 
The 3rd village for the day we had about 48 kids. They were such a blast and they really love to play games. Their favorite; What Time Is It Fox? I thought for SURE someone was going to get trampled and hurt. Because when you have that many kids running in such a small area normally means injuries. Or maybe that's just me. I'm the injury prone person and that's where my mind always goes. :P the kids in that village were quite good with keeping their attention during the lesson and it was actually the 11-14 year old boys that seemed the most interested. One of them kept his focus on me the entire time like he was understanding every single word coming out of my mouth. He is a very sweet boy and every time I needed something to be handed out he's right there to jump in and help.  He was also one of the boys that loved playing with the frisbee I brought. I don't know if they had ever seen one before but some of them caught on right away and the others just used the other kids as target practice, at least that's what it looked like. I think it was more so, let's see who can just wing it the hardest. But a few of them kept it gentle and made it work wonderfully. 
     VBS on Sunday was so fun! We had 23 or so kids in the village that we had zero in on Saturday. Which is a good number for that village because they are the kids that get a lot of persecution from adults in the village. So it was nice to have those kids there. They were rather active and had A LOT of energy. So running games were popular. Haha 
In the second village we had a few more kids (the ones that asked us to not come on Saturday) and they are so interested in everything. The stories, craft, English. They love it all and are so well behaved! So enthusiastic about everything and was the desire to learn. 
The 3rd village I brought 2 beach balls, and I'm surprised they are not popped yet. If they survive the next 2 weekends, I'll leave them with a village and they'll probably pop soon after I leave, but at least they'll have fun while they last. We had a few kids more than on Saturday in this village, which we were kinda expecting at least double since we had given out noodles for coming. That normally attracts a lot of kids because for some of those kids, that could be their only meal for the day. Some of the kids open the bag and start eating them uncooked and others took them home and maybe they eat them raw or they let their mom cook them. The kids in this 3rd village have really wiggled their way into my heart. They have started coming up to me and holding my hand and just coming and standing next to me. They want my help gluing their crafts together and not the help of the others. It cracks me up. Last time it took them a full 2 weeks to warm up to us, but I've only seen these kids 2 other times and they now are way more open to me. Some of the kids didn't want to play the games because it was in the sun and it was pretty hot in the direct sun light. So they sat there looking at me and smiling. So I took 3 pieces of paper and balled them up and started to juggle. The little ones were laughing like crazy and a few of the older boys were watching intently. It was so much fun!! They are a wonderful group of kids and I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with them!! I'm going to miss them terribly when I go home in 2 weeks! 

      Thank you all for keeping us in your prayers. We are all doing well and our translators (who were both sick on Saturday and only one came, but they both were good for Sunday) are doing well! I am so thankful for them and the time they give this ministry. Especially since they have to give up a whole extra day these 2 weeks. Both our translators are teachers and work every day. It was fun  working with them. 

     Only 2 weeks left. It's crazy!! Time had flown since coming here. In one sense I'm ready to come home, but in another sense, I'm so not ready to!! Going out to the villages is such a life changing experience and just plain awesome. I love these kids and love being able to minister to them and work with them. God is so good!!

Thank you for the prayers!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

week 2

          Sunday went really well for being by myself for the first time. It's so different doing all this without the help of 10 other people. Craft time is probably the hardest part; mostly because the kids all want everything we have and they want it now, before everyone else, just to make sure they get it. So handing out stickers was tricky. You have all 50+ hands in your space all at one time. But other than that, things went really smooth. We had 45 kids in 1 village and 50+ in the other. We are very thankful for those numbers and pray that there will be more for the VBS this weekend. We are expecting more and praying for the kids to be able to come out to hear about our wonderful God and the Amazing miracles He preformed. This Sunday I taught about Jesus changing the water into wine, and that will be followed with the Feeding of the 5,000, Healing of the Nobleman's son, and then Healing of Bartimaeus.
     I didn't get to ride on the back of a moto...yet. There would have been 3 people, 3 backpacks, the huge tarp for the kiddos to sit on, plus the bag filled with goodies, game stuff and craft stuff. So all that on the back of a moto just didn't sound all that safe to Pastor Mark. Lol especially since I've never been on the back of one either. But he is bound and determined to get me on one by the end of this trip! He suggested that I take a moto to the market on a Monday morning; aka rush hour through the heart of the city. Which might be fun. I would probably have a heart attack or two while on the way there and back. But it would be worth it to get to experience it. :)

   The car is finally fixed! At least it's not overheating anymore. The steering wheel is kinda at a funny angle now, but that will be fixed hopefully next week at some point. On Tuesday when Pastor Mark went to go pick up the car and it overheated before he got home, he sat at the repair shop with the owner and had the opportunity to share the gospel with him. So out of all this frustration with the car, something good has come out. A seed has been planted and now we need to pray for it to grow. And Pastor Mark is praying that he will get another opportunity to share with him. It just goes to show that no matter the circumstance, God always has a plan to work things out for His glory!!

     Wiwin and I got to talking the other day and I mentioned that I used to pay violin and how that I've been looking into maybe picking it back up. She asked why I hadn't started yet. I explained that when I played all those years ago that I rented the violin from my teacher and I haven't found one that I can afford. She immediately goes "I have one. I don't use it anymore. If you promise to start playing again, you can take it with you."  So, Emily, be prepared to help me when I get back. I have a violin for you to help me tune and all!! :)

      Anna has been doing better at night and Wiwin has been getting more sleep at night and resting in the afternoons. Zachary is a very active little boy and if you say either of the forbidden words in the house he will bug you till you take him to either of the locations. the forbidden words are playground and swimming. He loves to go out and play and just run around. He's a typical older brother and doesn't understand that Anna can't jump around and play catch yet. He's pretty rough with her, but we are working on that. I've had him sitting in my lap, My hands on his hands, and gently bouncing her in the bouncer. Hoping that he will understand that she needs to be bounced nicely and not bounced out of the bouncer. Lol

    I had the opportunity to go to Zachary's playgroup again this week. It is a blessing to get to meet these women who live here and work here and just hear about their lives. They all speak English, not all from America but one used to live in Florida. So that was cool to find out. It is fun to be around groups of little kids and just play with them. Still makes me miss my little kiddos at home, but gives a little taste of home.

     I was feeling a little under the weather for awhile and when I wasn't watching either of the kids or working on lesson/games/craft planning I was laying down. So sorry to those of you who were waiting for an update and I haven't given it to you. My bad. I'm drinking a lot more water (on top of what more I've already been drinking) hoping that it'll help me this weekend. Being in the country side for 1 day was a little rough on recovering, and we will be going out 2 days for the next 2 weeks. So pray for Pastor Mark and myself this weekend especially. Pastor Mark's shoulder is still giving him some major issues and it doesn't help that Zachary loves to play with daddy and pull on his arms and jump on him and climb on his shoulders.

   Thank you all for the prayers again. It means so much to us here and the ministry!!


1) the car seems to be fixed from overheating
2) the gospel was shared with Noel, the mechanic
3) Anna is continuing to do a little better at night
4) I'm feeling a bit better

1) The mechanic to see his need for  Christ
2) The ministry in the country side this weekend
3) health and safety as we travel to the country side in the car that was fixed and won't overheat on us.
4) Wiwin's mom's BP to remain in a good range (which has been doing better since she moved to sleeping with me in the living room and getting a full nights rest).
5) to stay hydrated.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

June 6

   God is good. Pastor Mark went to go pick up his car just a little bit ago. It was more than what he was hoping it would cost to fix, but it seems to actually be fixed now. So, We'll take it tomorrow to the country side. Today I have been working a lot on getting lessons organized and figuring out what will be done when and which village. Tomorrow will be a rather interesting day...I'll be riding on the back of a moto to go to the villages that get kinda neglected on Sundays. Mr. Srong always goes midweek and works with the villages, but there just is not enough time in the day to get to all 5 villages. If the Lord were to call me here full time it is possible that these 2 villages would become mine to work with; with the addition of another village. Because there is another village that has showed interest in Pastor Mark coming and ministering to them there. But only the Lord knows what my future holds and I rest in that thought.

     I am so thankful to be here to help Wiwin make it though this time with Anna during the day. Anna loves sleeping on my chest; It is one thing that will calm her down at any moment of the day. Thankfully today she has been very content to sit in the bouncer while I prepare everything for tomorrow. She had a much better night last night too! We are very thankful!

    I woke up this morning with a little feeling of something creeping up on my immune system, I can feel my body fighting it. I'm praying that if it hits me it will be after tomorrow and end before next Saturday (when we start VBS). I personally think it has to do with needing more water, so I'm working on that. :P

The wifi here has been kinda spotty the past couple of days. So sorry mom and dad if I have not been keeping you up to date as often as you would like. I think it is fixed now...at least I am able to type this, so I am assuming it is. lol

I have already been here a week and a half! CRAZY! Time is flying. So fast that I almost can't keep up with what day it is. I thought it was Thursday but then it hit me later that it was Saturday. The only excuse I can come up with for that is the heat...or the lack of sleep. But I've been sleeping okay so it must be the heat.

   Other than that, not much has happened here since I last updated. Just thankful that God is faithful. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers!!

In His Service,

1) Pastor Mark's truck is done!
2) Anna slept better last night
3) Zachary is sometimes telling someone when he needs to go potty
4) Wiwin and her mom are getting to rest more in the afternoon

1) The ministry (teaching) to go well (and that I won't die on the back of the moto ;) )
2) The truck will continue to run well and won't have any more major issues
3) The sickness I am feeling won't get worse