The last 5 weeks have undoubtedly been some of the best of my life. It all began in a Victorian mansion in San Francisco, where 19 students, myself, and Brad Berky gathered to begin a journey that would change every single one of us as we sought to understand the issue of trafficking from the perspective of people ready for change. The switch from strangers to family was quick as we began sharing our desires, our stories, and our fears. Having never led a trip of this sorts, I had few expectations. If anything, I didn’t expect to learn as much, or connect as deeply, from and with the students on the team. Therefore it’s hard to tell if I’m biased or just naive, but this group was absolutely, hands down, phenomenal.
Now, reflecting on the experience, all I can say is that it’s a gift. The lessons learned, the friendships, the memories – it’s all a gift.
- It was the perfect transition for Kevin and I as we head off into the unknown for the next year. Our sense of purpose is in limbo as we step into new territory, new culture, new language… Our understanding of what it means to work together was nonexistent as we led separate jobs in the states, so to be thrown into a group where our strengths could come alive and we could really unpack what our partnership in the work world meant was great. We learned so much about each other. We were able to encourage and love one another. It was beautiful. And the perfect transition.
- The relationships I built with the students. They swept me off my feet. Their genuine questions and pursuit of truth, their ability to understand the underbelly of a dark issue, their confidence in knowing their strengths and identifying what they could contribute… they blew me away. Not to mention the late night conversations, the laughs, the intimate moments of tears and words of affirmation. They absolutely stole my heart, which is something I never expected from a trip like this.
- I found a soul sister. Even beginning to go into depth with the beauty and profoundness of this new friendship would take pages. I don’t really understand it myself, except that God has granted me the joy of loving on Sarah, and being loved by her, and that my life is simply more beautiful with her in it. Quite simply put, I believe we drive each other closer to the heart of God.
Saying goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Letting go of something so good, something I loved so much, caused me to feel that blend of joy and pain and gratefulness for DAYS.
So now we’re here, settled in Chiang Rai, and slowly easing in to the rythyms that will be our life for the next year. Kevin learned to drive the truck today, tomorrow it will be conquering the motor bike. Life is simple and wonderful, and we’re really grateful for the community that is here to help transition us in.
To come are some of my favorite pics from the last month.