Meet Joy Watson coming to ISM 01.15 – internship Noah’s Ark

My name is Joy Watson and I will be joining ISM in January of 2015!

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As a young child growing up in the church my heart always longed to help others. I can remember my first day attending Sunday school and wanting to help the teacher. As I grew older my passion to help others only became stronger. Once a year a singing group from South Africa visited my grandparents’ church and my grandparents housed a few of the children. Talking to these kids brought a smile to my little face, and it was then that my little heart started dreaming of going overseas and helping those in other countries. When I became too old to attend Sunday school I decided then to help the very Sunday school program I was once in. Before my first day as a Sunday school helper was over I was hooked on these little kids. I loved seeing their tiny hearts be filled with joy the same way I was when I was their age, and I knew I wanted to continue doing this.

 

A few months ago at the overflow youth convention in Kitchener/Waterloo my friend suggested that I check out the Impact School of Missions booth, so I did. After speaking with the representative I knew that this was the program for me! The whole weekend I was struggling with the question of “What next God?” as I was going to graduate high school in a month and had no clue what to do once I was done. By the time I arrived home I was positive that this was the next step God wanted me to take in my life! After what seemed like a very long process, I found out I was accepted to the winter 2015 program in Thailand as well as a 3 month internship at Noah’s Ark in the Philippines, and I could not have been happier!

 

Being able to go on this trip has been an answer to prayer! It has been my hearts longing for a long time that I am able to go overseas and help with missions work and children, and now I get to do so! I hope that this trip helps me to learn more about the wondrous things that God has in store for me, as well I hope that God will use me to touch the lives of the people in Thailand and the Philippines as I know he is going to use them to touch mine!

Hello and Goodbye!

This month we are saying goodbye to Jessica Pellowe

Jessica first heard the call to “go”  in 2010.  It’s hard to believe our first hello was almost 5 years ago!   Her first taste of missions life was as an intern with me at NightLight for 3 months and then she returned to Canada for a very short time before returning to SEA and teaching in Nepal for 6 months.  Jessica then accepted a teaching position for 2 years at a Christian School in Bangkok.  After her contract ended she became ISM’s School Administrator.  Jessica is an incredibly gifted woman who  has faithfully and competently worked along side of me from the inception of ISM.  She  has been responsible for putting many of the processes in place, teaching at ISM, and handling the finances and admin.  She has travelled to several nations visiting interns and partnered wiith me at women’s conferences.  For the past two years she has done much of the admin for our Regional Retreat.

We are thankful to the Lord for bringing Jessica to serve along side of me for the past two years.  We are praying the Lord opens a door for her in Ontario!   She will be missed.

Hello Ashton

Ashton McIntosh joined ISM on June 2nd 2014 as the Internship Co-ordinator. Thankfully, Jessica has been training her and preparing herfor the new group of students arriving in September.  Ashton has several years of administrative experience,  her Bachelor of Contemporary Ministry. and a heart for worship. She will be working with ISM until the spring of 2015.

Please pray for Jessica as she adjusts to life back in Canada and that the perfect job will come her way. Also please pray for Ashton as she adjusts to life back in Bangkok and for the incoming class in September.

Dream BIG!
Sandra McIntosh
Director, ISM

Missions experiences are one hope for hemorrhaging faith

The statistics from the Hemorrhaging Faith Study from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada are sobering. Click here for the full report.   The report reveals the following:

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  •  * Only one in three Canadian young adults who attended church weekly as a child still do so today.

  • * Of the young adults who no longer attend church, half have also stopped identifying themselves with the Christian tradition in which they were raised.

  • * There are four primary toxins that keep young people from engaging with the church: Hypocrisy, judgement, exclusivity, failure.

However the report reveals some hope.  One specific stat stands out to us! 

71% of those still engaged said their faith came alive on a missions trip.

Simply serving in Jesus name impacts the people serving, always . . . and most importantly impacts the people being served. Hearts change. Lives change. Relationships with God change. Is there genuine, lasting value in youth and young adult missions experiences? Yes!  A missions internship is even more life changing than a two week missions trip.  And here’s why…

  • A missions experience encourages them to put feet to their faith over several months.
  • They gain a greater sense of value for every life, and sensitivity to how God can use them to touch others with His love.
  • Mission experiences take youth and young adults out of their comfort zones where masks drop, and hiding isn’t possible. This puts them in a place where they rely more directly on God.
  • They are put into situations that they’ve never had to deal with before and this results in deep soul searching and a greater awareness of things that need to still be surrendered to God.
  • They are given the opportunity to use their gifts and skills.
  • By experiencing different cultures, they become better-rounded and gain a greater appreciation for people that are different from themselves.
  • Serving a ministry over several months helps to establish a lifestyle of service that often carries into adulthood.
  • Many times, they experience a new hunger for God.
  • They learn to appreciate what it means to live in a nation with a Christian Heritage and how that impacts laws, value of life, work ethic and prosperity.

If you are directly involved with youth and young adults encourage them to check out Impact School of Missions.  It WILL change their life.  Our PAOC global workers and ministry partners want students to come and serve along side of them.  We at ISM are committed to investing in this generation!  Their age group, throughout history is responsible for some of the most innovative ideas, creativity and reformation.  This generation can accomplish the unprecedented. Together we can provide them with opportunities to use their life to impact the world and in turn their love for Jesus will deepen!

For youth and young adult leaders we can send you promo cards and feel free to link us to your website under Missions Opportunities! Please write us at infoism@impactasia.ca for more info.

 

Stand up all you dreamers!

Stand up, stand up
Stand up all you dreamers
- “Wake Up” All Sons and Daughters Live Album

What are your dreams?

If you had a best case scenario and no barriers or boundaries, what would you do with your life? No barriers and no boundaries.  Now, what is keeping you from accomplishing it?  Most of us have an endless list of reasons, money, timing, opportunity or fear but sometimes the only real barrier is action.

You can choose to shape the life you live
. But you have to DO something.

Why Dream?

1. Dreams cause you to step out in faith and watch God do what only He can – the miraculous.

2. Dreaming with God 

causes dissatisfactions with the natural life.  You are a supernatural being designed for supernatural living.

3. When we believe in supernatural living – that empowers our dreams 
and only causes our dreams to get better
.

4. We have gifts, talents and a destiny to fulfill our dreams.  When you dream you realize you were designed on purpose for a purpose and our gifts impossible to extinguish
.

Romans 11:29 For the gifts (donation) and the calling of God are irrevocable (without regret)

If you have a longing to make a lasting impact with your life,  I challenge you to do something about it. Dreams don’t become reality without action.  This Fall consider taking a leap into the unknown.  A wise, godly man once told me two things:

1.  As a believer when you jump into the unknown with faith, you can be sure that the foundation under you is God.

2.  Without doing something, your dreams and passions are just wishful thinking.

At ISM we have 25 opportunities that can help you make your dream become a reality.  It’s time to turn that passion into action and make those dreams your real life adventure!   www.ismsea.com

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Meet Karen Harvey coming to ISM in January 2014 – Internship at NightLight

Hi my name is Karen Harvey and I’ll be serving in Thailand with NightLight beginning in January 2015, seeking to shine God’s light in the darkness and bring hope and dignity to His daughters!  I’m a 2014 graduate of Hope College in Holland, Michigan, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Ministry.  Washington State is my native land, and mountains are my favorite kind of landscape!

 

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I grew up in the church and though there wasn’t a specific moment that I recall, I made the choice to follow Jesus around age nine.  I knew that this meant that I was loved and that God would not leave me.  Around this time, I began developing a passion for the oppressed and undignified of the world.  In high school, I went on mission trips to Mexico and Honduras that were profoundly impacting to me.  I realized my love of other cultures, serving those in need, and the ways that God can work outside of my own personal context.  I also met a wonderful missionary family doing their furlough in my hometown, which put the idea of being a missionary into my mind.  My faith grew a lot at the end of high school as I joined youth group and a small group Bible study and found Christian community for the first time.  I knew that I wanted a Christian college, and I chose to move across the country to attend Hope College- a small school with deep traditions, community, and faith.

 

I’m in my last weeks at Hope now and it has been so incredibly sweet.  I’ve learned what it means to give every part of my life to Jesus- to seek His glory in whatever it is that I’m doing.  I’m privileged to have witnessed God at work on my campus and in the lives of my friends.  I’ve learned so much about who I am in Christ and who God made me specifically to be.  I watched the sun rise over the Great Wall, adventured in Tibet, and learned more about myself than I thought possible during my semester abroad in China.  I got to live in God’s creation in Colorado and live life with the coolest teenagers I’ve ever met last summer.  I’ve been most blessed by a wide variety of friends and mentors who have taught me more about who God is and shown me love and grace when I don’t deserve it.  Even in the challenging times, God has taught me about perseverance and that He will ultimately use my struggles to reflect His glory.

 

One time of my college career that has been especially impactful is the summer between my sophomore and junior years that I spent serving at a children’s home in Kenya.  I saw God’s heartbreak for the orphaned and forgotten of the world, and how deeply He cares for His children.  I love to be His hands and feet, and He is good enough to let us do that!  After this experience, I sensed that the next phase of my journey would take me to women in sex-trafficking and that is what my experience in Thailand will be.  My journey to Thailand officially began at the Urbana conference at the end of 2012.  The speaker said something to the effect of “light isn’t needed where it’s already light- we’re called to shine light in the darkest places.”  I saw in my mind a red light shining in the darkness, and a pair of eyes, broken and without hope.  On my Urbana commitment card I committed to serving in missions and I wrote, “to bring hope and dignity to His daughters.”

This is my call for the year 2015.  I heard about NightLight through a friend, and remembered the name when I started research post-grad plans.  From there I got connected with ISM.  God opened and closed doors until I knew that Thailand was where I was going to be.  He has been so faithful, even in the smallest ways and I know that He will be with me just as He always has been.  I’m excited to join up with what He’s already doing in Thailand through NightLight!

 

“I’m passionate about missions” – do I really need on the ground training?

onthegroundBefore opening ISM in 2012, I personally had 16 interns come and intern with me through NightLight International.  I began working with NightLight in 2006 and I had the privilege of being the volunteer co-ordinator there for 5 plus years along with coordinating interns, volunteers and short term teams.  The  interns often lived with me and I spent quite a bit of time helping them understand working in Thailand, discussing do’s and don’ts, walking them through culture shock,  role loss, homesickness and understanding missions life.  I knew that if I didn’t handle these questions, the ministry would have to.  I also showed them how to navigate the city of Bangkok.  Some of the interns prepared by reading books, talking to other short termers but books and chats cannot replace on the ground training by long term missionaries.  Short termers have some experience in missions but without living on the ground your understanding of missions life is limited.  In 2012 I opened ISM so I could send interns all over South East Asia to intern.  So many ministries (25 working with ISM) are looking for trained interns.  During the training phase of ISM students are taught by a variety of missionaries and ministry leaders with missions experience from a few years to 30 years.   So why do you need on the ground training?

  1. You will learn from people who are fighting issues like poverty and slavery that tackling these problems have little to do with Facebook likes, tweets, and instagram photos.   Most of us come from a western understanding of these huge and famous problems in our world. These issues involve corruption at every level in countless nations around the world, organized crime and many cultural push factors.  Awareness and fighting slavery must be a priority and it’s a God given mandate, but jumping on a band wagon without realizing the complexities surrounding the problem it isn’t the way to combat such massive issues.  Training on the ground will give you insight and an educated understanding of how to move forward with intelligence.
  2. Cultural Sensitivity – When you come to another nation to serve you have to learn the basic do’s and don’ts in order to open people’s hearts.  As an intern its really important that you come as a learner and not as a tourist. It is crucial to get training from people who live on the field.  Years of experience working, loving and serving as a missionary is invaluable.    Reading stories, getting a degree, while important cannot begin prepare you for this.  Hands on training does.
  3. To learn that missionaries are just imperfect people.
  4. To learn how to deal with culture shock and culture stress.  Serving short term is an amazing and often a life changing opportunity but it isn’t easy. To uproot your life, be away from friends and family and learn to live another way with different cultural rules and norms is  challenging. Training helps you notice the signs of culture shock and stress and gives you helpful tools to cope and thrive.
  5. To learn that they way we do things in our home nations isn’t always the best way, its just different.
  6. To learn how to depend on the Holy Spirit.  The spiritual world is as real as the physical world. Without the Holy Spirit you are helpless.  “For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Ephesians 6:12
  7. To learn how to die to self and kill your inner diva by actually having to give up some things.  Things other than chocolate and social media.
  8. To learn that loving people into the kingdom is really hard work.   Mission trips look nothing like living on the mission field. Internships are not missions’ trips.  A mission trip schedule is what missionaries do when teams come.
  9. To meet a variety of missionaries who have been living on the field for years.  You get to learn from experts who have made mistakes, and also have some great stories that will inspire you.
  10. So you are a blessing to the ministry hosting you.  After being on the ground for a month your eyes are starting to open to how things work in another culture.   You also have learned how to serve with excellence and what ministries need and want from interns.  You have learned to cope with living with other people that you don’t know, what the language barrier really means,  that your internship is not about you and that your primary role is to hold up hands of the warriors while they do battle.

We are honoured to have some of our  hosts  telling us that ISM interns are some of the best they’ve ever had.   Why?   On the ground training.

To apply go to http://www.ismsea.com

Sandra McIntosh
Director, ISM

BIG NEWS – one of our ISMers Class of 09.12 – Maria is now the Director of Marketing and Relationships at NightLight

BIG NEWS!

It’s Official!!!

You are looking at NightLight Design’s new “Director of Business and Relationships” for their North American region! … almost.

What does that mean? It means that if we raise full funding for this brand new position by July 1st, I will be responsible for directing the business strategy and managing key stakeholder partnerships for NightLight’s social enterprise, NightLight Design, throughout their North American region. We believe the creation of this position will greatly enhance the long-term sustainability of this business, and therefore increase NightLight’s ability to impact the sex trade community in Bangkok.

In March’s newsletter, I will include the complete breakdown on this new position and the business plan we have been working hard to develop! 

In April, I will let you in on the biggest lessons I’ve learned since returning from Thailand… deep stuff. 

Thank you so much for your compassionate hearts towards the women in Bangkok and for partnering with me to impact this community.

Meet Julie Gosen and Abby Zantingh coming to ISM September 2014.

“Hello everyone! I’m Julie and my adventure begins this coming September in Thailand and then on to the Philippines with Noah’s Ark! 
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I had to make some tough decisions to get here, but everything has fallen into place and I couldn’t be more excited to follow the Lord and to go wherever He wants me to go. God told me I was being held back where I am now and I didn’t understand why, until this opportunity with Impact came up. I applied and prayed and feel so at peace with this decision, and like I said, I couldn’t be more excited!
I bit of a background on me, I’m 19 years old, I took a year off to work, figure myself and to pursue my relationship with God, and boy has the past year been just that. I’ve been pushed and challenged, but through everything I’ve found that my relationship with God has gone deeper than I ever imagined and being where I am now, I could never go back. I grew up in a Christian home and always attended church until my high school years, where I felt like I was in a rut, I didn’t have many Christian friends at school and I felt stuck. Near the end of grade 12 I decided to make a change and to pursue God in any way I could, I started coming back to youth, involving myself in the church again and to go on a missions trip in the summer, and that was absolutely amazing and life changing. It was more wonderful than I could ever explain, and it was only a week! Imagine being gone for 3 months! I’m so happy with how my life has changed and I want to serve God in any way I can. I was praying alone in my room one night and I felt stuck again and then the words “long term missions work” passed through my head and I felt so overwhelmed with peace and joy, literally unexplainable, and I started crying and praised the Lord for even being part of my life. This trip could be the start to so much more.
I’m trusting God with the finances and I know I won’t have a problem. I’m ready to show his love, ready to fall in love with loving others, ready for a new chapter of my life and I’m overjoyed to know it’s happening in Thailand. I get to show others God’s love and who could ever ask for more? So come September, I’ll start my 2 month internship with Noah’s Ark, working with the kids there (which is amazing because I love kids SO much) and God knows that. Ready for new relationships, ready for challenges, ready to see more, ready to be a light in this world.”
Meet Abby Zantingh
Abby's IPhone 632
I am Abigail Zantingh, a servant for the Lord, excited to start His work in Thailand this September. I have done missions before in Africa, Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Guyana, but Thailand will be my longest stretch thus far. The Lord is so good and faithful with his provisions, care and leading–and I do not write that lightly. The Lord is AMAZING, truly my heart’s desire, my everything, and I am overjoyed with the honour He has given me to represent Him to Breakthrough Thailand starting this September.
     Two years ago I was at a youth retreat when I saw a booth advertising for ISM. I took their card, thinking it looked interesting, but I was only in grade 10 at the time. If I went, I would still have to wait a few years, so I pushed the thought aside. I never prayed about it. The next year, at the same convention, I was hit with seeing the ISM booth again. This time something in me stirred. I took their card again; I went to their website, watched a film; I began to pray earnestly about it. I felt the Lord beginning the first stages of being called to Thailand. I kept ISM’s card on my desk and just continued to pray as the days went by. Gradually, and I do not know when, I knew I was going to Thailand. If I ever prayed after that, God would simply endure patiently with me, for He had already told me to GO.
     I grew up in a Christian home, but my parents divorced when I was three years old. At a very young age I got into all the wrong things: movies, swearing, friends, the “parties” that only grade 3 students could have. My dad kept me going to church, but I saw God as more of a god of rules. The summer before high school I had had enough of the emptiness, so I gave my whole life to God. God took charge by utilizing the biblical basics I had developed in my childhood and then called me to an intimate relationship with Him. That was almost four years ago now. I have traveled, grown, and I am more in love with Jesus Christ than ever before! I know He has called me to some difficult things in my future, but perhaps my view of God is more adventurous and dangerous than some would like. However, God knows my heart, and He speaks to me with the love and beauty that only the Lover of My Soul can :) My future is for Him, and more enticing than anythign the world could ever offer by a longshot!
     I think about Thailand often. God puts pictures in my mind of the people, the homes, and especially the children. I cannot wait to partner with life-changers and make an eternal impact for God’s kingdom in Thailand. By His grace and awesome might will I go and represent Him to the nations, until the day that every tribe and tongue shall sing together in His midst!

 

Emily says thanks.

Re-blogged – from Emily Snow

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December 21: Thank you.

I’m on my way home. My first flight landed an hour early, which meant less time on the plane but a longer layover. So, I’m currently sitting in the Istanbul airport where I have been for around 5 hours now. For whatever reason after I make one transaction in this airport my debit and credit cards suddenly have a block on them- even though I have a flag on my account that I’m traveling through this exact city. It happened the last time I was here also. So that’s frustrating but I will survive. International travels…

ANYWAY. I want to write a bit more about my time in Thailand-specifically  all of the things I am most thankful for. So, in no particular order…

Impact School of Missions

This four weeks of training and fun could not have been any more perfect for my start to this adventure. I actually wish that I could sit in on the classes for another (or maybe 2 or 3 more…) terms just so that I can soak in more of the information that we were given. For those of you who don’t know, the school is split up into four broad topics: Culture, Holy Spirit, Personal, and Missions. During culture week we learned all about the dos and don’ts of Thailand (and India for those who were traveling there for their internships), the Thai culture itself, and what it looks like to be a foreigner living/ministering in another culture. The second week we learned about partnering with the Holy Spirit throughout our internships and lives. The third week we did personality and gifts testing to learn more about ourselves and why we interact with others the way we do and how God can use those traits. And finally the fourth week we heard from 7 different missionaries in Thailand about their specific ministries and God’s heart for His very diverse world of people. Throughout the first month we also had multiple opportunities to work alongside some of the ministries in Bangkok and we visited a few of the tourist hotspots.

One of the greatest parts about ISM is that it brought 10 very different, unique, beautiful women into my life (+Sandra, Jessica, and Peter). Although we were together for a brief time, it was truly a blessing to get a glimpse at their hearts and the beautiful ways God could, would, and will use them in this world. So, to Impact School of Missions- thank you.

Servantworks- The Well

When God first put Thailand on my heart, I never could have imagined the experience I would be blessed with when I got there. I am so thankful to say that I had the most incredible 2.5 months interning with The Well in Bangkok. I was and will continue to be so blessed by the people there. They taught me about acceptance, love, forgiveness, redemption and so much more.

Every morning I started my day with 3-4 Thai women in the “Baan Dek” (children’s center). It was here that I picked up the majority of my Thai, got to play and do crafts with the kids, and got to spend quality time really getting to know the other women I worked with. They practiced their English with me, and I (tried to) practice some Thai with them. In the afternoons I did a few different things. The first being spending a significant amount of time with my fellow intern, Kylie. She is one of the greatest blessings of my internship experience.  We went on a trip to a NE province together where we got to see another one of Servantworks’ ministries (Breakthrough-Thailand) and even got to help with the rice harvest! We also went with 1 or 2 Thai women every week to China Town, where we had the opportunity to build relationships with women working on the streets. We got to spend the first month playing games/getting to know the older kids who were off of school, spent a lot of time bothering Judy in her office, ate quite a few cupcakes and HiChews, and could almost always be found bent over laughing together. You would never be able to tell by our friendship that there is a 17-year age gap- and to be honest I could never really tell either. I also had the unique opportunity to teach a worship dance class 2 afternoons per week. Even after 13.5 years of dance, I never would have thought that my dancing could be used for ministry…let alone ministry in Thailand. God gave me a passion for dance as a child, but that passion was ultimately going to be used for His glory. So cool, right? My dance class also provided me with time to get to know a lot of the women at The Well, and to see their funny, beautiful personalities. My final day at The Well they gifted me with a time of thanksgiving and prayer. The women and staff shared their thanks with me for specific things, and then everyone (including the children) prayed over me. The tears were inevitable at that point, and behind them were the pains of grief which I am especially thankful for. To grieve is to have loved- and the love I experienced and shared at The Well is irreplaceable in my heart. So, to Servantworks and specifically The Well- thank you.

Monique

When I got off the plane in Thailand and had gathered my bags, I walked out of the airport and found Sandra with the “Impact School of Missions” sign and with a 6-foot tall Canadian girl. Little did I know that the first person I met would soon become one of my closest, dearest friends. We spent an awkward first couple of hours sweating at the dining room table and making small talk- and from then on we were pretty much inseparable. I knew that I would make friends while I was there, but I never expected to have any of them become one of my best friends. Our list of adventures together is LONG but usually included a mall/bookstore, a motorcycle, a TV series, an adventurous/surreal trip around Thailand, or just talking at a coffee shop. Also, laughter. ALWAYS laughter. This girl prayed with me, encouraged me, opened up her heart to me, and loved me. What more could I ask for, honestly? It was such a divinely orchestrated friendship, and I have been so blessed by it. So, to Monique- thank you.

Support System

When I got on the plane to come here, I left behind my incredible friends and family. Throughout my time in Thailand I received so much encouragement and prayers from home. I received Facebook messages, emails, letters, a package, and had countless Skype dates. One thing that I was told on my last day at The Well came to one of the staff members during the time of prayer- it was two words: rootless, and rooted. He told me he was thankful that I was willing to be rootless in leaving behind the people and places I loved to follow the Lord’s call, and saw that in that I was still rooted in Christ. So, I need to say thank you to all of the people who supported me in coming here-financially, in prayer, and in encouragement. Without you guys I would not have experienced the Lord in the unique ways I have, I would not have met all of the people and organizations listed above, and I would not have gained the knowledge I have from my time overseas. So, to all of you at home- thank you.

Zachary

My guy gets his own thank you, even though he was a major part of the support system I talked about already. It is with so much joy that I get to call him my boyfriend and that I get to be reunited with him in 15 short hours. My sweet Zack has (aside from God) been my biggest encourager in my time away. He committed to dating me long distance for 3.5 months, which in and of itself was a big step of faith- but in that time he also committed his life to whatever the Lord had for him. Therefore, our time spent apart has become a huge blessing. The Lord has so evidently grown each of us individually, which has made our relationship even more of a joy to pursue. While I was in Thailand Zachary prayed for me, and constantly told me he was doing it. He played worship music for me when I was having melt downs, and he was a voice of reason and reassurance when the heaviness of my internship seemed as if it were too much to handle. So, to Zachary- thank you.

(First and last Skypes in Thailand!)

God

To the Lord of the universe from whom all blessings flow- I am eternally grateful for the sacrifice made on the cross that has saved me from my sins. He has so evidently (as you’ve read) worked in every situation for my good and I’m so excited to give all glory to Him. So, to God- thank you (infinity times over).

So so so thankful for this exciting journey of life that I’m on, and so so so excited to see everyone in the coming weeks.

-E