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

Top Advice from interns who’ve been there!

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Kylie

Lessons
1. Take really good care of yourself physically as the emotional is exhausting!!
2. Trust God in all things
3. God placed you in the ministry you are in with the people you are with.  He knows you best so you need to trust him and go and build beautiful relationships.
Advice:
1. Embrace each and every opportunity that arises no matter how stretching
2. Recognize spiritual attacks as they present themselves and get people around you to pray and stand with you in these times.
3. Get plugged into a local church as soon as possible and depending on the length of time you have in Thailand get involved as much as possible.  This will make a real difference to your stay in Thailand.
Emily S
1. Listen. Take in as much as you can and go over your notes later to help solidify what you’ve heard.
2. Be open to anything and everything God has for you. This goes for roommate relationships, spiritual growth, internship tasks, etc. The truth of the Bible in Romans 8:28 is at your fingertips, and you just have to be open to receive that good.
3. Being a princess is hard. Therefore drink a lot of water and make sure you eat regularly so that you don’t pass out on a random table in the ancient city.

Julia

Lessons:

1. Don’t focus too much on minor details such as different doctrinal teachings or practices, but focus on what is really important and what really matters.

2. God is faithful and will equip you for everything that you need even if it’s our of your comfort zone. July rely on Him and place all of your dependence on Him and He     will do the rest.

3. Don’t expect to go on a mission trip and become a perfect Christian. In fact, you can expect quite the opposite – your flaws will probably be more exposed and you     will see the areas where you need to grow and change.

Advice:

1. Take every moment captive and try to do as much as you can so that you won’t have any regrets when you leave.

2. Rely on God for everything – even the simplest of things that you think you can do on your own strength.

3. Have fun! Don’t get too caught up in your work and forget about the people that your ministering to. Enjoy your time with them and focus on your relationships with     them more than anything because the people are what really matters.

Sandra

Advice:

1. Be open minded in a culture that does things completely different from what you’re used to, and find comedy in the differences rather than getting frustrated.

2. Absorb as much as you can. Sit down and listen to the people you are interning with, they have a lot to teach you and you have a lot to learn.

3. Ask lots of questions, don’t be afraid to ask about the things you see and hear that you don’t understand, because whoever  you’re staying with probably asked those questions once too.

Lessons:

1. When I started my internship I made a point of making sure I spent a good amount of quality time with God each morning, so when things got difficult I was prepared. Don’t wait for things to get hard to seek out God’s presence, seek Him always so that if things do get difficult you’re already standing in God’s promise that He is good and faithful.

2. Hebrews 12:1-3 talks about running with perseverance the race that has been marked out for us, and fixing our eyes on Jesus, so that you don’t become tired of doing good.

This I found to be important for the times where you feel exhausted and maybe even homesick you remember who you are serving and the strength you need will be given to you. You are going to serve and benefit the lives of those around you and with your eyes fixed on Jesus you will always be reminded of your purpose and calling.

3. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that although things might happen that are unexpected to you, they are totally planned out by God. It might not go as you had imagined it would or you might not even have any expectations, but as long as you’re open and willing to let the anything you go through be a time of being stretched in your faith it will be great. His presence is with us everywhere and all we got to do is seek Him.

Hartley

Advice:

1. Expect to be stretched in more ways than you can possibly imagine.

2. Don’t get down on yourself when you mess up. Everyone makes mistakes and nobody expects you to have it all right the first time around.

3. Girls: you can’t bring enough skirts.

Lessons:

1. We are all broken. The men, the women, and the children. The person sitting beside you is broken…as is the person sitting across from you…and the person staring back at you in the mirror.

2. Our job is not to fix people. After all, how can we fix someone when we ourselves need to be fixed? No human being is perfect. Only God is perfection, and He’s the only one who can fix us. Our job is to introduce the people we meet to Jesus and trust the He will do the rest. Love, love, love. Always try. Persevere. Love.

3. Stop living your life with your eyes closed. Take a moment to actually see all that God has put right in front of you, all the opportunities He gives us that we often look straight past. Remember too that this trip is only the beginning. We will still be missionaries once we go home. In our own towns and even in our own homes.

Lauren

1. Don’t become consumed with your culture shock experience. there will be things that seem to bother no one but you, and there will be things that everyone else picks up on but have no effect on you. The various pressures and difficulties of living and working cross-culturally are by nature dynamic and manifest differently for different people. Don’t get caught trying to muster up a feeling or reaction you aren’t having or trying to suppress one that you are. accept what triggers you and what doesn’t, and then give it to Jesus.

2. Look at Jesus. everything else is too overwhelming and will lure you into the fallacious notion that you could somehow fix everything by way of logical planning and execution. You can’t and you won’t. but he has already achieved everything by his blood, and we are called to look to him and cry, ‘yes, Daddy, let your kingdom come’.

3. Set your heart to worship even when you don’t feel him. even when it’s difficult, make the choice to praise him. He is big enough to handle your fears and your questions and your fatigue. Go to him when you’re burn out or overwhelmed or feeling helpless.

3 lessons:

1. Becoming a missionary doesn’t come with fairy dust and wings. you are still you. you still have your strengths and your weaknesses, your passions and your struggles. the beauty of missions is not that I become a superhero, but I see Christ working despite my enduring frailty. Jesus uses broken humanity to love broken humanity. Allow him to use areas in your heart that he has healed to minister to those currently hurting around you.

2. Jesus’ love is enough.

3. I really am dependent on Jesus for everything. Even when I don’t give Him the credit because I’m caught up in illusions of my own ability, every single thing I do is only by his grace. there is nothing I am “naturally good at” or “just able to do”. the supernatural empowerment of Jesus is the only thing that sustains me. and He is so faithful, even when I am not. He is scandalously faithful. hallelujah, glory be.

Sabrina

1. Jump in wherever needed. Sometimes you won’t be told what to do. If dishes need to be washed, or floors need to be swept, go ahead and start helping.

2. Call people by their name. Something so simple as knowing someone’s name and using it, means so much. It’s a simple action that demonstrates to someone how much you care about them.

3. Spend time with people and get to know them. Ask about them and their family, and remember what they tell you. If you can’t communicate with one another, simply being in each other’s presence can speak volumes. Love transcends all language. People will know you love them by your actions. Sit down and eat with people. You don’t need to like what they’re eating, but it’s such a meaningful way to know people and show you care. It’s also a great way to learn more about the culture. Listen to, and observe, people, and show them that you’re interested in who they are and what they do.

Sarah

1.  Always carry a plastic bag to put your electronics in just in case it rains.

2.  You didn’t spiritually prepare yourself enough… Just a heads up. God will shift your perspective

3.  You’ll see pain but you will also see love. And seeing the pain will reinforce the importance of showing others Christ’s love.

Emily B

Lessons:

1. The importance of leading a life of service, not just serving when an opportunity jumps out at you but being intentional to seek out and live a lifestyle of service

2. How to thrive while living outside your comfort zone 24/7

3. The power of a heart willing to sacrifice anything to accomplish the vision God has placed on their heart

Advice:

1. Be flexible and adapt cause you never know what someone will ask you to do, (often at the last minute I might add) and you have to just jump in, and rise to the challenge

2. Take the time you need to rest because you will need way more sleep then usual!

3. Be dedicated with your devotions each morning because you need that time with God, especially when you don’t have the same community around you who understands your culture, language, etc.

Monique

1. Embrace Thai culture and all of its differences

2. Don’t take time for granted! You’ll regret time passed when it’s gone if you waste it

3. Take language classes seriously. You’re spending money on it and it really is beneficial

Meet Sarah Ricker coming to ISM September 2014!

Hello Friends! I am going to Impact School of Missions in September 2014. I will be serving at Place of Grace, Abundant Love, and At The Well Ministries.

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I have loved Jesus for as long as I can remember, and I was 12 years old when I first felt the call in my heart to be a missionary. Ever since then I had planned on moving overseas as soon as I felt God telling me to. I am just finishing up my fourth and final year for my psychology degree at the University of Guelph and I will be off to Thailand in September. From this experience I hope to find out how I will go about being a full time missionary. I am doing three different internships in order to see and experience as much as I can in the hopes of finding out what it is that God wants me to do.

I know that I want to work with kids. For the past three summers I’ve worked at a community house where our goal is to show God’s amazing love to a group of hilarious and awesome kids that some would consider underprivileged. This has been the best job a person like me could ask for; I spent my summers goofing around with kids. However, there were moments when I walked some of them through some pretty tough issues. I’ve talked and prayed with 10 year old kids who were suicidal, who had some serious family issues, and for some of them life just wasn’t going their way.  But I saw God’s love transform their young lives in even the most hopeless of situations. Also, God’s been able to use my crazy silliness to remind those kids that they are kids, and their childhoods’ should be filled with laughter and fun. I’ve seen God do nothing short of miracles at that community house, and I’m excited for God to use me in similar ways in the three children’s ministries that I will be interning at.

God has done and continues to do some amazing things in my life. He uses my weaknesses to show his amazing strength. Naturally I am a person that is prone to anxiety and depression, but we have a supernatural God who fills me with joy daily and he is the only thing that holds me up from the darkness. God has healed me and my life is worth living because of Jesus alone, and so far it has been a beautiful life only thanks to him.

My passion in life is this; for God to use me to show his love to people the way I have experienced it. I want to live my life as a missionary because I don’t ever want to forget about all the children that have yet to learn how much God loves them. I leave you with this verse from James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

God bless you all,

Sarah Ricker

Big News – Meet ISM’s International Internship Co-ordinator starting June 2014.

As we approach the new year, we’d like to introduce you to our Internship Coordinator arriving in June 2014.  Jessica Pellowe has served ISM with excellence and integrity for the past two years.  She will be completing her term in June and returning to Canada.  Because of this we are bringing on an Internship Co-ordinator/Worship Leader.    Jessica will be handing the position over in June 2014.  Due to fundraising needs we would like to introduce you to Ashton McIntosh.

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Ashton writes:

“I anticipate 2014 to be the coming of a new season  that is full of exciting change. I will be moving (back!) to Thailand to work at Impact School of Missions as the International Internship Co-ordinator. It’s been 5 years since I last lived in Bangkok, and I am thrilled to be spending some more time there, as it is a place I grew to love.

So what exactly will I be doing there? As the International Internship Coordinator, I will be organizing the administrative component of the student internships, connecting with the hosts, travelling in the region, and handling the finances.  I am so excited to be apart of what is happening as ISM, and to help educate and empower this generation to be the salt and light of the earth.

Another aspect of the work I’ll be doing at ISM is leading worship in the chapels. I can’t wait to join the ISM students, who have come to serve and obey Christ, in passionate and purposeful worship. I really believe it is something that transforms lives and expect to see God do just that.

I can’t do it all on my own, however. I need to be supported by people,  like you. People who can’t just pick up their lives and move overseas. People who have school, or jobs, and families. But people like you can help people like me make a difference in South East Asia.  I hope to help impact these student’s lives and send them into their calling with renewed minds, prepared hearts, and an eagerness to fulfill God’s will for their lives to help the needy in countries other than their own, and to share Christ’s love to the world. If you want to participate somehow and help make this happen all you have to do is go to http://www.paoc.org/donate?pID=21 to donate  and in the comments clearly designate for Ashton McIntosh.  You can also submit cheques to the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada at 2450 Milltower Court Mississauga, ON L5N 5Z6.  Please specify Ashton McIntosh in the memo line. I need  $10,000 dollars for flights, medical insurance, language class, the regional retreat,  and visas. Any bit of money helps! For your Canadian donation you will receive a charitable receipt.

I want to say THANK YOU for your support whether through encouragement, prayer, or donation. I am truly grateful. Bring on 2014!!

Ashton