About Sadie

I am in love with life, with Jesus, with big cities, with coffee, with writing, with art, with music, with people, with newness, with a boy, with dreams, with traveling & with stories

Being a Foot in the Church Body

Here’s the thing…

I hate asking for money.

I’m gonna be straight up honest with everyone, I have a hard time asking for help or admitting that I’m needy in some circumstances. But wow, such a gracious God we serve that He would cut my pride and replace it with Him. I am learning to ask for what I need and He is teaching me His faithfulness and who He is as provider. He asked me to go into full time missions which means I have no time to work or earn my own finances and resources. I have to rely completely on the church to support what He has asked me to do.

I recently read an article that kind of shifted my perspective on raising support as a missionary. The author was referencing 1 Corinthians 12, where Paul talks about how the church is like a body.

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -Jews or Greeks, slaves or free- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”
-1 Corinthians 12:12-13

In the article, she discusses how missionaries are like the feet of the church body.

We do.
We take steps.
We move.
We get dirty.
We go places.
We put on different “shoes” or roles.
This is our calling; to move the church and take the gospel to the ends of the earth.

This is just one part of the body. Some are called to be the eyes; to see the needs and bring awareness to the church about the world around us. Some are called to be the heart; a driving passion to motivate the church to take action. Some are called to be hands; to serve whoever and whatever is in front of them. All of these things no less significant than another.

So right now I am asking for support. For me, currently a “foot”, a need the support from you, the church. I want to be open and vulnerable with y’all as I step into this season of reliance and serving. My desire is to have a heart after God’s own and He’s serve from that heart in a missions capacity. I want to partner with you. I want to keep you updated on what I’m doing, what is on our hearts, on prayer and financial needs, and testimonies of what He’s doing through me and YWAM.

At the moment, I still need monthly supporters. I’ll explain below specifics of cost of living for each month. All of these will be in USD currency.

YWAM Fees -$400
This includes tuition, room & board and weekday meals.

Phone Service -$26
For making calls in AU/abroad, ministry purposes, blogging/staying connected to US.

Living expenses -$174
Clothing, groceries, toiletries, Uber(how we get around), etc.

If I can find 20 people to donate $30 a month, that will cover all of the above necessary expenses. If you would like to pledge to partner with me monthly, please click here. It will link you to my website where you can easily enter your name, email, amount you’d like to pledge, and an optional note should you have any comments or questions.

OR!

If you prefer, it also helps greatly if you’d like to pledge to support me in one area (e.i. groceries, phone bill). If God puts it on your heart to partner with me in this way, let me know in the comment section on my website in the above link.

If you cannot pledge to a monthly donation, every little bit genuinely counts. Just this last week, a friend and my grandma sent $100 together. It was perfect timing and enough to get a jacket, a hat, and some socks so I could combat the brisk June-August winter of Australia. Whether a pledge, $100 pulled together with a friend, or $10, it makes a difference and is a huge help and encouragement.

Please pray and see if God lays it on your heart to partner with me. On that note, prayer support is definitely most important. I know a few loved ones are already praying for me, the mission, and for YWAM Toowoomba and I greatly appreciate it. You can stay updated on specific prayer points by keeping up with this blog and my monthly newsletter. Some on going prayer points would be:

  • Consistent financial support
  • Energy, boldness, and creativity in ministry
  • Unity, deep friendships among team members
  • Openness among those we are ministering to
  • Christ be the center of our lives at all times so that we are an example
  • Opportunities to minister to new people, organizations, & churches

It is on my heart to stay connected with supporters, friends, and family back home. I want to share about what is going on with me personally and with our ministry as YWAM Toowoomba. I am grateful for all support; financial, provisional, and prayerful. As always, I am open to conversation. Message me, email me, or comment and lets talk!

Thank you again to all y’all who have given so much already! I love you and appreciate you!

Email: sadie.draw@gmail.com

Website: https://sadiedraw.wixsite.com/missionary/donate

 

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Staying in Toowoomba

The Story

My first week of DTS, now nearly five months ago, God asked me to stay and staff YWAM in Toowoomba. I remember clearly, (way back in the day when I used to wake up early in the morning) I was slacklining in the open field on the back of our base’s property. It was foggy but I could see oranges and yellows begin to climb the sky as the sun came up. I was praying out loud and talking to Jesus about how I’d promised people I’d be home in five months. He gently said, “Don’t make promises you don’t know you can keep.” And that was the first time it had even crossed my mind that I wouldn’t go home and resume life as normal after graduation. In all honesty, that sentence scared me at first. I continued to pray about it the next few days and the more I did, the clearer it became he was asking me to stay and staff and the easier it became to say yes. I prayed for another week and then told my one-on-one, Cristi. She prayed with and encouraged me. Throughout the DTS I asked for prayer from the base directors, as I’d be joining their community and home, from the school leaders, asking for wisdom, and a couple of close friends who encouraged me greatly.

I knew that I fall in love with people and places quickly and I didn’t want this decision to be based on infatuation for the base and their mission. I wanted to make sure I knew I was hearing God, and that I understood the weight of moving across the world unexpectedly. It was becoming more and more evident every day that this was an answer to prayer.

Answers to Prayer

The decision to stay has turned out to hold many answers to prayer. Its been amazing to watch how when you say yes to God, he proves himself good over and over. All of the ideas and courses I had planned were based on passions given to me by Him. When I surrendered those passions, He took them and gave me something so much better than I ever could have imagined.

I’d had plans to go to school for naturopathy and counseling and to later build a transitional home for girls who’ve been trafficked and are recovering. All of these things are a passion of mine; trauma and physical healing, restoring identity, mentorship, and anti-trafficking are showing up in some way by staffing here.

Toowoomba is a small town with a community that enthusiastically supports arts, local mission, and community. I was impressed with the way that they see a problem and rise to fix it. Its a genuinely family oriented community and they care about making it a safe place for everyone and encouraging creativity. This area of Queensland however is a hub for prostitution and trafficking. There are lots of ministries here who are taking huge steps against it, namely Rahab. I’ve gotten quite a few words about working with Rahab. Here is a link for their website. The churches in Toowoomba all partner and there’s a sense of unity in the body of Christ across the whole city.

The base itself is also an answer to prayer in so many ways. I love living in community. It’s natural I think, just for the fact that I’ve grown up in a large, hospitable family. But also for this specific community. They’re so reverent of God, so creative in all they do, so in love with His purpose for them and this place, so kind and open. The people who are called here are visionaries and passionate movers and shakers for the Kingdom.
Also this base is on a hill overlooking Toowoomba. It’s a gorgeous view of the rolling green with city scattered in the valley between. Sunrises and sunsets are fantastically bright and vibrant. We have space to build more in the future to allow for more hospitality and events. The land is respected and taken care of. We have a beautiful prayer room, spacious lecture/community room, full kitchen, and nice dorm style rooms for students and guests.

I got multiple words about stepping further into my calling while on outreach. I expected this to have to do with human trafficking. It did confirm that. I grew in passion for those who are broken and effected by the industry greatly. But God also confirmed and brought up a passion in me for discipleship and mentorship. He showed me that by the gifts and testimonies he’s given me and the opportunity of DTS and this YWAM base, it just makes sense. I love to empower and encourage people and show them who they are in Christ and help them discover who He is to them.

The Staff Internship

The internship here in Toowoomba is an 18 month commitment. There are three phases; ministry, logistical, ministry. This means that the first one could be staffing a Discipleship Training School, Rural and Coastal, or Freedom Project. These are all different ministries that YWAM Toowoomba produces. Then you have a break from serving as a leader in a ministry capacity to do work practical work and process what God has done in the last season. Then in the last section, you do a different ministry than you did the first phase. Throughout all of it, there are weekly lectures, community meetings and worship, and base clean duties as well.

My budget is $500 a month which includes internship fees, food, accommodation, and necessities (toiletries, phone bill, Uber). I’ll be fundraising in a few different ways. I’ll do commissions when I can, write for blogs who pay, and I’m thinking about designing t-shirts. There will be more information on all that next week.

I’m looking to find monthly supporters. If I can find 20 people to contribute $25 per month, that covers all I need. I’ll be sending out a monthly newsletter and blogging/posting about my time here. I admit I’m finding it difficult to ask for support in this way. Being a missionary is sometimes challenging in unexpected ways. But through this I’m learning to lean on God and trust Him to provide through community.

Personal

I’m very excited. As I explained, this is an answer to prayer in many unforeseen ways. I certainly feel very blessed to be a part of this ministry. Radical things are happening and it’s a beautiful example of Jesus. God is good and he’s proving that over and over.

It’s also bittersweet. I’ll miss family and friends. I have a wonderful community at home and I also feel very blessed to have them in my life. I never want anyone to think I’m “up and leaving” without a second thought. I’m in love with Jesus and excited to respond and obey him. But part of me is still home. I’m in love with Texas and my people there too. God knows that and will honor that fact. There will be lots of communication, calls, and updates.

Also, we’re done with outreach! Back from Thailand and in Toowoomba again. I’ll be writing a post about outreach as a whole this week. But I wanted to tell y’all what’s up with me staying sooner than later.

If there’s any questions, concerns, comments, anything you’d like to know at all, please hit me up! You can message me through Facebook, Instagram, or comment. If you want, I’ll send you my phone number through DM. Or you could email me at sadie.draw@gmail.com. Whatever floats your boat. I’d love to hear from you!

From the Balcony in Citylight

I’m sitting on the balcony in Citylight cafe on Soi 4(street 4) in Bangkok. From this black leather chair I can see down into the comfortable coffee shop and observe all the customers who come in. Some come for quick coffee on their way to a meeting, some come in to chat with friends, some come in because this place is a safe haven for anyone who needs that.

I’ve been in this chair for a while. It’s been a fairly productive day doing quiet time with Jesus, emailing, planning/research, and now blogging. I’ve downed a second latte and Nan, one of the sweet staff members who works here, brought our team freshly made cheesecake.

From this vantage point, I can perfectly hear the conversations below. I was preoccupied with drawing and listening to music when two loud voices below caught my ear.

“Hello! Would you like your usual today?”

“Yes, thank you.”

A white-haired man sits down in a big chair and pulls out his phone. He scrolls there for a minute or two when a woman walks in. She smiles and sits next to him. They chat for a few minutes but I’m not really paying attention. He has ordered her a cup of coffee. I’ve continued drawing a dancer and listening to Jonathan Ogden, they are sipping their lattes.

This coffee shop has been covered in prayer and is always filled with amazing, on-fire-for-God people. The atmosphere is easy and sweet. After spending so much time in that building for ministry, it quickly felt like home. Sometimes I’d even forget that I’m still in public. It’s easy to do when staff serve us food like we’re their children. And when the girls come in for Beauty Shop and hug and kiss us like family. Everything about that place is inviting and genuine. There’s also such a powerful ministry in those people and between those walls. It’s truly a sanctuary.

I was thinking about this, listening and drawing, when I absentmindedly glance down and notice her hand on his knee. That’s when I realized this isn’t friendly or romantic. This is business.

I pull out my earbuds and eavesdrop, still drawing. They are still chatting as if this was any other conversation but they’ve moved closer. When I strained to listen I could hear what they were saying. He is American and she is Thai. He pulls out his phone again to use Google Translate in attempt to explain “spur of the moment”. As she finally figures out what the phrase means, she quickly agrees and says, “Yes, it is last minute!”

“That’s why I wanted to make sure you’re comfortable and buy you a coffee first.”

“Thank you” she says as she moves her hand.

It doesn’t take long for them to finish their coffee and walk out onto the street. She stands up after him and he smiles. As they walk out the door, he had his hand on the small of her back.

These things are subtle. A hand on his knee, the flirtation with no relationship, a hand on her back. These are small things. But seeing Soi 4, hearing stories, knowing the context, I was disgusted. I got angry, thinking about what was happening.

He was a regular and he acted as if he knew her. It’s not uncommon for a man to have a favorite prostitute he comes back to. He would take her back to his hotel and she would please him and he would pay her.

A lot of men who come through redlight districts believe they are being kind when they offer to buy the girls drinks, meals, or gifts. They’ll justify by saying, “I treat her well.” This industry has twisted love and sex into such awful things that it can be justified with, “I’m gentle!” It stems from brokenness. The men are broken. The girls are broken. Because of that, the industry is strong.

It really infuriated me to watch this happen and not be able to do anything about it. I know they are both hurting. He desperately needs to be loved and is searching for it in the worst ways. She is desperately trying to support herself or her family and feels stuck in this system.

Each time she sleeps with a man, she’s gaining yet another tie to that person.

Yet another risk of sickness or infection.

Yet another night of abuse (no matter how justified as “gentle” or “kind”)

Yet another 1,500 baht in her pocket ($47.07usd)

For him it’s yet another tie to a girl he doesn’t know.

Yet another temporary pleasure that won’t last in the morning.

Yet another dig deep into guilt, shame, or apathy.

Yet another $47.07 to an unfulfilled desire of something deeper.

As we’ve gotten to know Soi 4, the culture of Thailand, the ministry of Nightlight, and the girls, I’ve had such a change of perspective on the sex industry. It’s not at all what I thought it was. The media portrays it completely wrong.

I love Beauty Shop and getting to know the women on a personal level. Sometimes they open up about something hard and we listen, encourage, pray, and just be there to be a friend. Sometimes all they need is girl time and someone who won’t judge them based on choices or how sexy they are. They are all amazing people with dreams and passions and families. Most of them feel stuck in some way, whether by threat or because they have to support their family.

Personally, in working with all these ministries, I had become accustomed to walking through Soi 4 and seeing the bars filled with broken, flirting people. I wouldn’t say it ever became easy to watch but I had gotten too used to it. That morning I was praying for God to stir up my heart again. I wanted Him to remind me of the passion I have for these people. That He did with this conversation.

I’m still learning what the balance of passion is. There’s a place for righteous anger and there’s a place for peace in knowing that God is moving. I haven’t fully discovered what that balance is…I don’t know if I’m supposed to. But in hearing this conversation, a lot of emotion was brought up in me. I was angry at the situation and the fact that this industry is so huge with so much supply and demand. I was heart broken for those two people, the girl who is trapped and the man who doesn’t know what love is. I was inspired to continue ministering and working and rescuing and being a part of people’s healing. I was excited to see God move on Soi 4. I was reminded of the importance of work that we’re doing right now.

That’s an important thing for us to remember. Sometimes it feels like we’re not doing much or like we’re not making a dent in this gigantic industry. We walk, brushing shoulders with hundreds of people directly affected by this twisted idea of sex+love. When you see it so up close and personal, it’s easy to see the whole thing as daunting and impossible.

But our God is the God of the impossible. We have been here a month, working with the same girls and have made incredible relationships with them. We don’t often see the fruit of our labor. But I’m learning that’s okay. We are laying foundations. Our ministry is actually so cool. We get to change their perspective of white westerners. We get to show them what a real Christian looks and acts like. We get to be supportive of them in their ambitions and dreams. We get to pray over them and speak into their lives and make impact on their spiritual lives. We get to be a loving friend to them.

These are all small, subtle things that make such an impact on them. These are the things that point them to Christ. And these are things that point them to getting help and getting out. This is powerful stuff. I am so blessed and honored to be a part of these girl’s lives. They’ve inspired me so much. The ones who know Jesus are so in love with Him and their resilience and passion are astounding.

I think this post is mostly me processing but also a little insight into what we’re seeing and doing. Our God is an awesome God and I love Him to pieces. He’s done incredible work that we’ve seen already and it’s amazing to be a part of such beautiful people’s stories.

Schedules

Here’s an update on exactly what we’re doing in Bangkok. I’ve mentioned and described some here and there but I’d like to lay it all out for y’all.

Each day of the week consists of something different but we always begin with breakfast together and bible study. We read through the entire book of Romans, a chapter a day, and now we’re going through 1 Corinthians. Kadie is in charge of all things food and she makes a wonderful breakfast for us every morning. There’s always mango involved in some way. Often we have oatmeal, cereal, toast, or eggs. We eat, make coffee, and begin reading the chapter out loud and discuss.

Mondays– After breakfast, we head into downtown Bangkok. It takes an hour at least by bus and Skytrain to get to our destination. Our team splits into two halves in the morning. One half goes to the detention center to visit girls. Some of them are prostitutes, some are in for visa issues, and maybe other reasons. We go in to be a friend; ask how their day is going, ask them what they need, etc. We chat and find out what we or someone we know can do for them. I really love this ministry. It’s an intense and heavy atmosphere in the jail and it’s so cool to be a light in there just by being friendly and interested in them as individuals. It’s taxing at times but I really enjoy it and the girls do too.

The other half partners with a ministry that provides homes, classes, and healing services to girls who have been trafficked and rescued. The location is secret for everyone involved. I don’t know how much we’ll be able to share about this ministry as of yet. We go in to teach classes. So far some of the girls have taught journaling/decorating. I believe this Monday, Abbi and I will teach Tae Kwan Do and I’m super stoked.

After we all regroup and eat lunch together we head back to base. We usually have an hour or two off to work on projects, practice music, or have some quiet time with Jesus. After that we head into the market to get dinner. It’s filled with about 30-40 vendors. We’ve made friends with a few of them. One of my favorites is an older lady named Yang and her husband. She sells noodles with pork and chicken and she always fills our bowls more than the 40baht we pay for. We’ll bring our food back to base and eat at the giant bamboo table out front. The road noise is deafeningly loud but we’ve learned to talk and laugh louder.

Tuesday-this our day for doing preparations for anything we may need; intercession, worship, gigging, projects, etc. There’s usually something different planned on this day every week.

Wednesday-I like Wednesdays. We head make our excursion into town and go to Citylight, the cafe owned by Nightlight.

Nightlight is a truly amazing organization. They have many ministries, you can look at what they do here. We help with Beauty Shop on Wednesdays. It’s a lot of fun. The girls (and sometimes ladyboys) come in to get made up before work. We offer food, free services, and a place to rest. They come to feel safe and talk. Nightlight staff has made many friendships with the girls and it really is safe and secure. We’ve had quite a few crazy experiences in Beauty Shop as the girls feel comfortable enough to say anything. We’ll do nails and curl hair and pray over their families and against spirits they carry. It’s an interesting mix of fun girl time and insane spiritual warfare for the staff and volunteers. I really love Beauty Shop a lot. It’s relational and personal and fun and so much freedom happens in that room.

There’s often time after we get back to base to work on journaling, quiet time, or get done anything we need to.

Thursday-we do intercession with the entire Thailand base and all the teams staying here. That lasts all morning and then we have lunch and, so far, our Thursday afternoons have always looked a little different. We might do worship or a team meeting or practice for gigging.

Friday– Another favorite day. We do Beauty Shop. We’ll work on our projects for Nightlight (some doing maintenance, some making art & fixing/decorating/building rooms, Luke teaching barista skills, etc.) and Friday evenings we play music in the cafe. We split up into three teams. Mine is Abbi, Sus, Allison and myself. We call ourselves “Abbi & the Doo’s”. It draws such a crowd to the cafe. I love that music is such a powerful ministry.

Saturday-Sabbath

Sunday-we go to a church called Living Streams and eat lunch there. Then we go back to base and either there’s something planned for the team or we have time to rest and rejuvenate.

There’s so much more I could say about the specifics of each ministry and day. I’ll explain more in later posts but I think this is enough for now. We’re half way through! That’s crazy!

Yesterday Overload (in The Best Way)

Yesterday was quite a day. A lot happened and I’ve been very excited to write about it, partly to process and partly to tell y’all about it.

I woke up feeling strange. The room was quiet except for the shuffling as the girls silently got dressed, made their beds, and stretched sleepy limbs. Normally in the mornings I like to talk to people and living in community I feel refreshed to wake up with lots of people in a room. But this morning I woke up feeling very introverted. This would be fine except I’m not an introvert. And yeah, sometimes everyone needs alone time but this was weird. And now, looking back, I see it was a direct attack. It was strange to not want to be around anyone in that way. I knew it wasn’t natural.

We headed down the five flights of stairs to the foyer and chatted (I watched) for a few minutes with another team who was staying on the base for a couple of nights. Then we walked to the bus stop with our guide, Peng. We followed him, excitedly anticipating the day ahead. He waved the bus and we rode maybe 20 minutes to the train station. Walking between and over bridges, on escalators, through the maze of the station, we got our tickets and Peng showed us the way. We got on the train. Sierra sat next to a couple of kids and their dad and played with them, making noises and faces. Language is never a barrier with children. We laughed at the commercials playing on the mini-TVs, at each other’s reactions to everything happening around us, and talked about hopes and ideas of what’s coming next. We didn’t know what to expect and certainly didn’t see coming what did come.

After the train, we got off and followed Peng. He brought us through winding streets to the port. As we stood in line, waiting for the boat, I told Sierra and Kadie about how I was feeling spiritually heavy and how it was effecting me. Their first thought was prayer and so they did. I appreciate my team’s devotion and quick-to-go-to-Jesus approach to everything. We got on the boat and I began to feel better. The river sights were beautiful. Giant, glassy buildings filled with tourists and wealth stood right next to houses built of found plywood and metal sheets. The slums mixed with the cityscapes seamlessly but the contrast was huge. It was crazy to see such different lifestyles mere feet from each other and yet they somehow never touched.

We got off at one port and walked along the edge of a beautifully intricate temple to the next port. We climbed onto another boat to cross the river and walked to the first temple. It was breathtaking. We bought tickets and walked inside among tourists and Buddhists.

The intention of this trip was not only to see the city and get our bearings but also for a prayer walk. We split up into pairs; I was with Kadie. Right off the bat, in classic Kadie style, she blew my mind. We got our free bottle of water and hadn’t even started praying yet and I was in awe of the incredible beauty, time, and creativity poured into this temple. I expressed my awe, and she replied with “How much more beautiful are God’s temples?”

“I can’t even imagine,” thinking of what heavenly temples might be like.

“We are his temples.”

Oh.

Yeah so uh okay we’re living temples of the Living God no big deal. After that it was so crazy to walk around. My eyes were opened to how beautiful the people in the temple were. They all stood in awe of the intricate artwork and silent gods and we were able to see them and be in awe of God’s creation; beautiful, intricate, creative, made in the likeness of God.

We walked through the main temple. Words and pictures do no justice to the detailed handiwork on the walls, floors, and ceilings. An alleged 300ft golden Buddha lounged in the middle. People, mouths open, walked slowly around it, placing donation coins in clay pots along the wall. We prayed for a change of traditions. God loves the people and the culture but he’s a jealous God and wants to be the center of their worship. We asked for a change in tradition; because there’s no need to wipe out culture, just a need for relationship with the one true God. We prayed that under the head of the deaf, blind, and silent god people would know that God hears, sees, and speaks.

Then it began to pour. Rain fell in fat drops and soaked everything, including us. Kadie and I ran towards the bathrooms to seek cover. Quickly our long skirts turned our run into shuffling. We met up with Luke and Abbi and talked to another couple who found cover under the same roof. We soon decided to venture into the downpour and we walked between smaller shrines, prayer rooms, and gardens. The rain had cleared out most of the crowd and we were among the few still exploring. We prayed and walked and promptly got lost. It was a maze of similar intricate patterns and geometric walls. Eventually we made it to the meeting point at the main temple and Peng had brought us food. The rain had lightened by this point but we were sopping wet anyway so we continued through the drizzle. Peng led us to a row of tuk tuks and beckoned us to hop on. Kadie, Abbi, and I piled into the backseat and the driver (who spoke no English) sat down and drove off. We had no idea if he knew where we were trying to go. We had no idea really where we were supposed to go ourselves. He zipped between buses, cars, and motorcycles, skirting around and ahead of every vehicle and obstacles. It felt almost like a video game. We were going very fast and the rain had begun again, slanting towards us and soaking us once again. We held on to each other and to handles as he took sharp turns and overtook other vehicles. It was honestly one of the funnest things we’d ever done. We had no clue where we were, where we were going, or if we would make it there. But the driver was sure of his capabilities, probably having done this for years. And we trusted Peng so we assumed safety.

We stopped on a back street full of furniture shops and ducked out of the tiny, three-wheeled cars. The other tuk tuks with our people soon arrived and we continued to the second temple. First we stopped outside under a tent and ate the food Peng had brought us. We stood in a circle and feasted on fried rice, egg, and chicken. Once we finished we stepped through puddle and climbed steps to the Golden Mountain temple. Rain flowed like waterfalls down the bright red stair case and we trudged on. We were already so wet, full, and happy that now it’s just an adventure and we could care less about the climb. We reached the top and absorbed the breathtaking view of Bangkok. Red roofs, busy blackened streets, and the looming grey clouds made for a spectacular scene. The roof of the temple had a humongous golden statue. We walked around the wall, taking in the view and playing with the loud gongs that rang over the city. We prayed for the city and laughed with each other at how crazy this experience had become. Then Marcus, Abigail, and I tried to find the coffee shop we’d discovered halfway up the stair case. It was interesting to notice the awkward balance of commercialization and sacred worship in the temple. We got lost and found Peng and he helped us find the shop. We met with the rest of the group, sipped teas and coffees, and continued our journey.

We followed Peng across a busy bridge and around the corner to another port. This one, unlike the others, was built of found supplies and was almost hidden behind buildings. We stepped onto the boat and it whirred it’s engines. This boat took a different rout and we saw another side to Bangkok. The one before had been sprinkled with poverty among wealth. But this rout floated between slums. I’d heard people call Bangkok the “Venice of Southeast Asia” but I think the only similarity is the amount of transport rivers.

When my brother and I were younger we’d build houses made of plywood, sticks, bricks, and whatever we could find in the garage. To us it was a game. Our houses looked very similar to these but to these people it’s a means for survival. No matter how many times I see slums it will always be a wake up call to the blessing I grew up with.

We boated for a while to a market where we got out and walked to the bus stop. We then bussed back to base, tired, eyes opened, and happy. Yesterday truly was an adventure. A lot had happened. We’d dealt with spiritual warfare, stepping out of our comfort zones, seeing beautiful and ornate culture, having a blast through traffic, and tasting new things. It was a blessing of a day. I think it opened all of our eyes to a lot of things and I believe we all better understand the culture at least a little more. I’m grateful for the experiences we had. And for my team. They’re wonderful. They never get flustered or stressed and they’re all 100% after God. Being around them is inspiring.

We got to base and I fell asleep. When I woke up, most of the team had gone to get dinner in the market. Kadie was chatting with other teams so I made ramen and texted people on other teams and family back home.

What a wild ride. Today was also an adventure but that’s for a later post.

Good morning, Bangkok

We’re here! I’m laying on my bunk bed in the room we’ll call home for 6 weeks. It’s a spacious concrete room with a huge window that lets in all the city light and noise. We’re a two minute walk from just about everything; the markets, cafes, a 7-Eleven, and anything else we could possibly need. We’re on the YWAM Thailand base. There’s five floors including the roof, which has a spectacular view of the neighborhood. You’ll see photos from there very soon. We will have killer calves by the end of this trip with all these stairs.

Getting here was an adventure from the get go. Our first flight to Hong Kong was smooth sailing. We had no issues. I watched Saving Private Ryan with Dom and we slept most of the way. Then in Hong Kong things got a little bumpy as time went on. We spent 3+ hours on the plane as they decided whether it was safe or not to fly. They eventually deemed it unsafe and we headed back into the airport with the kind compensation of $75 worth of free food for our trouble. It turned out to be worth about $9 so we got Starbucks coffee and pastries and laid around until it was time to board. I love my team. There were plenty of opportunities to get flustered, annoyed, or impatient. But no one ever did. We had a great time, even when we didn’t know what was going on. My team is incredible and yeah I’m in love with them all.

We got to Bangkok, tired and excited. We met our contact and rode to the base in the back of an open truck. I think that was the first time it hit most of us that “oh my gosh we’re in Thailand and this is actually happening now.” We settled in and had a meeting on the roof. My tendinitis in my knee flared up and since flying I could hardly move it. 5 flights of stairs was a challenge to say the least. But my teams first thought was to pray. I really love how that’s our trip started. There’s been confusion, delays, injuries, but everyone’s first thought is to pray and love each other. This is a powerful team. My knee is already feeling tons better and I expect will be healed soon.

This morning we walked to a cafe to get breakfast and buy a few necessities (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.) Today is a rest day so we’re all chilling in our rooms; reading, sleeping, and whatnot. In a few minutes we’ll have lunch together and play UNO. Tonight we’re going to the markets for dinner. We’ll explore a little, get our bearings, and get settled. Tomorrow we have a sort of orientation with our contact, Neen. She’ll tell us all and everything we need to know and we’ll begin ministry.

I feel very blessed to have such an amazing team to work with, base to sleep in, and I can’t wait to meet more incredible people. Ministry will be fun. It may be hard at times to be seeing the things we’ll see. But I’m truly in awe and wonder of God right now and expectant of what He’s gonna do.

View from our window^

Its Been A While!

Its been a hot sec! Before I begin I want to apologize for not posting like I said I would. Its been quite a while since my last post and I’m genuinely sorry. I really would like to keep y’all more informed of whats happening in my life for those of you who would like to hear. Please know that’s my heart and I love you toooons!

Okay. Lets get down and dirty. A heck of a lot has happened since February 28th. I’ll begin with sharing a couple of highlights of what God has been showing and teaching me about so far.

The week after Evangelism, was Relationships. I enjoyed that week. My relationship with Jesus became much more intimate and I got to know him better and in new ways than I had before. It was a lot of head to the heart transition; things I knew in my head became real to me. Like how now it is my genuine desire to have my heart completely after His own. For that I need to realize His grace is for today. So I’ll spend my time receiving, learning, praising, and loving today. Through this my response to people and circumstances, and my obedience to God, will be born out of loving willingness and intentionality.
I realized how valuable the prominent relationships in my life are. My parents are some of my best friends and I am so blessed to be able to say that. I don’t want to ever take that fact for granted. I have an amazing community back home with people who love hard, love well, and love genuinely. The community I’m living in now is full of creative talent, a desire to know God deeper every day, and such love for each other. I also learned that it is 100% possible to have a relationship with no regrets in it. I heard that line and the concept hit me like a ton of bricks. That had never occurred to me. They were talking about romantic relationships in this setting but it really applies for any relationship. I love relationship and love and I am excited to understand deeper what God has in store for me and the people I know.
That’s what’s super cool about DTS; we go through what a friend described as “spiritual boot camp.” We have crazy revelations. We tear down lies and build up truths. We form incredible friendships. We get to know God intimately. We discover exactly what we believe and exactly why. We share what we know and learn and step into calling, authority, and relationship. But all of it is set up so you can continue discovering and growing throughout your life. So even though our DTS Relationships Week has come to a close, we’ve been set up with a foundation to build on. Its exciting to learn how much you’ve got left to learn.
The next week was Spiritual Warfare. That was quite an interesting week for a few reasons. The approach to it was different than I’d ever experienced when studying spiritual warfare before. I enjoyed the new perspective. The speaker very much focused on Jesus and what he can do rather than what Satan does. He talked about the purpose of spiritual warfare is to fulfill what Jesus asked of us. And how Satan, a fallen angel who wanted to be like God, was cast out of heaven and hates God with passion. He wants to hurt God. Its not even about us, its that God loves us so much that Satan goes for the object of God’s greatest affection. We, however, have full authority, given to us by God, to tell spirits what to do. Our body is a temple, an image of God, and bride to be. There’s no space for anything not of God and so we can act on that.
A few one-liners from this week:
“Why substitute identity for anything of this world when your identity is that you are a child of God?”
“When we allow our identity to be skewed, we make dumb decisions.”
“When we try to fix our identity (rather than letting God show us truth), we only invoke pain.”
“Wisdom comes by fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is relationship.”
“Many generations have forfeited blessing because they have turned idolatry of religion rather than God, Himself.”
I’ll post more about specific weeks in little while. But here’s more of an update on where I am now. We’ve got four days (four fricken days!!!) until outreach. We know some of what we’ll be doing there now. Throughout the entire trip our focus will be within the red light district. A few of the ministries we’ll be doing are throwing a party for local prostitutes, gigging in local coffee shops on Friday nights, evangelizing, and doing prostitute’s hair and make-up.
I am so stoked about all of these things. Our mission is to love and impart identity. And yeah, first thought might be that doing these things (such as doing hair and make-up before they go out to work) is enabling. We are not in a place to rescue but we are called to share the Rescuer. We are there to build relationship. Everything our team does centers around relationship and sharing real love. It won’t be uncommon that the girls we minister to have never experienced real love. We’re going to be building stepping stones, foundations, and we’ll follow Holy Spirit in everything we do. Imagine it! They’ll get their hair and make-up done anyway; they have to. But when we do it we’ll be able to talk about their dreams, passions, hopes, the things they love, and then impart truth, and light, and love into their lives. Its going to be super impactful and I feel blessed to be a part of it.
We will be staying in rented rooms in Bangkok the entire six weeks. Most days we’ll be eating out as that’ll be cheaper. We’ll have access to WiFi and we’ll be able to post blog updates some way or another. I’ll let you know whats up when I know.
I’m so grateful for the support from y’all! Its honestly been so humbling and encouraging; the words, donations, and prayer. I wish I could completely express to you how grateful I am. God has been teaching me how He provides and its so cool when it comes through people I know and when I least expect it. He always comes through and a lot of it has come through y’all having a heart to give. The lecture phase and outreach have been completely paid for already. I still need some for Thailand and traveling. If you feel led to help out, I would greatly appreciate it. You can use PayPal; I’ll put my email at the bottom of the post.
Y’all can feel free to comment, text, DM, Snapchat, literally anything if you have questions or just want to chat. Life is busy here but I try my hardest to reply quickly. I love you so much! Expect more posts. Thank you all for reading!

PayPal: ami_thompson@yahoo.com
Cash App: $sgthompson

Evangelism (Identity Pt. 2) 2/28/18

It’s Wednesday afternoon, the middle of Evangelism week, and a relatively cool day in Toowoomba. I figured it’s time for an update on what I’ve been learning recently and also I think writing will help me process. I learned a few days ago that scribing my notes helps me get a lot more of them on a page. I’ll post some pictures of those and you can read more of those because there’s no way I’ll be able to type it all out. Hopefully you’ll be able to make sense of it.

I’ll begin with this week, as it’s still prominent and I’ve hardly had time to process yet. We had speaker, YWAM Adelaide bass director, and father, Andre Agostini, teaching on the topic of Evangelism.

I think we were all intrigued immediately when he began teaching on evangelism by teaching on identity. He told his testimony with realness and in rawness. God is the center of his life and Andre genuinely only teaches what he lives. So, in a way, this week has been a sort of second part of identity week. I appreciated that because how can you free others if you’re not free yourself?

Andre gave practical tips;

Look people in the eye. Get on their level. Say “This is who I was, but this is what God has done with and for me and I’m here now.” Be honest. Don’t overshare information. Listen. Follow the Holy Spirit.

All good stuff. But, as I said, a majority of what we were taught was on identity. I learned a lot as far as trusting and believing what God says about myself. If these things are true for me, they’re true for everyone else. So when I make that head-to-heart journey and it becomes a heart knowledge rather than just words, I see people as they truly are.

Here’s some snippets of what I’ve learned these past three days:

Truth doesn’t become truth when you believe in it. It’s simply true. It doesn’t take any kind effort or opinion from you to be fact. This applies to people, God, and the world.

The gospel of salvation asks, “Have you gotten to heaven?” while the gospel of kingdom asks, “Has heaven got to you?”

Jesus could not afford to see someone in need and not give them everything he is.

(In regards to praising/worshipping/giving glory to God) Jesus says “Yes it’s all about me but I’m all about you.” It’s relationship. Every time.

If God lives in you, sin does not. We are not sinners. (Expect a long post about this) We have the ability to sin, yes. And it’s likely we sin every day. But when you accept the Holy Spirit into your heart and your every day, he doesn’t take vacations. Where there is light, there is no darkness. And God is light, itself. So while we live in a broken world and will be tempted to sin, it is ultimately God in us who moves and has his being in us. We are not defined by sin, we are not sinners. We are temples and saints.

Love does not empower anyone to stay in pain.

It’s not a it has receiving Him into our life. It’s about Him receiving us into His life. It’s not by our works, but his.

Maturity is knowing that when you can’t see God, He’s still there.

conform

kənˈfɔːm/

verb

past tense: conformed; past participle: conformed

1 comply with rules, standards, or laws.”the kitchen does not conform to hygiene regulations”

2 synonyms:

3 comply with, abide by, obey, observe, follow, keep to, hold to, adhere to

◦ (of a person) behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards.”the pressure to conform”

transform

transˈfɔːm,trɑːnsˈfɔːm,tranzˈfɔːm,trɑːnzˈfɔːm/

verb

past tense: transformed; past participle: transformed

1 1.
make a marked change in the form, nature, or appearance of.”lasers have transformed cardiac surgery”

2 synonyms:

3 change, alter, modify, convert, metamorphose, transfigure, transmute

7 2.
MATHEMATICS
change (a mathematical entity) by transformation

Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. We have the mind of God.

People develop a picture of God through you. You carry His name. “They will know you’re mine by the way you love one another.”

You cannot isolate. If you feed yourself anger towards one person, the seed of the fruit of anger will manifest in all areas of your life. Eat and drink Christ.

Don’t look for opportunities to love. Let love be your way of life. Be the manifestation of love. Love never wastes an opportunity.

Be intimate with truth.

An encounter will push you forward in faith. Put value on encounters. But they will not sustain you. That’s what relationship is for.

Sanctification is the process of discovering the nature which is already mine.

When you wake up, have faith that you will manifest love today.

Fear is idolatry of self. Expose lies which get in the way and deal with them.

Christ is in you, the hope of glory.

It’s all Him. Literally none of it is you. Glory is His and He will be known. Yet He is so in love with you that He loves you to the point of death and beyond.

Evangelism is a response of love.

Sanctification is stepping into maturity and identity.

He doesn’t tell you to “Go succeed.” He says, “Go.”

Make your faith mature. Be diligent.

Sin is contrary to who you are.

Go with a heart of thanksgiving.

He calls you to excellence.

Your standard is Jesus.

Identity and Father Heart

This week (Week 3 of our DTS) was absolutely amazing in so many ways. Where to begin. I keep coming up with potential beginnings and then thinking of something else that happened beforehand. This week has been a sort of accumulation of my testimony. I don’t have the time, the patience, or ability as of yet to type out my entire testimony but a lot of it is already in this blog and much of it will be posted in later days. So again, I’m processing by writing. I hope this makes sense to some degree.

Jesus has been changing my testimony steadily and quickly. An interesting combination. I’m comfortable in his timing as I’m learning to trust Him. It hardly ever makes sense but the more I experience it, the more I just let go and say “you do it, Jesus!” Cause I sure can’t. The events, words, and story itself have not changed. My story is the same one it’s always been. Except now I see it’s His story. The way that I tell it is different. Sickness, violation, and pain are no longer my story but just the backdrop. My story is redemption, healing, and freedom. It’s the fact that He’s been in every moment, pursuing me since day one. It’s the way He moves even when I can’t see him and how He doesn’t need me to cooperate to have an effect on me. It’s the way He loves and that I can love out of overflow of his love.

This week was Identity Week. I thought I had my identity figured out. Ha! Yeah no. Well, I had a very strong sense of who God is and who I was in Him. What I had not realized is how much healing I still needed. I hadn’t seen yet some of the lies I still lived by.

We spent a few hours in small groups, declaring truths, claiming freedom and defeating lies. It was so fun. Lots of tears, fighting, laughing, and yelling for freedom. Lots of strongholds were broken that day. Jesus has been replacing unhealthy soul ties and lies with himself and it has been so so good. As it’s been nearly a week since I began this post, I can say confidently that I am walking in truth that I had not yet walked in.

This week we are in now is Father Heart of God. It’s been good too. I didn’t expect going into it to gain very much from it. I’m comfortable with God as my father. My earthly father is an amazing man after God’s heart. I don’t have any major healing or anything to sort through. I realize this is a blessing. That’s what he’s been teaching me; I take for granted the wonderful influence my father is.

This week is not done yet, I’ll try to talk more about it in a later post.

Tomorrow we begin outreach ministry. Our teams (mine is 10, including two leaders) will be dropped off in town and we’ll just minister. We’re gonna talk to and love people. Meet people on the street, buy them coffee, pray or just be a friend. I’m so excited to make new friends and grateful for the fact that we can make friendships through YWAM.

There is definitely more to come. It’s been a super busy week but I’ll be posting more starting now. Jesus is good. He pursues and He’s a good dad.

Trusting His Direction 2/2/18

It’s Friday afternoon. It’s actually pretty chilly (60f) and we’ve been graced with a consistent light rain all day. This morning it was just a foggy mist but slowly and surely the skies have been breaking. I wasn’t expecting to feel so cold while I’m here but I’m stocked up on a whole bunch of Abuelitos which my family sent me.

This week, Hearing the Voice of God, has been beautiful and sweet. I went into the beginning of lectures excited. I’ve been comfortable with hearing God for a while now. I know his voice and I can recognize it among my own thoughts, other peoples ideas, and worldly distractions. I was expecting to learn and experience new ways of communicating with God. I didn’t really know what to anticipate or prepare for but I was ready. God, being God, decided to take and on a different rout. He’s been teaching me about trust.

I’ve had to make a couple of big decisions lately. These were things that normally I’d go to other older and wiser people and essentially have them make the decision for me. But, in hearing God, I knew he wanted it to be him and me. He is beginning my journey of trust. It’s been incredibly sweet to watch him move in these ways. He’s convicted me of places where I thought I could do better than him and thinking I’ve got it under control. I sure as heck do not. But he convicts kindly and replaces all lack with himself. Where I lack wisdom, he provides protection. Where I lack humility, he provides a lesson. Where I like stillness, he provides a patient invitation.

This week there’s been so much time to rest and get to know him and listen. We’ve been busy but we’ve had a lot of allotted time to be intentional with God. In my quiet times he’s been teaching me about how I can trust his direction. And that he will, in fact, direct me and never leave me hanging. He’s got me where he wants me. And I’m learning to be okay with that. He’s so good.