Monday, May 30, 2011

Week 5 in Asia!

We arrived in Thailand on Monday, though we've only been here in Chiang Mai since Wednesday.  We took the bus from Siem Reap in Cambodia to Bangkok, Thailand, and stayed the night at the YWAM base there.  Then we flew from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and found our residence at Wongen (stands for One Generation) cafe.  The cafe is a YWAM based ministry that reaches out to the students at the university right across the street by inviting them to the cafe, making friends with them, and just investing in their lives to show that they are worth investing in.  We have been going out and looking for the main hangout places at the university and engaging with the students there.  We had a game night last night which proved to be successful with about six or seven students showing up.  We played group games for a while and then split off into smaller groups to play card games etc. 
     We really want to get on board with what God is doing here, and He is showing us His heart for this place.  He really loves these people, and it's been a blessing to us just being here and serving where we can.      
   It has been interesting seeing the differences between Thailand and Cambodia.  Apart from the slight drop in temperature and the change of driving direction (they drive on the left side of the road, as opposed to Cambodians who drive on the right), the spiritual atmosphere is different as well.  There has been a lot of apathy and heaviness going around the team, different from what we were fighting in Cambodia.  People are also not feeling well, so we're really contending for health and protection for our team right now.  We have two other events planned for this week: girl's night on Wednesday and movie night on Friday.  We are praying that people come and we'll be able to invest in them even though we're only here for a short time.  
          Sunday was our day off and Emmie (the coordinator of the ministry) has connections with the local tour guide agency so she was able to get us an incredible deal on a day around Thailand for us:)  We rode elephants through the jungle, visited a mountain village where we had lunch, saw a beautiful waterfall, and went bamboo rafting down a river.  It was so much fun!  
       God is doing lots of work here, different work from other places, and we are so happy to join in with what He's doing.  I'll update again before we leave for the big C, I love and miss you all, be blessed! 

Love Aubrey     

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We have one week left in Cambodia before we head off to Thailand.  So far it has been a very interesting stay here.  Last week we went to the drug rehab center on Thursday and Friday morning.  Thursday was interesting because the schedule we were given for the program did not end up being followed, so we only did about two things out of the five or six we had prepared.  However, despite the miscommunication it was a very rewarding time.  English teaching went fairly well, as well as it can go having to prepare something for students I had no idea how advanced they were.  It turned out they were more advanced than I thought, but it worked out ok and they responded very well.

           It was really encouraging for me to see that the work being done there was really having an impact on the people.  I wasn't sure at first if what we were doing was really meaning anything to them, but as we were driving home on Friday we all agreed that these men's lives were touched by the Holy Spirit.  When we first arrived I was a bit intimidated by the high cement walls, armed guards, and barred windows throughout the complex.  I wasn't sure what to expect; I didn't know if the men we would be working with were responsive, respectful, or even totally present mentally.  However, as soon as we entered the "classroom", all of my fears disappeared.  I can't explain it exactly, but I felt completely safe there and somehow I knew that they were responding to us and the pastor who works with them on a regular basis.  They had a level of joy and peace that one would not expect in a place like that.  It was a real joy to work with them, and I am a bit disappointed that we won't be doing any more work there, but I'm grateful for what we were able to do:)
The rest of this week we will continue to work in Bakong with the children and then we leave Monday for Bangkok, from which we will fly to Chaing Mai in Thailand. Thank you all for your prayers, everyone is healthy for the most part now and we've had more connection with the kids we work with in Bakong.  We still have three more days there so we're praying for more creativity and inspiration on how to connect and get responses from the kids.  One of the biggest things that's come against us as a team is miscommunication.  It has been happening with the leaders at the base, people we work with to do ministry, and between us as a team.  It's been getting better, but we would really appreciate prayer for clear communication and understanding.
     Thank you so much for your support, it means so much!'



Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Siem Reap!

It's really hard to get internet because we have to go to an internet cafe that has free wifi and we haven't had too much time to go out lately.  We're staying at the YWAM base in Siem Reap where we'll be for the next week or so.  For the past week we have been ministering in a village about 30 minutes from the base working with kids in the afternoons. 
We do a program where we teach them songs and games, sometimes telling a Bible story and sometimes washing their hair and clipping their nails, depending on the day.  The kids seem to pick up the things we teach them quickly, and they really enjoy the different activities. The weather is extremely hot, almost oppressive, and there were a couple of sleepless nights at first of it.  We've had some attacks physically as a team as well, which has made things a bit difficult.  Ben and Lucy have both been sick for two days and had to opt out of ministry today because of it, Lisanne's stomache is not liking the food and she hasn't been sleeping well, Eva's knee got banged up from a fall today, Juil is having a hard time with the heat as are Kelly and myself.  We would really appreciate prayer against these attacks so that we can continue ministring where the Lord leads without any hindrances. 

Tomorrow we will be doing a program at a drug rehab center where we will be working with mostly male 17 to late 20 year-olds who are recovering from severe addictions to drugs.  We will be doing songs with them, active games such as volleyball, art, and teaching english.  On friday we will also do song and games, but instead of english we will be doing our "ribbon drama" (similar to the lifehouse skit) and sharing a testimony and devotional.  I have high hopes for this ministry because I've heard good things about it, but we haven't seen how things are done yet so we will have to be really flexible and have more than enough activities prepared, just in case:) (we've learned this from experience).   
       Please keep our ministries in prayer because although I know God has really great stuff planned, the enemy is trying really hard to make us feel like we can't make a difference here and we don't have the skills we need to do God's work.  We want to agree with what God's plan is, and if our God is for us then nothing can stand against us!  I will be teaching the english lesson tomorrow at the rehab center so I would also love prayer for wisdom and inspiration on how to help them.  The ones I will be teaching have a "basic" knowledge of english, but as of now I don't have any idea of what that means other than I won't be having a translator with me because he will be helping with the other group of less advanced students.  
                                                                        Thank you all for your support and prayer, this is an amazing experience, and I'm learning more about stepping out in leadership and creativity, as well as how to depend on God for strength and direction (because without His help I couldn't do anything).

More updates to come (when I can get wifi:))

Be blessed!

Love, Aubrey



Tuesday, May 3, 2011

We're Here!

Thank you all so much for your prayers, we made it to Phnom Penh, Cambodia!  We leave tomorrow for Siem Reap where we will be staying for about two and a half weeks, and then move on to Thailand.  We left saturday morning from Carlisle and arrived here at around 10pm Cambodia time.  The flights were extremely long (we traveled for about 26 hours total, including train) and we are still adjusting to the time change.
             The first thing you notice stepping out of the airport in Cambodia is the blanket of humidity that envelopes you.  The temperature is hot, but the humidity makes it feel like the heat is sticking to your body and won't get off.  Our hotel room has air conditioning, thankfully, but once outside there is no such luxury (unless you go into the main shopping place where the buildings are totally enclosed).  All of the markets and local restaurants are open and have similar temperature to outside; some are even hotter because there is no wind inside. 
            The people are lovely here, and their language is so intriguing.  So far I've been practing "thank you" (aw kohn) and informal "hello" (sua s'dei), and I hope to learn more words as I go.  We've ridden quite alot in "tuk tuks", open two-wheeled carriage-type contraptions pulled by motor bikes.  Driving down the street was a bit scary at first because there doesn't seem to be too much clarity on right of way or speed limits.  Most people drive motor bikes, though no one goes super fast and there is a lot of room for people to slip in, out, and through traffic.  There seems to be unspoken communucation on the road of who goes first or who stops for whom: there doesn't seem to be any right of way laws in that respect.
             Please keep praying for our team, we are in a predominantly buddhist nation and there are temples and shrines all over the place.  We are standing in intercession but we have had things such as weariness, heaviness, confusion, apathy, and discouragement come at us as a team and individually.  There's a lot of warfare that needs to happen, but greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world!  We head out tomorrow to our more permanent location in Siem Reap (where we are staying exactly I don't know) so please pray for our bus journey there and for our spiritual health as a team.

Thank you all, I love and miss you and there are more updates (and pictures) to come!