First Newsletter

I want to start by apologizing for not getting a blog post out in January as I had anticipated.  I hope this finds each of you doing well & having a great start to 2017!  It was my first official month of full time work with Extreme Nazarene Missions!  There just seemed to be a lot going on in terms of learning and starting various facets of my new job, as well as some major struggles in more personal areas.  I am thankful to have successfully completed all that I did in January and look forward to what this month of February holds.  I just this afternoon sent out my first newsletter via email!  There was a lot of effort & energy into setting things up the first time around, but I think from here on out it should hopefully be a little easier!  For those of you who did not receive an email and/or who’s email address I did not have please sign up for a much more interesting interactive experience.  I am going to post the link to that newsletter here.

http://us15.campaign-archive1.com/?u=8abfb8e844acf7e8e626080d5&id=afe6f2361b

Feel free to share with others and if you can’t figure out how to sign up, just leave me a comment or send me a message to let me know what your email is and that you would like to be added for the next newsletter mail out!

Sorry to be keeping this post brief, but I do hope to be able to update around the middle of the month again.  I greatly thank each of you for continuing to support my calling into ministry & missions!

Categories: Extreme Nazarene, Idaho | Leave a comment

Good News & More Transitions!

There is so much to update everyone on this month!  It has been a good & busy month, as I hope all of you have enjoyed your December as well!  For starters, I was allowed to train a few days this month to start getting into the swing of things with the goal & hope being that I would be funded enough at the end of December to get approval to start working full time in January.  I am happy to announce that although I’m not as close as they had hoped and asked me to be, I have been approved to start working full time in January!  I will start officially on the 2nd or 3rd of January, but still have some training to get through before I can jump into starting to connect with churches and groups to book speaking engagements and such.  I am still in need of about $233 in monthly partnerships or about $5,600 in one time donations to be fully funded so I must continue to make connections for donations, but I am extremely thankful that the Lord has brought in some unexpected donations this month that have brought me much closer to being fully funded!  I am confident that He will continue to bring in the remaining needed amount if I remain faithful to following His Will, as He has already brought surprises this month!  It has been recommended that maybe I even try to raise a little above this amount because some things are more expensive than was originally anticipated for this coming year, but again this entire process is reminding me that none of this is in my control, so I must continue to come to a place where I trust and rely fully on God to open hearts & provide what is needed in ways ONLY HE CAN!!!!

This month has been full of snow & cold, more so than they usually experience here, so that has been a not so fun adjustment for me, since the last few years I’ve been in nice hot tropical sort of climates this time of year, but it has been interesting to be in the states for the holidays for the first time in 3 years.  Everything here has been about new experiences & that continues.  I was able to spend Christmas with my best friends & their family (they live about 3 blocks walking distance from me).  It was a joy to be able to see the kids faces & reactions on Christmas morning and to be able to share that special time with them!  I have also been meeting a few people here from some various activities and starting to build a small group of people to connect with in addition to my best friends.  It’s never a fast process, but I am thankful that the Lord is already bringing positive people into my life!  As I look back over December, I realize that as much as I hated not being able to work full time this month, there were many blessings in being able to have this time off, both in making new connections and helping out others!  As always, Jesus knows best if we can just maintain our trust in Him!

I want to express major gratitude to each and every one of you who is supporting me through prayer, financial assistance, and connections/contacts!  I could not be where I am & preparing to follow God’s calling on my life into full time ministry without each of you!  Please continue to pray for my transition into figuring out what a schedule/routine will look like for me on a daily basis as there will be huge shifts this month.  I desire to remain committed to keeping in touch, praying for the requests of those who are a part of this journey with me, & making sure everyone feels updated about what I am currently doing.  Please let me know if you have individual requests I can add to my prayer list as well!

I pray that each of you had amazing Christmas celebrations with family/friends & that you are preparing to have fun New Year’s celebrations as well!  I will plan to update sometime in mid or late January to let everyone know how full time work is going and when training is over.  If anyone has questions please let me know with a message here, facebook, email, or a connection over the phone, call or text.  I want to live my life in a transparent way so that I can be an open representation of the work the Lord is doing in & through me thanks to all those who are making it possible!  Much love & prayers to all!

Categories: Extreme Nazarene, Idaho | Leave a comment

Holidays, Training, Partnership, Growth, & Waiting

It’s now December and though things don’t look like I had hoped they would at this point, I’m slowly learning that it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing as long as I’m remaining in Christ’s place for me and continuing to grow and listen to all He is calling me to.  As much as I am anxious to get started full time and be able to begin this full time ministry the Lord has called me to, I’m being reminded repeatedly that to be 100% effective in ministry, you must not rush ahead of what Jesus is doing, but be willing to obediently wait for Him to move.  This does not mean sitting around idly, but rather not trying to push things and then becoming disheartened when my time line doesn’t appear to be lining up with His timeline.  I had hoped to be working full time long before now, yet I am still about $900 in monthly partnership shy of being able to do that.  Last week was a huge struggle for me, full of confusion as to why the Lord hadn’t brought everything together for me to be able to go full time in December.  After many tears, talking through some things, & allowing the Lord to show me there is more for me to learn through this time, I was able to come to a place over the weekend where I felt the Lord nudging me to use this time to give Him all my fears/anxieties/worries and receive freedom from them rather than just trying to manage/control/work through them.  A simple shift in perspective, but a huge impact in how that plays out in real life.  I know the journey in that direction will neither happen overnight or be an easy one, but it’s encouraging to know the next step in my walk with Him.  He is always calling me deeper into Him & the next piece of that is willingly giving up the need to control those things that aren’t serving me!  It’s so much bigger than just submitting my life and work to His Will!

All that being said, I was approved to start training a couple days a week this month, so that hopefully in January I will be able and ready to start working full time!  I’m excited that Thursday & Friday are my first days of training to start seeing what life will soon look like!  Most of the details of moving have been worked out.  I do have a few things left to get squared away over the next few weeks, but am very thankful that things have mostly gone smoothly & I’m pretty well settled in.  I appreciate all the prayers & encouragement throughout this process!  I look forward to being able to give an official start date for full time work, but am thankful for what the Lord is providing already and for how He has taken such good care of me always!  It is also wonderful to realize you are surrounded by many good people & that He is providing me space & time to grown in Him, reflect on all He has done in my life, where He has brought me, what He is calling me to, & giving me time to build a network of support here as well!  So many incredible things are happening, that I just need to retain the proper focus in order to keep pressing into what He has for me!

Moving through this Holiday season can always be tough.  I’ve spent several of the holidays away from family, friends, & traditions over the last 5 years.  This one will be another first & unique one as well, yet in different ways.  However, I’m excited to know that I’m right where the Lord wants me & that He is using this time as a growing & learning tool for me and my life, not just allowing me to do for others as I usually do.  No matter what the Holiday’s mean for you, I hope you receive encouragement, blessing, & daily reminders that you are loved & cared for far beyond the earthly trappings of materialism, sadness, loss, unknowns, & any number of negative ideas.  Allow this year to change you, grow you, & remind you of positive things!  Focus on what you have that is everlasting, not on the temporary things you “lack” in your current situation.  This is not to make light of missing loved ones or being in a tough situation, but rather to remind us that no situation is hopeless unless we choose to believe it is hopeless because it is always a choice what perspective we use to look at any situation.

Just as the Lord has made it clear for me this month of December is both preparation for the next 2 years of service with Him, as well as, a time of growth, change, & learning freedom as I choose to walk in His Will, I hope you will seek what this month should be for you!  As I mentioned earlier, there is still about $900 in monthly covenant partnerships needed before I am fully funded and allowed to start working full time.  This does indeed stress me out as I have no idea where that will come from, but I also know the Lord has been in every part of this journey & it’s time to trust & believe He knows where it is coming from & that it will show up at exactly the right time (which has nothing to do with my personal desired timeline).  Many things over the last few weeks have been surprising and things have shown up that were completely unexpected, more reminders that it’s got nothing to do with me and everything to do with Him!  During this process all glory belongs to Him as there is no way I could make it happen myself!  Thank you to each and every one of you who are prayer partners, financial covenant partners, and are willing to provide additional contacts for me once I am officially working, I truly could not do this without you!

If anyone is reading this and would like additional information or would like to talk with me please reach out and let me know!  I’d love to connect with anyone.  I will include links to my facebook, my donation site, and my email and phone number below.  Feel free to connect any way you like & be blessed!

My phone number is: 1-302-381-5995

My work email is: kschuler@extremenazarene.org

For anyone who would like to be a financial partner or explore more about Extreme Nazarene.  My work website which also has the link for donations is: https://www.extremenazarene.org/team/Schuler/     Just click on the Donate link and it will take you to CrowneOne who processes all of our donations.

Thank you all again!

Categories: Extreme Nazarene, Idaho | 2 Comments

Moving to Idaho

Since the last time I wrote a post a lot has changed.  Many of you followed along on Facebook, but I wanted to make an official update so everyone knows as well.  Last week on Tuesday the 8th and Wednesday the 9th my amazing brother helped me to make the extremely long journey from Delaware to Idaho in a U-Haul carrying my stuff with an auto transport toting my car behind.  We literally drove for 45 hours without stopping to sleep.  I’ve never done anything so long driving & hope I never have to do so again.  There was really no room for error since we had to have him at the airport in Boise, ID by about 11 am on Thursday so he could catch his flight back to the east coast and be able to be on his way to work by 8:30 am Friday morning.  We arrived in Nampa, ID (where I now live) at about 1:30 am Thursday morning.  We were finally able to sleep for about 5 or 6 hours before getting up to take care of unloading my car and taking the auto transport back before getting him to the airport.  Thankfully, we were able to get him there in time, but there was no time for him to get any rest or for me to get him breakfast even before dropping him at the airport.  I am incredibly thankful for his help in this whole process, just wish we wouldn’t have had to rush so much.  I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say we were both completely beat after that 2 day journey.  Very thankful we were able to stop and have breakfast with some friends Tuesday am as a mini break through the very wide state of Nebraska, that was a much needed refresher although I hope the next time I’m in the region it will be less rushed.
Thursday, after taking my brother to the airport, I completed a few tasks, but didn’t unload the U-Haul till Friday.  Thankfully, my best friends live out here in Nampa as well, just a couple blocks away so they were able to help me get unloaded on Friday & take the U-Haul back!  I was all set up in my new place by sometime on Saturday pretty much with just a few small things here and there that I adjusted throughout the week.  This week has been full of getting all the crazy logistical pieces together from moving.  I’ve gotten my Idaho license, tags, registration, health & renter’s insurance, and made sure to update all the major things with my new address.  I’ve also begun learning a little more about the area, building a relationship with the lady I rent my space from and her children, starting to connect with those who will be my coworkers once I get to start working, & more.  I still have some smaller things to piece together as I go, but am thankful that the majority of the large projects have been accomplished and most of them fairly smoothly.  I have developed a head cold of some sort, but hope it is on the downward swing as today seems to have involved a bit less coughing & such.

I also want to give a financial update.  Currently, I cannot start working because I am still in need of around $1200 in monthly partnerships.  There are some folks who I believe will be partners that will bring this number down to closer to $1000.  I will be touching base with some of these folks this coming week.  I am still in need of a large monthly partner or several partners to round out what is needed so I can start to work.  I am extremely grateful for all who have already become partners and/or committed to do so online already!  They have helped me to get to just over 50% of the way already!  I am praying fervently that the remaining pledges that need to come in will show up over the next 2 weeks because I’d really like to start working by or before the beginning of December.  If the Lord, lays it on the right folks hearts to post online what they feel the Lord leading them to do, even if it doesn’t start till December or January, I will be allowed to begin working, but until everything is actually posted so I can show where the money will come from, I will not be allowed to begin working.  Prayers are much appreciated for my anxiousness as well as for the right partnerships to come alongside this ministry so I can begin moving forward into what the Lord has called me to do!

I know the Lord’s hands have been in every aspect of my journey thus far & I’m certain He hasn’t brought me this far to leave me, so I am thankful to know that I am a child of God learning & growing much in this journey!  It is amazing to see Him work & move in many mysterious ways!  If I can only remind myself each day that He’s got this, always has, and always will, then I will not need to spend so much time stressing & being anxious about not knowing when, where, & how all the details will come together.  I will post again soon to keep everyone informed about how things are going.  My first week in Idaho has been productive & I’m excited to see what the next steps will look like as I finalize a realistic budget and pull all the loose ends together for what it will look like to live here in Idaho for the next few years.  Again, I can’t thank my prayer supporters enough for praying for safe travels as we drove across country.  There were many times when I was 100% certain the Lord was protecting and watching out for us because He helped us avoid delays/accidents/etc.  Maybe I can share a small post sometime soon about a few of those specific examples.  Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below or on Facebook.  For anyone reading this who wants to be a financial partner I will leave the link below:

https://www.extremenazarene.org/team/Schuler/

Once there click on the Donate link which will take you directly to CrowneOne who processes all the donations.  It is safe, secure, & has many customizable features.  If there are any questions or you would prefer to do something through the mail or over the phone let me know and I’ll be certain to get that information to you.  🙂

Anyone wanting to correspond with me personally via mail, this is my new address:

Kirby Schuler
1011 15th Ave. S
Nampa, ID 83651

My cell # is still the same: 302-381-5995

Personal email is: BlueElephantK@verizon.net

Work email is: kschuler@exnm.org

Feel free to reach out to me in any means if you are interested in more information or would like to have me come speak/share at your church, mission convention, youth group, college, etc. once I get to start working.  Also, if you are interested in hearing more about the positions I will be recruiting for, I’d love to chat with you also!  I hope you all have fabulous weekends and weeks!  Thanks for everything & I hope the spirit of thanks is fulfilling this week as we focus on all we have to be thankful for! 😉

Categories: Extreme Nazarene, Traveling | 1 Comment

Financial Update & Move Dates

Hi everyone!  It’s been a busy couple of months.  Many of you have been following along with my mini updates on Facebook, but I wanted to make a formal update as well as give my moving information where everyone can stay in touch. 🙂

I want to start by thanking everyone who has joined with me into this journey as the Lord leads me into full time ministry.  It is an exciting, nerve-wracking, stretching, growing, uncomfortable, miraculous, love-filled process.  There are certainly many highs and lows, but I’m thankful to have Jesus on my side as a friend, counselor, encourager, and so much more!  It’s an every day process to learn to leave all the unknowns in His hands despite my anxiety over not having all the details together yet.  I’m thankful for the grace I am shown when I need to be reminded that I do not need to know all the details even when I think I do, as long as I am faithfully walking the path I am called and learning to trust more and more in His wisdom & provision!

As for my financial update, my required $8000 in one time donations is nearly complete.  I need less than $1000 and there are several people who have said they have sent/are sending in a one time donation, so I know that number will be even less very soon.  My need for monthly partnerships is still the largest prayer request.  $1600 in monthly partnerships is still required in addition to those who have said they will be a partner, for me to be able to start working with Extreme Nazarene.  I am praying for the Lord to bless some folks with a sense of peace and desire to partner on a monthly basis.  3 individuals pledging $500/month, 6-7 at $250/month, 16 at $100/month, 32 at $50/month, or 45 at $35/month can make this happen.  A partnership of any amount is much appreciated, but I hope this will help give some ideas for what the Lord may be laying on folks hearts.  I know the Lord will bless and move hearts to join this mission to spread the love of Christ and help others around the world!  For anyone who wants to be a financial partner the website to go to is: https://www.extremenazarene.org/team/Schuler.  When you get there click on the Donate button and it will take you directly to CrowneOne who processes all of our donations on a secure site.  There are many customizable options including one-time, annual, weekly, or monthly donations, many methods of payment, & start/end date options.  If there are any additional questions you can contact me or you could call (800) 326-9235 and just be sure to explain you want the donation to go to Kirby Schuler.  Anyone wanting to mail something in should make checks payable to: Extreme Nazarene with my name in the memo line.  Please be sure to include your name and address if you would like to receive a tax deductible receipt.  They should be mailed to: 4800 W. Fairview Ave., Boise, ID, 83706.

My time in Delaware is nearing the end.  I have about a week and a half here to connect with anyone who would like to plan a time to get together or chat on the phone.  Please feel free to connect with me via phone: at 302-381-5995, email: BlueElephantK@verizon.net, or on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Forgiven4Ever1.  I will be starting the long drive out to Idaho on the night of November 7 or in the wee hours of the morning on November 8.  My brother will be driving with me, but the goal is to arrive in Idaho by late Wednesday night or very early Thursday morning because he will need to get on a plane as early as possible on Thursday so he can make it back to Delaware by Thursday night and head to work early Friday morning.  Prayers are appreciated for safe travels, with no weather, accident, or major construction delays.  We are hoping to stop Tuesday night for a couple hours of rest somewhere around Iowa so if anyone has a connection very close to Route 80 in early to mid Iowa please let me know.  I have located a room to rent in Nampa, ID just a few blocks from where my friends are currently staying, so the Lord has indeed blessed me with this connection.  It is only about a 20-30 minute drive from Boise where Extreme Nazarene’s headquarters are located as well!  I am praying the Lord will bring the financial status together over the next couple of weeks so that I will be able to begin working in mid November as well.  If anyone has questions I haven’t answered feel free to ask me here or connect with me via any other means!  Thank you all for being a part of this journey & for helping me be the hands and feet in full time ministry as the Lord has called me & opened these doors!

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New Direction & Exciting Steps Forward!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve made a post, but much has been going on since I got back from Malaysia.  Without all the details I’ll give the basics of the last seven months.  February, March, & the first half of April were spent doing a variety of things with two primary goals.  I wanted to clean, sort, organize, and purge much of my belongings in preparation for some sort of big move/change this year, but without a clear direction about what that would be.  I had felt before I left for Malaysia, that the Lord was laying it on my heart to make time and space for doing just that when I returned home before going back to work.  During that time, my best friends had to make some big changes in their lives as well and that meant an unplanned move to Idaho.  I was thankful that I was able to assist with this large project and spent roughly a month in Pennsylvania with them, helping with the packing and preparing process.  It was a very unique time to see how the Lord made preparations for things well out of the ordinary and to be blessed by being able to assist in a way that could only have been arranged by the Lord!  There were many times I thanked the Lord for knowing what we need and when we will need it even as I was sad for all the change, I was glad to be of assistance!

Around mid-April I returned to working two jobs in the Lewes area.  I also began actively seeking and applying for jobs all around the United States in non-profits and charities.  I applied for anything I thought I might be able to do, that would allow me to use my skills and fulfill my passions on a full time basis rather than just doing it part of the year through my volunteer work.  As usual, I kept getting no responses indicating they had gone with someone more experienced.  Many of you know I’ve been traveling & volunteering literally half of my life, but I’ve received no’s many many times during that time.  It was tough, but I’m thankful I had friends and family who kept encouraging me when I was feeling down or defeated that it just meant I hadn’t found the position the Lord wanted me to be in, despite my having loved a few of the options for which I’d applied.  Nevertheless, the following story is going to sound a little out there, but really why should I be surprised the Lord worked in such unconventional ways?

So, as the Lord would have it, I went out to Idaho to visit my best friends for about twelve days at the end of June.  During that time, they thought of someone they had met at their new church who worked for a full time missions organization and suggested maybe he (Nate) would be a good contact that could help link me to some other opportunities.  So, we arranged an on the fly meeting one night.  As I talked and shared with him, he suggested I put in an application for a position with the organization and talk to the guy who was the head of those positions while I was around.  I went ahead and put in the application online that evening or the next and was able to connect with the other man (David) via text and phone chatting in the next few days.  We ended up arranging for me to come see the headquarters for the organization in Boise, Idaho the day I was to fly back home and David would get me to the airport afterwards.  I had always shied away from applying to support raised positions in the past for many reasons, but although I still felt a great deal of unease when I found out this position was support raised, I did not have the immediate no reaction that I typically had.  The only other big downfall was that the first opportunity for interview wasn’t supposed to be until the end of October which was much later in time frame than I had hoped, since my jobs were really only viable until around October at the latest.  I had to put everything in the Lord’s hands and just keep moving forward to see what did or didn’t happen.  I soon received word that if I could get myself to Indianapolis at the end of July I could have an interview then, instead of waiting till October.  I decided that was a good decision if for no other reason, but to know if the door would definitely be opened or closed.  In the meantime, I continued to research and apply to multiple other positions.  I felt the interview went well, but would have to wait around 3 weeks until I would hear a final decision.  During that time, I even put in two more applications for other jobs.  The Lord quickly closed both of those doors as well.  After much anxious waiting I was offered the position on August 22!  All year I have been praying for the Lord to be very clear opening or closing doors so that I would be exactly where He wanted me no matter what I thought.  This is the only door He has flung wide open!  I am happy to say I will now be able to use my skills and abilities in full time ministry and be hands and feet of Jesus doing what I love all the time!

The position I have accepted is called Mobilization Coordinator with Extreme Nazarene based in Boise, Idaho.  Basically, I will be traveling the United States & Canada sharing what Extreme Nazarene is doing and seeking individuals or couples with a passion for serving the Lord who would be willing and interested in serving abroad.  Right now, Extreme is in several South American countries and looking to branch out beyond that as the Lord opens doors.  The primary goal at this moment is church planting with a holistic and sustainable approach that I stand behind!  I look forward to opportunities to share more about this with anyone who is interested!

I have been working closely with everyone to try to get all the paperwork and essentials completed in as timely of a manner as possible.  Since this is a support raised position, much of the next 2 months will be spent praying with faith that the Lord will direct me to the right covenant partners who wish to join me in this path of continuing to broaden the Kingdom & spread the good news of Jesus and His love and forgiveness to all!  It will most assuredly have to be a Jesus thing for all the numbers to come together, but I am certain the Lord hasn’t brought me all this way without knowing exactly what is needed and how it will be provided because I do indeed serve a good God who loves and cares for each of us!

My start date is set to be October 31 with a goal of me being able to head out to Idaho by the end of October or the beginning of November.  This seems like quite a short time to complete everything, but I am thankful to have many joining me in prayer as the Lord provides the financial needs.  I will be sending out letters with a little more detail about the organization itself and my position and then making phone calls to schedule meetings to talk with people, give more detail, and answer any questions folks have.  Hopefully, by the end of next week I will also have my prayer coasters that are being printed, so I will be able to hand those out for folks, too.  Currently, I can provide a link to my page on the company website which includes both a donation link and a contact for more information link.  Please feel free to contact me via Facebook, my blog, email, phone, or the website link.  I am still working 2 jobs, but after September 10th will only be working my morning job, so I will have more free time to meet with people, speak at churches, groups, and rotaries, etc.  I plan to send out letters in waves to people so that I am actually able to make follow up phone calls for scheduling meetings, but if you haven’t or don’t receive a letter in the next few weeks and really would like one or want to plan a time to meet up with me, just let me know!

Here is the link to my page at Extreme Nazarene:

https://www.extremenazarene.org/team/Schuler/

Categories: Extreme Nazarene | 1 Comment

January in KL

So, many of you know by now that I returned to the US a few days early at the end of January.  I was able to successfully surprise my family despite the blizzard delaying my first set of flights.  It was the biggest surprise I’ve ever pulled off for my family thanks to the help of my best friends!  It has been a busy couple of weeks back in the US, but I hope to accomplish some big tasks for myself this month & see what doors the Lord opens next for me.

During my time in Kuala Lumpur (KL), I was able to help out in two different ways.  One thing I did was work with a school a couple days a week as a floating assistant.  The other was helping out with the food business owned by the people I stayed with.  They had a need to get things more organized & efficient in their kitchen as well as work on what a better inventory would look like in order to hopefully make less trips to stores, spending less time doing things that pull them away from more essential duties, etc.  I am happy to report I was able to get things better arranged for them & show them a more spatially efficient way to organize the kitchen.  The initial parts of the inventory process were also begun & will hopefully serve them better as the year goes on!  🙂  I am glad the Lord was able to show me ways to use my eclectic variety of skills while I was away.  Especially since I had no idea what the month of January might hold for me!

I really made great friendships with the folks I spent January with & will continue to keep in touch with them!  They helped me to experience many things in & around the area of KL as well as get a very good feel of the different type of lifestyle in the city!  There was never a dull moment & I was amazed each and every time we would talk about something & they would say, “Oh you can do that here!”  It really was a busy, but amazing time! I have posted a bunch of photos on Facebook that some of you have already seen I’m sure.  They are some of the memories & moments I am glad to share with you.  🙂  Malaysia was definitely an interesting country & if the Lord permits I think it would be awesome to get a chance to return at some point.  I made many good friendships & am happy for all the doors that opened!

I look forward to speaking with those of you who have more in depth questions about my trip & what I learned/how I have grown!  Overall, Malaysia treated me well & I’m definitely missing the warmer weather!  Enjoy pictures & private message me with any questions & maybe we can get together & chat.  I hope you have enjoyed my posts which my mom so gracious put up for me while I was away & like the pictures I put up on Facebook! 🙂

Categories: Argentina, Traveling | Leave a comment

Holiday & Changes

So, it’s Holiday time, the English program has finished for me, & I’m starting to work out what next month looks like.  There have been some busy days this week with my travels to the big city to research options there for next month, getting prepared for our holiday celebration (mostly making different food items), & my desire to incorporate some local things into my unique Holiday experience this year.  Overall, things are going well.  I have just a week left here before I need to move everything to KL.  There is plenty to do in that time, but thankfully we do not have classes, so I have been trying to get caught up on my personal to do list.  Today has been a bit more relaxed & productive which is always good.  I still have a few things to do, but may try to work on them tonight or Sunday afternoon.  I will try to scale back my things here & prepare for the move as well as help with whatever random projects I can at the center or around the house as they finish the preparations for the baby & get ready for a new school year starting in January.

There are still quite a few unknowns about my time in January.  I had a great connection with the folks I met over last weekend in the city & things looked like they were going to go relatively smoothly, I was just going to need help finding a place to stay.  But the night I returned here, their business got broken into & now there are a lot of things they are having to consider.  Most likely I will still be spending January in the big city of KL, but I will possibly be helping with a different project.  Rather than helping with a food stand, it’s more likely I’ll be helping with some kids with special needs.  That project is in a different part of the city & with people I have not had the opportunity of meeting, but they are friends of the folks I did meet, so I’ll be exactly wherever the Lrd would have me be I’m sure!  Please continue to think about this as I figure out what my time will be spent doing, where I will stay, & how to help those who’s lives got changed literally overnight.  Everything happens for a reason, sometimes we get the privilege of knowing that reason, but sometimes we do not, yet it’s still important to trust the wisdom, guidance, & direction from above.

I hope each and every one of you has had a marvelous Holiday celebration & have a great week getting ready for the New Year as well!  This week is going to be a very full one with trying to get things ready for the center with the new school year approaching quickly, the earlier than expected arrival of the baby, saying goodbyes, & preparing to move.  I’m sure each & every day will be non-stop & time will go quickly.  I am excited to see & experience whatever KL has to offer me also.  I am glad to have some friends there even if I won’t be helping them because we will likely get together a few times to see & experience some things in the area!  If you are willing you can make friends anywhere & you can see the good in even the tough situations, although sometimes that can be rather difficult.  I will be a bit sad to leave some of my new friends here who I’m enjoying getting to know a little better & trying to share some about myself also, but it will be interesting to have a change in pace & lifestyle shift again.  Just around a month left of this adventure, so I want to be sure I’m doing my best to make the most of it!  I will try to update again when I get in to KL & know a bit more about what I am doing, but in the meantime just know I’m trying to be open & have willing hands & feet wherever I am led.

Don’t forget that it’s important to be thankful for everything you have even if it seems small, there are plenty of people who don’t have even that.  Although this country is not nearly as “poverty” full as many I have been in, there are other things that are lacking or restrictive that remind me EVERY thing is a blssng from above!  Also, be certain you are telling those who are important/make an impact on your life what they mean to you!  There is no reason to wait till someone passes & then realizing you wish you’d said so many things while they were still here.  No one is guaranteed any amount of time & things don’t happen on our time line or when we would like so be sure you are living each and every day in a way you would be okay with if it was your last!

It’s a good reminder at the Holidays & always to focus on the experiences/time spent/memories we get to share with others rather than all the “stuff” we are constantly inundated with in the western world.  It’s even important to remember to not miss the moment by trying to capture it with a photo or any other distraction.  Although pictures & videos are great things, I find that sometimes we get so focused on the right shot/angle/etc. that even that causes us to actually miss the experience by trying to be able to share it with someone else.  Make sure you are grasping all the beauty, wonder, splendor, & emotion of the moment before you try to capture it for someone else.  Even if you have an awesome photo, if you missed actually living the experience & enjoying it for all it is worth, what have you gained?  Remember, if you make a huge impact in the world, but have not love – you have nothing.  Read 1 Cor. 13 to grasp what I am trying to say here.  Always check your perspective & be sure you are keeping focused on the right things.  If you aren’t sure what the right things are then spend time pryng, seeking, & asking what it is you should be focused on!  It is not always the same for all people.

Until next time, thanks for being a great support & for all the thoughts sent my way!  I couldn’t be where I am and do what I do without all of you! J  Thank you doesn’t seem a big enough word to express what I want to say, but I hope you all know what I mean!  I will write again as soon as I can!  Happy Holidays!

Categories: Malaysia | 1 Comment

English

I’ve now been in Malaysia a little over a month and so much has happened.  Since my last update 2 big changes have taken place, English classes & moving.

Last week, I started helping with the English classes.  Some days have been better than others.  I ended up only having 3 classes, 1 younger & 2 slightly older, just because of the number of kids.  There is one teen class, but that is not my responsibility most of the time, but I did help out once with it.  I seem to do better with the 2 slightly older classes because they seem to get the concepts a little quicker and we make it through my plans usually.  The younger class I have a little harder time helping them get the concepts quickly enough and usually we do not make it all the way through the lesson.  :/  I have mostly successfully planned all the lessons and I think I am getting the hang of it.  The biggest thing is how much time you have to spend planning, preparing, organizing, etc. for the lesson.  Giving the instruction is often the easy part.  Yikes, I don’t think I want to do this for a profession all the time.  Since I use the same lesson for 3 classes I only have to actually plan 3 lessons a week, if I had to do more I’d be in big trouble.

The other big change is my place of residence.  I am still in the same location, but now living with a local lady and her daughter.  I am renting a room in their home.  It will help me get a better feel for the culture & also hopefully provide me some opportunities to learn/practice more of the language & customs.  There are some unique things to deal with like only a squatty potty (which although not the most comfortable is workable – no reading for leisure on this potty), no hot water (I have found that a cool shower in the morning can actually be quite refreshing though), the need to boil water for drinking (this is quite a time consuming task as it takes considerable time to cool down because it’s so hot here normally), etc.  Overall though, I think this is a nice place and once I get to interact a little more with the family I think it could be very rewarding and eye opening!  I’m thankful that I can be established here until the end of the month/early Jan.  Then it will be time to move again, but to a different town (the location still to be determined).  Please keep that move in your thoughts as it will be a big decision & I want to be where I am supposed to be, doing only what He wants me to be doing.

I have also started meeting with a teen Chinese girl who I met through the center.  She is very interested in talking & sharing cultural aspects & I’m hoping some doors will open for me to share some more personal things with her.  She works 7 days a week & right now I am helping every day but Sunday, so working around our schedules can be tricky.  Please be prying for opportunities to open up for us to meet & also to talk about deeper topics!

I am thankful to have a motorbike to borrow and to have been able to get my motorcycle license before I left.  It really makes it much easier and nicer to be able to get around on my own especially since walking would be a bit time consuming and super hot each day and there isn’t really any public transportation in this town.  If I lived here, I would definitely invest in one of the motorbikes because they get you around here quickly enough and are super cheap to gas up (just over $1).  The only problem is when it rains you get soaked and it does rain almost every day usually in the late afternoon, but they are so popular, just about every store/shop has special spots just for motorbikes!

I want to say thank you to each of you who faithfully follows along and keeps me in your thoughts!  I am glad my mom is able to post these for me so you can still get updates periodically!  I hope to write again in a couple weeks when classes are over, but before the holidays and maybe by then I will know where I’ll be heading for January!  🙂  Have a great day and don’t forget to enjoy each of your everyday blssings most  people don’t even think about!

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Thanksgiving & Surrender

I have now been in Malaysia about 2½ weeks.  My time here has been full of change and travel so far.  Things should “slow down & regulate” a little by the end of this week as far as change and move are concerned, however things are going to ramp up as far as work is concerned.  Starting next Monday, I will be helping teach English during a Holiday program for 3 weeks.  That means helping with or teaching 5 different classes a week, about 30 hours of teaching.  It should make for a very interesting experience.  I am also trying to learn some of the local language, Malay.  Although, not a terribly difficult language, the pronunciation of some letters are very different from English, so thanks for your thoughts as I work on this as well.

This is a very beautiful country with many things to offer, but lacking freedom in some areas that American’s take for granted daily.  True freedom of speech does not exist, there are many sensitive areas that must be avoided or kept on the down low.  Also the variety of cultural interactions that exist here seems to breed some animosity between people groups, especially in things such as dress, food, privilege, etc.  It is important to remember who and what you want to represent while you are here.  There is some grace for an “outsider”, however most of you know I do not strive to remain an “outsider” so it is important that I not only learn what is acceptable, but also do my best to conform to the strictest set of regulations available.

I would encourage each of you to take this time around the holiday to remember the wonderful gifts you have including, but not limited to living in a country where you are pretty much free to think, act, talk, dress, etc. any way you want without much consequence.  This is not true of a lot of the rest of the world, but especially in certain countries.  Remember to be thankful for more than just the stuff you have & remember not to be held down by the things you don’t have or haven’t had the opportunity to see or do yet.  Sometimes the most important thing you can do is appreciate your present, rather than longing for a future or regretting a past.  If you aren’t able to fully experience now, then your past will be devoid and your future will seem dim.  This is a process for everyone including myself, but I am striving to learn to live in the present, be thankful for the here & now, as well as the past that got me where I am, & the future that holds so many unknowns.  Learning to live one day at a time and accept each day for whatever it holds is a daily choice that is often full of scary unknowns, but if we are willing to step out in fth, it will always be the best choice we can make in our walk with the LRD.

As I seek to grow in my personal walk & be willing to take each day as it comes, which is neither easy nor comfortable for me, I encourage you to do the same.  A quote I have written for myself to read each day as a reminder of what I am attempting to learn while here comes from the most recent book, A.D. 33, written by my favorite author Ted Dekker.  I will include it for you here – the conversation is between JC and a character, emphasis mine:

“Surrender who you think you are…

‘To see who I really am.’

Surrender what you think you need…

‘To see what I already have.’

Surrender all that you think you know about…

‘To know you.’”

Surrender is a choice no one can make for you and one you must continue to make that is never easy, but is the only way to move in to a higher understanding of who you are, defined primarily by whose you are not by what you have or do.  Thank you for walking with me and supporting this journey as I learn to walk more everyday wherever the LRD leads me.

Categories: Malaysia | Leave a comment

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