Hello all of my faithful blog followers. My working season has ended and I am about to embark on my next volunteer venture. I am sorry I didn’t have a chance to post before now, but will do my best to update everyone with my trip plans. The short story is I was able to work 2 jobs all summer and save enough to go for a shorter volunteer trip this year. I will be spending the next 3 months in Malaysia, primarily helping teach English.
There are many things about this trip that will be similar to past experiences, with one major difference. I will be very restricted about what I can say, write, and do while I am in Malaysia. The government is legally allowed to monitor all communication and any type of religious talk is forbidden. Therefore this means that I will not be able to access social media or post to this blog. Even my emails with family will need to be carefully worded and phone conversations even more carefully constructed. I will therefore be unable to communicate with any of you while I am away. I am going to try to teach my mom how to sign in to this blog, in hopes she could post a brief update of sorts for me a few times while I am away. It is simply unsafe for me to sign in to any of these things. I greatly appreciate your prayers for the unique challenges I will face this time, especially with censorship and a much more restricted ability to communicate with everyone.
To make everyone as aware as possible of where I will be and when I’ll give my flight details next. I do want to make everyone aware I will be spending my time on the western side of Malaysia, however the missionaries whom I will be meeting up with to assist have requested I not release where I will be exactly or their names. This is for their safety of mission as well as to prevent any negative attention for myself and others traveling to assist them.
I will be flying out of Philadelphia on November 8th. My flight leaves at 10:15 am. I have approximately 13 hours and 30 min on the plane until I land in Doha, Qatar. I have a very short layover here (only about 55 min), so prayer that everything will be on time and that I will be able to quickly get to my next gate is greatly appreciated. When I leave Doha, Qatar I will be headed to Malaysia. That flight is around 8 hours. Once I arrive in Malaysia I will be 13 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time, so night here will be day and vice versa. I will arrive in Malaysia on Monday, Nov 9th at around 8:30 pm (Malaysian Time). That should be about 7:30 am on Monday EST. I will spend Monday evening in a hotel in the airport and meet up with the missionaries the following day around mid day. There will be 4 other people who arrive on Tuesday as well. They are only going to be staying for a short time (approximately 8 days). From there we will be guided to our location a few hours from the airport. The 4 others will be leaving the next week, but I will be staying in Malaysia helping until the end of January. I should arrive back in the US early in the day on January 31, 2016. If possible I will have my mom post that information closer to my return time.
The first couple of weeks will be full of a variety of things while the others are there. There will be a prayer summit among many other things happening. Most likely I will not get to help with teaching English until the 23 of November, but prayer that I will catch on to the program and help others be successful is much appreciated. I’m unsure what other tasks I may be able to help with while I am there, but will keep my eyes and heart open to helping however I am able to do so.
During the first couple of weeks we will be doing some traveling and therefore I will not be established at a “home base” right away. In the interim of the group leaving while I wait for a host family, I will stay in an extra room with the missionaries who are currently living and working there. If need be, I could stay there through December although this is not the goal. In January, the room will not be available with the missionaries as they have some family arriving during that time. Hopefully, well before this point I will have found a family who was willing to have me come stay with them. That is my preference as it is typically much easier to build relationship and experience/understand the culture when living with those whom you are trying to assist. 😉
I know the Lord will use this time to stretch and grow me in many areas. In many ways, this trip will likely be more difficult than those I have taken in the past, but the Lord is faithful and doesn’t lead us to places unless He knows it is where we need to be and what we need to be stretched in. I look forward to being able to report on all I learn while I’m away, when I return. Any updates my mom will be able to give will be heavily edited and unable to include things I would normally share about what the Lord is teaching me or what I am learning. It will likely have to be much more basic just sharing some of the things I am able to do/see. I have set up some code words for my family so, if there is something very imminent we will be able to communicate such needs.
Thank you sincerely for those of you who I know will be and have been prayer partners and for those who have supported me financially along the way. I will be able to respond to comments here until Saturday. I will leave to head to the airport around 4:45 am on Sunday morning. I hope each of you has a great Thanksgiving & Christmas season! I will try to be in touch whenever possible.