4.28.2015

LIfe Lately #27


Hi! Hi! I know I have been 'posting' on the blog but I wrote those posts a while ago so I wanted to write a life lately post and check in with everyone!

Last time I updated everyone on what we were up to we were in Thailand getting ready to come back to Myanmar. Well, we are back in Myanmar and have been here for over two weeks now.

I was a bit nervous about coming back but overall the transition went just fine. We got to Myanmar Sunday evening and my good friend from Kansas, Alisha, flew in on Monday morning. 

We spent about two weeks  showing her life in Myanmar and it was so fun! I’m so thankful that Alisha came to visit. She is one of my closest friends and being able to share life with her, visit and pray with her was a huge blessing.


Dave, Alisha and I went up to Inle Lake for a few days and saw life there. Many of the people live on houses right on top of the water. They have floating markets on the water and much more. It was beautiful and one of the most unique ways of life I have ever seen people live. 




Alisha left last weekend and lets just say I was super sad. I had no idea I’d be so emotional about her leaving but I definitely was. God knows what I need because Dave was really nice and the next morning some of the ladies from church got together to have tea, visit and pray together. It was a huge encouragement. 

My office! We turned a bedroom into an office and I'm loving it! 


Pam's Birthday was this week! It was fun to celebrate with her. They have a Tony Roma's now in Yangon (huge deal people)! I'm pretty sure my hamburger was the size of a baby cow. We ate a lot but it was fun to celebrate!

Last week we had a terrible wind storm and it blew part of the mango tree down at school. They put the green mangoes in bags to ripen and they for sure did! We peeled and sliced them and had 45 cups of mangoes! We made cakes, pies, muffins and soon we will make jam and smoothies!

School starts beginning of June so I'm starting to get my classroom ready. I'll have 18 four year olds. =)

What have you been up to lately? What has been a blessing to you these past few weeks?
Do you have an office to work from in your house?
Do you want to come and visit me so you can eat mangoes? (Please say yes!)


Never Have I Ever ... Until Myanmar (Part 2)



A while ago I shared a Never Have I Ever post and it was quiet a fun way to share some insights into the culture here. I hope through the year I can do more in depth posts about life here but until I get those written I have this for you.


Never Have I Ever ... until Myanmar (part 2)


Never have I ever … been pooped on by a bird until I moved to Myanmar. 

Yes, I know this was mentioned before but seriously, I’ve been pooped on now a total of 5 times with the last time being smack dab on my head! #ihatebirds 

Never have I ever … just accepted the fact that ants and I will share a kitchen.

I know I will never get rid of all of the ants here! I have purchased some amazing tupperware and have learned how to hide all my food from them. Before I learned this though the ants ate my rare and precious cookie dough. Not ok, ants! Not ok!

Never have I ever … had ants in my pants.

One day I came into my kitchen and realized that there were these huge ants all over the dirty dishes. I finally got everything cleaned but felt like ants were crawling on me. Don't you have the feeling of a bug being on you but you can't pin point where?

My back felt especially itchy and I asked Dave to check. He did indeed tell me there was a big ant and I did I wait for him to get it off? Nope! I started wiggling and panicking and that darn ant went right into my pants. Let just say that is the fastest I have ever removed my clothing. Probably .0005 of a second. 

Never have I ever … had a junior high girl tell me she eats at least ten servings of rice a day.

I’ll admit, I’m not at all surprised! They love their rice here. 

Never have I ever … seen a more random religious convention.

The Buddhist don’t rent out a building for their conventions but instead they come into the market we walk through, literally lay down hundreds of mats, and then put up a screen so they can hear a Buddhist monk talking.

Before the mats were full of people they expect me to take off my shoes. I normally try to be respectful but I'm sorry, I have seen rats and roaches in the market and there was no way I was going barefoot. Later that evening I tried to go to an internet cafe and literally could not because of the throng of people.

It was weird you guys.

Never have I ever … seen marriage done so differently.

It isn't the norm for everyone here but many people here have arranged marriages, get engaged before meeting someone, have a male ordered bride and marry someone they don't know well. This is all really different to me but it’s pretty normal here. 

Never have I ever … had so many people grab my skin because it is white. 

I was a little used to this from Korea but here I have had 3 people grab my arm just to touch my skin. One person was on their bike and did a drive by grab, one person was just on the street and just couldn’t resist and the last lady, well, let me tell you about her!

The last lady must have been from a village because she just couldn’t get enough squeezes of my white arm. I’m guessing she has not seen many western people. Dave and I were sitting down, trying to map out our next destination and she came at me again but this time she gave me a big slobbery kiss. She even called her friend over to give me a kiss too but I put a stop to that real quick when I saw the other lady had red stained teeth from the beetle nut / tobacco they chew here. Sooo gross you guys!

As you can tell Myanmar is full of adventures. But really life is full of adventures no matter where we live!

What is something new to you from where you live?
How would you handle someone grabbing your skin all the time because it was a different color?

4.21.2015

What we Eat in Myanmar - Part 1



If you read my post about some of the various foods we have been offered over here you're probably wondering what the heck we actually eat over here? 

I'm actually surprised at the many foods the grocery stores here offer. When I moved to Korea I went into a food panic and would order an entire pizza for myself thinking I'd never see Western food again. To top that, we asked for black beans from people back home and received TWENTY SIX bags of black beans. It was epic and we were known as the black bean girls. If you are wondering who 'we' is you should just go read this fun post! 

Anyways, I'm really off topic but I did have a purpose in writing what I just did. When I went to Korea it was hard to figure out food but this time in Myanmar I haven't been as stressed about it. 

Cooking at home is still very very different than in the States but it is still really great. I love being in the kitchen. It's a place where I can wind down and relax. 

Today I'm sharing where we get groceries from. BUT before I do I have to tell you that my friend Pam helped me figure groceries out! She has lived here for 10 years and she took me to each of these places (including the grocery stores in Thailand) and showed me the good products verses the bad ones. She has had ten years of trying out products so I feel very very blessed that she passed on her knowledge to me. I'm positive that her help has saved me from crying many times over. 

Where we Get Groceries: 


1. The Market Across Our Street 

This market is where I get all the fresh fruit. Dave and I walk through here on a daily basis so we often pick something up to go along with our lunch for the day. I also love that I can sit on my balcony and scout out for good mangoes. =) I promise I'm going to post more about the market one of these days. It's on my to do list but I just feel weird walking around the market taking pictures of everyone and everything.

I'd like to say that even though the market has fresh fruit and although I am super super thankful for that market some days it's hard to even walk through there. Many times it is super crowded with people, you get a big whiff of the fermented fish paste, it can be grimy and I even saw a rat once which made me want to fall on the floor screaming with panic. BUT then I'd be on that floor. So I just kept walking, quickly.  

The best part about the market is interacting with the locals! They are so helpful and will help me get fruit that I can eat that same day or in a day or two. 

2. Sein Gay Har


That is the name of the grocery store directly below our condo. It is a real life saver. 

The grocery store is a local one and does not have a huge variety of western options. It does have milk, rice, bread, rice, eggs, rice, coffee, rice, paper products and other basic items. 

They also have a cute aisle full of tea cups. It's fun! 

I have looked at meat in this store and my eyes just get real big and I walk away. 

3. City Mart


Hallelujah! Hallelujah! 

My heart was so happy when I walked into this store. It is basically like an American & Asian grocery store! 

Here I can get chicken, ground beef, ground pork and other meats from a deli. It's really good quality. and I buy meat for 1 month a time. This grocery store is a ways away so I stock up when I can. 

The chicken here comes with the skin on it and sometimes the quills, which kind of grosses me out. Dave and I usually eat 8 chicken breasts for the whole month and I try to buy all the chicken at one time. I then take it home, wash it, cut it up, place it into ziploc bags and put it in the freezer. 

I was thinking "How in the world do we only eat 8 chicken breasts a month?" and I figured it out. I cut each chicken breast in half (they are large), dice it and that is meat for one meal. So I guess essentially we are each eating 1/4 of a chicken breast at a meal. That doesn't sound like a lot but we are satisfied. 

4. Thailand

Yep! You read that correctly! When I come to Thailand I buy some groceries. So far I have bought steel cut oats (sooo good!), cereal, bacon, cheese and a few other items. 

How do I get the bacon and cheese back to Myanmar? Well I freeze them in the little freezer at the hotel, stick it in my suitcase right when we leave and then throw it back into the freezer when I get back to Myanmar. The flight is only 45 minutes so food is only semi thawed when I get back. And frankly, if I bring bacon back I'm eating it! I don't care if it thawed and refroze a few times. 

That is a quick recap of where we get groceries from. It is a lot more work than in the US because we have to carry everything by foot or it all goes in a taxi. Really though, I'm just glad we have food options.

I'm hoping to share more pictures from the grocery store as well as some other foods we can purchase here. I think it is interesting so hopefully you will too.


4.20.2015

Ask Us Anything - Part 3 {Questions About Missions}

Mt. Wheeler, NM
Mt. Wheeler in New Mexico. I'm missing the mountains and cold air so I'm showing pictures of them to reminisce. 

Hi!

Today I decided to write out my answers to 'Ask Us Anything' and I'll be talking about some general mission questions as well as some of our best memories from our time here.

Hope you Enjoy!

What will be your best memory, your best take-away, from your time here in Asia? The one 
you guys say "Remember when...." for years to come? 


We have only been here 6 months so this answer could change BUT for me there is one memory that I will never forget as long as I live. 

We visit temples here. I mentioned before that I have mixed feelings about visiting temples and each time I visit I want to tell people that there is a God in heaven that can hear their prayers and that He wants to have a relationship with them. 

One day Dave and I trecked all over town to find this huge reclining Buddha. We finally found the place where this Buddha was and it really was a massive reclining Buddha. I saw people bowing and my heart just broke. 

We were walking around the Buddha and a man approached us and asked us where we were from. I have no doubt it was The Lord prompting me but I just knew we had to share Jesus with this man. I wanted to be tactful so I asked him if he came to worship here. He said he did come here to meditate and then he asked if we were Buddhist. I told him we were Christians and then immediately he had question upon question. 

He told us he meditated so much but he could never fully tap into the spiritual world like he wanted. He then said this: "I have read the Bible through three times. How many times have you read it?" I wanted to hide in shame because I have only read it through one time.

He had so many questions about salvation so we sat down and shared the gospel with him and we shared lots and lots of verses. Remember, this is all right there in a Buddhist temple! I was nervous because I have no idea how they handle people talking about Christ in temples so when Dave was talking I was praying for God's protection.  

We talked a long time, prayed with him and gave him Dave's e-mail address. We have never heard from him and I don't know if we ever will but I will never forget what God did that day. I pray God used His Word and what we shared to help that man come to a saving knowledge of Christ. 

I know many of my readers aren't in Buddhist temples every day but wherever we are at people are seeking for Hope. I challenge you to ask God to open doors for you to share the gospel with people.


Do you have any tips or advice for people interested in missions? 


Yes I do! 

First I'd bathe that interest in prayer! I can tell you about missions all day but God can make missions happen. 

Secondly, I'd realize that missions starts at home. Somewhere I read that a missionary is someone who is passionate about telling others about Jesus. The good thing is you don't have to travel anywhere to do that. 

I'd get connected with some missionaries from your church. If your church doesn't support missionaries I'd be happy to get you in touch with some of my missionary friends.

Why get in touch with missionaries? Because it will allow you to build a relationship with someone who is on the mission field. You will know how to pray for them and you will get insights into their ministry. Not only will you gain knowledge about missions but you, getting to know a missionary and praying for their work will encourage them more than you will ever know.

I'd also consider doing a short term missions trip. There are many options and many places to do that but if you have a relationship with a missionary on the field that might be a great option for you to visit them.

Also I say GO! If you are called to missions but are hesitating I'd just like to tell you that being exactly where God has called us and seeing Him work has given me a tremendous amount of joy.

If you have more questions about missions please ask me! You can E-mail me or comment. I'd love to answer any questions anyone has about missions.


Favorite missionary story. Not necessarily the person but the experience of a person that was most impactful to you. 

I mentioned above a memory I won't forget but there is also something that I have heard many times from the people in prison that has touched my heart.

What is it they tell me? That they are thankful that they are in prison. They say that they were caught in a life searching for a longing to be fulfilled and when they came to prison Christ found them.

I don't doubt them for a minute either. Some of these people you can see a tremendous amount of joy in their faces. But isn't that just like Jesus? He knows where we need to be so that He can reach us. He is willing to use any situation to reach us and to have a relationship with us.


What gift do you have that is the most natural way to serve God for you? 

Encouragement.

I'm no pro but I definitely think that God has given me the gift and desire to encourage others.

I absolutely love being in Myanmar and Thailand and coming alongside the missionaries here to encourage and help in the work God is doing. The missionaries here work hard and they definitely need people to encourage and walk with them in their journey. 

____________________________________________________

You all asked me some really good questions which made me think a lot! My challenge is to ask you the same questions and to see how God can use you. 

How can you be a missionary right where you are at? 
What gift do you have that is the most natural way for you to serve God?

I have two more Ask Us Anything posts coming up! Part 4 is about marriage and part 5 are all the fun miscellaneous questions you all asked. 

4.16.2015

Ask Us Anything - Part 2 {Life in Myanmar}

I am really missing cold weather! I never thought I'd say that but it's true! 

I'm really glad you all enjoyed the last vlog with the Ask Us Anything questions / answers. I have had fun answering all your questions. 

Today I have another vlog for you. It is all about life in Myanmar. It is longer than the other ones so I put the questions and time underneath incase you want to skip to a certain part. 




INTRO
Q1: What do you love most about Myanmar?  00:28
Q2: What do you enjoy the most about Myanmar? 1:19
Q3: What is something that surprised you about living in Myanmar? 1:45
Q4: Oddities or differences between Myanmar and home (foods/traditions/dress/cooking methods/places to visit/transportation) 2:30
Q5: What is going on at school? 7:37

Again if you have more questions feel free to ask! =)

4.14.2015

Railay Beach, Krabi, Thailand


To properly celebrate our 2nd wedding anniversary Dave and I headed to Railay beach here in Thailand. I have read a lot about this beach on-line and I have had a few friends who highly recommended it. It did not disappoint!

Railay beach is actually a peninsula but is only accessible by boat because of the large limestone rocks blocking roads from being built. It is a smaller tourist area but has plenty of things to do.  They have a West beach and an East beach. The west beach is the pretty one where you watch the sunsets but the East side is much cheaper to stay at. The walk between the two is about 5 - 10 minutes. 

If you are on this blog looking for directions or general questions there is more of that at the bottom of this post.  

Today I'm giving a recap of what we did on our trip here. 

I mentioned you can only arrive by boat. We arrived to the area during sunset so our boat ride to Railay included a beautiful sunset. This picture below is our 'dock' meaning, they don't have a dock. They just get as close to shore as they can and you hop out in the ocean and walk to shore. 


We stayed at Railay Phutawan Resort, which we recommend. It's away from the major resorts, has nice rooms and has a good breakfast with killer views. You get to watch monkeys and people rock climb while you eat breakfast. It was quiet fun.

Railay Phutawan, Krabi, Thailand

We had some really good Indian food at Kohinoor Indian Restaurant. They also offer really good pizzas too. We went twice. =)

Indian Food at Railay Beach

 We saw and interacted with lots of monkeys! They were pretty tame since they are around people so much and it was fun to just sit and watch them.

MOnkeys at Railay Beach

Dave did some jumping! Doesn't it look like he is going to land smack dab on that rock? I assure you he didn't though.


I got a massage on the beach. That's me under the umbrella there.


We watched a sunset. 

Railay Beach Sunset

I had two people recommend fried rice in a pineapple. It was good but I think I liked it more because it was just fun and pretty. We at at this restaurant here.

fried rice in a pineapple

We hiked in caves. Railay has some great caves and rock climbing. 


Kittens! Cats! I love them and I want them all!

We found a mama cat with three cute adorable little kittens! I did buy them milk and we took them ham from our breakfast buffet for a couple of days. Aren't they cute?!

Cats at Railay Beach

We took a hike to one of the lookouts as well as a lagoon. It was the sweatiest hike I've ever done. It involved a lot of vertical climbing and thankfully they had ropes to hold on to. 

Railay Beach Lookout, Krabi

Isn't the lookout pretty? 

Railay Beach Lookout

We went kayaking, which went much smoother than the last time. It was also still really cheap at $6.00 / hour. 


And then we went on a sunset cruise. It was actually from 2pm - 8:30pm. We went to several islands and snorkeled, could rock climb and jump into the ocean, watched the sunset, served dinner and then had a night swim. I liked it because you could do as much or as little as you wanted.

Our guides on the boat spoke English which was really nice.


Dave is way on the left. This picture does not do it justice. Those cliffs are way higher than you can see in the  picture and water was much choppier. I opted out because I have never rock climbed before and I didn't think this is where I wanted to learn. 


Jumping!


And I had a lot of mangoes + food poisoning. But you all already know about that one!

_________________________________________________________________

How to Get To Railay

-You will need to get to Krabi airport. We flew AirAsia round trip from Bangkok, both of us, for under $200. 
-At Krabi airport, right before you exit there will be a booth that sells bus tickets to Krabi City and AoNang Pier. They are very cheap - I think around $3.00. You will take that bus to AoNang Pier. If you don't want to take the bus you can take a taxi as well just make sure you have them meter it so they don't charge you an outrageous fee. 
-At AoNang pier the bus should drop you right at the ticket booth where you can purchase your boat trip. The boat trip is around $3.00 - $4.00. 

TIPS - People at Bangkok airport offered to arrange a taxi and boat trip for us. They were really nice but they wanted to charge us around $45.00. It might sound nice to have all your transportation ready for you upon arrival but it will cost you a lot. Also, it took some time to get to Railay but I didn't think it was difficult and we never got lost. 

Activities We Did

Sunset Cruise - We did pay around $55 a person for this but it was well worth it! We went with Krabi Sunset Cruises and I highly recommend them. 

Hiking to the View Point - This post here has great directions on how to get there. Also there is a huge sign at the entrance point so you should not have any trouble finding it (see picture blow). Some people hike this in flip flops and some people we saw were barefoot. I recommend good tennis shoes. Those who didn't have proper shoe wear seemed to struggle. 




4.13.2015

10 Lessons I've Learned in Myanmar

Oh Myanmar! The Golden Land of Myanmar has taught me many things. Some are funny, some are frustrating and some are life lessons I'll take with me. I'm thankful that each place I have lived in God has been gracious to keep teaching me things and to pour out blessings on our lives.



1. I've learned that I can ask why but it is almost better if I don't. There isn't usually an answer to my whys and when there is one I just shake my head.

2. I've learned that it is ok to stand on a car seat, with two kids, to poke our heads through the moon roof to wave at all the Myanmar people. It was so fun to see their shocked looks and we had so much fun. Don't worry, it was a short drive and we were going less than 10mph.

3. I've learned that safety isn't the same here as it is in America (see above lesson).

4. I've learned that an umbrella protects you from more than just the rain (think bird poop).

5. I've learned that in the midst of the busy city life we live in, God has put fresh fruit and the cheeriest flowers I've seen as a reminder of His love.

6. I've learned that it's normal to be frustrated at how countries run things so differently but I've also learned that it's necessary to always reflect on the many blessings no matter how frustrated I may be.

7. I've learned that there is a whole new world out there in books! I've read more books here in Myanmar than I have in the last several years. I'm loving it!

8. I've learned that Myanmar has some of the kindest and most unique people that will fill a special place in my heart.

9. I've learned that God can miraculously open doors for us to share the gospels at places we never even dreamed of.

10. I've learned that God can make my dreams of encouraging missionaries come true. Encouraging missionaries in pretty much on my ongoing bucket list and it has been neat to see God allow me to do that time and time again.

What is something you are learning where you are at? 

4.09.2015

Life Lately #26


I can hardly believe it has been a whole month since we last sat down for a Life Lately post over coffee! If we got together today we would probably have a mango smoothie instead of coffee. I've had a slight obsession with them lately, even if one of them did give Dave and I food poisoning.  

These past two months in Thailand have been full! Full of ministry opportunities but also full of rest.

We have really enjoyed Thailand. I know we will be back for short visits but I'm still going to miss people from here. Getting to serve along side various missionaries and fellow Thais has been a huge encouragement to us.

We are still so thankful that our missionary friends here have opened up their home to us for our 2+ month stay. 


As I reflect on the ministries that we have been a part of the word that comes to mind is blessed. We have been blessed to be around other Christians. We've been blessed to hear of many people getting saved and we've been really blessed to visit with a lot of people in the prisons. Seeing the change God has done in their lives is eye opening to us.


Did I tell you we are going back to Myanmar this coming Sunday? April 12th! So soon! 

I'll have to be honest and tell you I have mixed feelings about going back. I'm just gonna say it - I'm going to miss electricity, normal air conditioner and internet so I can Skype/Vox/text my family. It's hard at times to be without that.

I know when we first went to Myanmar I had some culture shock issues so I am wondering if I will have a slight case of that again. I have verses written out and I'll add a few more to my notebook so if my emotions start going cray cray on me I'll have verses to combat them!

We are looking forward to spending time with the people we love in Myanmar! It will be good to be around Zama, Pam and the family again and to see all our friends and acquaintances again. 

Oh and Alisha gets in the day after we do! If you don't know Alisha she is my good friend from Kansas! Her and I were roommates in Korea for a year and I'm so looking forward to showing her Myanmar. If you want to see a fun recap of our year together click here.

Another thing that will be a slight shock is that the 13th of April is the beginning of the Buddhist New Year. It is basically their biggest holiday. Everything, and I mean everything is closed from the 13th - 17th. Apparently everyone is out in the streets getting drunk and being crazy and then they dump water on everyone walking by. It should be real interesting. I do plan on throwing some water on people from our balcony.... *insert*mischievioussmilehere


What are we doing our last few days in Thailand? Well, I thought Dave and I would be stuffing our faces with western food our last few days (I had high hopes for a Mexican food binge) but we both got some food poisoning and we really don't want to eat much of anything. booo! But hopefully in a day or so we will be back to normal. We would really appreciate prayers!

I have some really fun posts planned for the next few weeks too. I have several more 'Ask Us Anything' vlogs and written answers and I have more posts about Myanmar. I figured since we are going back there I wanted to start sharing more about where we live. 

I might not be as quick to respond to comments and e-mails when Alisha is here but I'm sure you all understand. 

How has life been for you lately? 
Is it finally spring where you are at? 


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