Thailand STM 2017 — Reflection

Dear Friends and Family,

After serving at Mango House for three weeks and visiting my grandparents in Taiwan for a couple of days, I arrived home last Friday. When someone asks me how my trip was, the first thing I say is it went by so fast. Individual days were slow paced, but the month went by much quicker than I had anticipated. Only four weeks after my arrival, I walked into the Chiang Mai International Airport to leave. It felt surreal. It had felt like yesterday that I met Pastor Danny in person and experienced Thailand's heat and humidity for the first time.

I've spent the past week reflecting on this trip. I have learned many important lessons from various conversations and experienced substantial personal growth. During my time at Mango House, I didn't think I had much of an impact on the children there. Even when the high school and college students could speak English, some better than others, I never had any significant, deep, sit-down conversations where I felt a connection. I am a very relational person, and I value verbal communication. I struggled with having my gifts taken away due to language barrier. I know the correct mindset of serving is not to feel like the hero, and I went into this mission trip knowing that I am a flawed human who God chose to use. God's grace allowed a flawed person like me to serve. I didn't realize that I made an impact until the last night before I left, when some of the children wrote me wonderful thank you cards. We spent the last night in the same room that we had worshipped in together so many times. We played music, folded origami, made other crafts, and shared lots of hugs. It hit me. How had I forgotten that God is so much bigger than any potential issue. God can surpass a language barrier. God can overcome a cultural barrier. How had I been so blind to His goodness? 

Right now I'm focused on my personal sanctification and heart. In the near future, I am thinking about how I can get involved at my school to serve others (yay, homeless ministry!). I want to work on having all my actions and words to reflect Christ. One of the goals I wrote for myself at the beginning of the calendar year was I need to be INTENT on becoming an intentional person". This is still a work in progress, but God is slowly redeeming my brokenness. In regards to the future, I feel a clear calling to serving as a missionary full-time. I still have three more years before finishing my psychology degree, and I plan on pursing a MFT degree after. Hopefully, I can combine my love of psychology with my desire to serve to ultimately glorify God. Who knows how that will pan out? 

If you would like to hear more about everything that happened, please contact me so we can hang out or talk ( Thank you, everyone, for praying for me and supporting me throughout this leap of faith for me. I am so blessed to have such a strong community and body of Christ behind me. 

In Him,

Janessa Lin