The Preparation for My Mission Around the World 2006-2009

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

My Australian Connection

I almost skipped this part of how I came about my decision to spend 5 months, November '06-March '07, in Australia. In August, I was debating whether I should even bother going to Australia at all, since my desire is to go to third world countries and document the poor. I figured Australia is just another first world country that is probably very much like the US. Anyway, there was a point where I was intensely debating between Africa and Australia, and God made it clear that He wants me to go to Australia first. He said 'no' on Africa right now because I didn't get good connections with the disciples there and I'm still a bit apprehensive about that region of the world due to my lack of knowledge. I didn't feel ready. I need to do more research.

On the other hand, the door to Australia was wide open. I was able to sign up with BUNAC, an organization that helps Americans get a working visa and helps them find a job. Not only that I also got hooked up with the church in Melbourne by a brother named James Carmen, who is originally from Florida but is now living down under. I met him unexpectedly on He hooked me up with a sister Anna Acevedo, whom he calls 'the welcoming committee.' I've come to like her already even though we haven't met. Furthermore, she hooked me up with a household where Danae lives. So I'll be living with disciples while in Australia. I think God's leading me in that direction next year. We'll see what's going to unfold...

This experience reminds me of the Scripture:

"I still have seven thousand who haven't quit, Seven thousand who are loyal to the finish. It's the same today. There's a fierce minority still--not many, perhaps, but probably more than you think. They're holding on, not because of what they think they're going to get out of it, but because they're convinced of God's grace and purpose in choosing them. If they were only thinking of their own immediate self-interest, they would have left long ago." ~Romans 11:2-6 (The Message)

My Turkish Connection

Here's an update on Turkey since my last entry on July 12, 2006:

Well, I was complaining back then of how I didn't hear back from anyone soon enough. I couldn't see how God was going to work things out and got impatient. Regardless, here's how another one of his miracles unfolds.
When I decided to spend a year in Turkey, I didn't know that we even have a church or anyone who knows much about it for that matter. Then God allows me to stumble upon a letter about the Turkish church on Disciples Today. The church has 17 disciples and is begging other disciples around the world to help evangelize one of the hardest countries in the world for Christianity to penetrate. The letter entails an account of 3 sisters from the West region of the LA church who went there on a vacation to help share their faith on a college campus. As time passed, I was able to get in touch with Kristen Gergis, one of the 3 sisters. Our talks were encouraging. She's also planning to spend a year or more in Turkey to possibly teach English and get her masters around the same time that I'll be there in 2007!!! Not only that, I've discovered another sister, Adrain from Kansas, who also wants to do the same thing around the same time, as if God were eavesdropping on our prayers and orchestrating our hearts...Needless to say, we may have a mission team to Turkey after all in 2007. Please pray for us.

A Guide/A Passion

Last Sunday, I visited the AMS service and, interestingly, the messagae was about using your talents. I finally met Lance Tracy. His documentary of the church in Mexico in 2003 inspired my documetary on Cambodia, which took me 3 years to start the editing process and 3 days to finish. The raw footage was done in 2003, but between then and the editing process in Febuary of 2006, I had to save up for a computer, take an editing class, and wait for the right inspiration to complete the job. I'm very proud to have finished and hope to be doing more in the future. A piece that I really want to do is on Rwanda. If it's God's will for me to visit the country during my journey, it'd be really cool. God seems to give me a passion especially for war-torn countries and ones that had gone through a genocide. Something so tragic, so horrific really draws me toward it. In the mean time, Lance suggested that I should video tape the churches and put them up on my site or submit them to Roger Lamb on Disciples Today as a way to use my talent to advance the kingdom. I don't even know what's going to come about as a result. Pray for me. Will see...

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Angst Before Departure

So, it's count down time. I have a bit over a month left. There're still many loose ends to tie. The following are some details:

I'm in the process of selling some of my precious like my car and the 2 surfboards. As I was going through the process, I realized that I'm not a very good saleswoman. I didn't know my merchandize well enough. I felt bad for my potential buyers because I underquoted the prices, only to raise them up later. It works better the other way around when you overprice the item and then lower it. That makes everybody happy. I truly felt like an idiot, but there was a lesson learned. Every lesson comes with a price tag, I guess.

Warning: Below contains the technical language of surf repair. May not be of interest to non-surfers.
Right now, my 9' Becker board is in the shop. It needs 2 ding repairs on the nose and tail, the nose needs to be sanded down cos of the thick resin that a friend once layered it on the bottom, and the 2 delams on the deck. The Froghouse was going to charge me $120 for all the repair and sell it for $250 plus $50 commission on consignment. That would leave me with $80, which isn't that bad. But Lee, the Banning librarian hooked me up with Forest, a nice older surf repair man, who's charging me a total $5o to fix every thing. Forest showed me his shop in the garage and I love the idea of fixing surfboards. I'd love the learn how someday, not for the money, but as a hobby...

However much I'll make on the boards, we'll see. I can only do my best and pray...

The hard part of overcoming the angst before departure is to trust that God has it all planned out. Oftentimes, I feel like I'm working alone, trying to prepare for the mission. But the truth is God's always with me. He knows it all and Luke 12 is the perfect Scripture for the day...

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Waiting

I've got about a month and a half before my grand departure. The waiting period is definitely not fun and can be rather humdrum. I try my best to make it count by hanging out with as many people as I can. The initial thrill of my around-the-world trip has faded. Right now, I'm just trying to get ready for it. I sense that it's not going to be an all-fun experience, but rather an emotional one. I'm excited to go on my adventure, but I'm sad/scared to leave my comfort zone.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Threshold Guardians

According to this book on how to write a myth-based novel, the threshold guardians are the ones who tell the hero/ine not to go on the journey. Many of my friends and family show concerns about my decision to go on a pilgrimage/journey, but a particular person stood out...

A "friend," who supposedly shares the same faith as me, opposed my decision to follow my dream. I'm not so sure about the reason behind the "concerns." Regardless, this person is unhappy with my plan and started to point out all the negative things. S/he shall remain nameless. But I want to include this incident in my journal to encourage those of you who decide to follow your dreams that you'll encounter the threshold guardians/"Border Bullies" who will oppose your decision. They aren't really giving sound advice. If so, they would be my Guide or the Wise One. This person spent a lot of energy criticizing my endeavor. What I've learned is that when you decide to follow your dreams, it will stir things deep in people's hearts. Oftentimes, it will disturb their Comfort Zone. Some will be encouraged and try to pursue their own dreams; others will be jealous and try to stop you because they, themselves, are afraid to do it and don't want you to realize your dreams, or they simply want you to only cling on to the Comfort Zone just like them. Only those who have pursued their dreams learn to ignore the threshold guardians although they are characters in a hero/ine's journey.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Calling/ The Plan

"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines the steps." ~the Bible.

I know that living out one's dreams can be scarry. We are afraid of failures and rejections. Those fears inevitably got ingrained in us one way or another. Otherwise, God wouldn't keep encouraging his people over and over again to "not be afraid." So I've decided to chase after my dreams, and if I don't make it, then I know that I've tried. If I get to turn 30 and still be alive, I don't want to regret not living out my dreams as a single in my late twenties.

Here are my tentative plans:

July-- Coping with the post graduate syndrome. Start my blogs. Move out of my current resident, the rent is $450/month, to sleep on either Ignacia or Pat's couch for a month and a half at $50/week. Sell my long board and donate my stuff. Traveling light is the name of the game. Make sure to get my tax return and give tithe appropriately. Swim in the ocean a lot and surf to my heart's content. The singles retreat at the end of the month...yeah!

August--Sleep on a couch. And work full-time, saving up for my trip. Swim, surf, kayak and do all the California things before my departure.

September--Work for the first two weeks, saving up some more. Try to sell my car and

--Mid or late September, depart for Thailand (I just found out about the mission team recently sent to my parent's area)
--September 28 is my mom's 60th birthday

October --hang around Thailand and prepare for my departure to Cambodia

November --hopefully I'll get there by November to volunteer at the Hospital

December --Continue to volunteer/teach English in Cambodia. Work on my documentary

--End of December, come back to Thailand for a week or two, preparing for my departure to Turkey

January07 --Arriving in Turkey and begin teaching English

Jan-Oct 07--Teaching English in Turkey. Help out the church. During this time, I hope to visit Rwanda and Somolia. I need prayers on this one, that I'll come back in tact.

Nov- June 08 --I hope to be in a Spanish speaking country to brush up on my Spanish before returning to the US. Panama is still at the top of my list.

Boredom/ An Escape

So I have had some time off from work, trying to figure out the big questions in life like what's my purpose and why am I here? After suffering from another bout of boredom and a lack of clear direction, I decided to get away.

I went down to Chula Vista, San Diego to visit Patty, my childhood friend. It was a much-needed time away from the familiar setting. As I was driving down the I-5, I realized the neat sensation of my body moving through time and space. It was surreal. I saw much blackness on both sides of the freeway. In less than two hours, my body was transported from OC to SD with the velocity of 65 miles/ hr. (Ok, I wanted to take it easy on my breaking-down 2000 Corolla, which I'm contemplating on selling it)

There's magic when long-time best friends spend time together. We've known each other for 20 years. We laughed a lot. She just came out of a year long relationship, and we were able to laugh it off together. What an incredible healing experience--hers from her pain and mine from my boredom. I thank God for best friends.

The night before I came back to OC, I went to hang out at her work. Patty works as a bartender at night while getting her law degree. I gotta say, she's a smart one at that too. Anyhow, she called one of her customers, Wes, to come hang at the bar. She wants to hook me up with a Christian boyfriend. Isn't she lovely? The bar is pretty mellow, mostly older guys with no family go there. One or two will try to smooth talk you and buy you a drink, and then they'll leave you alone after awhile.

Anyhow Wes was cooking some steak when Patty called. He doesn't come out to the bar except on pool tournament nights. Well, that night wasn't one of them, but he came.

Wes and I talked for about an hour and a half. We had good conversations, but towards the end I had to talk louder because of the people singing karaoke. A few old men really belched out their songs. That didn't go well with my ears. I told Wes about my 2 year mission. He had traveld the world with the Navy and offered good advice about Rwanda and Somolia like "Be careful, you might get killed!" I'm gonna really have to watch out before I try to go to those places. But I said that my Asian face hopefully will make the rebels hate me less. Anyhow, I had to make an abrupt exit because I wanted to hit the road while the night was young.

Talking to Wes brought back the memories of Thailand in 2003 and how I made friends so quickly with many fellow travelers.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Initial Oppositions

We had a shrine service last Sunday and the message was on "Here am I, send me." Mike, the preacher, mentioned one thing that I can relate well. That is when we respond to the call, our path isn't going to be full of roses.

I've been getting many encouragements as well as some oppositions. I haven't been able to get a hold of the disciples in Turkey or those who've come back from there. I want instant contact, but sometimes things can take awhile and my patience is being tested.

My mom doesn't sound too thrill about my decision to travel the world neither. As much as I want to please my mom, I have to follow God's call. Here's another classic example of an ugly duckling syndrome. I'm just not like any daughter she knows who deligently works and plans on getting married. Please don't get me wrong. There's nothing wrong with that. I'm just not like them. When I broke the news of my plan to her, I can hear the disappointment in her voice. She probably thought "my daughter is nuts!" But God's plans are oftentimes beyond our imagination--better in every way. Let's just say that things are starting to take shape, but slowly. I need lots of patience.

On "The Road Not Taken"

Frost's poem has stuck with me for quite some time. At this junction in my life, I have many opportunities before me. I can choose the easy road or the hard one. Easy being a typical road, get a job and live comfortably in the US. The hard road will require me to leave everything that I know behind to pursue God's dream for me. At this point, I feel that God's calling me to go abroad somewhere. I've always had this yearning since my trip to Asia in 2003.

A Pilgrim's Dream

I want to keep a record of God's hand in my life especially regarding my personal mission. This entry will give a brief history that leads up to it.

In 2003, I spent 5 months in Asia teaching English. It was one of the best times of my life. I taught English to students who had a hunger to learn, ages 5 to adults. I taught mostly in Thailand and 2 weeks in Korea. My students were Thai, Japanese, and Korean. I met people from around the world and loved their accents. Thinking back it was like a dream. I had discovered many things about myself and rekindled the love for Thai culture.

During my 5 months in Asia, I also went to Cambodia for a week. I visited the Sihanuk Hospital and learned about the history of Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge, and the genocide. It was amazing how Cambodia is neighboringThailand, but I'd never learned about the genocide in my history classes. I knew nothing about it. Very few people do, I think.

Ever since my trip to Cambodia, I have been haunted to go back.

In the beginning of 2004, I came back to the US to pursue my teaching credential. The whole process took about 2 years. During those two years, my dream/passion about Cambodia has never faded. It only grew stronger towards the end of my teaching program.

I know that right now I can get a full-time teaching job either in the US or the UK, but I'm not ready for it. I just finished student-teaching and know that teaching full time would leave me with no time to pursue my dream for at least the next 2 years. I do plan to settle down and teach full time, but I know that if I take the job now, I wouldn't be able to pursue my mission. I may have the summer off, but I wouldn't be able to spend more than a few months else where.

What I have come to realize is that the longer you wait to pursue your dream, the harder it gets. Sometimes, you just gotta jump in with both feet and don't think too much. Well, maybe some thinking is required. Going on a pilgrimage is a big decision. But if it's God's will, nothing will be too big or too hard to accomplish.