Hi everyone,
I’m excited this is finally happening! Thank you for committing to taking time to pray for me and Northeast Asia this summer.
There are about 35 of you here. Some of you are my family, some are friends I’ve made in Markham, London or Ottawa, and some of you are also part of my churches in Markham and Ottawa. It’s a little weird for me to think about you all as one community, but it’s also kind of cool. We’re all part of a secret team makin’ moves for Jesus 😎
What is this? 
These emails will share updates about the trip process, and ways that you can pray for everybody involved. I’m planning to send one more email right before I leave in a couple of weeks, an email after each week while I’m away, and then a follow-up when I get back. Hopefully this will help us to be a more effective Christian community, working together in our different roles towards a common vision.
Security-wise, I was told I can use Christian words without needing a secure email address, but I’m still not going to name any specific countries or places. I’d appreciate you also being discreet about mentioning the country to people you don’t know very well (and not at all in writing). Thanks in advance!
Updates
My fundraising was due last Monday, and thankfully all of the donations came in on time! There was some stress in the last week because I wasn’t able to purchase plane tickets until much later than anticipated, which pushed my budget up, but it all worked out in the end. Another change was that our supervisor, who was organizing everything and planning to help us get around while we were there, had to back out of the trip because of family health issues. We are now being taken care of by a few different people for each section of the trip, although I don’t think any of them directly work for TEAM. It’s not as comfortable of a relationship, but I’m thankful that they are responsive and willing to answer any questions.
Now, I’m beginning to work with my missions partner (her name is Laura Beth) on some of the things we’re going to be doing there, which have also changed from when we started this whole process. We’re planning a short VBS for young kids, as well as conversation circles and ESL lessons for high school seniors. Most of them are already involved with Christian schools and churches. It turns out that we’re not so much extending the gospel to the unreached ourselves (although we will be to a few kids) as we are helping to support people that are already involved with the Christian work there, which is probably the best use of us as first-time short term missionaries.
What have I learned so far? 
A lot more than I expected! These are just a few of the main things.
  • How to send people: I’m guilty of not really paying attention to my friends going on missions trips, but now I know a little bit more of what they’re going through and how much different kinds of support can mean to them. Even if I never go on another trip again, I’m excited to support future missions trips in a much better way than I’ve been doing. Thanks to all of you for showing me how!
  • Understanding my Christian community: I didn’t realize the kind of community I had around me until I started asking for support. So many people have been generous in ways that I didn’t expect, including people not on this list, and it makes me want to become more involved with my different communities when I get back. Thank you for donating money, making time to talk to me, asking me thoughtful questions, telling me how I can pray for you, checking up on me, giving me really great advice, and signing up for this email list. Everything is super appreciated 🤗
  • Being generous myself: I had to admit to myself that there was a temptation to push for more financial support just so that I wouldn’t have to pay for this trip, and I learned that I also can’t hold onto my own money too tightly just because I’m giving a lot of time. Tithing is actually a huge help; setting aside money to give beforehand makes me a lot more generous when something like someone’s missions trip comes up. Thanks to my family for being great examples of that!
  • Giving up my own agenda: While a lot of the budgeting and fundraising and logistics problems were coming up, I realized that a lot of my stress was about my own plans being ruined. My entire summer has revolved around this trip, and because I gave up a few cool job opportunities to be able to go, it felt like if I didn’t go then I was a failure and an embarrassment. All of that reminded me to trust in God’s plan for me. Even if I didn’t get to go, I had definitely still learned a lot from the support raising and training process. And that would have really forced me to give up my own agenda, which is a good thing.
Prayer Items
  • Praise that fundraising and logistics are almost done and are in good shape, and that I’ve learned a lot through the whole process
  • That Laura Beth and I would get to know each other better, and be able to plan activities and lessons that would really speak to the people they are for
  • That I’d continue to give up my own agenda and trust God through any changes that might come up in the next couple weeks
  • That God would continue to be with and speak to the people overseas
Thank you for taking the time to read this and to pray! Feel free to reach out and let me know how I can keep praying for you!