Friday, August 24, 2012

Girlcott #2: Girl on a Mission


Okay, I know I said I would start small, and I had an idea in mind that I wanted to do for this week's girlcott, but then I read something on Facebook, and all of a sudden I knew with that sort of “only God could have given me this idea” feeling that this was going to be my girlcott this week. I am so excited to share this with you that I was literally bouncing off the walls explaining it to my husband last night. The thing I'm supporting today doesn't even fit into just one specific category, so I'll try to keep my list of things we're supporting as brief as possible, despite my excitement. Okay, here goes:

As a Christian, I support...
… missions.
… faith in God's provision.
… human worth.
… basing our identities in Christ.
… believers encouraging one another.

Before I explain those, let me introduce you to a woman I know. Even at first glance, she is hard to ignore. She is tall and thin, with a graceful boyish figure and a ready, mischievous smile. The first time I saw her, she had a mohawk, dyed in various colors, and was sporting it as proudly as any punker ever would. Being a former punk myself (way back when!) this immediately drew me to her, and I was eager to become friends with this fearless young lady who sported a brown belt in Tai Chuan Do. As the weeks and classes passed, we got to know each other a little better, and I learned many things about this woman. She loves to laugh, and is incredibly ticklish. Despite that, she is tough and disciplined, and eagerly takes on even black belts with an energy that cannot be squashed. She has a several sisters and an older brother and loves them with quiet but fierce loyalty. Perhaps most striking to me is the fact that she is incredibly unique, and fearless. Something I've always struggled with as a woman is the concept of how others view me, a question that can feel literally disabling on my worst days. But this young lady walked into the dojo with her head literally shaved, and as everyone else blinked in surprise, she just grinned and went to practice her katas. Whenever we have a Bible study that she feels led to comment on, she does so with an insight and directness that speak directly to her close relationship with the Father. And she is such an encouraging person to be around. Every time we run laps (which is pretty much every class), she is there smiling at me or giving me an encouraging high five or “Way to go!” at the end of it that almost makes ten laps of high-knees worth it (almost). Her beauty, faith, courage, encouragement, energy and discipline in the dojo have all inspired me to do my best and try my hardest, even when being the oldest or least in-shape person in the room has made me consider quitting. And if my experience with her is any gauge, I'm sure she has the same effect on every person she comes into contact with.

Now a few months ago, I learned that this young lady is planning on taking a mission trip. I don't know about you, but when I hear about young people taking a mission trip, my first thought is the type of “mission trip” I took in college: spending a few days working hard at painting houses in an orphanage in Mexico, then take the rest of the week to head out to the beach and shops (oh, and “hand out tracts,” of course). In other words, there's often an equal amount of tourism and evangelism. Perhaps we could even coin a new word and call it evango-tourism. Regardless, while it's a wonderful thing, it tends not to require much commitment on the part of the missionary. Even if they do spend the entire week working their kiesters off, it's only a week, and then they head back to the comfort of their normal lives, secure in the knowledge that they did their time for God and will be blessed accordingly. So I'm sorry to say that was the first thought I had when she said she was raising money to go on a mission trip. Evango-tourism. But then she went on to explain that she would be leaving to live in Thailand for six months, and my eyes popped wide, my shallow little idea of “mission trips” flying out the window like a fat startled pigeon. She explained further, that she was being sent by a group called Adventures in Missions to go work with an organization called SHEThailand (Self Help and Empowerment), a ministry that focuses on forming relationships with girls and women working in the sex trade in Thailand, helping them to discover their worth in the eyes of their Heavenly Father and providing a new life for them through jobs making jewelry with the ministry. I went onto SHE Thailand's website and read some of the testimonials, and was so struck by the beauty of what this ministry is doing. Trust me, if you read those testimonials, have a box of tissues close by. The stark realization of the treatment some of these women, children, and “lady-boys” are exposed to on a nightly basis is horrific, and the friendship, faith, and hope they find through forming friendships with workers in SHE is a touching picture of redemption through relationship.

And this woman, this fastastically quirky, confident, strong, beautiful, and faithful woman, wants to go be a part of this. Only one problem: she still needs $1300 to pay for her trip. Is she worried though? Well, yes, we all tend toward worrying when time is coming up and we don't know what will happen if we don't make the cut. She hasn't been able to ascertain exactly what will happen to her next six months worth of plans if she doesn't raise the money. But whereas I would be practically frantic to still be a thousand dollars short two days before I leave the country, this cool cucumber merely uttered a prayer request and smiled her usual mischevious smile at Tai Chuan Do on Tuesday night. She knows it is in God's hands, and she trusts his provision as much as she initially trusted his calling for her to go. She knows he will provide.

So what do I want to do about it? Well, I've already been giving money to help her meet her goal. So far I've given her three weeks worth of my “allowance”, $60 in total. And I wish it could have been more, but I found out about it rather late and didn't have the chance to manage my cashflow as I wanted. But as I mentioned before, I have other resources: I have a blog and a Facebook. And I have such great respect and admiration for this woman that I am determined to help get her over there to Thailand, because I look at her and just know that God created her for this express purpose of giving the same encouragement and confidence to other women that she has given to me. So I am dedicating this Girlcott to my friend, Gloriel, to help her raise funds for her mission trip. She leaves Monday, so not a minute can be spared if we want to help her get over there and working for the Lord. I encourage you to take a look at your wallet and bank account and prayerfully and sacrificially consider if you can spare any amount to give to her. If you can, then go to the following website and follow the instructions below. If you are unable to do so, never fear: you can still help! Gloriel has asked above all for prayer, that she receive the money before time is up, that she be safe and effective in Thailand, and that the women she is working with will see God through her. So whether or not you give, and before you even leave this page, would you please say a prayer to God in thanks for His having created such a wonderful person, and asking Him to protect her and use her extravagantly for the glory of His kingdom? And if you want still more to do, here's an idea for you: check out SHE Thailand's onlinestore, and consider buying some of the beautiful handmade jewelry for yourself or a friend, and help to support these victimized women as they form a new life based on God's love for them (this stuff would make some excellent Christmas gifts!).

To donate toward Gloriel's mission fund:
  1. Go to her Adventures in Missions Online Donation Page
  2. Under “Choose Program”, select “The Passport (formerly Real Life)”
  3. For the Participant's name, type in “Gloriel Taylor”
  4. Enter the amount you would like to donate (NOTE: While they do accept debit and credit cards, the most effective gift is in the form of a bank note, since it bypasses the card charges to the recipient, so if you are able to do so, I would recommend it.)
  5. Select “Continue”.
  6. Fill out all the information on the next page (this is just so they can charge your account and send you a receipt).
  7. Say a prayer that the money would be used effectively and thank God for sending His willing servants out harvest the souls that are crying out to Him!

I'll be checking back to see how much people are donating, so if you'd like to list the amount you've donated in the comments, I'll keep a tally here: 
$60 so far! ($1300 still needed.)

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

พระเยซู“สิทธิอำนาจทั้งสิ้นในสวรรค์และในแผ่นดินโลกทรงมอบไว้แก่เราแล้ว ดังนั้นจงไปสร้างสาวกจากมวลประชาชาติ ให้เขารับบัพติศมาใน พระนามของพระบิดา พระบุตร และพระวิญญาณบริสุทธิ์ สอนเขาให้เชื่อฟังทุกสิ่งที่เราสั่งพวกท่านไว้ และแน่นอน เราจะอยู่กับท่านทั้งหลายเสมอไปตราบจนสิ้นยุค”

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