04 December, 2011

I Saw Love Today

To say this trip so far has been everything I thought it would be is a lie - the truth is, I really had no idea what to expect, so I didn't expect much at all.

Life here is still life. I am still my own person, I can still do right and wrong, and every morning and moment, in every situation, I'm still faced with the choice of whether or not I will live for God. Still faced with the decision of how much I want Him, and want to see His work, and experience Him changing me.
And of course I do want that, but the threat of complacency is no less here than at home.

Thus far I've been so blessed and humbled by the people here. I came to serve and love, and yet at every turn I find people going out of their way to love and serve me. I don't understand many things things about the culture here; some things unsettle and unnerve me, while other things inspire me and fill me with joy.

There's a girl here about 9 years old, Srai Laen, whose background is sketchy at best. It's easy to tell in both her and her sister that they have been starved of love and treated unfairly, and likely exposed to many things that arent healthy for children. And as so often with people brought up without love, she can be hard to love. She's clingy, interfering, moody, selfish, violent, she's infested with lice, and she often fights with the other children.
When I asked God what he wanted me to do here, he said 'love my people'.

Some of the children are so easy to to love, and I am also trying to love the unloved and seemingly unlovable. But I can't do it without God. Without his love, I cannot love this girl, I cannot find grace and patience in my own strength.

So I decided to love her as much as I do the cute, friendly, happy children, and God is slowly revealing to me the way He sees her. Another of His beautiful creations. An innocent child, given much less than she deserved. But she gives so much. Every day she wants to draw pictures, 'Sister, koom nu?' and I find my patience waning, but without fail, she will draw, and she will give me pictures of flowers, she will pick real flowers, she will give me some old plastic trinket that I would honestly never use, but to her is something big.

And today I watched, as another girl that normally fights with her and gives her grief was crying, and instead of being the rat-bag and making the situation worse, Srai Laen knelt down and started wiping away the other girl's tears with the most gentle hands and the ends of her own shirt.

Love is patient,
Love is kind and is not jealous;
Love does not brag and is not arrogant,
Love does not act unbecomingly;
it does not seek its own, is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

I don't consider myself privileged because I have more 'stuff', possessions are meaningless. I consider myself privileged, because I know Love. And because today, I got to see Jesus in the hands and face and tattered shirt of a child.

03 December, 2011


The question is: What exactly is my mission?

I am a volunteer. Many people I know are. I've spent most years of my life giving up hours, days, and weeks to one cause or other, volunteering, serving, putting up my hand to join in. Church, beach mission, youth ministry, even at work and with friends, "I'll do it!"
And I am happy to. I am happy to serve, I am happy to be a volunteer.

But, I'm only asking the question 'why?' now, on my longest volunteer mission to date.
And still, 5-6 weeks isn't really a long time, but at just over the half-way mark, I'm beginning to be able to place my thoughts together and ask the question, what is my mission?

I tell people I'm going on a 'missions trip', well, what does that mean? What is my aim, my goal? If I felt that God wanted me to come here, then what is the reason he wanted me?

I asked him at the beginning of the trip, and have since, and every time I ask I get an immediate answer: "Love my people."

That's all well and good, I'm very prepared to do that, at all times, whether at home or elsewhere. But how does that work here?

The culture in Cambodia is vastly different to that of Australia in Melbourne's eastern suburbs. Life at the children's centre can be challenging but it's by no means poverty. The children get educated, get three full meals a day, have plenty of clean water, the facilities here are amazing compared to the surrounding 'houses' (dilapidated shacks) they sing worship songs every night and pray and read the bible at dinner. They're fairly independent and do all their own washing (by hand) and get themselves washed and dressed and off to school...

The answer to the question is very clear when I'm at youth on a Friday night, the answer is even there in writing when I'm on beach mission for a week or two of my year. I know who I am, and I know what I'm doing in those situations.

Here, I am lost.

I try to take it as a good thing, because it makes me press into God more than I usually would. But in this place, I don't know where I fit, I don't know who I am, and I don't know my purpose.

Still I hear the words echo: "Love my people."

But I'm not sure what love looks like here. I've tried and I only seem to be further mystified by the culture.

What can I bring to these people? What can I show or teach them? How can I bless them? How, oh Lord, how, do I love your people?

29 November, 2011

Update, copied from a letter to my family.

My Dearest family... (well, my only family :P) ((Nathan included!)) here's an update on things for you if you care to know!

Life here is awesome for me, time is very flexible, so that's awesome!
Hannah went home, if you didn't already know! A bunch of stuff happening in her life and God is doing some stuff, and she felt much more peaceful about being with her family. So we three made the trek to Bangkok on Saturday too see Hannah to the airport and spent the night at Khaosan rd, crazy market, not much sleep! Bussed back to Poipet Sunday, the bus trip takes roughly 5 hours, more when you consider nothing runs on time so the bus leaves late, and petrol stops take a long time.
Had a run in with some dodgies at the border - pretty much inevitable. Happened the first time too, they tried to sell us fake visas but we said no, they tried it again this time but we said no and hey weren't too fussed, until Richy told the other passengers it was a scam and the bus dude made us walk the rest of the way to the border! Most of the other passengers did the same after that. We caught a tuk tuk for 20 baht (maybe 60¢?) to the border and crossed back in no worries, but the phone number we had for our guy at the centre didn't work, so we had to catch another tuk tuk, and this guy didn't speak any English so that was fun... Luckily between Richy and I we remembered how to get to the children's centre. Though the guy wasn't happy when we tried to pay him - he wanted dodgy tourist prices!
A very tiring weekend, but we did get to stock up on Oreos in Thailand, so, worth it.

During the day here half the kids go to school and we teach the other half English in small classes, after lunch they swap over and we teach the other half. No idea what I'm doing half the time but it's fun!
We are very well fed, rice for every meal of course, plus some meat and veggies or whatever it is they've cooked. Our favorite is candied pork. Seriously the best thing of my life.
Last week the leaders took us out to eat those ducks cooked inside their eggs... Wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be!
The kids love drawing and ask me every day if we can draw "Sister, koom nu??" and they write letters all the time "I love you, I love Jesus, can you be my sister, I like hamster." etc...
Richy teaches guitar - a lot of the kids are already really good though! So it's not beginner lessons, but he's been teaching them a few English songs.
Everyone stares when you go to the market! Not many tourists in Poipet, ever. And if there are they stay around the centre of the 'city' for traveling or the casinos. Not many white people out our way, so people stare and the kids yell "hello! Hello! Hello! Whatsyourname? Hello!"

This week the normal English teacher, Christine, is on staff retreat, so there aren't really any fluent English speakers here to translate! A lot of the kids are quite smart though so it's okay.

I've seen some blood noses and a hectic water burn and haven't even felt sick yet! Haha nurse Emmy to the rescue... Be proud.

Mosquitoes keep biting me. Only me, it seems. Let's hope the anti malarial meds work! Lollllllll.

It's pretty hot here so we get super tired! Afternoon naps are always the correct choice. Today I organised a water fight as part of the English lesson because it was extra hot. Winning.

With Hannah gone Richy and I have to pick up her classes, so tonight I have the year 8s and up! Should be fun, they like to laugh at us

We're also getting Khmer lessons from one of the older girls here... It's a hard language to learn! 33 consonants! Haven't even started vowels yet, ohmigosh.

We might get a chance to travel down to Kratie and see the other centre and also pass by Siem Reap which would both be fun! But involve more epic bus rides

Having fun here! I'm not really homesick but I do miss you! Excited for Christmas to see my fam-a-lam! Much love Xx

31 October, 2011

I know now, that He fixed my heart, so it can break again.

But what can one person do?

All things.

25 August, 2011

A story about a girl.

I thanked you all for coming, and thanked a bunch for helping out; I told you that I love you all and that you should eat more food.

If I had thought out a proper speech for my 21st, I might have shared briefly about various life-things, but for what I really would have wanted to say, I'm sure it would have gone on too long, so instead:

Ima tell you a story about a girl who from a young age prided herself on being happy, seeing the best in people, and cheering for the underdog. A girl who loved to create, learn, and explore. A girl who loved God, loved her family, and loved her friends. A girl who loved life.

I don't really quite know how to continue the story. Simple words seem to trivialise it. Nonetheless, I will go on.

Something was stolen from this girl. It wasn't an object or a physical thing, so it's hard to pinpoint exactly what it was. Maybe it was innocence, or ignorance. Maybe it was childhood. Whatever it was, it's hardly important now, but something was stolen from this girl.
And with it went the girl's love for creating, learning, and exploring. With it went the girl's joy in the life and passions and people around her.
The loss of all of these things left a gaping hole that was filled with numbness, depression, and anxiety. For years.

For years the girl wandered around, going through the motions of her everyday life at school, at home, at work, out with friends, at church, and even into university, and wondered why she couldn't press through this cloud that had stolen all her happiness. She wondered why other people looked like they were enjoying life, why other people seemed to have things together, why other people could talk to God, and she couldn't.

Fear. Then fear set in as well. Fear that she might die. Fear that she might live. Fear that this might be all she would ever know. Fear that whatever it was that had stolen her peacelovejoyhappiness would eventually kill her.

There was no one person that changed things, no cataclysmic event. God was integral of course, as He always is. A bunch of people around the girl played important parts, but it was a gradual thing that the girl's will became resolved, that she realised she had a choice and a chance, that she realised there was something on the other side of the mountain, something good. And depression be damned, she was going to get to that other side!
There were a lot of tears, a lot of battles along the way, each day an internal struggle. Some fights the girl lost, some she won.
If she hadn't been so focussed (or at other times, distracted) she might have stopped to appreciate the view from high atop the mountain. She might have looked down at the dead, shadowy place she'd emerged from, turned her head with a triumphant sort of never-looking-back flick, locked her gaze on the sight of the bright, glorious land in front of her, and started down the mountain, into the sunshine.

Buuuut she was too busy getting amongst it, focussing on the weeds in her path to notice any of that. It was only when she started noticing that her heart hurt that she realised something had changed. If her heart was hurting, that surely meant her heart could feel! Pain wasn't what she wanted though, so, head down, she continued on.

Not too long after this she began to notice different little things... Now, there were fewer tears, and more smiles, mourning had started to turn to dancing, and sometimes when she laughed, it felt real! She went about her activities, and found joy in some things! She stayed around people, and felt the love she knew she had for them! She riled up, she got excited, she even got frustrated and yelled at people because she'd found things again that she was passionate about!

All of a sudden to her it seemed that she was now running down the mountain, into the lush green fields to continue her journey!

It was gone. The darkness, the fear. The black dog that had followed her around, biting at her heels, gone. And it wasn't replaced by happiness, no, happiness is fickle. It was replaced with joy. Replaced with peace. Replaced with a firm identity in the girl's Creator, the One who created her to shine, not shadow.

The girl was free.

And then the girl turned twenty-one. And she had a party and made all of her friends wear ugly jumpers, just for fun. And she wanted to cry. Not because she was sad, but because she was transformed. Because she went from feeling unworthy and hopeless, to being one of the most hopeful and joyful people she knows. Because there was a time she thought she might not make it this far, and if she did then surely it would just be to suffer longer. She wanted to cry because she made it, not only alive and well, but having a strong relationship with her Creator and with armsful of people that loved her, and she loved right back.

She couldn't think of a way, but somehow she wanted to thank these people. For patience, for prayer. For laughs, for listening. There were too many. Even the ones that never knew or understood. She wanted to say sorry as well. For the battles she lost, for the times her destruction affected others. Of course there was a reason, but it is never an excuse.
So she wrote a story, in the hopes that it might shed some light on her life, why she was the way she was, and why she is the way she is. That the people around her might know, even if she never told them, that they helped breathe life into her, that even if they once made her smile, they had made a difference. That even if she barely knew them, she loved them for the life they brought.

She couldn't think of a way to thank her Creator, either. Of course she could never repay what He had given to her life. But I think she's figured out what to do, with her life. Maybe not specifically, but if there's anyone that deserves it, it's Him. And I'm sure that what she's decided is to live her life, filled with joy, for Him. For His purpose. For His glory.

And she's going to try and give away as much of that joy to others as she can. She's going to help other people through the mountain paths, and out into the glorious everlasting sunshine.


18 August, 2011

I am not a house.

People aren't renovator's dreams... People shouldn't be looked at primarily as broken and flawed with potential. Yes, we all are broken and flawed, but we're not houses. We're not projects. What if we never change? What if we can never be fixed?

If the landlord said you couldn't renovate the house, how much would you love it still? Enough to buy it, rent it, live there?

If you aren't willing, you won't make that commitment to the house.

Why commit yourself to people if you aren't willing to love them just as they are? Yes, people can change, yes, people can be motivated, should be motivated. But sometimes, we don't change, we don't get better. If you commit yourself to a person thinking you can change them, thinking they'll be great once the upgrades are done, get ready to be disappointed.

I'm not a house, I can't be renovated by you, or anyone except God, and I'm definitely not for rent... but if I never changed, would you love me just the same?

24 May, 2011

Via +

03 May, 2011

You have won the victory
You have won it all for me

Death could not hold You down
You are the risen king
Seated in majesty
You are the risen king


09 April, 2011

Impossible Soul

This is one of my most flavourite songs at the moment. It's 25minutes long. I wish it was shorter because then I could listen to it more often. But I wish it was longer because it's my favourite!

Saw Sufjan early this year. He is a dream live. He apologised for the length of this song. Easily forgiven, really.

08 April, 2011



I don't really know what I'm doing with my life.

I didn't realise that life after depression would be hard. And maybe that's really naive of me, but I just figured that once I was free, I'd be free.

And I am 'free' of the depression and anxiety... But there's a lot that lingers.
I've only talked about this a few times, mostly in tears, which is ironic considering I'm talking about how I'm not sad any more. The lawls.

But there are so many patterns and habits I've gotten into over the past 6 or 7 years of my life, and they are d-i-f-f-i-c-u-l-t to break.

Depression stole my passions; when I was a young'un, I always wanted to be an artist, then I wanted to write, but I have always wanted to create things. During my teen years, I didn't really feel the same passion for it as I used to, but I kept doing it, because it was 'my thing'.

And now I'm on the other side of the mountain, and I don't know what my passions are. Do I really love all those things, or have I just been doing them because it's what I do? I'm not a very patient person, but I'm realising that this is going to take time.
At the moment I'm just continually overwhelmed with God's peace. So much peace, and joy. But mostly a stillness. And I'm okay with that. I'm so incredibly blessed with that, but beyond it, I just have no idea. No idea what my passions are, what God thinks I should do, what I think I should do.

But I'm stuck in a uni course that I'm not enjoying, and I'm not sure if that stems from my lack of study ability, or that I just don't enjoy those things like I used to.

I feel so far behind every person I know in terms of life skills I should have, but just don't. So many things I should have learned from my parents but didn't, so many areas where my depression held me back.

I want to go on a really long holiday. Sleep in the sunshine, and work on myself. I don't know if it's selfish or not, but I really want to focus on myself, and getting my life on track. I think that would ultimately be better for other people than if I keep running on empty.

I need to learn how to be responsible, how to manage myself, be reliable, how to be confident and make decisions. I realise a lot of those things can come with my personality, but to the debilitating extent of my shortcomings? No, I need to work on this.

AND another thing.
Totally unrelated.
But, there's been a lot of talk recently about the Gay community and whether they should be allowed marriages or not.
As a Christian, I suppose it's fairly expected that I would oppose this threat to the 'integrity of a marriage', but I just can't bring myself to oppose it. Not that I'm trying to.

Jesus calls us to love people. And I do, regardless of whatever, I love people. And I don't think that gay people are threatening the integrity of a marriage.
What is?
People in 'normal' marriages having affairs, getting divorced, marrying when they shouldn't, 'Vegas' on-the-spot marriages, abusing spouses or children, running away, violence.

I've seen marriages fall apart, I've seen the damage it does. I would be far more inclined to support gay marriages than those of people who really are abusing marriage.

And the voice I hear from the Christian community only seems to ostracise and place judgement on gay people. I'm also far more inclined to protect the integrity of a person, gay or otherwise, by loving them, than protecting the integrity of a marriage that us straight 'holy' people have all but destroyed.


also I love babies.

05 April, 2011


I confess that I am unable. That I need you to help me.

Yes, with all your flaws and imperfections. I know you will let me down, again and again, I know it. But so will I, you.

But I need you.

And I promise to be honest. I will tell you when I need you. When I cry for help, I will cry for help. There is no goodness in subtlety for such a thing as this.

I will not become silent, I will not drop hints, I will tell you, I need your help.

And please, when I say that, know that I mean it in earnest. And please, when I ask you, help me.

13 March, 2011

חופש | Made It Through

So this has been a long time coming, and really only scratches the surface...
I want to share an incredible story of God's goodness in my life.

After the church of my childhood turned out to be, effectively, a cult and a 'den of thieves', my family and all I had ever known fell to pieces. For almost all of my teenage years I suffered with undiagnosed and untreated depression, fear, and anxiety, not to mention the slew of trust and intimacy issues that came with finding out your world had been a lie.

For anyone who has, or is suffering the same, I trust you know the darkness and hopelessness that is depression. Being under that cloud for so many years nearly killed me on a number of occasions.
And I say 'nearly killed me' as if I had no control over it, because I didn't. Yes, there are often times during depressive states when you can try and change your mindset or mood, but as a whole, depression for me was not a choice, and not something I had control over. I experienced moments of real fear with the thought that, through suicide, depression might actually kill me. I didn't want to die, I never had the intention to kill myself. But living had become so unbearable, that unless something changed, and soon, death would have seemed like my only option.

I knew Jesus throughout all of this. I grew up in church, I've been in relationship with Jesus for as long as I can remember. The hope of Christ is probably the only thing that pulled me through some of the darkest moments.

Nevertheless, my faith and salvation didn't cure my mental illness. In many ways it made it harder; to accept Jesus' love and mercy, and yet be so influenced and controlled by something not of Heaven was impossible to reconcile.

Last year a bunch of the other youth leaders started up a prayer group on Sunday mornings for the weeks leading up to our mid year youth camp, to seek God, seek His heart, and intercede for our youth.
We have continued these prayer meetings since, and one particular morning, I remember walking to church, struggling with depressive thoughts and absolute apathy; everyone else seemed to have this focus on and connection with God that I just couldn't grasp, everyone had a passion that I didn't. Indeed I hadn't felt truly passionate about anything for years.

That morning, I decided that I'd had enough. I cried out to God,
"God, I want you, I need you. I want you more than this depression wants me, I want you more than the devil wants me to fail, I want you, Lord."
I also decided that despite my lack of passion and positive emotion, God was more important. Whether or not I could 'feel' him, I was going to follow him, and serve him, wholeheartedly. Perhaps I couldn't choose whether or not to be depressed, but I could still choose to follow God.

That morning at prayer group, I shared my cry to God with the other youth leaders gathered, and made my declaration to God in front of them, and a vow of sorts, that even though I often feel held back, and don't always feel God as others do, I will still seek him, I will still praise him, for he is greater than any Earthly mindset or affliction.

There is something powerful about prayer, and especially powerful about praying together, and declaring things of Heaven that aren't as though they are.

Since that morning, I have been on a journey, and I'm now at a place where I can declare that I am healed, I am free.

I no longer have depression, I'm no longer held captive of the devil or of my mind, but I am set free in Christ. I am no longer dying in the darkness, but living in the glorious light of Jesus. Life is wonderful. I know real joy. And even when life doesn't work the way I want it to, as Paul says in Philippians 4:11 'I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.'
Praise God.

At C3W I've found a place of true love and friendships, and a place I can call home in Jesus. Thank you, for being a church that pursues Jesus' freedom, and for being a safe haven during my convalescence.

To others suffering depression, I say this:
Hold on. Hold on to God, hold on to hope. There is healing in the name and power of Jesus. Do not be discouraged. I am testament to the fact that, it may take years, but healing comes, and it is so worth holding on to life. There is joy on the other side of that mountain. Real, pure joy.
God is still there, God is still good. It may be difficult, but trust him, lean into him, and he will help you through. Depression leads you down dark roads, but at every fork we come to there is a choice: life or death. God always provides life. He sets before us life and death, choose life. Choose Jesus, choose hope, and always, always choose life.
I pray that your journey will take the road to joy much sooner than mine did.

10 March, 2011

I'm done with you,

black dog.

Good riddance. I'm loving this freedom.

And no, I won't keep my mouth shut.

07 March, 2011

Whirlwind text message romance.

Just reminiscin' and missin' the days. When.