An Adventurer’s Heart

2323761_origAn adventurer’s heart.  It’s a dangerously exciting place.  One that loves to try new things, meet new people and go to faraway places.  Over the past few weeks I rode in a tuk tuk, ate shrimp with eyeballs, slept on an island, and met people that changed my life forever.  People who love fearlessly, live boldly, and trust unwaveringly.  Their faith and belief is so simple and so powerful.  They have overcome obstacles bigger than most people can fathom and have walked down roads much rougher than most will ever experience.  They may not have as many things as the world thinks they should have, but that doesn’t matter.  I looked into their beautiful faces full of joy and saw a freedom that I’ve only tasted.

I find that I am envious of them and their ability to walk in the Kingdom of God here on earth with such clarity.  One of my favorite authors writes that if you could just peel back the skin of this world, you could see and walk in the Kingdom of God.  The world we visibly see is far less real than the world just beyond, but so few of us access what is ours to engage with as God’s children.  However, while in Cambodia, I caught a glimpse of this, and I loved what I saw and I didn’t want to leave.

Perhaps we don’t desire the kingdom enough.  Like the pearl of great price, we must long for it above all else.  Like C.S. Lewis said, “It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

Adventure doesn’t start when you visit a new place.  Adventure begins when you allow God to open up the eyes of your heart to His Kingdom.

I wish I could share every detail with you about my trip to Cambodia, but here are some of my favorite memories.

Baptism

18 new believers experienced water baptism at the coast!

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Our sleepover at the island was complete with songs around the campfire, dinner under the stars and manicures by lamplight. What an honor to be welcomed as family!

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Tears and forgiveness flowed freely for all as we washed the feet of our precious friends at Sak Saum.

 

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So blessed to make lifelong friends.

 

Tuk Tuks and Vintage Maps

4448034If we don’t offer ourselves to the unknown, our senses dull. Our world becomes small and we lose our sense of wonder. Our eyes don’t lift to the horizon; our ears don’t hear the sounds around us. The edge is off our experience, and we pass our days in a routine that is both comfortable and limiting. We wake up one day and find that we have lost our dreams in order to protect our days. This is why we travel. – S. Ward Harrison

I am so excited to share with you that I will be travelling to Cambodia this January with my church.  I’m passionate about empowering women and girls, which is why I’m looking forward to working with the women and girls of Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

We will be going to work with In His Steps International (IHSI) and Sak Saum, which is a ministry of IHSI that offers rescue, rehabilitation and restoration to vulnerable and exploited women who have experienced firsthand the devastation of trafficking.  Right now, there are 100 million missing women in the world.  Most of them are from third world countries like Cambodia.

I am thrilled to travel to Cambodia with such a wonderful team and I know that this will be a very special trip.  Thank you in advance for partnering with me as I embark on this adventure of missions!

Eat, Pray, Love

1336687811 “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
― Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

So, I was thinking.  Yes, a dangerous pastime, I know.  What if… I took a year to Eat, Pray, Love.  What if I took off a year of graduate school to discover what I’m really passionate about?  A year to dance, read, explore, travel, seek out adventure, friendships, meaning, simplicity… To seek truth and learn to be still.  To be open and to let God fan into flame the passions he has put within me.

Frederick Beuchner wrote, “The place God calls us to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”  After trying to logically and analytically figure out what I should do and what I’m passionate about, I’ve decided that perhaps it’s best to just jump off this cliff in faith that He will catch me and lead me on a path that leads me to deeper discovery of Him and life.

In the words of Emily from Today’s Letters, after hearing Katie speak (Kisses from Katie), “I walked away being reminded of four things: to be faithful where I am, to say YES to today, to be relentless in loving others, and to lead with authenticity because vulnerability conquers all fear.”

I have always viewed life as an adventure.  A play to star in.  A treasure to discover.  I do not want to look back and think, “Oh, I wish I would have done that.”  Whether in work, play, or relationships I want to live life to the fullest and without regret.  I do not want to wonder what it would have been like to be this person’s friend, or to go to this country.  This is also what drives my desire to have a career that is meaningful and touches on my passions.  Why waste one precious day on a job I hate?

All in all, I want to value each and every day as the gift that it is.  I want to treasure the friendships and relationships in each of those days because in my heart, I believe that, most often, people are life’s greatest adventures.

So, here’s to saying yes to today, loving others, being open to adventure, leading with authenticity and holding tight to God’s hand while I walk, run, stumble and dance.

One Month to Go!

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Welcome aboard the Jungle Cruise!  We’re now leaving the last outpost of civilization and entering the jungle by way of the Irrawaddy river of Burma.

Now please watch out for these carnivorous vines right over there.  Last week, one of them reached into the back of the boat and pulled a woman right out. It was awful! And just before she disappeared, she was feeling just vine.

Just a little bit of Jungle Cruise humor for you.

I couldn’t be more thrilled to be leaving for Disney World in less than a month where I will be beginning my grand adventure.  Hey, I might even get to travel down the Nile River, and if you don’t believe me, well, you’re just in de-nile.  (Get it!?!?!)

Speaking of grand and magical journeys, you know you’re excited about going to Disney World when everywhere you look something reminds you of Disney.  The red apple you had for lunch is Snow White’s poisonous apple, you refer to your clothing as your costume, you arrange your food in order to resemble Mickey and a Disney princess song is never far from your lips.

Ah, yes life is good.  School is over (forever) and in just a few weeks I’ll be residing in one of the top vacation spots in the world.  If you’re concerned about me suffering in the warm breeze which gently rustles the palm trees and luscious plant life and brings in the scent of ocean . . . well, don’t worry! I’ll be perfectly fine with my pal Mickey Mouse!  Somehow, amid all that sunshine, sand and magic, I’ll survive all those attractions and Mickey ice creams.

As we approach the dock, please keep your hands inside the boat, I sure don’t want my new dock ruined. If you liked your ride my name is Esther, if you didn’t my name is Jane and I work on the Submarine Voyage.

Good-bye for now and have a magical day!