Wow, how it has flown! Almost a week ago, I arrived in Pasadena California unsure of what to expect. I woke up at 3:30 last Sunday morning (June 19th) and headed toward Houston International to catch a 7:45 flight. In my head, I felt that I knew what to expect and in my head I tried to believe I had enough confidence to actually make it…on my own. Butterflies swarmed in my stomach as I tried to pretend I knew exactly what I was doing. An hour after arriving, I felt that I had done everything I needed- Checked in, got my luggage tags, got my tickets, checked my baggage. Then, the worst part: Saying good-bye. I hate good-byes, especially when they leave me by myself. This good-bye was hard because it was my mom that I was leaving. In my heart I knew (and still know) that this is the right decision, but that didn’t make it any easier. Going through security, I kept looking back and waving. Finally, after I cleared security, I looked back one more time, waved good-bye and walked toward my big journey. As I walked down the hall, a few small tears rolled down my cheeks, but I didn’t dare look back and show it. (Sorry mom!) I was on my own now, looking for God’s guidance in my every step.
So, about 4 hours (and plane and a shuttle ride) later I arrived on the William Carey International University campus in Pasadena California. On the shuttle I met two girls that were headed to training as well, Elizabeth and Spencer, and was a little less nervous because I suddenly knew I wasn’t in this alone. Almost instantly upon arriving on campus, God melted my heart a little and opened my mouth and eyes to new experiences before me. Anyone who knows me at all, knows that I am by no means a social butterfly. I tend to avoid large groups (sometimes to the extreme), and don’t really speak unless it is initiated by someone else. However, this journey began with that dropping. It didn’t take me any more than 30 minutes to be headed down the street with 5 other trainees headed out to get lunch! It was so amazing and weird to me that I began actually talking to people. I was interacting and not shutting people out! That night, we were formally introduced to our groups, and there was an instant connection. I’m not going to jump in and say after a week I know that I’m going to be ‘bff’’s with my group members, but God really knew what He was doing! In the Cambodia group, there are 8 people: 7 girls and 1 guy. I can’t explain it, but it didn’t even take an hour to see that God put this team together in His divine power for a divine purpose!
Sunday was a basic introduction to the organization and our teams, and Monday was the first long session day. Monday went by so slowly and by the end I was so drained. For all of you education majors and teachers out there, it was very similar to my experience at a workshop: packed full of informational sessions from 8am to 9pm. Luckily we had food breaks, and part of that was doing devotionals with our team. During these devotionals, we have really gotten to get to know each other and see that God did not put this team together haphazardly or as an afterthought. The Great Creator of the world, the one who knows us to the detail of knowing every hair on our head, also knows our personalities and our spiritual gifts and created a team who should be different in those ways so that we will all complement each other.
The week ended up going by quickly over all, and was a lot of fun. We had a BUNCH of sessions on teaching ESL, spiritual discussions, discussions regarding how to deal with conflicts and culture shock, and soooo many more things. It was a lot of information to take in in a single week! Like I said, my team has had a great bonding experience! We competed in a scavenger on Saturday (in which we tied for first place) and preformed in the talent show that night (we did a remix of “Seasons of Love”). It has really been a blast getting the privilege of waking up each morning and worshiping with a bunch of believers, with the same goal in mind: GO.
So, after a week of waiting and anticipation, its finally that time. In just a few short hours I will be leaving the beautiful Pasadena California and putting the experiences I have had this week behind me. Thoughts of: In-and-out burgers, Connal’s Shakes, mountains and pigeons all in the past. American comforts put aside for another time. Time to move on to another grand adventure, another chapter in the book of life that God is writing for me. Its time to move past the nervousness, shake of the fears, and get past just thinking of tomorrow. Its time for me to do what God has commanded of me and to take His name into the world. It is time for me to GO!
Keep myself and my team in your prayers as we make this leap of faith!
Catch ya later! J