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week 4

2/3 of our trip is over. This is surreal.

The weeks keep going by faster and faster. A lot of exciting things happened this past week!

During the week we had a few more readers. A guy named Yang and his wife Maggie started coming ast Tuesday and they have been coming every day and have been staying almost 2 hours after their lessons each night! They are an awesome couple and super friendly! Also a few girls, Jocelyne and Lee, started coming too.

Yang and I

Savannah and Jocelyn

One of Britney’s readers, Bao Xian, has been asking a lot of questions about the Bible recently so Britney gave her one! Bao Xian has been reading it every day since she got it!

Britney with Bao Xian and her Bible

Please be praying for all of our readers! The new ones, the old ones, the regular ones, and the ones that come once a week. This past week all three of us realized how difficult it is going to be to leave. These people are no longer just students, they are friends.

 

This past Sunday was SUPER exciting! There was a baptism of a whole family! The wife’s sister-in-law goes to the church here and has been visiting with her for a while, but the husband was a devout Buddhist. He has been adamant about staying faithful to the religion he was brought up in, but fell ill a while back. It got to a point where he was put in the hospital and there he had a vision. He said that he’s seen demons following him his entire life, but in the hospital he saw a man shining bright dressed in white and a cross. He began to inquire about Christianity when he got out of the hospital and hasn’t seen any evil spirits since then! And this Sunday after church he, his wife, and his daughter were baptized!

While this was going on, Britney, Savannah, and I were at the church waiting for the readers to get there so we could go to the park for a barbeque! We finally got out there around 3 and played in the sand and water, taught them how to throw a frisbee, and had a TON of great food! Later some church friends showed up too! It was so fun and everyone seemed to enjoy it!

Wu Hui aka Jane

FOOD

Our group at the party!

Today we got to go visit Johor, Malaysia with a couple from the church! We got to walk around the city, try a lot of different food, get a shoulder massage, and laugh a lot!

Johor, Malaysia

Johor, Malaysia

It has been an amazing week! Only 2 more left until we head back home. Be praying for our readers, for the church here, and for us. As far as time-wise, this week begins the decline of our trip, but we are continuously praying against that! There is SO MUCH that God can do in two weeks. Pray with us that we continue to be expectant and present until the day we leave.

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Week 3

It’s crazy to think we have been gone for 3 weeks already.

It seems like the weeks keep getting better and better! Here are a few stories and thoughts from this past week.

Tuesday we had a few empty slots in the afternoon so we went and toured around Little India and tried some authentic Northern India food! It was possibly the best food I’ve had since being here!

sign in Little India

Hindu Temple

Our readers and us are becoming awesome friends, especially the regular group that stays over an hour after their lessons every night to just hang out. They are teaching Savannah and I a little Chinese while we teach them English. It incredible that we’ve made such good friends after only being here for 3 weeks!

James, Maggie, Ella, Savannah, Britney, Ming Liang, Li Chao, and Han Shuai

I know we came here to teach, but after the past 2 weeks, I feel like I’m the one being taught everything! This week especially. I had been reading Isaiah in my spare time last week and one particular thing that just stuck in my head was that God is a Redeemer. So I was in a conversation trying to explain how Jesus dying works to save us and it’s like this old, incandescent, cobweb-covered lightbulb was connected to a source of power for the first time in my head. God redeems. It’s his nature, right. So in that moment every action Jesus had became that even more significant. Jesus didn’t come to simply end the old and begin the new. Yes, He did bring “a new thing” and all but that doesn’t me he destroys what was there before. It is in Jesus’ nature to redeem. He came to renew, refresh, and redeem the old and transform it into a new thing, and this makes His sacrifice even that more incredible. He was the perfect Paschal Lamb that was sacrificed. He took the old, imperfect, and limited sacrifice that had to be done over and over and brought it to full. And it is this redemption that we now look forward to. God coming and redeeming His people. His Son returning, and Him baptizing and refining us with fire. Even though we are messed up and this world is broken, we know that one day, hopefully soon, everything will be made new. It is this wonderful art of redemption that gives us hope, and as Paul says in Romans 5, “Hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

As I’ve said, I am being taught so much more than I am teaching.

I’m not sure if we’ve really every told everyone what is significant about Singapore to our team. Savannah’s grandparents adopted a girl from here! Nikki, the girl, was in a very bad situation with her family here and Savannah’s grandparents took her under their wing. Sunday, Savannah got to meet her family that still lives here! Her and Britney went and hung out with Zenia and Eunice, Niki’s brother’s daughters, while I went and visited New Creation Church that afternoon (which, by the way, was completely AMAZING!). The girls had a fun time shopping and meeting family and we met up later to eat our first Western meal since we’ve been here.

Today we got to go visit the Singapore Zoo! After being there for maybe 20 minutes, though, it began to pour. Now, if you know anything about Savannah and Britney, you know that this didn’t stop them at all. They went and walked around in the pouring rain while I waited at a pavilion haha. After about and hour the rain finally slowed down and we went to go find the elephants. Probably the highlight of the day. Britney and Savannah got to RIDE an elephant! I stood on the side and took pictures so we would have some. I’m positive their trip was made this afternoon!

Singapore Zoo

Elephant Ride!

peacock

Well, that was this week in a nutshell, which makes us all really excited because we’ve been told that the third week is usually the most difficult.

Pray that our readers as well as our lives continue to be impacted in supernatural ways!

Week 2

Wow. It’s been a packed, adventurous, and awesome week! Here are a few highlights.

This was our first full week with our readers! We were up at the church over 12 hours each day this past week, but it was all so rewarding. This past week we were able to actually start connecting with some of the people here. Every night we had a group that would stay after their lessons and just hang out with us (which is sorta strange considering none of them are Christians and they were hanging out in a church for over 3 hours every night). It’s so cool how we can become friends so quickly even when we don’t always understand each other. This past week really excited us for the weeks to come!

Ella, Amanda, Savannah, Li Chao, Ming Laing, and Britney

A few specific things happened this week that we will never forget. One being a girl named Jiayi and her mom bringing homemade Chinese Dumplings to us for lunch on Wednesday this past week! They were delicious! They are such a sweet family!

 

Chinese Dumplings!

Paul, Jiayi, her mom, Savannah, and Britney

mmmmmm

Saturday was a really long day for me…in a good way. I got to talk about Jesus in a lot my reading sessions! This was 1-super exciting because all of them were the ones that brought it up and asked me, 2-completely awesome to get to share, and 3-completely draining. With it being our last work day of the week we all were really tired and then when you add all the emotion that gets pulled from you when you explain the one reason why you live,  you arrive at a state of mental exhaustion…but I couldn’t be any more thankful for that exhaustion. It sounds weird, but looking back on everything, that was the first time I had ever explained what I believe and why, so to spill it all out multiple times really made me think. It’s almost like getting asked and put on the spot makes all the gears start moving and all the pieces snap and click together. Getting to share the story of how Jesus rescued us and explain how it gives you hope is possibly the most rewarding thing ever. Because after you tell them everything and you almost recover from being completely overwhelmed by the story yourself, they ask if God did this for a certain group of people…and you get to tell them no. You get to tell them that God doesn’t have favorites. God doesn’t pick and choose who He loves. You get to tell them that no matter how much they don’t understand, don’t believe, ignore, or even hate God, He will never stop loving them. Then you get to see their eyes widen, pause, and then hear them ask “Really?” and you get to reply with a confident, undoubted “Yes.” This happened multiple times that day, with the last during the session with Ming Liang. The look on his face when we were talking about all this will forever be etched in my mind. This is why we have been sent here. This is why we are ever sent anywhere. To share the story and spread hope and joy.

 

After that week of work, we got 2 days off and went to Batam, Indonesia for a night with a friend named Grace from the church here. If nothing else, it was a hilarious trip. Grace is probably one of the funniest people on the face of the earth! She kept us laughing for literally 3 hours straight Sunday night. The whole trip was super relaxing. We went and got massages when we got there… but there was an accident. Afterwards you are supposed to take a shower in the little room you had a massage in. I had my own room and the girls had theirs. So the ladies left us to shower. I am in my shower and then I hear a burst of laughter from the next room. Apparently Savannah had gotten in the shower and the curtain completely came off the wall. They explained that they had to hold up the shower curtain so the other could shower. They snuck out quickly, but the massage ladies got back pretty fast. One lady when in, came out , and just started laughing at the girls. Okay, so it might not sound that funny on here, but believe me, it was one of the funniest things that has happened since we left the US.

On the ferry on the way to Indonesia with Grace

Monday we went to Harris Beach and went parasailing! We hung out there and by the pool for a while then got to go get a nice seafood meal. Everything in Batam is super cheap (less than half of what it would be in Singapore), so we got some crab and prawn! It was so good!

Parasailing!

After that we headed back to Singapore on the ferry. That trip was a blast!

Please continue to pray for us and our readers! After having these conversations, I’ve become pretty hopeful! Almost all of our readers are free-thinkers, so be praying that they aren’t scared of the thought of committing to a religion. Ask God to make himself evident over here. Ask for them to be open. And also be praying for us! Pray that we will have strength and patience throughout the week and that we continue to have good health while here.

Week 1

It’s weird thinking we’ve already been gone a week, but at the same time, so much has already happened I can’t believe it’s only been a week!

We traveled 3 Days to Singapore via Atlanta and Tokyo, Japan.

We met with one of the leaders at the church on Thursday to go over everything and get everything together for the next day. After all that he took us to Chinatown for foot reflexology (a 45 minute foot massage). It. Was. Amazing.

Chinatown

Friday began our work! We met a lot of our readers and began teaching english! Some already knew a lot, but with some we were not as fortunate. Savannah had one guy who can understand english, but couldn’t speak or write. This, as one can image, was very inconvenient, but she’s a trooper and is working with him almost every day! Britney has one reader who knows pretty much everything already. It’s a girl who is in highschool, but her mom is coming with her so she comes too. Because she can read and understand really well, they practice conversing (which means they talk and the girl tells Britney everything we need to do while we are here; needless to say, we have our time allotted for). I have made really good friends with a guy named Ming Liang. He knows a lot of english but cannot speak really well. He’s a great guy who is studying the Bible every week with the pastor here. He’s definitely going to be one of my favorite students and one of my best friends here!

Britney with Ming Liang

One conversation that was really good was with a girl named Vera (her Chinese name is Wei-Wei). She explained how she is really interested in my religion and how she reads the Bible at night just to know the story. She told me about how many of the Chinese are “free-thinkers,” (with the way she was explaining it, it seems very similar to being agnostic). She said the one thing different about Christianity, though, is how our God desires to be as close to us as we do to Him. She began to mention how she isn’t sure what exactly is right or real, but the idea of a God that loves us unconditionally seems too good to be true.

Please be praying for all of our readers!

On Sunday we went to church. We met a lot of people! They were all so welcoming it was almost overwhelming. Whenever I travel, worshipping with other people always catches me off guard. It seems like everywhere outside of America is so much more in tune with what worship is. No one cares about what they look like, how they sound, if they stand up or sit down, if they raise their arms or clap their hands, spin, jump, laugh, or even yell. They understand that it doesn’t matter if people stare at them. It doesn’t matter what others think. What I don’t understand is why it isn’t like that in America. What holds us back? Being here Sunday really made me begin questioning why I do what I do. In all, it was just awesome being in a room with people who truly didn’t care what I thought about them and who just worshipped, and I’m looking forward to being apart of that for the next 5 weeks.

That afternoon and night we went to Bugis Street (which is a WAY overly crowded market place) and then to see a show of some people performing music from Thailand.

escalator from the MRT up to Bugis Street

Thai Performers

Britney and Savannah with the group

Monday is our off-day so we slept in late then went to the Botanic Gardens out in the middle of the Island.

flower from the Botanic Garden

This first week has been incredible!

we’re finally here!

We are FINALLY in Singapore!
After a flight delay in Atlanta, we missed our flight to Singapore from Japan so we had to spend the night in Tokyo.
Nevertheless, we made it here safe and sound!

Here are a few pictures to give an overview of the 44 hour trip!

while waiting for our plane, we played a game where you say a scenario and you snap a picture. this one is entitled “attack of the giant squid.”

“be a tiger!”

our hotel in Tokyo

in Tokyo

 

about to head to the Japan airport to catch our flight to Singapore!