Hi friends! I declare, it’s been too long. I miss our blog relationship. You know, the one where I write and then pretend that I have people other than my dad reading in rapt interest. That’s blogging, and I do love it You’re my MVP, Dad.
Anyway, I have travel pictures and a sermonette/debrief to share with you [all].
Monday, July 23rd
I woke up incredulous that our last day had arrived, excited to head home, but knowing there’d be much I’d sorely miss.
P’Aw and Cleo came over on their motorcycle to say goodbye. They’re gems; I’m so glad we became friends.
We had our dinner with the Nesbitts (the Weimers left for Chang Mai earlier on Monday) then flew that evening from Khon Kaen to Bangkok. Jenna and Elizabeth would stay in the airport most of the night, but my flight to Korea left at 1 am.
We strolled around the crowded airport with our many bags, stopping at Starbucks and buying snacks. Marginally inconvenient, but it wasn’t like we were in a rush. These pictures taken by little point and shoot make me love my Nikon SLR that much more
We found a spot to camp in the basement by the food courts and dined on mangoes and sticky rice one last time.
I was the first to go., which was kind of sad since I won’t be seeing Jenna in the fall (Elizabeth and I will be roommates). There’s no doubt that being on an intimate team has its challenges, but we all taught each other a lot, took turns sacrificing how we wanted to do things, lifted one another up when one was completely spent, laughed at our horrible Thai, eavesdropped on each other’s skype conversations (kidding, probably), prayed, encouraged, and learned to live together as the dysfunctional but lovely family of Christ. God was very intentional in bringing us together.
Meandering to my gate in Bangkok, I passed this neat statue of men vs. monkey spirits pulling on a snake wrapped around a rock sitting on a giant turtle. I liked the turtle
Korea was my big layover, and I actually had a really nice time there. I had a 4-hour layover in Bangkok, a 14-hour in South Korea, and a 7-hour in Seattle, but those surprisingly made the trip more pleasant. It made getting back on the plane much easier. Above was my free internet zone spot. It had lamps, a super comphy half couch, a sweet table for my laptop, and my spot was even in the corner so I felt confined and content.
Once I got hungry I visited the Korean food court and super-enjoyed vegetarian bi-bim-bap.
Then I decided to see how long it would take to see how fast I could speed-walk the the entire length of the floor with all the gates (down all the side hallways too). I was stopped briefly by a processional with a beating drum in traditional Korean garb, but all in all it took about 28 minutes.
Well, it would have taken about 28 minutes. I also paused to take this picture of Asiana Airlines planes (what I felt to and from Korea on). I got to the end of the airport and reached in my backpack to check my time when I realized my iPhone was nowhere to be found.
So I retraced my steps for 10 minutes and finally got back to the window I took pictures at. When I replaced my camera I left my phone on the seat, and if an inanimate object could smile up at you then that’s exactly what my phone was doing when I spied it.
Oh, best thing ever. Or..really good thing. I sat down on the plane by a window seat when the girl next to me (slightly younger than me) asked if I’d trade places with her friend (also her age; I’d seen them together before we boarded). I didn’t really care, so I agreed. I followed her towards the back of the plane and she stopped at an EXIT ROW. Not only that, but the exit row that has no seats in front of it. Scooooorrreeee!!
No this isn’t at the airport, but this is my Aunt Susan and Uncle Dan who I met up with as soon as I got to Seattle. Such a wonderful surprise. We spent the afternoon together, talking and later reading, then flew to Juneau on the same plane. They were coming up for my dad’s retirement ceremony. We made it home just fine. 48 hours of travel, but it was one of the easiest strings of flights I’ve had yet.
In Honor of Tish and Wayne: Wrap-up
My mom’s cousins (kind of aunt and uncle) Tish and Wayne also came up for the retirement ceremony, but they were sad to leave before my little church debrief on Sunday, so I’m posting it here in case anyone else is curious.
- Salutations and gratitudes. My church is so awesome :D. They were way more supportive than I ever expected before, during, and after my trip. I didn’t realize until I got to Thailand how essential prayer support is, but I became more and more appreciative of Auke Bay Bible Church lifting me up during a gamut of challenges and opportunities.
- As a missionary internship, our main goal was to be and learn, not DO a bunch of mission-y things. We learned through experiencing the daily grind of life as a missionary, conversations, culture studies, and a book and Bible studies.
- During those studies, I encountered the concept of brokenness. It stuck with me for the rest of my time in Thailand and every day since.
- God started opening my eyes to the brokenness around me.
- In myself I saw how evil my heart is when put in a stressful situation without usual comforts. I had hateful thoughts toward team members (who weren’t doing anything wrong!). This was an answer to prayer, because at the beginning of the internship I was pretty unconvinced that I was actually a sinner (ridiculous, I know).
- In families willing to send their daughters into prostitution to make money to send home.
- In Thais appeasing spirits with their time and resources in order to avoid punishment
- In older Western men wanting to be desired for a night, often by young girls trapped in some way in prostitution
And that’s not evening mentioning the ants or the instant coffee
Seriously though, the brokenness in and around me was heartrending. But (best “but” ever!!) God never gave up on us. There’s a glorious other side of the coin, and that’s the restoration/reconciliation that Christ is using the church to usher in to all areas of life.
- Colossians 1:19-20 says, “For in [Christ] all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” So Christ is putting back in right relationship ALL areas of life (bodies, souls, finances, systems, etc.).
- The church is to join by proclaiming the good news of gospel in word and deed like Jesus did, bringing restoration to the world around them. Here’s some examples of the restoration I saw:
- My friend in Pattaya who’s a Christian and former prostitute and has more joy than anyone else I’ve met
- A Thai friend who’s found peace in Jesus now that she’s free from the rules of Buddhism. Her family isn’t supportive and she doesn’t know what the future holds, but her peace and trust in Christ is evident.
- How Encompass World Partner missionaries use their car wash business to mentor the young men they employ
- The dietitian who works on healing her patients’ fatalism toward change and healing their unhealthy family structures through her nutritional counseling.
- For me, I’m constantly experiencing the sweet love of God who, because of Jesus, accepts me will head-over-heels love without any condemnation.
To conclude, I learned to see through the lens of the gospel which says that I’m not ok; you’re not ok; but Jesus can fix us both. I saw how Christ calls us to be restorers in every area of life.
People asked me if I was planning on being a missionary since I was on a missionary internship (logical thought), but no, I don’t. I learned that we’re all called to ministry wherever we are, and it’s conceivable that I might end up working and ministering through healthcare overseas. It’d be really neat to be a restorer in that role.
And that was my spiel! Like I said to my church, contact me if you want to know more about anything. If we’re in the same state at any point I’d love to get a coffee and chat, or you can also email (firstname.lastname@example.org).!
Want to see pictures?? My dad, Craig Barkley Lloyd, retired after 28 years in the Coast Guard and countless lives hugely improved and many saved through God’s appointment and my dad’s hard work every place he went. We move to Anchorage in 4 days, where he’ll be the President and General Manager of Alaska Clean Seas, an oil spill prevention and response agency that works over the north slope and the first 167 miles of the Alaska pipeline.
My dad (right) received his commission 28 years ago from my Uncle Dan (left), who’s recently retired as an Admiral in the Coast Guard. My Uncle Dan also gave the orders of retirement, which was really special (the whole ceremony was).
Our whole party. It was great to see everyone, but strange having people from so many different times in our lives together in one place at one time. God’s given us some incredible friends, and reconnecting was delightful.
It’s good to be home.