In June 2015, I went to Pattaya, Thailand for six weeks with 20 fellow students to take part in a Global Injustice Response Training called The Justice School. The Justice School is an intensive training course designed to equip students to eradicate the injustice of our world that is human trafficking. Pattaya is known to be the child sex tourism capital of the world. We spent time in the classroom being taught by experts in their respective fields, participated in various field works around the city, and experienced what sex trafficking looks like in that part of the world. The following works are the blogs I wrote leading up to, during, and following my trip to Thailand.
As I sit here at work on this Friday afternoon, I am beginning to realize how close it all is. This time next week I will be finishing the last hour of my last shift as a student in the Nebraska Christian College library. Graduation is 8 days away.
It all feels surreal. I can’t believe that I am almost done with college. It has gone so quickly. But in 8 days I will walk across that stage and get my diploma (I think—let’s hope I didn’t miss too many chapels!). I honestly couldn’t be more excited to graduate. I am glad that I had the experiences I did because they shaped whom I have become and what I plan on doing. There are people I will miss and things I will miss. However, I can’t pretend I’m not more than ready to be done here.
Mostly because I’m excited about what comes next.
It was one that he had for quite some time, this idea. There was abundant excitement, yet he wanted it to be perfect, and it would be. With pen poised, he hesitated before the tip kissed the page. The words flowed as he created his masterpiece of words, and the story came to life. His life was good and he was content, but there was something more that he wanted. This is why he decided to write this story.
His talent for writing was unrivaled and without error. He used words to paint stunning settings of leaf adorned trees and feathery ivory clouds, all set to the tune of birds singing harmoniously. He created roaring, deafening rivers with foam that hugged the edges. He created this magnificent world with mere words, but his prized creation came in a less perfect form. When he created the characters of his story, he made them each with a flaw so that they would have to rely on him, the author. He watched as these characters that he fashioned made mistakes and slowly corrupted the lovely world that he had made for them. There was sadness in his heart as he watched these characters that he made so precisely, distort what he created and become unhappy with their lives and with themselves. You see, the problem was that they had gotten so caught up in the story and had forgotten about him, the author.
I flipped through the pages of the brand new Seventeen Magazine, whose arrival in the mailbox was greatly anticipated by the likes of every eighth grade girl out there with a monthly subscription. As my eyes took in page after page of style tips, perfect skin and hair, skinny models, and “How to Get a Boyfriend” quizzes, a feeling of dissatisfaction nestled itself into the pit of my stomach. Even though the magazine itself wasn’t designed to make an eighth grade girl feel bad about her own appearance, it tended to happen to me nevertheless. Of course, the moment I closed the magazine, the dissatisfaction didn’t just up and disappear. In fact, it seemed to follow me wherever I went—the bathroom in front of a mirror, on the weight scale, at school, in department stores . . . This dissatisfaction—that stemmed from the pages of magazines, TV shows, and comparing myself to other girls—manifested itself into my mind and became an overwhelming opinion of how I viewed my own personality and looks. I didn’t know who I was, so I began modeling my identity around images and people that I thought I could never compare to.
X-mas in Xigatse
For three months I had prepared for Christmas. We spent hours collecting an assortment of Christmas cards, some with serene scenes of the Nativity, and some with little boys, full of the Christmas spirit, playing jovially on a snow-blanketed mountainside. Continue reading
I read your book the other day. You know, the one about the Unexplained Hard Time in your life. I’ve read it before, and truthfully, it’s one of my favorite books of its genre, because it gets down to the nitty-gritty. You learned better than a lot of us what life really means.
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. The name of the Lord be praised. Continue reading