Posted by: Sarah | May 3, 2010

Make a Pass

The other day, I was having lunch with one of my good Lao friends, Miss Bird.  As we were chatting (in English), she brought up my coming home assignment this fall:

Bird:  Sarah, you’re going home this year, right?

Me:  Yes, that’s right.

Bird:  And you’ll go to church there, right?

Me (thinking she has a question about church):  Yes, I will.

Bird:  And there will be lots of people there, right?

Me (wondering if she wants people to pray for her):  Yeah, pretty many.

Bird:  Men and women, boys and girls?

Me:  Yeah.  Why do you ask?

Bird:  When you’re at church, I think you need to make a pass.

Me (now pretty confused):  What?

Bird:  I’m afraid that when you are at church, you only sit and read your Bible.  You need to look up and make a pass.  You need to make eye contact with the men so they will notice you.

Well.  Good advice is always appreciated, no matter what form it comes in!

Posted by: Sarah | April 4, 2010

Ezekiel: Dry Bones

Lately, I’ve been reading through Ezekiel.  Kind of a strange book to be reading through, but a few weeks ago I heard a sermon from Daniel and since then have been eager to spend time reading some of the Old Testament prophets.

One passage that has been particularly meaningful to me is the story of the valley of dry bones, found in Ezekiel 37: 

The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones.  He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry.  He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”

Now, if I was the one having this vision, I probably would have answered with something spiritual like, “Sure, Lord, with you all things are possible!”  Or maybe my practical side would have come out in an answer such as, “Well, I suppose, but it’s not very likely.”

Ezekiel’s answer?  “O Sovereign Lord, you alone know” (verse 3).

I love how he doesn’t even try to answer.  It’s as if he realizes that in answering such a question, man’s wisdom is nowhere near adequate.  I think it shows a lot of faith, and a deep understanding of who God is.  It’s a good reminder to me that I am not the one in control; only God knows what will happen.

Posted by: Sarah | February 24, 2010

Not a Great Day

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Yesterday, my laptop and wallet (along with credit cards, US driver’s license, and my Social Security card) were stolen out of my office at the school.  What a bummer!  We’ve reported this to the village officials, but there is very little chance of getting anything back.

Almost as soon as this happened, God began bringing to my mind reasons to be thankful in this situation:

  • He didn’t take my whole purse, which held my camera, glasses, and Lao ID cards (a big hassle to replace).
  • He didn’t take my whole computer bag, which held various electronic accessories and charging cords.
  • He didn’t take my software disks.
  • My passport was safely at home (praise-praise-praise-praise-praise).
  • I had just filled up my car with gas, so he didn’t get much money!
  • My laptop was password-protected, so unless he’s really techie, my documents and information are safe.
  • I had just backed up my laptop that morning.
  • He did not go through my desk drawers and find my back-up drive, phone, car keys, or office keys.
  • The staff at the school was very concerned and helpful; one of our office staff went immediately to inform the village police.
  • I have great parents who were willing to get out of bed when I called them at 2:30 a.m. and start canceling credit cards.
  • Everything was able to be cancelled before it could be used.
  • My teammate’s father is coming to visit next week; I’ve ordered a new laptop and he is willing to bring it to me.
  • The thief did not steal one of the computers belonging to the Lao staff—this would be much more difficult for them to replace.
  • I don’t know who the thief was, which makes it much easier to forgive him.
  • I was calm and kept from freaking out!

Have I missed anything? Oh yeah–I’m grateful that I can find things for which to be thankful.

Posted by: Sarah | February 22, 2010

What can you learn from Genesis 1?

Last week, I visited a friend whose father had been wanting to know more about my faith.  He apparently had some scant background knowledge from some Catholic acquaintances, and I have never kept my beliefs a secret.  Now he is facing kidney disease as a complication of diabetes, and he is searching for something that will give him hope.

We talked for a while about God and his Son, and my friend’s father listened carefully and asked many thoughtful questions.  Before I left, I marked Genesis and John for them to read over the course of the coming week.

However, I overestimated the extent of his background knowledge.  He didn’t seem to understand that the Bible is divided into many books, and that I had meant for him to read all of Genesis and all of John.  As a result, he read Genesis 1 every day that week. 

I wanted to giggle when he told me this.  Every day!  Thankfully, I didn’t laugh, but calmly asked him what he had learned.  His summary?  “God made the world and everything in it.  He made men.  If he made all of it, he also must be the one who knows how to fix it.”

This was humbling for me.  From a passage that I hadn’t expected to be the most relevant for him, he had drawn a faith-building truth that spoke to his current situation and felt need.  It lead him to want to learn even more.  Praise God that his word never returns void!

Posted by: Sarah | February 18, 2010

Quail Eggs

One of the more palatable delicacies in Laos is quail eggs.  They’re so little and cute!  Here’s one below, pictured next to a chicken egg for size comparison:

The Lao especially like to eat them hard-boiled, but the lady who sold them to me said that I could also scramble or fry them.  The shell is a bit more rubbery than a chicken eggshell.

I felt like I was cooking for dolls!

Quail eggs actually taste quite good, like a chicken egg but a bit richer.  Since they’re sold by the kilogram–and there’s a lot of eggs in one kilogram!–I’ve been hard-boiling several each morning to take to school.  If you get a chance, give ’em a try.

Posted by: Sarah | February 13, 2010

This Year’s Theme Song

For the past several years, I feel that God has given me a “theme song” for the year.  It’s a song that I feel captures the lesson that God has for me that year.  For example, when I first moved to Northern Laos my theme song was “Blessed Be Your Name,” by Matt Redman, because I was learning to be thankful in all circumstances.  In a year when I was feeling less gracious, my song was “Be My Escape” by Relient K–but even though I had a twisted take on the lyrics at the time, it has become a very encouraging song.  This year, my song is “Love Song for a Savior,” by Jars of Clay.  Released in 1995, it’s a bit of a flashback, but the lyrics speak to me:

In open fields of wild flowers,
she breathes the air and flies away
She thanks her Jesus for the daises and the roses
in no simple language
Someday she’ll understand the meaning of it all
He’s more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
As close a heartbeat or a song on her lips
Someday she’ll trust Him and learn how to see Him
Someday He’ll call her and she will come running
and fall in His arms and the tears will fall down and she’ll pray,

“I want to fall in love with You”

Sitting silent wearing Sunday best
The sermon echoes through the walls
A great salvation through it calls to the people
who stare into nowhere, and can’t feel the chains on their souls

He’s more than the laughter or the stars in the heavens
As close a heartbeat or a song on our lips
Someday we’ll trust Him and learn how to see Him
Someday He’ll call us and we will come running
and fall in His arms and the tears will fall down and we’ll pray,

“I want to fall in love with You”

It seems too easy to call you “Savior”,
Not close enough to call you “God”
So as I sit and think of words I can mention
to show my devotion

“I want to fall in love with You”

“my heart beats for You”

(lyrics found at

I want to totally fall in love with my Savior this year.  I want to know the kind of reverence, devotion and trust the song speaks of.  I want to be so close to my Father that singleness doesn’t matter so much.  I want to run to him with complete joy, and I have faith that this is his will for me.

Posted by: Sarah | February 9, 2010

Fruit Shake Surprise

Yesterday evening I stopped by my favorite fruit shake stand for an avocado shake (yummy, creamy, green goodness that tastes a lot like vanilla ice cream).  Normally, Miss Seng makes my fruit shake.  She knows just the right amount of evaporated milk, sugar and salt to add to any combination of fruit.

Last night, however, the Other Girl was the fruit shake barista (I don’t know her name).  Everything was going well until she grabbed a straw and jammed it into my plastic take-away cup.  There was a bit of partially dried strawberry yoghurt stuck to the bottom of the straw, which scraped off onto the lid of my cup.  The girl noticed, giggled, and said, “Hey, there’s yoghurt stuck on here!”  Then she handed me my fruit shake, old yoghurt and all.

Lovely.  The avocado was good, though.

Posted by: Sarah | February 8, 2010

2010 Goals

I have to admit, usually I don’t bother with New Year’s resolutions. This year, however, I decided it was time. Time to shape up. Time to improve. So, I made two simple goals:

1.  Get stuff done (meaning, stop procrastinating on little things, like taking clothes to the dry cleaner or taking out the trash).

2.  Get more sleep.

Unfortunately, I’m finding that my goals conflict with each other.  If I’m getting stuff done, I’m not sleeping!  Obviously, this points to a lack of time management rather than any real lack of time to do my chores.  I’m hoping that as I write about my progress here, I’ll stop wasting time on things that aren’t meaningful or things I don’t even enjoy and then be more responsible with the time I have.  I’ll let you know how I’m doing.  What goals have you made for the coming year?

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