Sunday, October 7, 2007


Thank you all for your encouraging emails and kind words. It was a rough week. But recently I have felt peace. I could actually feel a blanket of hope as it settled upon me this weekend. How does God do that? I have been feeling a little more at ease.

I spoke to the Cambodian pastor of the church a few weeks ago and requested a time when I could get into the church to play the piano. Finally, on Friday afternoon I was able to. I walked into the empty sanctuary and immediately realized this was the first time I had been alone in a room for a long, long time. I am constantly surrounded by the grubby little fingers of students, the locals outside, people at the mission, my roommates. I have no place to call my own. I sat down and just looked at the piano awhile. The song, “It is Well” came to my head so I played it. I honestly feared that maybe I had forgotten how to play. I kept playing a few hymns and some of my own songs. I stopped playing and just sat for awhile. It was beautiful and peaceful and calming. I was able to just “be” for probably the first time since I have arrived. I felt that blanket of peace begin to touch my skin.

From here I went to the Scotts house. I knocked on their door and said, “Can I just sit on your couch?” Their answer? “Of course you can.” They worked in the kitchen as I sat for awhile and read my journal. It is so interesting to read my journal entries from a few months ago. I had many reasons to come here. I thought Cambodia would be many things. One part really jumped out at me. On June 22, 2007 I wrote these words, “I want to be uncomfortable. I want to be uneasy and displeased. I want to feel out of place. I want to feel homesick. I want to live for something better to come. I want to live like a traveler or a drifter searching for a home, because this isn’t it. I don’t want to fit in and I want people to notice. This is all just temporary. Do I really believe it?” At this time I was talking about heaven. But I suppose I got exactly what I asked for. I am all of the above here in Cambodia. Maybe that blanket of hope is also giving me a better sense of reality along with it.

The reasons I wanted to be an SM still stand, yet I struggle daily with them at the same time.
I wanted to run away with God for a year: check.
I wanted to go somewhere un-Americanized: check.
I didn’t go to an island with 20 other SM’s because I didn’t want my mission experience to be about just meeting other Americans: check.
I didn’t come with anyone because I felt this was something I needed to do on my own, with God: check.
I came for a different, more simple way of life: check.

Yup everything I hoped for is being fulfilled, so why I am so anxious, restless, and struggling? I could never have been prepared for this. How could I?

This last summer I worked for Buell Fog as part of the U-crew team. It was me and 4 other college students traveling around the mid-west doing youth ministry and recruiting. This was really difficult and long and sometimes miserable. But in more ways than one, U-crew helped prepare me for this. But I can only see it now.

This summer, I was on the road, away from family and friends, now I am half a world away. I only saw my ED counselor Teresa twice; I haven’t yet made contact with her here. I had no control over the food I was eating or how much I could exercise; it is much that way here as well. I wasn’t always spending time with people I wanted; I can’t choose my friends here either. This summer I felt homeless, now I feel it more than ever. U-crew was like the training wheels for this mission field.

Looking back and reflecting was so good for me. It was as though I was instantly morphed into “old” Heather. Ya know, the Heather that may have been thinking more clearly, more at peace, more realistic and not so anxious and hysterical. Maybe I am not so far removed from myself. Maybe I still have some sanity; it just takes more work to find it sometimes. Awareness is going to save me. I have no one here to remind me how I would “usually” act or how I have handled similar things in the past. I only have myself, my memories. I have no one to tell me, “Heather, you are being ridiculous. You are a tough girl. This isn’t the first time things have been hard for you.” The people here don’t know anything about me: my Oprah fetish, my love for Barnes and Noble on a rainy afternoon, my favorite kind of music, how much I enjoy thrift stores, my love for art and crafting things with my hands. Any history from my past is irrelevant here. Starting over is exhausting. I have history and personality and things that make me, me. I feel like an empty book.

If I have one prayer request it is this: Please pray for peace. Pray that I will be able to relax and live. I want to enjoy the ride. This is what I have signed up for. I am experiencing many things I hoped I would. I am not taking the “suck it up” approach to life. But I am trying desperately to be realistic about what is going on around me. I want the hope that although things are not perfect or ideal, I am here. I need prayers to help me relax and live.

“God I want to give you the reigns. Help me to relax and just live here in Cambodia. It is not easy. But I promised you a year of my life, not just the last month when I finally decide I will start living. Help me to see my purpose here. Help me to thrive.”


Anonymous said...

Heather, Welcome Back! I am so inspired by you...I don't know more than a few people who fit in the same category of "friend" in my life! I am here holding you up to Jesus...asking for His peace in your heart! I Love You, Sandy

Anonymous said...

Hey Heather!
I want you to know that I am praying for you. I wish I could do more to help you, but just know that you will be in my thoughts and prayers.
May God bless you and keep you tightly wrapped in His arms.
-Emily Lorenz

ashley said...

You make your sister proud.

I love you.