20 Things I’ll Never Forget

20 Things I’ll Never Forget

  1. Walking outside onto the observation deck at the Tokyo airport at 2 a.m. with the balmy breeze. (This was the third airport of six that I’d be in before arriving at our first, official destination.)
  2. Waking at 4:30 in the morning in pitch darkness to the sound of the Muslim call to prayer blaring across the seaside town of Nabire over dozens of loud speakers.
  3. Being asked to have my picture taken with locals because some had never seen a white woman with blonde hair before.
  4. Swimming in the warm Pacific Ocean.

    After my ocean swim in the Pacific.

    After my ocean swim in the Pacific.

  5. Looking out the MAF plane, seeing tribal people coming out from all over the jungle, lining up and down the grass runway as they heard Nathan flying over, preparing for our landing.

    Our welcoming committee. Notice the clouds. Almost couldn't land as the runway is sketchy: 14% slope, 500 meters in length.

    Our welcoming committee. Notice the clouds. Almost couldn’t land as the runway is sketchy: 14% slope, 500 meters in length.

  6. Watching a toddler hold her machete in one hand seated on top of her mother’s shoulders while picking the lice out of her mom’s hair with her other hand.

    Toddler, her mother, and her machete. I wasn't joking.

    Toddler, her mother, and her machete.

  7. Every minute of our 24 hour stay in Dem Land, hiking through tribe’s abundant gardens with giggling children following us with their faces decorated with picked flower petals, each with their machetes, breaking bread together in Dillion and Angie’s home, the sound of pouring rain on the tin roof all through the night.

    Came across her home on our hike.

    Came across this woman and her home and garden on our hike. She followed us the rest of the way.

  8. Hearing Dillion pray, thanking God that He parted the clouds in time for Nathan to safely land so that we could visit them and they could receive much needed supplies. (The cloud cover was too thick for a safe touch down just minutes before we made our approach as you can see in the picture under #5.)
  9. Spending four hours sorting and filling large gift bags with coffee, chocolate, salty snacks, and self-care products to surprise each of the women at the retreat in Joyce and Nancy’s hotel room, then watching the giddiness of the women as they opened their bags. It was like Christmas morning.

    The surprise gift bags!

    The surprise gift bags!

  10. My “counseling office,” a traditional Indonesian hut at the resort where we hosted the missionary women’s retreat and the tender tears that came from deep, vulnerable places.

    My counseling office for four days

    My counseling office for four days

  11. Sitting pool side watching a few retreat women brush off eager infestations of ants that continued to compete for their side order of french fries (because they treasured their potato goodness too much to let it go to waste) all the while comparing insect and rodent stories that come with living in the Interior.
  12. Hearing Lois’s contagious laugh carry all the way from the pool up to my hotel room, with the windows closed no less.
  13. Twenty-three of us, strangers just four days earlier, standing in a circle the last night of the retreat singing Amazing Grace acapella with tears of awe in our eyes.
  14. Driving through the chaotic streets of Cambodia, passing overloaded motos, tuk-tuks, make-shift cars, luxury SUVs, bicycles, cows, chickens, and dogs all in one intersection.

    Typical Cambodian intersection.

    Typical Cambodian intersection.

  15. Walking through S-21 and the pit in my stomach. (Google it if you don’t know.)

    S-21

    S-21

  16. The smell of unrefrigerated raw chickens and fish for sale in the open air market mixed with the sweet-spoiled smell of garbage on the streets with flies buzzing overhead.

    Trash.

    Trash.

  17. Not yet dead chickens going to market.

    Not yet dead chickens going to market.

    The open market, poultry section.

    The open market, poultry section.

  18. Singing worship songs with the AIM school staff in both Khmer and English, squeezing over 40 of us in a room size meant for 20.
  19. Seeing rescued 10-14 year old girls making “3 Strands” bracelets giggling and smiling knowing just months earlier they were living in terror as sex slaves. This, right after walking through the first child brothel that was raided just 13 years ago , located across the street. (It has since been bought and redeemed and now used as a foster home for little children.)

    Where the rescued girls make bracelets.

    Where the rescued girls make bracelets.

  20. Savoring meaningful conversation and food over a delicious three course dinner at a swanky restaurant with Kim, Becki, Rachel, Gregory, and Heidi on my last night in Cambodia.

    Our fabulous dinner on my last night.

    Our fabulous dinner on my last night.

  21. The thrill of traveling from Papua to Jakarta to Malaysia to Cambodia to South Korea to home, all on my own.

One Comment on “20 Things I’ll Never Forget

  1. Goosebumps girlfriend. that’s all I can say is goosebumps. what an amazing adventure and experiencing God. the plane landing… goosebumps. God shows up just when we need him. He is an amazing God.

    Like

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