The Next Step in My Journey

For the past four years I’ve had a dream. It’s one of those dreams that feels so wild and unimaginable that I tuck it in my back pocket and only take it out on days when I’m feeling especially hopeful, or willing to believe that God has a good plan for my life. This far-fetched dream is to teach history to Nepali high school students in Nepal. I know this dream is very specific, and I know that as I continue to learn and grow, this dream will continue to evolve, but I also know that this idea of teaching in Nepal has deeply rooted itself in my heart and captured my imagination.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you’ll know that I love traveling and experiencing other cultures. You’ll also know that last summer I spent three weeks in Romania and Moldova working with an organization called Word Made Flesh. (Insert shameless plug. Here’s their website: http://wordmadeflesh.org. You should check them out because they’re awesome!) When I returned from Romania and Moldova last June, I knew that my next logical step would be to take a longer journey out of the U.S.. I never dreamed, however, that I would so quickly be given the opportunity to go to the one place I have wanted to go more than any other. I am elated to announce that from June 8th through July 20th I will be going to Nepal!

I will be working with a non-profit organization called Tiny Hands International. (They’re also awesome and worth checking out! https://www.tinyhands.org). Tiny Hands works in Nepal, India, and Bangladesh with street children, orphans, and victims of sex trafficking. They have children’s homes for at-risk youth and border-monitoring stations to intercept girls being trafficked from Nepal to India. They are also in the process of opening a school with the vision of raising up leaders in Nepal through quality education. My first three weeks in Nepal will be an intense time of learning. My team of nine young women from all across the U.S. will be exploring the different facets of Tiny Hands’ work by visiting their ministry sites throughout Nepal. As a future educator, I am especially excited for the time we will get to spend at the school! We will also be using this time to dive into Nepali culture, and wrestle with issues of poverty and injustice. At the halfway point of the trip, each member of our team will meet with the leaders of Tiny Hands to choose an area of the organization to plug into for the remaining three weeks of our trip.

This is where you as my blog readers come into this. First, I want to let you know that I am planning on using this blog to keep my friends and family, and all of you updated on my trip. As I am in preparation mode between now and June, you can anticipate a mix of posts that are similar in nature to what I have posted in the past, and posts pertaining to my trip. Once we reach June, however, this blog will be filled with all things Nepal! And then once I come home I’ll start posting about other topics again.

I can’t take this journey alone. First and foremost, I will need prayer support. I think all too often we underestimate the importance and the power of prayer! Ephesians 6:12 says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Because God has so clearly called me to go to Nepal, I know that Satan will oppose me every step of the way, which is why prayer is such an important part of this journey. Last summer, when I was in Romania, I would be feeling discouraged and overwhelmed when, suddenly, my mood would lighten. Then I would realize that, although it was 4:30PM in Romania, it was 6:30AM on the West Coast, and my prayer warriors were waking up and praying for me. More than once the knowledge that they were interceding on my behalf helped me through the most difficult moments of that trip. So if you are a person of prayer, I would love it if you would pray for me! Sometime in the near future I will post a blog with a list of specific requests you can pray over.

In order to go to Nepal, I am also in need of financial support. I am personally responsible for raising $4200. I know that some of you reading this blog don’t know me personally, and I want you to know that there is absolutely no obligation for you to contribute to my trip! However, I do encourage you, if you feel led, to pray about this opportunity. I firmly believe it takes an army to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. While God is calling me to go, that does not negate the importance of what He is calling you to do where He has planted you. In thinking about the significance of your role in bringing the Kingdom, I would encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. We all have an important role to play in the body of Christ. If you do feel led to donate towards my trip you can go to https://www.tinyhands.org/campaigns/kelly-simonsen-vision-trip.

I want to say thank you in advance for the myriad of ways you will be taking this journey with me. Even you just reading my blog posts means the world to me! I’m still in shock that this dream is coming true! Nepal, here I come!

Dreams and Reality

Advertisements

Gratitude

I awoke this morning to a light dusting of beautiful snow.

993476_10202803138858256_588992223_n

From the moment I opened my eyes I knew the light coming in the window had that special snow hue. I jumped out of bed, and it took all my strength to not throw open the blinds and crank up the Christmas music (my roommate was still asleep.) I felt an invigorating excitement that made me want to dance! The atmosphere was magical, and I felt profound gratitude for the beautiful life I’m living.

How often am I consumed with the negative? Burdens triumph over blessings. I complain more than I celebrate. Distress overpowers delight. So often I let the hard things get me down, but for whatever reason the snow this morning reminded me of something profound: We serve a good God who gives good gifts. I have so much to be thankful for! So today I am making a renewed effort to give thanks for my many blessings.

So without further ado…

I am thankful for the many deep, bellyaching, laugh-till-we-cry moments that I’ve had with my floormates this week.

1238307_10153255481610277_1245277046_nWednesday night we had the entire cafeteria staring at us because we were laughing so hard!

I am thankful for siblings who love me so well.

1457615_263952113754316_2001892689_n

They have a countdown of the amount of time till I come home for Christmas.

I am thankful for Christmas lights.

IMGP0275

They make me so happy!

I am thankful for the opportunity to go to Romania and Moldova in May!

Screen Shot 2012-10-28 at 8_42_15 PM_550x300

More on this to come soon!

I am thankful for good Christmas memories.

DSC_0055

Christmas Caroling!

And above all else, I am thankful for a God who loves me more than I can comprehend!

What are you thankful for?