Not a day goes by here in Thailand without someone asking me, “Where you from?”
I, of course, proudly and emphatically answer, “America!”
To which they nearly always respond, “Ohhh, no. You look like China. …Korea.”
Yeeeah. And if I’m totally honest, it’s bugged me since the day I got here. Like, c’mon, doesn’t the world know that Americans come in all colors, shapes, and sizes? Didn’t the rest of the world get the “multicultural” memo that’s drilled into our American minds back home?
For most of my time here, I’ve tried not to think about it, because I had that nagging feeling (you know the one?) that there are deeper reasons behind my frustration. See, it’s not something I advertise, but pretty much my whole life, I’ve tried to “skirt around” the fact that I’m, well, Asian. I know it sounds like nonsense, but I always felt like emphasizing the “Asian” would somehow make me less American.
But, like I said, strange things are happening to me.
It’s been an awesome process full of good conversations, books, thoughts, prayers…but the short of it is, I think God is giving me a heart for Thailand…and maybe Asia as a whole.
I can’t fully explain it. Maybe part of me has found some hidden connection within. Maybe I’ve hit a high point in the cycle of adjusting to a new culture. I could speculate on a lot, but one thing I’m sure of: It is definitely of God. He has directed every thought and has brought forth every new experience and friendship and conversation. He has changed my heart.
So what does this mean? Am I not the girl who just turned in resignation papers for her job in Bangkok? Am I not the girl whose heart beats and cries out for the Church back home? Am I not the same proud American who stepped foot in Asia a year and half ago?
The funny thing is, I am still all of the above. My heart still aches for the Church in America and longs to be a part of impassioning and inspiring hearts back home. I am still a proud American who adores her country and has no reservations about returning to live there. And yes, I am still the teacher who — as of next year — will no longer have a job in Bangkok.
In other words, I have no idea what this all means. But I am excited to see what God has in store. My mind can go any which way — maybe He will open a door for me to stay here in another capacity, or maybe He’s preparing my heart for future plans. I don’t assume I’ll know for a while, so I’m just delighting in the peace of His sovereignty and faithfulness. He is a good God, and as I sang at church today, “Our God never fails.”
So please pray for me. My hope is that you won’t pray for what I want (oh wait, I don’t even know what I want)…and that you won’t even pray for what you want…but that we will, together, pray for what God wants to do — in my life, and in yours too! May we give Him full reign to bring about His plans and purposes among us.
Even if it means…strange things.