Do I really need a reason? :) Uhmmm, because travelling rocks! Yes, that's true, but it helps when you feel a "call".
My sister and her family live in Malaysia, so last year I went to visit them in January/February (2005). It was only 1 month after the tsunami and I got to go up to Phuket and see some of the devastation first hand. My brother-in-law had also gone over to Banda Aceh, Indonesia where the tsunami had hit as well. When he returned, he was a changed man and looking at his pictures, I could see why. His friend was over in Indonesia working with Samaritan’s Purse and I also got to see his pictures. I was really interested in going and helping out myself, but didn’t know how it would work out. That summer (July 2005), my best friend went with the team from my church to Thailand to help rebuild, but as I had just taken a lot of time off work in Jan/Feb, it didn’t work out for me to go along, but when she got back and I saw her pictures, I knew I wanted to go back there. My friend and I started talking about taking a year off work and going to Thailand for a few months and then to travel for a few months. I told her that it sounded like an awesome idea, but that I didn’t know how it would work out financially for me to be able to leave next summer (July 2006) as I had 3 bills that I was paying off. 1) A loan from my parents, 2) My VISA and 3) My truck loan. I was starting to see a light at the end of the debt tunnel, but if everything worked out according to plan, I’d only have those bills paid off in July, which wouldn’t leave me any time to save up some money to be able to pay for this year long adventure. Despite that obstacle, I told my friend that I knew if God wanted me to go to Thailand, He would work it out.
Right before I left for Malaysia to see my sister, I gave up my apartment and started house sitting. I thought that as soon as I returned, I would again get my own place, but house sitting gigs kept pouring in. I had only sent out 1 email advertising myself, but by word of mouth, my name got around and people kept calling me. I’ve now been house-sitting for almost 2 years and am booked until the beginning of Oct. This was TOTALLY an act of God because everyone I know can’t believe that I keep getting calls to do this and also that I haven’t gotten sick of doing it. This has been an amazing way to save money to put towards my bills/trip.
Then, some missionaries from Thailand came back to Abbotsford last year and they started working on a women’s brunch to honour women missionaries. I got to help out a little bit with that and it was amazing. Hearing those women’s stories and watching a video that they showed about starting an orphanage, totally touched me. When I went home that night, I literally cried to God to ask Him what He wanted to show me and why I was feeling this pull to Thailand. I told Him that I was ready to go whenever and wherever He wanted. I felt Him say to me, “Ok, and now I want you to have patience and wait.”
I didn’t have to wait too long for Him to act. At Christmas, as a Christmas present, my parents forgave the loans that my sisters and I had with them (bill #1 – gone). Since my sister’s owed my parents more money then I did, to be even, my parents gave me the balance in cash which was exactly enough to pay off my VISA (bill #2 – gone). I was SOOOO excited!!! I came home and immediately put a double payment on my truck loan. Then I heard about a contest on a local radio station and decided to enter. The contest was for them to draw your name and you have to call in and say a certain phrase and they would pay off the bill that you had entered. So, on Jan. 11, I entered the contest and on Jan. 13, they called my name. Most people’s bills were for their phone bill or hydro bill, so when they said they would pay off my truck loan for $3177.06, I freaked. When I think back to when they said my name on the radio, it literally feels like a dream. I told them that I wanted to go to Thailand and how I was trying to save for it and how I had to pay off my bills first. I was crying like a baby because I knew all that had happened to get me to this point, so I was blown away by the fact that God would do all this for me. It actually was a little hard for me to accept at first. Also, a guy heard me on the radio and sent me a thank you card for "making his day" and he put a cheque in with it to go towards my trip. How amazing is that?
Now that all my bills were paid off, most of the money I made from here on in would be savings for my trip. As helping out with rebuilding after the tsunami was what initially I felt called to go do, I looked into that with a few different organizations, but I couldn’t find much going on anymore (most of the money raised is apparently "tied up" politically). I then emailed the missionaries in Thailand and asked them if there would be anything I would be able to do around their area. They emailed me back with some info about teaching English at the orphanage and other places, so now we're looking into that option.
At this time I really feel that God wants me to do this trip around the world and see if He’s calling me anywhere specific and for longer term. Many of the places that I’m going to visit I have friends who are missionaries as well, so I will be helping out at many different places along the way.
I've started talks with my travel agent to get the ball rolling on my ticket and to see how much this will all cost me. I covet any and all prayers for my decisions to be in line with God's plan for me.