A rare moment of banner-carrying.

September 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

Did you know I used to carry the title missionary?

For some of you, this will be a bit of a surprise as it is not some sort of banner I go flailing about and beating others over the head with.  (I am pretty sure that sentence is somehow grammatically incorrect, but this is my blog so whatevz.)

Yep, right after high school, I knew I did not want to go to college immediately.  Instead, I traveled to west Africa with a team 9 days after our vice principal pronounced my name correctly for the first. time. ever. as I walked across a stage.  Of course, I went to Indiana for a few days with a great friend between graduation and Africa.  This is where the wandering took off and just hasn’t stopped.

After Africa, I decided to do a Discipleship Training School through Youth With A Mission (YWAM) and flew up to Canada for the 7-month program.  Fun story sidebar: I flew to Toronto from Atlanta, though I was living with my folks in Charleston, SC.  Charleston to Atlanta is about 5 hours and I had a noon flight, so Momma, Renee’ and myself went a day early.  Got up, took me for some breakfast and at about 945am, right before the two hour check in they ask for when you fly international, Momma goes “Please double check you have everything?”
I eye roll.  (Remember: I have just turned 19.)
And just like that, I cannot find my ticket holder.  The black thing that has my passport, drivers license, visa paperwork, frequent flyer card, and immunization record.
We call Dad.  It is on the black office chair in Charleston.

My miracle-working Dad had me on a 4pm flight, my groggy brother loaded in our van, & was flying down the highway to Atlanta in under 15 minutes.  Let’s do the math on that.  It is 10am.  Flight is at 4pm.  Atlanta is a SOLID 5 hours.
Right.

We hang up and Momma goes “Welp, y’all wanna go shopping?”  Um, YES PLEASE!

Dad & David show up at like 318pm and we were waiting.  We practically throw my bag at the ticket agent (who reminds me that the bag might not make it – whatever why is this woman still talking???) and we run to the metal detectors.  Now, kids, before that big nasty 9-11 debacle, you could go with your passengers all the way to the gate.  Yep.  I know, CRAZY PANTS.
So, we each pick a metal detector and fly through.  Run to the escalator, run down the escalator, hop on the tram.  Four terminals later, we hop out, run up the escalator, and sprint down 28 gates of Terminal D.
It is 353pm.
They have been calling me over the speakers as I was the only passenger not on the plane.
I turn to my family and go “Well….bye!”  It wasn’t until I was somewhere over upstate New York that my brain kicked in with a “Holy crapsickle, WHAT are you thinking?!”

Missions is a hard gig.  So often, those who bear the title live in areas where sharing directly is not possible or welcome.  Showing Love becomes something you do with your everything and people matter so much that you are ok with this occupation that will leave you on your knees in the kitchen sobbing from the blackness you witness.  Missionaries raise their own funds and find ways to be light in that blackness in a variety of ways.  Often, they are from western cultures and go into societies that are less technologically advanced.  I went to Africa and the former Yugoslavia.  The McClure’s & Jason Vana go to the Czech Republic.  Brodie lives in Romania. Rachel went to Thailand.

It is in Thailand that a rather unusual thing came about.  A missionary emerged from Africa.  Emmanuel King Nyamageni is from Tanzania and is a talented artist.  Wanting to show Love with his gifts, he signed up for schools in the same organization I used to be a part of, YWAM.  He works with CREATE at their Chiang Mai location and has no desire to be anywhere else (CREATE is awesome & you can learn more about them by clicking here).  Thailand is where he feels pulled to live and in the midst of all of this, he meets Rachel.
They are engaged to be married in December.

Ema & Rachel releasing lanterns December, 2012.

Ema & Rachel releasing lanterns December, 2012.

Life is crazy, right?

Except after raising the funds for the school, he has very limited support to stay on in Thailand.  It is hard.   But, he feels like this is home.  He has met his future wife.  He will stay as long as he can.

The budget needs are small, compared to North American standards.  Overall, he must raise only $600 a month.  That is less than some of us pay in rent!  Except that is his entire budget.
Incredible.

But again, missionaries usually go to Africa.  Rarely do they come out of Africa.  Ema wants to change that and your $10-$50 per month can do so much.  Unbelievably much.

It is rare that I speak so boldly about Love, the work of the local church, or money.  May that illustrate how much I believe in the Chiang Mai base & in Ema.
If you would like to speak to him directly or find out more about him, you can do so via the contact form below.

May you know today how loved you are.

Ema in Thailand.

Ema in Thailand.

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