Thursday, May 30, 2024

Just a Teensy Update

 Hi friends. It's been... a while.

Here's a super quick rundown in case you haven't seen me on any other type of social media over the last seven years:


A very weird year, but eventually I began dating my now-husband Ney
(I had met him in Cambodia 5 years before - see if you can spot him in this post ;) - hint: I referred to him as the "mission youth pastor")


Married my husband in Walla Walla before we moved out to Berrien Springs, Michigan for him to return to school at Andrews University.


Had our first baby (during a pandemic).


Moved to Montana for my husband's first pastoral position. We left some amazing friends back in Michigan!


Had our second baby (to put it very short!).


Moved to my husband's second pastoral position. Also, we took a trip to Cambodia and Thailand for the first time since before we got together. Ney hadn't been back to Asia since he had originally left seven years before! I hadn't been there in about six years. And the kids had never met their Cambodian family. We loved our trip and already miss the warm weather and the beauty of the Southeast Asian culture.


Lots has already happened, but one of my biggest bucket list items finally came true: I saw a terrific aurora borealis (northern lights) show right off my back porch!! It was incredible and I hear it was the best in 20 years so I'm very glad I was able to see it. Additionally, this summer, Ney will finally be sworn in as a US citizen. We will finally all use the same passports, which is so exciting and reassuring. I have a feeling we'll do a bit more international travel once that happens!


And here we are. Life is very different from what it was ten years ago in Cambodia! I miss those days and we still hope to someday return to Southeast Asia. But for now, God has stationed us in Montana and we are (still) learning to connect with the people here.

Ney, while busy with his pastor's work and of course his family, is busy working on his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Andrews University. I am also working on school as I never finished it when I was younger - I'm doing a BA in Graphic Design and Media Arts through Southern New Hampshire University. (Totally recommend it.) I'm also working on the side, though it's hard to fit much onto my already busy plate.

Our kids are still little but they are growing up so fast. They love hanging out with their friends at and outside of church.

Lately I dropped social media because, ugh. It's so annoying and I was due to do that a long time ago. I do miss people though so I'm going to try and share here occasionally just for fun.

If you are still following blogs (who does anymore?) I'd love to hear from you. Drop a comment below to let me know what you are up to!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The rest of the story

Okay, so I didn't tell you the first part of the story - that I was able to go back to Cambodia and work remotely for three months, while staying with my friend Seyha and his wife Sotheavy. I got to help start a little evening English school on their porch and get to know many, many new people. But here is the other part of the story I didn't share as much. It was just as life-changing and inspiring for me though, watching Seyha exude his faith in God to these people who came on a nearly daily basis. Here is the rest of the story...

In Siem Reap with a few friends from Austria, Switzerland, and Australia.

Goshen Adventures (January 2018 update)

Seyha’s house is rarely empty. As an independent tour guide, he runs a business called Goshen Adventures, which ranges from cycling through Angkor Wat (the largest religious monument in the world) to dirtbiking through the countryside or jungle, to touring local villages and schools. He has his home listed on Warm Showers, a “couchsurfing” type of website geared toward cyclists, and he also knows several other people who often come and stay at his home. There are always new people coming through, and it’s been enjoyable for me to meet them. Some of them have been on the road for a year and they have lots of fascinating stories about the places they’ve been!

Here are some of the people that Seyha has connected with while I’ve stayed here for the last three months:

Jason flew in from England, as he does nearly every year. He always comes to spend time with Seyha, and this time was no different. He shared with us how he had found an Adventist center of influence close to his house in England, and he’d visited some. He hadn’t yet told them that he already knew a Seventh-day Adventist in Cambodia! Seyha was encouraged to hear that Jason has been seeking for truth even back at home in England.

Pete (second from the right)
Pete was a cyclist who visited us from Australia. He was only here for a night, as he was on his way to Sri Lanka for a race, but he watched the kids sing and study, and he seemed to love the opportunity to be here with us.

The family from France
A young French family on their way cycling across Asia stopped in for a few days. Their three children were cute and sweet, and we had fun playing with them. The family was not Christian and chose not to join us for evening worship, but when I played the guitar and sang in the evening, one of the little girls came and was happy to just listen and watch. Seyha shared his testimony with them and talked with them about spiritual things. When they left, they surprised us with a whiteboard full of goodbye greetings and pictures. I still keep track of their journey as they continue to travel.

Jordan was a young cyclist from Texas who planned to stay for two days but ended up staying with us for a week. He weaseled his way into our hearts and we very much appreciated his smile and helpfulness as he helped to teach the kids, worked at the butterfly garden over by the nearby Adventist school, and went to the market every morning to buy us bread for breakfast. Jordan is not a Christian, but when he found out we were Seventh-day Adventists, he did some googling to find out more about what we believe. He read through one of our copies of Steps to Christ, and asked us plenty of questions that showed his curiosity. We still pray for him often. I offered him a place to stay if he ever comes through Washington, and he said he would probably take me up on it - so we may get to see how God has affected his life as he continues to travel! After he left, this was part of the review he left on the Warm Showers site: “I was seriously impressed by the amount of trust that Seyha placed in me and his honesty and conviction in his beliefs.”

The Belgians, Sotheavy (Seyha's wife), and I
During the week that Jordan was with us, three Belgian cyclists also arrived. They weren’t Christians either, but they enjoyed watching the kids learn, and also came with us and some of our students to church on Sabbath for a special Christmas program. On Christmas Day, they did a tour of Angkor Wat. After they’d finished their tour, the two young men in the group told Seyha to go on home; they needed to do a little shopping. We were surprised when they showed up back at home with an extra bicycle! They presented it to Seyha and told him that it was for our kids to use in case they wanted to ride to church with us again (because there hadn’t been enough for all of the kids).

The family from Pakistan/Cambodia
A Pakistani family who lives in Phnom Penh came by on their vacation to the other side of the country. They belong to a different Christian church, but they were so encouraged to see us teaching the kids about God, and they also got to see the school, orphanage, and butterfly garden nearby, which they were very excited about. Their young son and daughter were enthralled with our dogs and my friends’ horses. I still keep in contact with their daughter online, and she still chatters on about the cute dogs!

Another group of three young cyclists/engineering school graduates from Switzerland (no picture) stopped through for a night. We didn’t get to spend much time speaking to them about God, but we chatted about other important things like politics and relationships.

Seyha received an invitation to travel with a Swiss man, Joerg, to the border of Thailand. They quickly became friends, and Joerg later told Seyha that he’d been to Cambodia many times but had never met a local he felt that he could trust. He had fallen away from God, but after spending time talking with Seyha he realized that he needed to turn back and reconnect with God. Joerg told his parents about this experience, and his father emailed Seyha to thank him so much for encouraging his son spiritually, as they’d been praying for him for a long time.

Cal with all of us on Friday evening (he's the tallest in the pic)
Cal was a young American guy on a short vacation from his military position in Japan. He didn’t even plan to meet Seyha, but God worked it out for them to connect with each other and do some dirtbiking together. Cal actually had just contacted his Adventist pastor back in the States the day before for some advice, even though he doesn’t usually consider himself much of an Adventist. He came with us to church on Sabbath and had a great time chatting with us over our potluck lunch. He decided that he wanted to make his relationship with God more of a priority, which was exciting for us! After leaving, he wrote on TripAdvisor that this was the “best time [he] ever had.”

It’s a simple ministry that God has used in big ways to change peoples’ lives. I’m glad that I’ve had the chance to watch God work through Seyha over these last few months! (Oh and if you ever want to go cycling or dirtbiking in Cambodia, I know the perfect person for you to talk to!)

Photo credits: Seyha, Raffael, and Facebook

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

One hundred - year in review

What does one say for their hundredth blog post? That dilemma has probably been why I haven't written anything for six months. That, and the fact that life becomes normal so things don't seem interesting enough to write about. But here I am now, just in time for Christmas. It's about time for me to consider everything that has happened over the last year as we gear up for 2017. I'll share with you some of the most memorable things that happened this last year...

In January, my friend Jeanelle and I prepared for and put on a missions benefit concert, to fundraise for her upcoming trip to the Philippines, and sponsorships for students in Cambodia. We had fun organizing a youth octet, which has since sung another song and is planning another special music for next year. January was also a month of adjusting to life with my mom being out of commission after her emergency surgery, and to the thought of her only having a few months to a few years left to live.

February brought more doctor appointments with my mom and grandma. I spent a good amount of time in doctor's offices, it seemed. I also began the search for a job in the area, though I still wasn't sure of what the future held. Later in the month, my brother gave me a birthday present in taking me up to Inchelium to visit my YD family, which was nice since I hadn't been there since the previous summer.

In March, there were a lot of yard sale preparations. Some cousins put my parents in charge of an estate sale for a family member, and there was a lot of stuff to go through. Once that large sale was over, they donated the remainder to me for a mission benefit sale. Again, my friend Jeanelle and I worked together and split the money between our mission projects. Our Pathfinder district also held a Pinewood Derby during March. My car was great in aesthetics but unfortunately didn't perform so well in racing! My YD friends invited me to go with them to the Oregon coast for a staff retreat, since I had done a bunch of proofreading for them. It was both an enjoyable and eye-opening experience. We spent the weekend in a beautiful, huge, old-fashioned house a few miles from the coast, which was a lot of fun.

During April, our church hosted Northwest Youth Conference (our youth group was given charge of it last year). The speakers were inspiring and I really enjoyed being able to spend time with my dear friend Samantha who stayed with me over the weekend. April also brought the arrival of my best friend's first baby. I was super excited because the little guy is the closest I've ever gotten to a niece or nephew.

May was a month for Pathfinder events. Between lots of drill team practices, the Pathfinder Fair, and a spring campout at Camp MiVoden over Memorial Day weekend, there was a lot that went on. A fair amount of stress, too, but it was a lot of fun. And the spring campout ended up being quite relaxing even for staff members, so it was a win-win time for everyone.

In June, Jeanelle and I coordinated again and hosted a tea party for the little girls in our church. It was so much fun to decorate and have the little girls dress up and have their hair done. I hope it can be a yearly occurrence but we will see! I also found out about a WWU student who had plans to go to Cambodia as a teacher at WPY, so I arranged a visit with him so I could give him a few cards to send over there, and to answer his questions. It was so good to be able to share as much as I knew with him. He has since traveled to Cambodia and seems to be having a good time there. I'm looking forward to talking with him again once he returns next summer. We had an investiture for our Pathfinder kids, and I also went to a rainy church campout on Sabbath morning, which was actually quite warm and cozy because of all the friends who were there.

I started out July with sub-teaching in our church's junior Sabbath School class, which was a lot of fun since it had been a couple of years since I had taught, and I was using YD materials again. I decided then that I wanted to get back into it again. My family all left for a trip to Alaska, so it was just the dog and I at home for a week or two. During their absence, I ended up with a job! This job seemed like direct leading from God because it came right when I was ready for it and it came without any intentional doing on my part. It's also right where my expertise is - graphic design and working directly with people. God is so good, and I still enjoy working away at this job. We finished off July with a Pathfinder high-points trip to Camp MiVoden and Silverwood. I hadn't been on a roller coaster since I was 12, and that was only once, so it was quite an adventure. The girls convinced me to go on two different rides (I rode one of those twice). They certainly enjoyed themselves, and I did too.

August brought the purchase of a car. It was so good to finally have my own wheels again! And again, God was good in bringing it when I needed it most, without any doing on my part, and with very little debt (which was paid off quickly). I'm thankful to both of my brothers for discovering it, traveling 45 minutes to look at it since I didn't have the time to, and bringing it home for me to drive. We took a trip to Portland/Vancouver just a couple of days after with that car, to see special family friends whose missionary son had returned for a short visit. His mission report was an inspiration, as well, and it was good to see him again.

In September, we entered stuff in the county fair and spent some time there. I went to the Pathfinder Camporee up at Farragut State Park and attained one of my life goals: I was finally invested as a Master Guide. Our dear Walker dog also had to be put down, which we still haven't quite recovered from.

During October, my coworkers and I made a trip to Portland for a tradeshow, which was quite educational and fun to see all the ways we could do things at our sign shop. October also brought a family reunion. It was the first I'd actually been able to attend for many years, since I've always been gone when the family got together. I went to the Pathfinder leadership retreat at Camp MiVoden and had a very relaxing time and enjoyed seeing Pathfinder friends and learning new things. I began teaching in the junior Sabbath School class. It's been neat to get to know each of the students better as I interact with them more. Our church also held a series of meetings, studying the book of Revelation in-depth. I was able to go to several of them before I got too busy to attend.

November brought an induction of several new Pathfinders to our club. We now have about 30 kids, which is quite a few more than last year! I took a trip by myself up to Canada to visit my best friend and her little family, as well as her husband's family who are good friends too. It was great to visit Fountainview as well and see a couple of kids there that I know. I got lots of baby time in, which was fun but just made me miss it more when I left. :) My brothers and I spent some quality time together when we went to find a Christmas tree, and later I learned how to shoot skeet with a 12 gauge shotgun. Both were enjoyable experiences!

Now that December is here, we're full on with music practices for Christmas programs. I am in two separate programs and have eight different pieces I'm part of. It makes for lots of evenings filled up! But it's also great to spend lots of extra time with my friends. We've had a lot of snow this December. The kids have enjoyed snow days at school and we've had to cancel Pathfinder events because of the roads being so unpredictable. So far we've all survived and it's still beautiful outside because the temperatures have been so freezing cold. My mom went to a couple of doctor appointments yesterday and got very good reports from them both, about her cancer. It seems that things are getting smaller - and she's only been doing natural treatments! It's a great Christmas present, for sure.

The year has whizzed by and it seems that every week has been full, but as I look back, I see just how good God has been through it all. I'm so thankful for His leading, even if it's difficult to see at times. He is incredible in His goodness and love.

"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!" (Psalm 34:8, ESV).

Monday, July 4, 2016

And yet we come

Eternal Love, we have no good to bring Thee,
No single good of all our hands have wrought,
No worthy music have we found to sing Thee,
No jewelled word, no quick upsoaring thought.

And yet we come; and when our faith would falter
Show us, O Love, the quiet place of prayer,
The golden censer and the golden altar,
And the great angel waiting for us there.

Amy Carmichael
SDA Hymnal #496

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Gentle Savior

So this is basically my theme song for this week... beautiful music, and lyrics that inspire me to keep on.

Where are the signs?
Which way should I go?
I planned each step, but now I don't know.
Tomorrow is a chasm of uncertainty,
But I will go there if You'll go with me.

Gentle Savior, lead me on;
Let Your spirit light my way.
Gentle Savior, lead me on;
Hold me close, keep me safe, lead me on,
Gentle Savior...

Why can't I walk away from my regrets?
And why is forgiveness so hard to accept?
My past surrounds me like a house I can't afford,
But you say, come with Me;
Don't live there anymore.

Gentle Savior, lead me on
Let your Spirit light my way.
Gentle Savior, lead me on;
Hold me close, keep me safe, lead me on,
Gentle Savior...

And when I reach the valley every soul must journey through,
I'll remember then how well You know the way.
I'll put my hand in Your hand
Like a trusting child would do,
And say:

Gentle Savior, lead me on
Let your Spirit light my way,
Gentle Savior, lead me on
Hold me close, keep me safe, lead me on
Gentle Savior

Lead me on, gentle Savior.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016


A couple of my good friends from Wat Preah Yesu have dreamed a big dream and acted on it... and God has blessed abundantly.

Kathleen, Khzak, and the grade 9 class.

Meet Hooftrek - a project I'm excited about!

In a nutshell, Hooftrek is a horsemanship program for young people, to help them gain confidence and learn more about themselves and their Father in heaven. There are lots of teenagers at the school and orphanage at Wat Preah Yesu, many of which who need this training experience to guide them through their troubles. It's an awesome opportunity!

Leang riding Khzak

This morning I heard a neat Hooftrek story...

One of my previous students, Leang, is one of the brightest and most diligent kids in his class. He's also one of the quietest. He generally keeps to himself and goes about his business. I've seen him grin a few times, but it's definitely a rare occasion.

According to Ely and Kathleen, Leang has already been spending a lot of time with the horses, learning how to lead, feed, and bathe them (it helps that he lives right next door). Yesterday, while the girls were working with Khzak on their school holiday, Leang came over to visit. He has watched them work the horses before, and has been getting braver when handling them. So Ely and Kathleen took some time and taught Leang how to lunge the horses.

Later that evening, they let Leang be led around on Khzak. The horse was calm and well-behaved, and the hardest part was getting Leang off the horse!

Can you tell?! ;)

Just look at that smile!

There are more details and plenty of neat stories about how God has provided, at the Hooftrek blog over here.

And now it's easier than ever to offer financial support for the program - straight through Jesus for Asia! Click here to head over there. Scroll down the list (about nine down) and find "Hooftrek."

Keep praying for their ministry, that God will continue to lead, provide classroom teachers to fill in for Kathleen and Ely, and guide many young people closer to Him.

Friday, January 22, 2016

God can be trusted

The last six months have turned my life upside down, like nothing else. A few of my worst dreams have come true: 1) not knowing what to do next in life, 2) having to be separated by an ocean from some of my best friends and "children," and 3) my mom being diagnosed with stage 4 cancer (you can read her story here). I've had to battle temptations more head-on than ever before, go through some measure of reverse culture shock, and wonder what on earth my purpose in life is anymore. But God is good; He has continued to direct and guide me, even if only in the tiniest of increments at times. As I look back over the last half of 2015 and these first few weeks of the new year, I can clearly see His faithfulness (exhibit A being that my first worst dream was a key lifesaver when the third worst dream happened). My problems don't all appear to be solved now, but I know God can be trusted to carry out His perfect purpose. I am so thankful for Him and the incredible power He gives!

I discovered this song sometime this week, and it's been such an encouragement to me. I thought I'd share it with you...

This Trial

Verse 1
When your faith is running low, and you just can't seem to figure it out,
You know you should keep walking, but you just don't see how.
Don't doubt in the dark what He's said in the light -
He's still the same God in the day or the night!

Verse 2
When your life's a question mark, and your answers are coming out wrong,
You know that God is working, but it just seems so long,
Don't give up on God when He's working on you!
It's Jesus the Son that He's forming in you!

This trial won't define you; it will only refine you.
You know there's a plan, though you don't see it now.
Your God will not forget you; He'll eventually direct you.
So don't be afraid because you can know:
Your heart may be wounded, all your plans adjusted, your faith may be tested,
But God can be trusted.

Finish the course God has laid at your feet.
Never give less than your best!
Pour out your heart, take one day at a time;
God will do the rest!

(C) 2011 Ben Everson Music -