Sunday, May 25, 2008

Not for Sale Video

Hi- here's a YouTube video of an interview between CBS and David Batstone, author of "Not for Sale". Just a heads up that it's about 10 minutes in length, but it's a good overview of human trafficking.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

It's actually okay not to be okay...

For a few weeks now, I've felt like I have to apologize to people. I've felt so guilty that I'm scared about this trip. I've thought that by admitting that I was scared and that this wouldn't be my first choice for a mission trip, that I would seem to be ungrateful. As though I was moaning and groaning because 'poor Julie... she has to spend two weeks in Thailand witnessing some of the most horrific evils existing in this world.' I kept telling myself that I just needed to suck it up and push aside my fears because, yes, I'll spend two weeks witnessing some awful things, but what about those women and children who actually LIVE it everyday??? They aren't spectators- they are forced participators. Their bodies and minds are violated every day, if not numerous times a day. So, needless to say, I've felt like when I tell someone that I'm nervous or scared, in the same breath, I've been apologizing. I guess that I've been apologizing because I felt like I was being a bad witness to both Christians and non-Christians alike. To Christians, I figured that I probably seemed ungrateful (no one said this, this was my own thought) because here God was working in my life and giving me some direction and all that I could do was complain about it. Why wasn't I being more trusting in Him? Why wasn't I showing the faith that I'm supposed to have as a Christian? Then to non-Christians I figured that I was being a really poor example. Who's going to be interested in learning about the gospel if they see that this is what it does to you? You're paralyzed with fear and crying every other day... I didn't think that people's response would be, "that seems great! Sign me up for that!" All around I felt crappy about myself and then, the other day, I came across this scripture:

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Now, I've heard and read this scripture numerous times before... but, this was one of those occassions, when I got something new out of it. "My power works best in weakness." has kind of been a mantra of mine for preparing for this trip. I keep telling myself, 'yes, I can't do this, but He can'. But, I never paid much attention to the next sentence, "So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me." Paul boasted about his weaknesses. And, it was a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. If I put on a phoney front and acted like I had no concerns and that I was perfectly fine going on this trip, then people might mistakenly think that I was doing this on my own strength. When I let others see how I'm really feeling and what I'm really thinking, then they'll know that if I was depending on my own strength, well, I'd be toast. You'd see me sitting over in a corner or, better yet, running for the hills. I feel like this piece of scripture gave me the freedom to let others see how I really am feeling. Truthfully, I've experienced every emotion I can think of... joy, anticipation, anger, fear, inadequacy, grateful, etc. etc. etc. and I'm sure that I'll run through those feelings several other times.

Now, on another note, I went to a Human Trafficking meeting this past Wednesday. They had several speakers. One was a woman who had been a victim of trafficking right here in Orange County. Another speaker was a gentleman who works on a taskforce to help curb the trafficking epidemic and he shared the story of a young 12 year old Egyptian girl who was brought over and forced to work for this couple 16-18 hours/day for 2 1/2 years. She was saved because someone in the community called the authorities to tell them that there was a young girl who wasn't going to school, so they went to investigate and the whole story unravelled. This was in Irvine... the cookie-cutter, almost stepford wife-ish city. I think that it's important to hear these stories because I think that the majority of us have fooled ourselves into thinking that human trafficking happens 'over there' and to 'those people'. Not here in America and not to us. But, worldwide, San Francisco, CA is #12 in terms of volume of human trafficking. They also had this young girl who was a student at USF. David Batstone who wrote 'Not for Sale' is a professor at USF and he teaches a Social Justice course. The purpose of the entire course is to have the students go out and conduct investigative research into potential areas of modern-day slavery. The research the newspapers and review the weekly ads, especially the ads for 'massage parlors'. They pay attention to ads that change over time. i.e. the phone number stays the same, but the look of the ad changes or the address changes. They also look for certain wording such as "new girls every week" or "worldly girls". Then they actually go out and survey the suspicious locations. They watch them, from a distance, from opening to closing. This one particular place they surveyed, they noticed that the same woman opened and closed the shop- you never saw any of the other workers leaving. They appeared to live there and they were locked in couldn't get out- there were bars on the windows and door and there were surveilance cameras on the place. They ended up turning in the evidence to the authorities and it's still in the process of being reviewed. That's something that is so frustrating to me. There's so much red tape that has to be gone through. Do you think that if it was the daughter of one of those 'powers that be' that they'd be sitting around, content, waiting for all of the 'proper procedures' to be gone through??? No, of course not. They would be busting down the door and doing whatever it takes to save their child. But, what do we do to change things? That's always the big question. If anyone else has the answer, clue me in.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Psalm 91:4-14

He will cover you with His feathers.
He will shelter you with His wings.
His faithful promises are your
armor and protection.

Do not be afraid of the terrors
of the night,
not the arrow that flies in the day.

Do not dread the disease that stalks
in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes
at midday.

Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying
around you,
these evils will not touch you.

Just open your eyes,
and see how the wicked are

If you make the Lord your refuge,
if you make the Most High your

no evil will conquer you;
no plague will come near your

For He will order His angels
to protect you wherever you go.

They will hold you up with
their hands
so you won't even hurt your foot
on a stone.

You will trample upon lions
and cobras;
you will crush the fierce lions and
serpents under your feet!

The Lord says, "I will rescue those
who love Me.
I will protect those who trust in
my name."

Part of this Psalm was on my tear off daily calendar at work and it just really seemed to speak to me and seemed to address the fears I've been facing, so I thought I'd post it here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sacrificial Giving and Other Things to be Grateful For...

Now that I'm about a week out of my meltdown, I feel like my mind has cleared quite a bit and I'm able to see things with a little more clarity... and gratitude.

I know that a lot of people have been concerned about me and have been praying for me and I want to thank you all so much.

As the title of this blog suggests, one of my many many things I have to be grateful for has been being a witness to the selfless sacrifice of others on my behalf.

One of the many areas I've allowed myself to be concerned with has been paying for the trip... that's been an area I've been praying for wisdom about.. A LOT. Should I send out support letters? If I do, who do I send them to... the same people as last time or should I not send them to people who have supported me in the past? Or, should I just pay for it all myself? Last year I had initially planned on just paying for the trip myself. I had savings and I just couldn't even imagine asking others to give me money; but, then in one of our planning meetings, Pastor Clayton, who was leading the trip, said that even if we could afford to write out a check and pay for our entire trip, he would encourage us not to because this could be a great opportunity to stretch and grow our faith in the Lord and it also, of equal importance, could be giving people who couldn't go on these trips, the opportunity to participate in it through financial support and it would, in turn, be a blessing to them. So, I gave it a whirl. I drafted up a support letter and sent them out, not really knowing what to expect. It was amazing. Practically everyday I was getting one of those blue Saddleback support envelopes back in the mail- I never, in my life, had so looked forward to checking my mailbox everyday! It got to the point where I had raised, through these donations, 2800 of the 3500 that I needed to go to Africa. Then I was in a small car accident and long story short, my insurance refused to pay for a particular repair that in my mechanics words, "if it was not done, then I could expect to end up along the side of the road at some point in the future." So, aside from the $500 deductible, I now had to come up with an extra $300 for the other repairs... and I still had $700 to go on the trip... the money of which was due that week. I went into an empty office and just started praying. I remember telling God that I really believed that He wanted me on this trip and that I had to believe that He would financially provide for me to go (not sure how, but I had to trust that He'd come through). I got home that day and there was an email awaiting me. The email was from the family of my Pastor. They had established a scholarship foundation in memory of Pastor Rick's brother and, to sum it up, the letter told me that they had noticed that I was a little short on money for the trip and that they were happy to let me know that they were granting me a scholarship in the amount of $700.

So, fast forward to this trip, this year. I didn't really send out as many support letters. I really wasn't sure if it would be appropriate to ask the same people for support. So, I sent out letters to new acquaintances/friends. The response has been nothing short of a God-thing. I'm not even talking about the actual money. It's been who the money has come from.

The money has come from such places of sacrifice. I've received support from friends who are unemployed, a friend who lost her job on a Thursday handed me a check on Saturday, someone who had to completely re-budget their month and sacrifice in order to contribute, a friend who is a new mother, friends who live paycheck to paycheck, people who have no income to speak of, a friend in the middle of planning and trying to pay for a wedding, family who has handed over money without a second thought, and on and on and on. Not only that, but people who contributed last time, found out that I was going on another trip and they approached me asking if they could contribute again. It's been so humbling. And encouraging. After this week I really know that God has been using all of these people to encourage me and my prayer is that they will be blessed and encouraged for their steps of faith.

I know that I've been going through struggles lately, but I really want to make sure that I'm not putting out the wrong impression. So, to make sure there aren't any doubts... I feel extremely blessed by God to have the opportunity to go to Thailand. Yes, it's scary and I don't know how I'm going to react to certain things and I still have concerns; but, although I may not know what is going to happen or how little 'ol me can make any sort of difference, I do know the One who does know what is going to happen and does know how He can use me. I thank You God for your guidance and direction and for leading me to this place in my life. I thank You for placing all of these wonderful friends, family, co-workers and even strangers in my life who have acted as such a form of encouragement in pushing me closer and closer to where You want me to be. I'm done letting myself be consumed by fear and, with a great sigh of relief, I'm casting all of those fears onto the One who can handle them (because I definitely cannot).

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What disturbs you???

This was the question posed by Kay Warren at last weekend's church services. She was trying to get across to us that we should take what disturbs us most and take some action against that evil. That, perhaps, the reason something disturbs us so much is because God is wanting it to disturb us enough to call us into action against it- that at least one of God's purposes for our lives is to fight against that particular evil. I think that sometimes, as Christians, we are guilty of not doing anything because we know that the outcome has already been determined- God wins. The problem with that way of thinking is that we sometimes use it as an excuse to be lazy- especially when something isn't directly effecting our daily lives. We have to be aware that while, yes absolutely, our God has already won the war, but what about all of the battles in between? We have to be aware and remember that we are called to fight for the oppressed, the widows, the orphans and that when we die, we will be held accountable for our actions or our inaction taken on earth. So, while the outcome of the war has been determined, all of the battles in between, big and small, are still up for grabs. I really liked the Message paraphrase from Ephesians used in the service outline this weekend:

"This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels." Eph 6:12

This is not a one day fight- it's a fight to the finish. So, until Jesus returns to take us home to heaven, we have to continue to fight for not just ourselves or people we know, but God also requires that we fight for those who can't fight for themselves and we can use our passions to do exactly that.

I think that, for a long time now, I've had a misconception in my mind about what 'passionate' means. I saw being passionate about something as having a strong desire to do 'something' and that 'something' was enjoyable to you. And, I still believe that is one aspect of your passion; but, I guess that I'm realizing it can mean something else as well. My passion can also be seen as being something that turns my stomach and makes me want to look away. It can be something that breaks my heart and reduces me to tears. It's something that gets under my skin more than anything else. It's really weird to me because those are the things to avoid, right??? :-) Guess not.

It's kind of put a whole new spin on the way I've been thinking about Thailand. One of the main reasons I never wanted to go was because it was going to be my worst fears realized. They wouldn't be words on paper or actors playing out parts in a movie... this was going to be the real deal, materialized before my eyes. Human trafficking, child prostitution, sex slavery, exploitation of women and children at it's worst... these are the things that sicken my stomach and paralyze me with fear.

When I first told a few of my closest friends that I was going and what I would be doing, a few of them expressed concerns. They knew how much these things upset me and their fear was that I was going to come back from Thailand even more paralyzed by fear. And, up until now, I had completely forgotten this... but, I said to them, 'yes, I completely get where you are coming from. You aren't thinking anything that I haven't already thought of; but, I also really believe that oftentimes we have these overwhelming fears because Satan has placed them in our hearts. He's placed them there because he knows that this is where, or how, God wants to use us and he doesn't want us fulfilling our God-given purpose. The last thing he wants is for us to succeed and for God to receive the glory.' It's funny how I was trying to reassure them and, now, God is bringing those words back around to reassure me. How is it that I forget the very words that come out of my own mouth??? Fortunately God has a better memory than I do.

P.S. For those of you who haven't seen last weekend's service, I can't recommend it enough. Kay did an amazing job and you can see how much of her heart is in this cause. There's a short video in the first half of the service that was from Dateline and it aired a number of years ago. They were in Cambodia and they went into a brothel that had children and I just couldn't believe what I was seeing or hearing. I really don't know how anyone can not believe that evil exists in our world. Here's a link to view the service online if you'd like to do so....

Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I'm sitting here watching an old episode of 'Friends' on TBS. I forgot how much I loved that show and how much it did (and does) make me laugh. In this episode Ross decides to try the Mystic Tan. For those of you who haven't done the Mystic Tan before, let me paint the picture for you... you walk into a private room, undress, put on a shower cap and put this lotion on yourself that is supposed to help keep the tan even. Then you step into the tanning machine and close the door. You face forward and you wait. Within a few moments, the tanning spray comes shooting out of three nozzles and the nozzles pivot up and down to make sure you are getting adequate coverage. It stops and you have a few seconds to turn around so your back is facing the nozzles. Mind you, the compartment is now filled with an almost smokey haze of tanning mist and you dare not open your mouth, much less make an attempt to breathe. The spraying begins again, this time covering your backside. When all is said and done, the Mystic Tanning machine is so filled with tanning mist that you feel like you are in a dense fog and you have to grope around for the door handle, all the while trying to hold your breath. Once you step out, you have to pretty much scrub yourself down with towels to get the excess off and then you have the pleasure of smelling like a bottle of Banana Boat for about 12 hours. In this episode of Friends, Ross goes to the Mystic Tanning place and he doesn't turn himself around quickly enough and gets a double dose of the tanning spray on his front side, so he has a tan front and white back. It's no where near as hilarious to read about it as it was to see it, but I had to mention it because I'm continuing to laugh about it as I write this post.

What does this have to do with 'Sacrifical Giving' or Thailand for that matter? Absolutely nothing. Okay, so onto the topic for which this blog was created- Thailand. I have been experiencing A LOT of anxiety and fear, especially this past weekend. It all started when I heard that there were going to be changes made to the trip. Not that those changes were life shattering or even that disruptive, but it through me into a tizzy. Mind you, at this point, I only had a fragmented, unclear message that was left on my cell phone indicating that there were some changes in dates and what we'd be doing. I immediately started making assumptions. My mind started going 100 mph and I started assuming that because of these changes, now we probably weren't going to be spending much time in Pattaya working with the Tamar House or the Mercy House. It's at the Tamar House and Mercy House (orphanage) that we'll be training/teaching the girls and children different skills that they can use to get out of prostitution or to prevent them from getting into it in the first place. One of those skills is baking and for those of you who know me at all, you know how much I LOVE to bake and, to possibly be able to use that for God's glory would be such an amazing blessing and experience! And it was when I heard about the Tamar House and Mercy House opportunities that I really felt God was shining some light on why He may want me on this trip. To think that those opportunities might now be taken away, I was freaking out pretty much. So, then everything snowballs in my mind and I began having serious doubts if I should even be going to Thailand on this particular trip and then I'm even going so far (in my mind) to start thinking about how I'm going to explain this to everyone and what will everyone think??? Now... hindsight is 20/20 and I can see, looking back at all of this, that I was definitely overreacting and letting my emotions get the better of me; and, even at the time, I realized that I needed to calm down and start praying for God's strength and peace, but my thoughts at this point were so jumbled that I couldn't even get out a coherent prayer. I think that all I managed to get out was, 'help'.

By the time I got home my eyes were red from crying and I was dreading calling the trip leader to see what was going on. I was on the defensive and ready to question why we were changing everything ... especially since I was just starting to feel comfortable with everything (do you like how it's all about me?). To sum the call up, turns out that there are changes, but we are still spending the majority of the time in Pattaya at the Tamar and Mercy Houses and, should I feel led to do so, I could possibly have the option of staying there with the women who run those organizations for an even longer amount of time. See??? I don't know why I do that to myself. I know that God is faithful... He's proven that to me over and over and over again. Unfortunately, I left a small window of doubt open and Satan grabbed onto it and wasn't letting go. But, God is faithful and He pulled me through this weekend and, despite my meltdown, I am still going. I have to admit, though, that I do feel really badly. I feel like God is giving me these opportunities and I can either choose to trust Him or not and I feel like I keep failing Him over and over again. I know that God is full of grace and His mercies are new every morning, but He deserves better than what I've given Him so far and I hate feeling like I'm constantly letting Him down or hurting Him by my attitude or lack of trust.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Forgot one other small update...

Found out yesterday that the trip has been extended. We will now be gone from June 21st - July 3rd. And, they've changed this trip into a leadership training trip. We'll still be doing the same things with the Tamar House, Mercy House, hospitals, orphanages, brothels, etc. (I'll post more on that later), but they will also be focusing on training all of us to be leaders on future trips. (hello.... I didn't say I was going on any other trips yet, did I? :-)

I will be sending out an itinerary and prayer requests at a later date as I don't have them yet. Of course, you can start praying for things to go smoothly with the trip preparation, that we'll have safe travels, that we'll all get along, that I'll remember to put on the armor of God to fight off the attacks I'm experiencing, that all of the funds I need will come in, and, of course, above all, that I will listen to God's voice and walk in His will. Not only for this trip, but for the rest of my life.

48 Days and Counting...

I still cannot believe that I'm doing this. Half of the time it seems surreal- like it's almost a dream and I'm going to wake up and realize that I'm not going to Thailand and I honestly think that would bring a lot of relief to me. Cause I clearly remember, last year, hearing about these short term missions trips and what they do on them (more about that later) and, not only thinking to myself, but actually telling other people, 'I think that is really great that there are people out there willing to do that- but, that is NOT me and I will NEVER be doing that. I mean, going into the heart of human trafficking and child prostitution... NO NO NO NO NO. Never. Now, looking back, if I had been quiet and listened really closely, I probably would have heard God laughing at me.

So, how did I get here? How is it that I'm 48 days away from flying 17 hours across the ocean to Thailand? I don't even know where to start. I suppose, just in general, the Lord has been softening my heart over the year, not so much to Thailand specifically, but to the human trafficking epidemic. I seemed to keep coming across magazine articles, tv shows, hearing stories from people who had gone to Thailand and things at church that had to do with it. It was one of those many things that I thought, 'how awful that is... someone should do something about that.' I remember seeing the movie 'Amazing Grace' and was horrified by what happened 'a long time ago'. It's so funny to me... I remember taking history classes all through school and we'd learn about slavery and the slave trade, but I think that because I'm such a visual person, it didn't really sink in as much by reading books- it hit me more seeing it acted out on a movie screen. I remember being so amazed that one person (with help from others), William Wilberforce, was able to do so much to end the slave trade in Europe. Seriously- could one person really do that much? Could God do that much with one person's life? It really inspired me that perhaps God has bigger plans for me than I have for myself.

So, time went on and life moved on and, at some point, just after the new year, I was sitting at my computer and it was one of those days where I was feeling really antsy and like there had to be more to my life than what I was doing. I was frustrated and angry with God for taking so long to let me know what He wanted from me and the life He gave me. I'm sitting there staring at my email in box and I kept hitting the 'refresh' button, hoping to get an email from a friend or something to distract me from my anxiety (nervous habit). I kind of muttered to myself, "God- what do You want me to do?!?!?!?!?!" I no sooner got the word "do" out of my mouth and an email popped up. It was an invitation to a meeting at Saddleback Church and the topic was human trafficking. I think I felt the blood drain out of my face and my stomach immediately started doing flip flops. "Okay, funny God, hahaha, that was good for a laugh, but, really, what do you want me to do?" I started silently praying for another email to come through with something, anything... just not that. I seriously kept hitting the 'refresh' button over and over praying for a different email. And, true to my nature, I started to go into panic mode and was trying to think of every and any reason not to go to this meeting. I must have something planned... I mean it's Friday night (not that it means anything- most Friday nights I sit down with a plate of nachos and watch reality tv or a movie). So, I looked on my Lotus Notes calendar, I searched through my personal calendar, I racked my brain trying to think of something that I had to do on that Friday night.... nothing. So, I went. Dragging my feet- but I went. I can't really say that anything particular happened that night at the meeting. They had a speaker who used to be in forced prostitution- in Orange County. Not some far off country, but in the county where I live. How could that be? Don't prositutes, to some degree, choose to live that lifestyle? I know that there are situations where kids are kicked out of their homes and have no other way to make money or women on drugs who don't really know what they are doing, but forced prostitution where they have no choice and some are even locked up by their perpetrator? I left the meeting feeling good that I had done what God wanted me to do- I'd gone to the meeting... now, God, let's talk about what You REALLY want me to do.

I can be a bit hard-headed at times (if you hadn't already picked up on that, by the end of this blog, you'll certainly realize it) But, the meeting got me to thinking more and more about it.

Fast forward a few weeks...

I'm volunteering at the Passion Conference in L.A. (if you don't know what that is, you should... here's a link ) I was fortunate that, even as a volunteer, I had the opportunity to sit in on much of the conference. On the second day they were introducing a new song, "God of this City". It was written by an Irish Christian Band and it was written while they were in Thailand (specifically Pattaya where Saddleback sends people) in a brothel ministering to the people through singing songs about Jesus. They hadn't written out this song ahead of time. It was literally God breathed. The words just started coming to them. As they were talking about the song, I just started praying and asking God to give me a sign (as if that wasn't a sign) if he wanted me to go to Pattaya- because I was going to need some serious convincing. The main speaker/founder of Passion, Louie Giglio, stepped in and began talking and I can't remember word for word what was said, but basically, he said, "I don't necessarily know why we are talking about Thailand and human trafficking today. Maybe there's one of you out there who is thinking about going and this is God's way of telling you to go." Now... I know that my reaction SHOULD have been 'Praise God' He answered my prayer. If I'm being honest, my initial reaction was 'oh, no, please no'. In my heart I was really praying for a sign NOT to go, not TO go. During the dinner break, I had an opportunity to speak with one of the other speakers, Francis Chen, and during the course of our conversation, he asked me if I was going to be able to sit in during his second talk because he thought that it would be a good one for me to hear (mind you, I didn't mention any of this Thailand stuff to him). So, he comes out to speak at the evening session and starts off by saying that he had a topic all planned out, but that, basically, he was going to throw that out the window and talk about human trafficking. Well, of course you are Francis- that makes my day complete (I know that I sound ungrateful and I'm really not :-), I was just terrified at that point). I remember leaving that conference and the next day, telling my Mom that I think God wants me to go to Thailand. (duh)

Numerous other things have happened that have kept pushing me towards this trip (cause, apparently, everything previously mentioned was not enough). For several weeks, I kept seeing the number 117 popping up everywhere. Jan 17th is my birthday, so I figured that I was just noticing the number because it meant something to me. But, I did go as far to start looking at various scriptures that were 1:17. i.e. Romans 1:17, etc. One day I was on the computer and received an email from, I think, it was or something like that. You know how websites have banner ads? Well this one had a banner add at the top and it was a flashing ad. I took a look at it read "Help the oppressed." Isaiah 1:17. I kind of laughed and said, 'is that for me God?' The banner flashed and it read, "yes, this is for you" and then if flashed one more time and read "It's your mission". Okay.......

That night I had small group and I was telling the girls everything that had been happening and asking for their advice and, of course, they are all, 'for the love... are you kidding me? Julie, I think God is telling you to go.' They said it in a very nice way, but I know they have to be thinking I was a bit nuts. I told them that, in my heart, I knew He was telling me to go, but I had news for Him... He had the wrong girl. There was no way that I could do this. I don't have what it takes and this was not in my plans (haha) and I wouldn't have the strength to see what I was going to have to see.

Regardless of my poor attitude, I had pretty much figured I'd be going, but if I wasn't sure before, God sent a devotional my way that next morning. Within a couple of minutes, I was sending an email to the Thailand trip leader confirming that I would be going.

I've DEFINITELY had many ups and downs along the road so far. I've had worries over safety, finances for the trip, if I would get along with the team members, and, yes, even doubts if this was the right timing for me to go. My family, friends, and even strangers, have been so encouraging. They've really helped to lift my spirits and keep my focused. What was really a gift from God was when I was talking to my Mom about the trip and she said, 'you know, I just thought you might like to know that I feel good about you going on this trip. I really feel a sense of peace about it- even from the first moment you mentioned it.' Come again??? My Mom is a classic worrying Mom. She's always concerned that something is going to happen to her girls. She worries when I go into L.A. to visit friends, for crying out loud. And, I'm 35!!! I hadn't even bothered to ask her how she felt about Thailand because I was afraid of her response. With my emotions being up and down, I couldn't handle someone telling me they didn't want me going. I didn't need anymore doubts creeping in. But, her telling me that... I can't even tell you how that felt. I just know that God was talking through her and it really brought me a greater sense of peace and assurance.