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Nov
8th
Mon
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Grateful to be feeling grateful…

Do you ever feel that just when you get a ‘plan’, the carpet gets yanked out from under you? The past several weeks have felt like a series of carpet yanking mini-disasters. But, in the midst of frustration, disappointment, and loss, I’ve been feeling grateful. And I’m grateful for that. 

In September, I committed to staying at the Thai/Burma border until December. I had high hopes. I would teach, I would document, and I would come down from the mountain having given solid medical English training, armed with compelling footage and photos that will move people towards engaging in what’s happening here.

In mid October, I flew to Malaysia to get a new visa so that I could extend my stay. I thought I’d be out for a week—-taking some time to stop in Mae Sot to work on some things with our friends at Compasio. I’d spend a couple of days resting in Chiang Mai and catching up with the outside world (who I sometimes feel has forgotten me since I can go weeks at a time without having the ability to contact my friends!).

Then the border closed.

WHAT? But I had a PLAN! I’d been raising money to stay and teach, and a border closure was not part of the deal! And quickly I was reminded that though the border closure was inconvenient for me, that’s all it was. Inconvenient. For thousands of others, it has been much more intense than that.

(Insert attitude adjustment here).

Recently a team of four flew in from Murrieta, CA. They too were supposed to be heading up the mountain to train these students that are just hungry for knowledge. Their plans were spoiled too. But then, like a rabbit being pulled from one of those sketchy black hats, someone had the idea that we could FILM our training. Maybe we would not be able to get inside, but the information could.

So this week, I’ve gone from pity party/lonely/bored to renewed/surrounded by awesomeness/needing an intern. We’re filming a series of about 16 trauma videos (they’re short, people. This is no Hollywood). I’m so excited that it worked out for me to be here during this—-because resources like this can/will benefit not only the students, but others who so desperately want medical training.

And in a land where medical training is VERY hard to come by, this is like gold.

So, for those of you who have given of your finances, prayer time, and/or moral support, I thank you. It means more than my words can express, and I’m humbled that you care to engage in this wild journey.

I am hopeful that the border could reopen, and that in a week’s time we could be making the crazy drive back up that beautiful and tragic mountain.

until then, I’m just grateful to be a part of it all.

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Nov
1st
Mon
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Fight on.

"In light of the magnificent purpose to which we have been called, we cannot waste time nurturing our regrets. They require too much of us. We can learn from our bad days, our mistakes and then we must lay them down, leave them behind and fight on.”

Read this on a blog, don’t even know the author’s name. But it spoke to me, so I thought maybe it would speak to you, also.

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Oct
29th
Fri
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I think nephews are awesome. It totally sucks that I never get to see mine.

I think nephews are awesome. It totally sucks that I never get to see mine.

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Oct
28th
Thu
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For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. (2 Samuel 22:32-34) 

For who is God besides the LORD? And who is the Rock except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he enables me to stand on the heights. (2 Samuel 22:32-34) 

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Oct
18th
Mon
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One of our students offering care to an incoming soldier or IDP.

One of our students offering care to an incoming soldier or IDP.

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Last week, I went with some of my students to a place where 300 new soldiers and IDPs (internally displaced persons) had arrived from deeper inside Burma. Our purpose was to give health screenings to all of the newcomers.

Some were healthy. Some looked strong. Others looked (and sounded) sickly. I cen remember one boy who looked like he was in shock. And with the things he’s most likely seen, maybe he was.

As our students took vitals and gave malaria tests, I felt so proud of them. I watched their hands shake as they tested blood for the first time. I saw them struggle to get thermometers in armpits. I smiled to myself as they tried to check heart rates. It was precious to watch. 

Our students were learning first hand how to work in community health. They were doing it—-really doing it!

And as some of them tested positive for malaria, I was thankful that we had medication to offer them. At the same time, my heart ached to know how many more people from their homes and villages will go without medication for their own illnesses. 

Standing in the midst of the action that day, I saw just how important this health training is. And with the only instructions for the malaria tests being in English, I also saw the importance of my particular role—-teaching my students so that they can read things like ‘how to test for malaria’!

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Marv, you have left your mark on our hearts, and we will never forget.
Rest now, and rejoice at the feet of the One for whom you were made.

Marv, you have left your mark on our hearts, and we will never forget.

Rest now, and rejoice at the feet of the One for whom you were made.

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the fog.

My mind feels in a bit of a fog.

Maybe it’s that a week ago, I was amongst soldiers and IDPs. Maybe it’s because in the blink of an eye, I was down the mountain hugging a dear friend who has since lost her best friend and husband of 42 years to cancer.

Or maybe it could be the stark contrast of the life I’ve been living in Burma and the one I found myself in when I arrived in Kuala Lumpur for a visa run. My surroundings went from bamboo walls and boiled drinking water to Chanel handbags and eu de toilette.

Maybe it was the street kids, who came running into the office I’m currently using, and ran to me for hugs. Sure, maybe it is a coping mechanism, an act of control. But they are children, and children need hugs.

Maybe it’s the cold I’ve been fighting for the past week, that yesterday decided to gift me with an awesome cough and second round of fever.

Or maybe, just maybe, I’m not very good at processing things. I never have been. 

So here, as I sit with my mind in a fog, I think about these things. I ache for my friend, who has lost her life’s love. I’m grateful for hot showers and less bugs, but I’m missing my students and my life on the mountain. I think about home, and I long for it. But I am thankful for this season, and for the many emotions it brings.

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Oct
14th
Thu
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Dear big huge disgusting spider… please find a new home, preferably one that isn’t where I shower. And tell all of your friends to do the same.

Dear big huge disgusting spider… please find a new home, preferably one that isn’t where I shower. And tell all of your friends to do the same.

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