LOOK HERE for recipes, quotes, music, books, environmental stewardship, faith, etc

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Up, Up & Away!

It's getting late and I need to get to bed, but I wanted to post a quick message and say that I am leaving for the Philippines tomorrow.

I keep saying that, thinking that it will become more real to me the more I say it... but I know that it won't hit me until I'm on the plane. Or perhaps even until I land!

Last fall I was asked to be the 2011 speaker for Faith Academy's annual "Spiritual Enrichment Week" (SEW). I knew I had to say yes, even though I really had no idea what I would be getting into.

Unexpectedly, I found that one of my colleagues at Providence Hall actually graduated from Faith Academy, so when he heard I was this year's SEW speaker, he excitedly filled me in on his own memories of SEW from twenty years ago.

At the end of 2010 I asked the chaplains for Faith Academy to connect me with a student or two to help me start getting a feel for the campus, and was given one students' email address. I wrote him with a few basic questions about life at the school, the backgrounds of the students, their spiritual life, etc. Then I invited him to pass on the questions to a friend or two if he felt like it.

So far, I have heard from thirty students! I find their raw honesty and insights a great example of why I have loved working with teenagers; their prayer requests range from asking for revival to wishing there was kimchee in the cafeteria... and their comments about daily life actually don't sound that different from the students I work with here. I'll be speaking to 280 high school students each day, though they will also still be in school in a regular schedule. I'm sure I will be surprised daily.

Here is my speaking schedule (so far -- every other day or so I receive another email inviting me to do something else!) I've learned that Philippines is 16 hours ahead of USA:
  • Monday Jan 24: 1:15-1:55pm
  • Tues Jan 25: 1:15-1:55pm
  • Wed Jan 26: 12:20-1:25; I will also meet with the jr high at some point (130 students) and with a youth group at night
  • Thurs Jan 27: 7:15-8:40am
  • Fri Jan 28: open day. The students have asked that I stay in an office on campus and be available for students to come meet with me. Pray for special wisdom for this day.
I depart tomorrow, Jan 21, at 6:20am on the airbus, arriving at 8:45am at LAX. My flight leaves at noon > then 15 hrs to Tokyo, a 90 minute layover, then another 3 hour flight to Manila. I head home on the 29th, arriving (because of the time difference) early in the morning on the 29th in LA!

Over the years I have spoken to military kids in Germany, and at camps throughout the country, but I've never done anything quite like this. The student body is about 50% US citizenship, 40% Korean citizenship, 10% miscellaneous. More importantly, they are "MK's" (missionary kids), with very unique upbringings. I am humbled by this opportunity, and grateful that after all these years there are still so many things to learn.

I am praying for divine wisdom as to how to best encourage and challenge these students. I covet your prayers. I have energy and feel rested as I prepare to leave, but also imagine it will really stretch me.

Here's a prayer from the Common Prayer devotional book I am reading these days ~ it feels so appropriate:
Enlighten the eyes of our hearts, O Lord, so we may not only see and receive your mercy but also notice the places in our world where you call us to extend mercy. Amen.


  1. Sounds amazing Kelly!! What a gift that God has provided. Praying for each and every conversation, along with your talks!!

  2. You'll do awesome Kelly. They'll be blessed. What part of Philippines will you be in? I've been there a number of times, so just curious.

  3. I read this entry in Common Prayer today as well. So excited for your opportunity! Praying for safe travels and enlightening wisdom. xx

  4. Love to each of you. I'll be outside Manila. Thank you for encouragement and prayers. It's a good life.

  5. wow. can't believe it's already here! wish i was tagging along instead of working in the vein clinic. i'll be praying.

  6. kell bells, you'll be hanging with my peeps!my cousins teach at MGC New Life Academy...just in case you happen to get invited to speak there too...sheesh, youre going to be all over! make sure to try some Halo Halo! Gwen