Summer Missions Trip

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blaZofgold
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Summer Missions Trip

Post by blaZofgold » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:12 am

Hey everybody~

So I don't know if this is a good place for this...but
I've spent a lot of time with all the forum members and this community is pretty important to me
Thus I think it's appropriate for you all to know what I'm doing this summer, and it'll also double as an explanation for a leave of absence.

Basically, I'll be going to some central Asian countries this summer as part of an summer missionary program
It's called VSET (Vacation Summer English Teachers), we go and teach English to high school/college students while trying to evangelize as much as possible
I think I'm set to go to Kazahkstan and Kyrgyztan?
The whole thing is about two months long, we don't do it with any big organization so it's pretty crazy hardcore

You can find more information in my support letter here:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B6tEp ... EFrcDJ4TlU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I would really appreciate it if you guys sign up to receive my newsletters during the summer, I'd like to share my experiences with you guys
Thanks~
Last edited by blaZofgold on Wed May 08, 2019 7:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by Reverend » Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:49 am

Done.
Just don't go kidnapping unwary loli there, okay?

ps.: I don't have to fill this "prayer" field, yes? You know I don't pray anymore.
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by Just » Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:24 pm

Ganbatte blaZ!

You look handsome.
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by shadowhunter » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:20 pm

That`s very responsible step for any person. I hope you will have a good experience. BTW, you will go to the capitals of Kazahkstan and Kyrgyztan or to the other cities? Maybe, I can help you with some information.
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by blaZofgold » Sat Apr 30, 2016 8:20 am

Thanks for the kind words~
Reverend wrote:ps.: I don't have to fill this "prayer" field, yes?
It should be optional.
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by BugH » Mon May 02, 2016 9:47 am

Good luck with your missionary program, blaZ
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by blaZofgold » Sun May 15, 2016 10:09 am

Starting tomorrow, in preparation for this trip, I will be attending a 2-week training camp.

So I'll be MIA for that time~
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by Just » Sun May 15, 2016 10:40 am

blaZofgold wrote:Starting tomorrow, in preparation for this trip, I will be attending a 2-week training camp.

So I'll be MIA for that time~
Ganbatte blaZ! Have fun!
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by Hikari-chan » Sun May 15, 2016 10:57 am

Hey, Blaz! I definitely signed up for this. I hope you'll have a safe and wonderful trip with plenty of experiences to remember.

I have two friends at the moment who are currently Mormon missionaries who are in Mexico and Peru at the moment and I miss them dearly. The only difference is that their mission is two years! I bet you'll have so many experiences and things to share that two months will pass by in a flash! It sounds very life-changing and very amazing. <3 I'll miss you in the two weeks that you're gone for camp, and the two months you'll be gone for the real thing! ;3; Come back safely though~ :)

thank you so much to my wonderful santa! <3
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by blaZofgold » Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:21 am

In about 12 hours, I will be headed off to San Diego for a week of training before flying to China on the 19th. I'll have some internet/data while I'm in the States, but once I go abroad the times I'll get connection will be probably few and far in between.

Thanks for those of you who signed up with the link, I was super encouraged by it. You can still sign up now if you want at tinyurl.com/samuelwangVSET, it's not too late.

While I'm gone, my avatar will be a gif of Hata. じゃ。

Hopefully I'll see you guys all in two months~
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by blaZofgold » Sat Aug 13, 2016 2:36 am

I have returned!

I'll type up a brief report in a bit. In the meanwhile, if any of you want my update letters just PM me and I'll forward them all to you.
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by Reverend » Sat Aug 13, 2016 3:10 am

blaZ back! *hugs*
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Re: Summer Missions Trip

Post by blaZofgold » Sat Aug 13, 2016 7:27 pm

To recap, my trip started on June 12th and ended on August 11th. I went to training camp in San Diego for an entire week before flying out to Beijing on the 19th. The training camp was really necessary, with a ton of workshops regarding how to work, pray, and totally depend on God's supply for everything.

We flew into Beijing and had about a day's worth of orientation before we were all ready to head off to Mongolia. We took this thing called a sleeper bus (it's basically a double-decker with all seats replaced with cots) from Beijing to the border, then crossed the border and took a train to Mongolia's capital, Ulaanbaatar. Our task in Ulaanbaatar was to do evangelism in the morning and then teach English at a local school in the afternoon. I was assigned to Green class, age group 6-7th graders. Even though I didn't want to teach the youngest class, it was actually a really lucky thing because I've about 5 years of experience teaching that age group at church. My teaching partner also had experience, and together we were able to really serve the children well. Our class was always filled with energy and excitement and it was pretty fun. By the end of the second week, we were able to teach more difficult subjects and share deeper stories from the Bible in our pre-class Bible studies. It was fun to involve the students and teach stuff that they enjoyed, like world foods and animals. We taught them interesting stories from the Bible, like Noah's Ark and Jesus's birth. It was really exciting when a student, James, tried praying to Jesus twice and saw answers to both his prayers! He excitedly ran around and shared his experiences with all the Green class teachers and helpers. We ended the Mongolia trip during Naadam, their national week-long holiday, and all the students came to send us off at the train station. We left Mongolia around July 17th.

Then I left my wallet in the taxi on our red-eye entrance into Beijing. Which had like $200 and my green card in it.

And then I found out that without my green card, I couldn't even board a plane heading back to the US.

And then I found out that the Beijing US Embassy's Customs office was closed for all of July.

And I also found out that the paperwork I needed to apply for took at least 14 business days to process.

My plane flight is August 11th.

It begins.

So there's this thing about being a Christian and believing in a God who is all-powerful and all-knowing. It's the idea that He is sovereign over all events, despite you having full agency over the situation. It goes like this: stupid blaZ didn't zip up his backpack completely when he was exiting the taxi so his wallet probably fell out. blaZ is an idiot for being careless. 100% his fault. But meanwhile, God above is looking at His script and saying keikaku doori. He saw this coming since eternity past and He's not interfering because this is actually His Will. He intends for me to lose my wallet and my way back home. He also intended that the embassy would be closed and that I would be stuck with this impossible situation.

Why? That was the question that I definitely struggled with during those uncertain weeks. And a part of me wanted to be bitter and salty and complain and be annoyed and complain "Why? Why?". But the other half knew that there was a purpose for my relationship with God, that He wanted me to trust in Him and to even give thanks and praise Him through the struggle. And He was right. It's easy for me to take control of a situation, to try hard and do my best and rely on myself and others. But it's incredibly hard to rely only on God - it's really unnatural. So God brilliantly engineered a circumstance where I screw up and there's absolutely nothing I can do but wait. And pray. And trust. And hold on. It was hard! But during those weeks, I kept going to the campuses, evangelizing to the college students and hosting our daily English Corner of teaching conversational English to interested students. Though God didn't change my green card situation, He showed a lot of grace and love as I met tons of people who needed someone to talk to, needed someone to share something to them besides work hard and study and try your best and get a job and get money. Chinese students have become robots who don't think about what it means to love, to be loved, to be hurt and to hurt others by their selfish thinking and pride. It's really sad, but it's also an area where Jesus has a lot of expertise - being hurt to the point of death and dying as sacrificial love for everyone. God was able to prepare lots of encouraging and exciting encounters: my favorite one was a Christian from Yale who ended up in Beijing taking summer classes. Who could've imagined that God would take us both out of the States just so east and west could meet and fellowship and pray for one another in Beijing!

It was finally August, so I called the Customs department and scheduled an appointment. I emphasized my flight time and prayed for an appointment that day. Instead, that night, they sent me an email with the scheduled time. August 8th, 1:30 PM. Welp, game over. But the later it got pushed, the less hope I had in the problem naturally fixing itself and the more hope I had in God to deliver me and bring me home.

On August 8th I arrive at the embassy and with a bit of hassle I finally get in, where I meet a bunch of other people with similar issues. As we share stories, all I hear is disaster. People flying all over China trying to resolve their problem, insane delays over half a month, people missing their flights home...not a single good news. But that should have been a sign for me that God was going to do the impossible.

I get into the interview lounge eventually. The officer takes all my files, looks at them, and then disappears with them for five or so minutes. He comes back, looks at me, and ask when my flight is. I laugh nervously and answer "This Thursday". He thinks for a moment, then takes a short breath. "Come back in two days and pick up your letter."

Oh snap. It happened. As close to final hour as it could possibly get. The embassy expedited a 14 business day process to less than two full days. I retrieved my transportation letter that authorized my travel back to America less than 20 hours before my flight was to take off. And if there was any lesson about trusting God until the very last moment, I think my story is worth a tell. I'm glad so glad to be back, but I'm even more grateful that I've been in amazing hands this whole time.

ただいま戻りました!
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