Dear friends and family,

   I want to share a short update with you on how my preparations are going. First, I have a departure date! I’m planning on leaving for Honduras on Saturday, October 22. This is only two weeks away! I’m starting to feel nervous but also quite excited. This past Sunday, my family and friends from Voyage Church gathered around me to pray over my trip, as seen in the picture. I’m so glad that I...

The 5 month dry season was broken this morning with the pitter patter of rain on our metal roof.  This sound is exciting for all the farming communities in our region and especially those communities where World Renew has been teaching Conservation Agriculture.  The farmers who were trained have received seeds and now will start to plant green manure cover crops along with the staple crops of corn and cassava.  The rains are also exciting for Phil as...

            A new month has started and we’re into a new program year. This program year will see many alterations due to funding changes and it will be interesting to see those modifications unfold. We’re enjoying life back in our little office and are extremely thankful for two ceiling fans and four large windows. We have given up trying to smell nice as every day and night involves constantly sweating. The only thing that brings...

It has already been one week since I was welcomed by some of the wonderful WR Cambodia staff in the Phnom Penh airport. Although I have visited Cambodia before, I have never flown directly into the country (I entered Cambodia by bus at the Thai border in January). This time, my daytime flight from Hong Kong to Phnom Penh allowed me to see the city from a bird’s eye view. Having spent the last seven weeks working for another...

Family, friends,

The reason I am writing to you is to share part of what I like about being a volunteer. One aspect of this role is to be a bridge, to connect people like yourselves to the lives of people in a different culture. As you continue to support the ministry with which I will be working, I will continue to update you with what we are doing. It is my privilege to be able to connect my community of...

Monday morning I set off on the biggest journey of my life thus far; I said goodbye to my family and friends (and my beloved dog) and began the journey to the country that will be my home for the next year. I've already been here for four days and I still haven't had time to fully process this next stage of my life--and maybe I won't ever fully process it. 

After Bethany and I were picked up from...

Ninety-six hours ago, I was gazing out my plane window, watching the city of Grand Rapids shrink to a cluster of lights in the distance.

I’m not usually very nostalgic, but I was going through a long list of goodbyes in my head: to friends and family, to the Grand Rapids coffee shops I’ve spent so much time in over these past four years, to Calvin College and my wonderful apartment and the music practice rooms.

I felt like I was flying...

As I prepare for my time in Honduras, I find myself getting easily lost in the “grand-scheme of things” way of thinking. Thoughts like, “I have so much to do to get ready”, “How much of a difference will I actually make?”, and “My goodness, two years is a very long time” tend to pop up in my mind often. However, I have been learning to take things one at a time, to look at the small details...

We’ve now entered the beginning of the rainy season (also known as the hot season). There has not been much rain, which makes the humidity worse. Technically, it’s not really that hot, temperature wise, but it’s so humid that you constantly sweat or feel sticky. We’re told, “just wait! There will be moments when all you want to do is lie on the tile floors”. But apparently that comes in late September and October. But it’s really not that...

I always have trouble writing “firsts.”

The first essay for a class, the first entry in a journal, the first post in a new blog… I’m excited about the start of something new, a clean page, but I can’t seem to turn off this nagging voice in the back of my head.

“Bethany, you’ll look back on this in a year and realize how woefully naïve you sound, how much you didn’t know, how wrong you were about so many things.”

And it’s...

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