When I packed up for Thailand last year, I knew I wouldn't come back the same. Everyone told me it would be life changing and I would be surprised by how much I would take from the experience, but little did I know how much my relationship with Jesus would truly blossom...scratch that...EXPLODE in the year after my return. Thailand, the country of my first ever mission. Home of the Hill Tribes where I said my first public prayer out loud. Where I first heard the unclear murmurings of a prayer language I mistook for Hawaiian and months later found flowing from the depths of my own spirit. A place where I paired my passion with my calling and saw that there is, in fact, much purpose in photography. A welcoming and jungle thick country that immediately felt like home. It was unmistakable that first mission trip was what God was calling me to do, the whispers from him were so clear and divine I couldn't have denied it if I wanted to. "I got it, God. You want me to head to Thailand!". And just as clear as the trip called, so came the provisions of donations that sincerely blew my mind where God showed up and said "I'm here! This is happening, girlfriend!"(because God totally says 'girlfriend' you know ;)). All you wonderful people showered with generosity, prayers and financial support. I was grateful, in awe, and full of endless faith.
When I returned to Hawai'i I was excited and anxious, practically hollering out "Okay Lord, where to next?". And...nothing. Not radio silence, but I certainly wasn't pulling out my passport in my near future. In fact He made it clear I had some work to do, some heart softening to be made, some serious learning and spiritual maturity to happen along with downright prayers to be prayed. For a year it was clear: my mission field was at home, in my own life, and building a stronger rock solid ground in my savior, Jesus Christ.
Time passed, I'm not perfect but my relationship with God flourished exponentially (and does every day), and I still wasn't sure where my next mission would be. But eventually I found myself back dreaming of Thailand. Seeing mesh tennis shoes and tribal print flowy pants thinking "I'll get those for when I go back", reminded every day of the beautiful children as I look down at my handmade friendship bracelets. With Thailand certainly in my heart, it wasn't BLARRINGLY obvious like last time that the location would be luring me back...until I got a message from the trip leader. Bob kindly let me know that Chiang Mai was a go again in August, they were putting the team back together, and they were excited to let me know they'd love to have my sister, Sarah, come along and meet us this time as well. And the signs couldn't have been clearer. My sister and I have been growing in our relationship with Christ together, biblically helping each other navigate this earth we live on, praying for one another, and sharing some crazy cool experiences in Christ. It's obvious our journey in God together is with reason (and great purpose) so I am more than thrilled to have my sister join in on this trip to Chiang Mai.
So today, on my TWENTY NINETH birthday, I'd like to officially put it into the universe that along with my sister and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I am excitedly heading back to Thailand August 31 - September 10th. If everyone on my Facebook page donated just $1, I would reach my goal in NO TIME! Sadly gofundme.com doesn't accept $1 donations, so if only 580 generously gave $5 each, I would be GOLDEN....and so would you. :) So will you help make my wish come true + wake me up with some serious Birthday Fundraising Provisions? Or at least spread the word and send a few prayers up? It would make for the best birthday a girl could ever hope for. xo
Thailand Mission Trip 2014 [get the scoop + donate here]: www.gofundme.com/AshleyGoodwinThailand
And if you're feeling super generous and would like to contribute to getting my loving sister Sarah across the globe to Thailand too, please do so here!