Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I am leaving for Asia in the Morning

I figured it would be nice to get one more blog out before I leave for Asia. I can't write in it myself while I am gone but my friend, Sarah will be posting on it for me so keep checking back.

Update on Daniel's visa
It's been nothing but drama trying to get a visa for our Indian student. We are now on our second visa company and have had a serious FedEx-related set-back. His passport went through the destination city- L.A. and on to Memphis and back to L.A. We had some serious time constraints that meant any delay would mess up everything.

Now his visa is processing but since we leave tomorrow, he will not be able to travel with us. We are praying his visa will be granted and he can join us soon. Please pray. Please also pray for Johanna and Grace as we attempt to get their visas in Hong Kong.

This week has been packed. We've had lectures on post-modernism Monday morning, Tuesday morning and night and this morning. We've also had staff meetings, base clean-up and team bonding time. I definitely don't feel rested going into this trip but I am very excited. We jump right into our work when we get to Asia. I should be leading an English corner within days of arriving. I don't mind because I love this stuff.

I should probably continue to pack and then go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Normally when I travel I stay up really late and sleep on all my flights. This time I am in charge of 8 other people so I need to be nice and coherent in the morning. We'll see how that goes.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

I hate visas!

I have been super busy and we had to fast from electronic media last week. This two things have combined to explain the tardiness of this blog entry.

Most DTS schools are marked by some sort of issues. Usually it is immaturity and poor decision making by the students. Our students are amazing but we've been bogged down logistically to the extreme! Our first hurdle was finances. Up until the final deadline, it was not even guaranteed that my co-leader would be going. He got his money on the last day possible and we found a way for all our team members to go. It was somewhat miraculous, definitely nerve-wracking and totally glorifying to God.

Our current hurdle is visas. Other teams have used a service on the internet that takes your visa application and passport to the consulate and gets you a visa. They have had pretty good luck so far. We did not. I am currently asking the Lord to forgive me for my hatred towards Jeff, the visa guy. First we found out that our Americans' visas would all cost $10 more a piece because the price literally changed between the time our passports and paperwork were mailed and when they arrived at the company. The annoying part was that they weren't able to tell us in advance so we had to go to the trouble of paypaling the money. Then we find out that they our foreign students don't have the kind of visas for the US that they "need." Then we have to send them a letter on our letterhead that says they are going to school in the USA. We also had to fax all their flight info. Another hassle.

After we fax this in, they tell us that our Canadian needs to prove she is actually in America. In order to do this, we had to take Sarah and her identification to a notary to prove she is indeed here. So weird! Then they tell us that our paperwork for our Korean and our German is wrong but that they are processing our Indian. They try to convince us to change the paperwork and let them try again. We decide they have not proven speedy or trustworthy so we will take our chances elsewhere.

They processed our Americans and Canadian. Then they told us our Indian got rejected. We looked into our options and we can get visas for the German and the Koren in Hong Kong. Because of India's relationship to the country we are going to, it is impossible to get him a visa there. We have one last hope for Daniel, our Indian's visa. We found a company that said they can do it in time for a price. Please pray that this works out. We all want him to go so bad. If it all works out, the visa will come Wednesday and we leave Thursday morning. Talk about cutting it close!

Despite daily talks and emails to Jeff the visa guy and daily discouragements in that department, God has been so good to us. I sent out an email prayer request about the visas and one of my long-time supporters has offered to pay the cost of our two nights and three days in Hong Kong as we get the visas for our German and our Korean. This is a huge blessing as our team is already going out short on funds so that everyone could go. I feel like this will all work out in the end but I definitely need your prayers.

One of our students, Grace has also had some bad news. Her uncle who lives in the USA was visting her family in Korea. While there, he fell off a ladder and went in to a coma. On Thursday he died. This is sad of course but also presents tons of problems as he has died in a country where he is not a citizen. There is a chance that Grace's family will be responsible for his $100,000 medical bill. Also Grace's dad was diagnosed with kidney cancer a few weeks ago. He had surgery and it seemed okay. The same day she found out about her uncle, she found that her dad's cancer was worse than they thought and it had spread to the muscle. The doctors think they got most of it with surgery but are still deciding treatment as it is a fast growing cancer. Poor Grace is so far away. She is praying about whether or not she is supposed to go home. Please pray for her family.

And just when I start to feel overwhelmed by all these logistical problems, I hear of something so terrible that my troubles pale in comparison. I just found out sad news from the church I grew up in. An 18 year-old kid, Bryan Evans was on our church's annual youth trip when he died in his sleep. He had diabetes and I assume his death had something to do with that. How tragic! He was an only child who had just graduated high school. I can't imagine how terrible that was for the other high school kids to find him dead like that. What a nightmare! My heart goes out to his friends and family. I didn't really know him myself though I knew who he was and I think I babysat him at a church retreat years ago. From what I hear, he was a great guy and he loved the Lord. Please pray for all the people who loved him.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What a perspective!

I have been feeling a bit weary and run-down lately. There is a lot on my plate and even though much of what I am doing brings me tremendous joy, the tedium of logistics puts me in a "poor me" mood. I don't think this in itself is sin but it definitely doesn't help anything. I just ran across the following video which totally put me in my place. The man in the video died about a month ago from colon cancer. The video brought me to tears as I was tremendously moved by his unwavering faith in the Lord. My logistical problems pale in comparison to what this man suffered and yet he chose to continue to trust in the Lord. I hope you find his story as humbling and inspiring as I did. And you might want to keep the tissues handy.

The Story of Zac Smith from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Restful? Weekend

It is only Tuesday and it has already been a crazy week. We have been running into a lot of problems with our visas for Asia. It seems like every day the company we are using asks us for more information. It's hard to not get frustrated but I think it will all work out in the end. We've also had a lot of financial struggles. My co-leader only got his money to go today. Wheww! I am so thankful. Two of our students still need money for Friday's deadline. I have enough for my plane ticket and nothing more. Please keep praying.

This weekend was pretty rough. It started pretty well with three of my students bribing me to take them to watch World Cup soccer at our local student's house. I don't do well waking up in the 6's on a weekend but I love my girls and they bribed me with homemade breakfast. I tried to watch some of the pre-game but I am not particularly interested in soccer. I ended up going back to sleep for a few hours in the guest bedroom. I watched the second half of the USA game. I think I'd rather play soccer than watch it. If it had been college football, it would have been a whole other story. It was nice to hang out with my girls in a real non-YWAM house. We ended up staying there for like seven hours.

Then I went back to the base to get ready for a girls' night across the island in Kihei with a bunch of current and former girl staff. There were plenty of delicious treats but my stomach was already feeling weird. I tried to socialize for a bit but I couldn't deny the pain in my stomach. When we moved into another room to play games, I asked my friend, Jess if I could lay down somewhere for a while. She let me lay in her bed and gave me the remote control so I could watch cable. The conditions were not bad at all. Unfortunately I just felt awful. I ended up throwing up about four times. I forgot how absolutely terrible it is to throw up. How do bulimics do it?

I did feel thankful that I was in a real house in a comfortable bed watching Bridezillas in between my trips to the bathroom that was conveniently attached to the bedroom. It was better than being at the base. I was sad to miss the girl bonding and goodies but my stomach hurt to bad to fake being okay. Also my face was whiter than I have ever seen it. My friend Kristy took one look at me and told me I looked weird. At least she was honest. When it was time to go home I still looked terrible and felt terrible. I laid in the back of my friend's car whimpering in the fetal position. It was not pretty. Another friend drove my car up to the base for me where I spent the night throwing up. It was less cushy since I have to go outside to go back into the house to use the bathroom. I contemplated sleeping on the couches in the living room but a dead rat was once found between the cushions. I was sick but not crazy.

 I was afraid I would never get better. I can't imagine how people go through long illnesses. I am such a wuss. In the morning I felt weak and my stomach was not to be trusted. I slept in and didn't go to church. One of my friends brought me Sprite and saltines and did my laundry for me. By nighttime I felt like myself and was able to crack jokes again. It was a pretty sucky way to spend my weekend but I was very thankful for my good friends who took care of me. One of my friends said it was the only way I would have truly rested. Maybe she was right. Hopefully next time I rest, it will involve less puking.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Money, Money, Money

Asia is coming up in 23 days and there are still financial needs on my team. Several of the students still need money and my co-leader and I do as well. I have received $800 of the $2500 I need for outreach. Please pray that all the money comes in. If you want to donate electronically , you can click on the paypal link on this page or go to my website www.lizhightower.com to donate using a check. I can provide tax receipts, so let me know if you are interested. Thanks for your continued prayers and support for my ministry.


The title of this post is an accurate reflection of how I feel. There are different stages when you are DTS staff and I am at the exhausted stage. We are at that point where outreach to Asia is frighteningly close and yet we still have a very full schedule. It's hard to get everything done. Due to a miscommunication, I had to spend all of Monday morning getting our visas ready to send out. We wanted to send them out that day but their photos had not been developed and therefore the whole package couldn't be sent. It was quite frustrating. Luckily I was able to finish it up and have it mailed off today. Please pray that it all happens in a timely fashion so we get them back before we have to leave. I am loving my students but the logistical details are threatening to drown me. In an effort to continue looking to the positive, I will tell of the fun part of my weekend.

One of our students, Shannon has lived on Maui since she was two. We don't get a lot of local students, though we'd definitely love to have them. Shannon has been such a blessing in sharing her home and family with us. Her parents are out of town so on Saturday night we had a girls' night at her parents' house. I was a little apprehensive about fronting all the money for pizza and snacks. I was afraid I would get stuck paying for it all. It ended up perfectly. We had enough snacks and I only had to pay $5 just like everyone else. Yay! We gorged ourselves on snacks and then played my favorite game, Loaded Questions. There were too many people to play it correctly so we just tried to make each other laugh. It totally worked.

After playing LQ, some of us went in Shannon's hot tub. YWAM makes everyone a little weird about wearing bikinis since we have so many rules about where and when you can wear them. It's funny to see how awkward we can be about it even when it's just a bunch of girls. I am not sure the hot tub was a good idea for me this time. The weekend before I had burned my stomach in a weird stripe. (Don't ask.) Being in the hot tub totally made it start peeling. Ewww. I am really hoping the stripes aren't permanent.

After hot tub fun, we continued to gorge ourselves and watched "The Devil Wears Prada." It was so nice to be in a real house hanging out. I also really enjoy spending time with the students. I can really see myself becoming friends with them after our co-leader/student relationship is over. I am also so thankful for my car. It is so much easier to spend time with my students when we can get off base and go somewhere fun on the island. I've even been taking one student to breakfast every Friday morning before worship. Those of you who know me should be super impressed that I am waking up that early.

So it's crazy but fun. There's nothing I would rather be doing right now than walking beside these students as God draws them closer and closer to Himself. And I am so grateful for the privilege of taking them to Asia!
From L-R, My student, Catie, my staff friend, Daena and my student, Shannon sippin' frosties in my car
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