Monday, February 28, 2011

a dirty 500,000VND is still worth 500,000VND

Shine started today! We decorated the table with all things manicure. We also had pink rose petals and each young woman was given a small Shine journal.
I welcomed the girls and had all the leaders and volunteers introduce themselves (leaders have gone through the training). Everyone took some gummy bears from a bowl, and the number of candies they took was the number of things they were to share with the group. Some shared in Vietnamese and our translater for tonight interpreted for us. Most shared in English and she would translate into Vietnamese.

They are told they can take notes on the presentations, things they learn, their thoughts, etc. No one reads the journals except for them. Girls were already using the journals today. I saw them writing during the presentation about hands. It was really neat to see them exciting about what we were presenting.

I did do small examples of showing that they are valuable. I took a fresh, clean 500,000VND bill (Vietnam's largest denomination and worth about $25USD). To these students, this is a lot of money. Then I crinkled it up and stomped on it and asked the girls if it was still worth the same. I did get one shake, but most girls nodded and I went on to explain (through our interpreter) that it doesn't matter what you look like, or what people have said or done to you--you have value and it doesn't change.

Then I showed them two gifts. One in a cute box and one in a grocery bag. Two different students opened them up to find that the gift inside was the same (fun, fake diamonds). Again, I explained that value is not from the outside. It doesn't matter what you look like, you have value.

From Shine's experience of running hundreds, even thousands of programs, we know that this information is new and life changing to many of the girls that will go through Shine.

Here are some of the girls soaking their cuticles, pushing back cuticles and painting each others' nails. Why do this? Well, besides the fun, light nature of doing nails for them to feel comfortable with each other and to have fun, we explained that taking care of yourself is one way that you show that you value yourself.

And here is the final product.

As the girls left, we gave them a gift to help them remember the session. We'll do this every week. This week we gave them a nail polish and emery board, wrapped in colourful tissue paper and ribbon.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shine! where things aren't shining

What if you had never heard that you were unique and valuable? Or what if didn't realize that you were making choices out of feelings of worthlessness? Or what if you had been told your whole life that you were a mistake? Or that you won't amount to anything, or you're not smart or you're not beautiful? I know I'm incredibly blessed to have grown up in the family and culture that I did. And yet, even with that, there, of course, are time I struggle.

Women here are not told the truth about their value, their uniqueness, their destiny, their freedom to be who they want to be.

We want to change that.

I was trained last December to lead Shine! a program produced by Hillsong (yes, the Hillsong that YOU know that makes w+rship CDs) out of Australia. It's an 8 week program for women and being done in over 10 countries. Each week, we talk about different topics such as worth, destiny, love languages, lies we believe and the actual truth, and the power to choose. We mix it in with getting our nails done, walking the red carpet and writing encouraging notes to each other--you know, girly things.

Starting tomorrow, a group of about 8 ladies who went through the training will be putting on the Shine program for 12 Vietnamese women that we know--our friends and our students.

The program is filled with TRUTH, but because of our location, we cannot say where we are getting our truth from.

This program is POWERFUL and changes lives, because TRUTH changes lives.

Please pr+y for the 12 ladies going through the program and the 8 ladies leading the program.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Couch to 5K or C25K

by Karissa

Several months ago I got the crazy notion to start running. I mentioned it to my friend Susan on gchat (like skype) one day and she said that she was thinking about it too. We knew of a program called Couch to 5K that starts you out slowly and over the course of 9 weeks has you running for 30 minutes straight. One of their lines is: if you can walk to the fridge, you can do the C25K.

I thought, well, if Susan and I are doing this, why not invite other people to get on the same 9 week schedule for accountability and encouragement. So I invited people to participate. Most of us are in different weeks at this point. Some people couldn't run now because of the crazy amounts of snow in their area and they don't own a treadmill (see you in the spring!). A few had to stop because of knee issues. But some have been able to keep on keeping on. We even have a forum on the C25K website where we share about how our running is going and to encourage each other.

Eric and I are already halfway through week 6 of the 9 week program. We run on the river walk. It's beautiful. Our city always has a breeze and running along the river gives us the best breeze. It also smells like fish along the run, but hey, fishing is a big industry here. We'll take that if we can each squid as often as we like for a dollar or two.

For the first 5 weeks or so Eric would download C25K podcasts which actually told us when to run and when to walk. For example, the first week we did a five minute warm up walk, then 60 seconds of running, 90 seconds of walking and repeating the 60-90 until for 20 minutes and then finish with a 5 minutes cool down walk. Now there's not as much switching around as we have longer runs and I prefer to listen to Dave Ramsey and just keep an eye on my watch. The podcast distracts me from my running much more than listening to music does.

I never thought I could or would do this. But I am! I run three times a week and have for 6 weeks.

I believe that makes me a runner.