It’s hard to believe 2012 is already ending. It was a full year to say the least. I managed to really “get around,” finding myself in 8 different countries on 4 continents. I said goodbyes to old friends & formed lasting relationships with new friends. I moved away only to return a lot earlier than I planed and I dared to dream new dreams.
2012 you were a good year. Here’s a look back at everything you held….
I rang in the new year with 28 members of my World Race W-Squad family at a farm on the coast of South Africa.
Although our month in South Africa was short in terms of ministry, we were able to enjoy everything our location had to offer, primarily the incredible beach at Plettenberg Bay.
Then, after the longest, sweatiest travel-day ever we made it to Beira, Mozambique and the Kedesh Boys Home. I would be lying if I said the month was comfortable, in fact it was pretty much the opposite, but the boys were incredible and truly changed me.
And then it was on to Swaziland, our last country on the continent of Africa. The living situation couldn’t have been more sweet. I doubt any other World Race team has gotten to live at a country club/game reserve. Oh and did I mention I went on a safari? Because I did, and it was awesome!
Next we traveled onward to one of my favorite countries in the world, Thailand. I got to make a quick stop at GES in Bangkok before heading northward to spend the month in Chiang Mai working with human trafficking rescue and slum children.
April brought me back to a place I never thought I would see again, Angkor Wat. I visited for the first time while living in Bangkok in 2009, and by chance, a 4 day vacation for Khmer New Year allowed me to return again, and let me say, the ruins were just as cool as the first time.
But the real reason we were in Cambodia wasn’t to visit Angkor, so after our 4 days we headed south to a tiny village among rice fields called Kampong Speu. The month was rough. It was blazin hot and our surroundings were primitive, but we were granted the opportunity to teach english to a group of eager children and just have fun with them!
Next, after 10 months of traveling the world, we found ourselves in Malaysia, the last country and last month of our World Race. The ending was bittersweet. I was so done living out of a backpack, but saying goodbye to my new family, especially my Unchained Rhythm girls, was rough.
In June I found myself back on American soil for the first time in nearly a year. Seattle was gorgeous as always…
… but also lonely at times, that’s why it was so great to meet up with my World Race friends for the Kingdom Dreams conference in Georgia, and celebrate my 27 birthday with some of my best friends.
In August I got the chance to shoot my first wedding, which also happened to be the wedding of one of my best childhood friends…
And then I vacationed with my fam in NE Washington, taking a road trip with my sis and niece on the North Cascades Hwy on the way back. I’m always amazed by how beautiful my state is!
In September I kicked my fundraising for Bolivia into full gear, but still found time to enjoy moments with my family, like going to the Puyallup fair for the first time in years!
In October I packed up my bags again and headed south, to South America that is. I landed in Cochabamba, Bolivia on October 12 to begin 10 months of ministry with Hospitals of Hope, and within one week I already had a chance to visit a place on the top of my bucket list, Salar de Uyuni, and it was awesome!
Then, only one week later I was given the chance for another awesome experience, biking Bolivia’s Road of Death.
I spent the rest of the fall exploring Cochabamba with friends, working at HOH’s Cafe Xelda and playing with orphans.
And then December came and with it came a very tough decision, the decision to end my time of ministry with Hospitals of Hope and my time in Bolivia, making it home just in time to celebrate Christmas with my family.
It’s been a crazy year. A lot of ups and downs. A lot of tough decisions and many tears shed. I don’t think 2012 will stick out as the best year of my life, but instead it will be used as a foundation year that I can build off of, and that makes me even more excited for 2013, because I have a feeling this next year is going to rock!