Saturday, May 30, 2009

Make it snappy

This afternoon we went to go get some 2"x 2" sized photographs taken in order to apply for our visas. We were happy that it only cost 16 dollars total for each of our two pics at Walgreens, vs. the 18 dollars it cost for Mike's passport pictures at the MN dept. of motor vehicles. We were in and out in about 10 minutes tops. Unfortunately, when we got home, I realized that my pictures need my ears to be showing, according to the visa application... so I had to get new pictures taken because my hair was in the way; oops, another $8. We went to a different Walgreens this evening and it took over 45 minutes. Their sign says "Passport pictures ready in minutes." I'd like to know what "minutes" really means. I suppose the worker's interpretation of the word "minutes" is different from mine; I guess it's all relative?! Anyway, at least we are golden to send off our applications to the Thai Embassy in Chicago now. Pray that everything would go smoothly and that our visas would get processed quickly.

True American

As we've slowly gone through a few things and started packing up select items in our apartment/classroom, I realized how we are big pack rats... or should we say materialistic?! UG! I feel like such a typical American! It will be nice to simplify our lives by packing up our next two years into four suitcases and maybe a box or two to ship later.

Yesterday I went through five office depot sized boxes of Spanish files and condensed it down to two. It felt so good to be able to recycle so many things that I know I won't/don't need. I probably don't even need half of the things I kept anyway since I don't intend to teach elementary again... but I'm reluctant to give those files up and sell/give away those elementary resources JUST IN CASE.

Anyways, simplicity is amazing.

I'm leavin' on a jet plane...

Well, I finally was able to get a hold of our contact person at the travel agency. He sure was a slippery fellow to get a hold of! Our flight itinerary hasn't been printed out yet, but from what he told me today, we will be going from Minneapolis to Chicago to Tokyo to Bangkok. I'm already not looking forward to the long flights and the three different landings. Landing is the worst for me because I usually get sick to my stomach. Cheers to dramamine. :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Yesterday was Memorial Day. We really have never done too much on this day, except spend it having a BBQ with friends and family. I saw these other pictures from another blog and thought it appropriate to link you to see them: click here to see these pictures.

Picture four affected me the most in that those two men fought in the Korean War. I remember going to Memorial Day parades when I was really little and when they would announce that a specific group of people walking in the parade fought in the Korean War, I would blow kisses to all of them. Somehow I just felt like I was connected to them, even for just a brief moment, simply because I could potentially not be here today if they had not fought?! Isn't it odd to think of how life could simply go one way or another and you could possibly not be in existence? Amazing.

Praise God for those soldiers that have defended, fought, [and died] for the principles of freedom, liberty and justice. Thank you.

Monday, May 25, 2009


I always wonder how you make a friend. It just sort of -POOF- happens and neither person really remembers how it started. I'm thankful for friends and how they encourage, admonish, lift up and love you through thick and thin. We have been blessed with dear friends. We are so thankful for their friendships and their support these over the years. It certainly will be hard to leave, knowing that we won't be able to spend time and fellowship with them for at least the next two years...

However, we know that God has some amazing plans for us and that he is going to raise up and provide new friendships, a new church family and a new support system in Thailand. I think that the process of moving [to another country] can really stir up a lot of fears, yet God has calmed so many of my fears by quietly whispering, "Don't worry. Just trust me." So I have, and he has provided such peace.

And in the meantime, he has -POOF- provided a new friend; he knew what my heart needed. I have been e-mailing back and forth with KM, the teacher who previously sent me an e-mail about running a 10K or 1/2 marathon. We have many common interests and have enjoyed corresponding. It's comforting to know that there's a friend waiting for me on the other side of the world when I get there. God is good at making the world feel small by simply connecting us by the same faith.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Last night was TLO's last concert of the year. The band played, the choirs sang and the hand bells rang. The concert ended with Michael W. Smith's song, Friends, as a slide show of pictures of Linda, Mike and me were shown. It was so fun to see how we all had changed through our time at TLO-- both students and staff alike. Mike and I were presented with notes from all of our students that were part of a scrapbook that a parent put together for us. We're looking forward to seeing the scrapbook; it certainly will be a treasure!

We read through some of the notes after the concert... some were flat out funny, others were simply great memories/favorite moments, some were simple thank yous, but one in particular made me cry. It was the most heartfelt note to both Mike and me from the most unexpected student. To have a student that puts up barriers and acts tough write you such a touching note is simply priceless and makes teaching worth it.

Funniest one yet: A kindergardener wrote about me... "That woman is awesome." If only you could understand what kind of child he is; his comment just fits and it's stinkin' hilarious. Besides, what kindergardener refers to others as woman? I mean seriously... how about teacher, person or girl?!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Step by step

Another praise! Our visa package arrived safely in the mail! Now we just have to fill out an application, pay a fee, send our passports to Chicago, and let the Thai Consulate take care of the rest. Pray that our visas will be approved quickly and safely sent back to us in the mail.

A sigh of relief

What a relief!! Mike got his Virginia license in the mail today. We were hoping that everything would go through without a hitch, but you just never know though with the department of ed! He sent his application and hours to the state in April and we were hoping to receive his new license by the end of May or early June; I can hardly believe how quickly it was processed. [SIGH] :)

Monday, May 18, 2009


The other day someone asked my how many new teachers will be joining the ICS teaching team with us. There are more of us than I thought! I don't know how many of the couples are teaching couples, but there are at least 14 new teachers for the 2009-2010 school year. This seems like a significant amount, but with such a large and growing school, it is actually quite minimal. Aside from that, teachers only have to commit for two years, so there is constant changeover. Though, from what I understand, many of the teachers have been there for numerous years... there are some teachers that have been there for 12-14 years! So needless to say, we are thankful that both of our positions opened up simultaneously.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A slice of heaven

In lieu of trying new things... I baked my first pie--strawberry rhubarb to be exact. Quite frankly, I was a bit apprehensive to do so, because I knew that if I ever made a pie, I would probably want to make a homemade crust. After all, the crust is the whole reason that I even eat pie. However, the thought of making my own crust was scary to me, so I debated with myself in the grocery store as I eyed the pre-made crusts in the aisle. But the thought of a sweet, delectable, fall apart in your mouth, buttery crust was too much for this little heart to handle though, so I did make my own. And it turned out amazing. I would definitely make another one in the near future (or at least when I work off all the calories from eating a few slices from the first pie). YUM!

Book club

I received an e-mail the other day about joining the ICS ladies book club. I am sure that the year will prove to be busy, especially the first few months, but I am excited for the opportunity to meet with other ICS teachers and wives for fellowship and to just simply get connected/plugged in. Aside from that, I'm excited to potentially be a part of a book club! I have always wanted to be part of one, but just never really did anything about it. Opportunities keep presenting themselves. Funny that it takes going half way around the world for me to do simple things like run a race or join a book club. :) Anyway, at the end of each month, the women get together at a Japanese restaurant to discuss the book, eat a delicious meal, and just get to know each other. Sounds lovely to me.

Here's the book list for the year:

August: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

September: Walking from East to West by Ravi Zacharias

October: Three Cups of Tea by George Mortenson & David Oliver Relin

November: How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

January: The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

February: Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne

March: No Way Out by Chart Korbjitti

April: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Letter to TLO

I forgot to post this earlier. This is the letter that we gave to TLO to announce our leaving:

Dear TLO Families and Friends,

"I thank my God in all my remembrance of you all, always, in every prayer of mine for you all, making my prayer with joy..." The way Paul felt for the Philippians is much the same as we feel towards you at Trinity Lone Oak.

As many of you may know, God has placed on both of our hearts the call and the desire to teach overseas. We have been faithfully praying for God's perfect timing and we are thankful that these past years at TLO were a part of God's plan for us. It is with great anticipation and sadness that we announce that we will not be returning to TLO next year. By God's grace, we accepted positions at International Community School, an international Christian school in Bangkok, Thailand. Mike will serve as the elementary physical education teacher and Karly will serve as the high school Spanish teacher.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus calls his first disciples saying, "Follow me, and i will make you fishers of men." That call is weighing on our hearts as God is saying, "Mike and Karly, follow me to Thailand, a predominantly Buddhist country, and I will make you fishers of men." We know that God is sovereign over all things, and as he guides and directs us, we desire to follow his calling wherever that leads us. It is such a comforting thing, knowing that his hand is intimately involved in our lives and that he is masterfully guiding our next steps!

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isaiah 55:8-11).

God has richly bless us in many ways with families and friends at TLO. It has been such a wonderful opportunity for both of us to learn and grow alongside your children. Thank you for allowing us to love and serve them, and be a part of their lives. IT will be difficult to say goodbye to a place that we love and call home, but we know that the door at TLO will always be open.

Please pray fr us as we finish our school year here and have to say our goodbyes. Also, please pray that God would continue to sanctify us and bring to completion the good work within us that He has started, as we prepare our hearts and our minds for the new ministry that awaits us.

In Christ,
Mike and Karly Aust

Friday, May 8, 2009


A picture is worth a thousand words...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


I've been running quite a bit lately. I actually really enjoy running while rockin' out to some tunes. I also kind of enjoy feeling a little achy the next day, knowing that I pushed myself. I have never run in some type of organized race though. I was slightly tempted to do so when my friend, TW, did a 5K, but why pay to run outside?! TW said that she needed something to work towards, in order to push her to run and to get to the gym every week, which I completely understand. Having goals is good and definitely push you to go above and beyond. So perhaps I should make a goal to run in an organized race then... well, my friends, the opportunity has presented itself!

We had to write a brief bio to send to ICS to tell the other teachers about ourselves. We wrote about TLO and what we currently teach, what we wil be teaching at ICS, and some of our interests/hobbies. One of which, for me, was running. So today, I received an e-mail from one of the 1st grade teachers at ICS who said that there is a group of them that like to go running together, and that this September there is a 1/2 marathon along the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi, Thailand that they are thinking about running in. There is also a 10K in Bangkok in October that they are considering doing as well. Wow. 13.1 miles or 6.2 miles in the heat and humidity of Thailand... though in September and October it shouldn't be as hot. I definitely will have to get adjusted to running in that weather first though. Aside from that, my longest run has only been 6 miles, so I'd have to really train and work up to running 13.1 miles.

Part of me thinks that I really should just go all out and train for the 1/2 marathon. The only reason for this is because I just happened to be watching the television show, "The Biggest Loser" the other day, and the 4 contestants actually ran a marathon! I couldn't beleive it... how amazing for them! So what's running through my mind is this: If biggest loser contestants could train to run a marathon, why couldn't I train to run a 1/2 marathon? Here's to setting goals, testing limits, and exceeding boundaries! Now it's off to the gym for me!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Yahoo! Our visa packages were sent to us yesterday, so we should get them in about week. Despite feeling "behind" in matters since I had to send a second package to ICS with the documents I missed, we are actually right on schedule. PTL.

Let the games begin...

Softball season has started once again. We opted not to play in the co-ed this year, but that does not mean that Mike and I are not busy! He is playing in two different men's leagues this year-- one with church friends, and another with non-church friends. I'm thrilled that the season has begun as well, as this means that I get to spend some time getting my baby fix, while chatting and eating snacks with my girlfriends as we cheer our hubbies/significant others on. Cheers to good friends, good weather, good food and good fun.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I am usually not one to complain about service. However, I must say that we have not had the best of service when it comes to booking our airline tickets. We are supposed to go through a specific travel agency, as this travel agency gives us missionary ticket prices. I was told to contact a specific person to book our tickets. I contacted him over a month ago, only to receive an out of office reply saying that he will be out for the next two days. Sure, no problem! I anticipated an e-mail within the next week or so, but still didn't hear from him. So 3 weeks after I sent my first e-mail, I re-emailed him. We still didn't hear from him. So I e-mailed him another 2 weeks after my second e-mail, and got another out of office reply. I'm thinking that a month and a half is a little too long to be able to declare good customer service, especially when I know that my e-mails have reached him and have not been sent out into the void. Well, at least there is still plenty of time to purchase tickets. However, I'm sure that the school would get a better deal if the tickets were purchased sooner than later. Oh well. Here's to another lesson in patience.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


The W small group, minus TW

We have been very blessed to find such a Biblical church, SGF, to call home. We have been greatly impacted by Pastor R's passionate preaching, Pastor S's great shepherding, and overall just feeling genuinely loved and connected to our brothers and sisters of this church.

As members of SGF, we have the fortunate opportunity to be involved in a small group. Our small group meets twice a month and it is a time of sweet, sweet fellowship, encouragement and building up, testimony, confession of sin and temptation, and a time to just dig deeper. We love our small group dearly. It was so good to be back last night after a hiatus due to school functions/obligations.

Our small group will be going through a lot of changes in the next couple of months though, and last night was probably our last night together as a "whole" group. The T's are leaving for the next couple of months due to medical school rotations/residency, the W's may be leaving for a job opportunity in WI, and we will obviously be leaving as well. How blessed we felt last night to be together with everyone last night and spent some time pointing out evidences of grace in each other's life. God is good and our cups run over with blessing after blessing.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Mike found this great John Stott quote on a motive for missions...

“If God desires every knee to bow to Jesus and every tongue to confess Him, so should we. We should be ‘jealous’ for the honor of His name—troubled when it remains unknown, hurt when it is ignored, indignant when it is blasphemed, and all the time anxious and determined that it shall be given the honor and glory which are due to it.

The highest of all missionary motives is neither obedience to the Great Commission (important as that is), nor love for sinners who are alienated and perishing (strong as that incentive is, especially when we contemplate the wrath of God), but rather zeal—burning and passionate zeal—for the glory of Jesus Christ.

Only one imperialism is Christian, and that is concern for His Imperial Majesty Jesus Christ, and for the glory of his empire or kingdom. Before this supreme goal of the Christian mission, all unworthy motives wither and die.”

—John Stott, The Message of Romans (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 53

I will miss...

...finding Dino in the most ridiculous hiding and sleeping spots in our apartment. He truly finds some of the most uncomfortable places to rest.

As well as finding him stuck in between the glass of his cage and the wood he climbs on...

He's a funny little beardie with such a goofy personality.

To our parents...

My mother-in-law, CA, gave me the article by Kathy Bryant that was written in March 2005 titled, "Let His Children Go." It deals with parents struggling to let their children go overseas for missions. I thought it appropriate to post it as a good reminder to not only our parents, but to all of you out there... whether the lesson is not to cling too tightly to your children, or to follow God's desires for you no matter where that may send you, or as an encouragement that God has you in (name of place) for a reason.

Let His Children Go

We have somehow accepted the mistaken idea that our children belong to us and that we may at all times be their protection and security. In truth, my children are not mine; they belong to God and always have. He allows me to keep them near me during training when they're young, but the older they get, the closer they must move to complete independence of me and complete dependence upon God. I can't assume my children will be safer within my sight and my reach than they are on the other side of the world where they are still within God's sight and His reach. I can't guarantee their safety even if they're sitting in my living room! God can guarantee their safety wherever they are-- nothing can get to them that does not go through Him first. My protection of them is limited by my humanity; the security of God's everlasting arms is completely without breach by any enemy. God gave me the precious gift of having my children near me for many years; why would I selfishly tighten my hold now on what is not mine and try to keep them for myself? God has a place for each of them, a sphere of influence, a multitude of people whose lives will be touched as these shining lights go out into a dark world. I will not cry and cling nor in any way hinder or douse their desire to go into the world to serve God. They must be set absolutely free-- not to follow their hearts, but to follow His heart for them and the people of the world.

What if they're called to live in another city, another state, another country, or another continent?! Any sacrifice of the pleasure of having them near will result in waves of blessings in the lives they touch and the eternal rewards that can never be taken away.

The tragedy is not that they are leaving home for a faraway place-- the tragedy would be if they stayed and missed the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Perfect timing

It continues to be abundantly clear that this is truly the right time for us to leave. I may have mentioned before about TLO undergoing some staffing changes (as well as financial problems), and how that would affect the middle school and Mike's position at the school, but I can't remember if I did or not, so please excuse the redundancy if I already did.

TLO is losing 3 teachers at the end of this year: the combined 3/4 teacher, Mike (grade 5), and me (part-time Spanish). Grades 3 and 4 will not be combined next year due to size issues. So despite losing 2 full-time teachers, and no longer wanting a combined 3/4 class, the school is only hiring a grade 3 teacher and a grade 4 teacher... but no grade 5 teacher. I don't really understand how that will work, but they say that it will. All of this to say that it only leaves one full time middle school teacher for 5-8 grades. Granted, I know that there is a part-time English/band teacher, a full-time 7th grade homeroom/PE teacher, and a part-time music/8th grade math teacher... but will that suffice? God knows... but Mike and I are certainly relieved that we don't have to worry about that.

Mike is also relieved that he doesn't have to change grades... if we would have stayed even one more year, I'm sure that he would have been asked to switch down to 4th grade again... a change that he would have made, but it would have been a very difficult change after having 2 years of the middle school experience. I always think it is easier to move up in grades than to move down because it is easy to forget how young those kids are.

Aside from all of those little issues, the 2009-2010 school calendar was just released. We were shocked that winter break doesn't start until 3:15 pm on December 23. Wow! That is so late!! I've never had to go to school or teach that late into December in my life! In Thailand, we are out at 11 am on December 18 so there is plenty of time for needed rest and Christmas shopping for gifts to send back to the US.

Anyway, we know that TLO will be fine and we're confident that everything will go on without a hitch, but we are also sure that God's perfect timing in sending us overseas has only been confirmed again and again. We are blessed to know that God's sovereign hand reigns, and confidently guides and direct us.