Finding Freedom.

This week has felt like nothing short of a firehose at full pressure.

I had honestly thought I had some pretty realistic expectations of what these “first” moments with clients would look like. I’m the new girl coming in, a strange face around this place. I don’t speak the language, and am unfamiliar with many of the cultural and customary things.

And on top of that, most of them have no idea what the ‘western idea of counseling’ is.

So in my head, I imagined that most of the first moments with each client would be heavily focused on educating them on the idea of counseling.

  • What could it be?
  • Dreaming what they might want it to be…

To my pleasant surprise, everything has been more than I expected.

Some sessions felt like a fire hydrant at maximum pressure waiting to explode.

The second I gave permission to share, it was as if there wasn’t enough to time to share.

Which… I’d like to acknowledge the miracle right there.

Learning the Thai culture, it is customary to not publicize your business.

Your story. Your past. Your hardships. Your mistakes.

It’s as if I don’t have the right words to fully describe these moments, but these Shear Love students, my clients, are so eager to find this healing we talk about. Their thirst for the wholeness they’ve been learning about in their studies.

There are a number of moments that stand out over the past 2 weeks here.

My hope is that YOU can join in the joy I feel from these moments.

One of the first sessions I had with a client told me she had been waiting to meet me for two months.

She was so excited to meet me, and to spend time with me because she knew I would bring her freedom. She went on to say that Shear Love had already brought her so much hope, truth and grace – that she was ready to find freedom, too.


In that moment I felt unprepared to know what to say or how to respond. I was definitely ill equipped in finding the right response. #nopressure.

Yesterday, I met with another client for the first time. We had maybe been in session for no more than 4 minutes before she jumped straight to the deep end.

I had spent most of those first 4 minutes sharing about myself, and began explaining how counseling can be a place for her to decide – what she wants to work on, talk about, or just sit together.

And in the middle of my sharing, she interrupts me with some broken English,

“Yeah I been talking to the girls about this and be waiting for my time with Kiistaah.. so when can start?”

I respond,

“Oh wow! I’m so glad. I’m so glad to finally met you! We can start whenever you want!”

Moments later, rain drop tears begin to fall from her eyes.

She then goes on to share (with the help of our translator), her story with me. She has never had a place in her life where she can talk or work through the broken pieces.

She has been “waiting for a place to feel safe.”

I, Kiistaah, am still soaking it all in and processing so many details, but I am just so thankful for the immediate answers to my prayers.

I have prayed for these women. Prayed for them to feel safe, brave and loved.

Safe to share.

Brave to explore their hearts.

And to know they are loved and not trekking alone.

What an honor it is to stand in the gaps already.

Grace and Truth,


one week til GO TIME

Wow wow wow.

I leave for Thailand in one week, guys!

One of the things demanding the energy and focus of my mind this week is working toward “feeling ready.” I have been excited to move to Pattaya for a while now. But, having just been there and seeing part of what’s ahead, I cannot wait to get back there and join the momentum of what I get to be a part of! A piece of my heart is already there.

While I have been extraordinarily busy the last few months – applying for my visas, obtaining my international drivers license, studying for my counseling licensure exam, studying, meeting with my team of supporters linking arms with me… I have also been packing up my entire life, readying myself to boldly go and begin my work with Shear Love!

As I continue to tie up final things here in AZ this week, I’ve been studying like it’s nobody’s business. I take the exam on Monday March 11th, and am looking forward to having that victory completed! Prayers are appreciated.

Meanwhile– I’ve designed a T-shirt fundraiser campaign to help me:

1. Raise awareness of the need of this ministry and the work our team gets to do!

2. Dress you in such trendy designs that you can rep wherever you roam!


3. Raise financial support for my work over there!

Get your shirt here!!!

Join me in going boldly, as we create relationships with those we meet so they can feel seen, known, and chosen.

Join me in loving deeply in Pattaya, Thailand!

#buyashirt #ormore #buy4

Love to you all!


Preparing in the Present

Coming back from Pattaya this last week has me feeling like jetlag won’t ever go away! So, I took advantage of being up before the sun this morning to journal about my current journey!

In Pattaya, I had the sweet gift of getting to connect with my new friends at Shear Love, and those I’ll be linking arms with over in Pattaya! I not only got to taste some incredible authentic Thai food, but I also got a real taste for the heartbeat of that ministry and the partnerships already working down there!

What has been funny to me is the amount of people who were surprised to see me back in AZ in less than 2 weeks! Although I brought many things with me on that short expedition, I am returning home for just a few short weeks so that I can continue preparing for my National Counselor Exam for the last step in obtaining my licensure, here in AZ!

I’ll take the NCE exam March 11, and hope to be on a jet plane headed to Bangkok in the few days following.

While I continue adventuring in the present – studying, packing and preparing – I am exceedingly expectant for the things that The Lord is preparing for me!

Feel free to climb aboard with us as I continue my fundraising, studying, and packing-dance parties!


ATTENTION Freedom Fighters and Justice Seekers:

As you may have seen in my previous post from 2 days ago, I’m in the ‘preparation and dreaming’ phase of getting ready for my move to Pattaya, Thailand!

Before I even knew Thailand + Counseling were in the same sentence for my close future, I had already committed to venturing with a team from my church, The Grove. 

The team will be heading out in January 2019, and while my 2-week itinerary will look more like a balance of team mission work and game planning for my upcoming move, I am looking forward to this trip to allow some dreaming of what my skills, tools, and experience will bring shortly after that! I feel the opportunity to go, to see, to taste – will allow a new harvest of sprouted seeds to show me where I can plan and prepare for the beginning.

If you are considering supporting this new opportunity, you can easily donate toward my time in Pattaya by clicking on this link: The Grove

Be sure to click “Thailand Mission” – and add my name in the memo line.

I look forward to sharing more of my upcoming dream coming to life! Thanks for joining me!



**All donations are tax deductible

PSA: I’m Moving to Thailand!

I am excited to share with you all about an opportunity I will be stepping into. At the beginning of 2019, I will be moving to Pattaya, Thailand!

For a long time I’ve had a passion for counseling and walking with others, but more recently pairing that with people from different cultures. The various short-term missions I have had the pleasure of being apart of have continued to greatly water that seed.

My heart is drawn to finding ways to love and lead, while discovering grace and truth through healing in the deepest places of their lives.

I just finished my Master of Arts in Counseling from Phoenix Seminary, and in the past couple of months I have been asking the Lord- “where to next?”

In my asking and seeking, God kept challenging me to open my eyes and heart to places outside Arizona. So, hesitatingly, I began looking at counseling jobs in other states – not really mentioning anything to anyone, because I wasn’t really ready to press any further than that. And, “what if I don’t get any job offers outside the state?” – then, I won’t have to tell people I might be moving, and then just kidding I’m not…

So, here we are, a few months down that road of preparing for this new journey, wherever God would lead. My passion, skills and heartbeat are running parallel with an opportunity that fits the supply to the demand. I believe God is calling me to work as a Clinical Therapist in Pattaya, Thailand, with Shear Love. Shear Love and their stateside organization Free Rain a global, faith-based organization that provides resources and initiatives to aid those enslaved, impoverished, and exploited. By using discipleship, education, job-skill training, and clinical counseling, they help individuals heal from the painful experiences of sex-trafficking, abuse, addiction and poverty. They are given a hope for a future full of promise.

I am continuously humbled and honored to be a part of something so powerful, that out of anyone, The Lord is calling me qualified and ready. This very opportunity to utilize my training and passion, far exceeds what I could have imagined for myself at this point in my story, but man am I ready to pack my camp and head out on the terrain! I look forward to the moments that will stretch, strengthen and mature me personally, professionally and spiritually.

My goal is to begin my work in Thailand this coming March. Over the next few months I will be preparing for this transition in many ways, while raising financial support for the 1-year commitment that I have made with Shear Love. I look forward to sharing more of my story with you! I will be hosting a few information-sharing events for anyone interested in learning more. I’m so thankful for the prayers and encouragement of so many as I step into this next season of my life.