Erin Fox

About Erin Fox

Hey! I'm Erin Fox and I am a junior at Nyack College. I'm just a Midwest girl who made the move to the East coast and loves every minute of it. My major is Inter-cultural studies with a minor in Spanish and Bible. After college I plan on moving to the mission field and sharing the love of Jesus while helping and loving his people all along the way. I love Nyack and know that with each day it is equipping me more and more to do God's work throughout the world.

Nyack: Intentionally Beautiful

 

What a whirlwind this semester has been so far! My last four months have been split half in the simplistic beauty of Thailand, and now I’m about to finish up my time here at Nyack College. I look forward to my future and the places it will lead me, but at the same time I’m trying not to take any part of my college experience for granted. I found myself in awe of how fast my time here has gone now looking back on it after three and a half years. I have learned to better appreciate the resources, beauty, friendships, and uniqueness of this place before its time to move on and leave some of these things behind.

This semester has reminded me in many ways of one of my favorite things about being at Nyack College. I love what I like to refer to as the intentional beauty here at Nyack. The school prides itself on being ‘Intentionally Diverse’, meaning that the school is full of students of many different backgrounds, ethnicities, and varies upbringings. With such a large mix of people there is such a unique culture created on this campus. I have been able to interact and befriend a huge variety of people who bring beauty to my life and encourage me in my beliefs. College is a time of developing into the person who you are meant to be and I appreciate so much those who have shared this journey to adulthood with me.

CTA button for Blog UGThis semester has shaped so much in how I view the world. One class in particular has challenged how I see many issues that we, as Christians face in this post millennial age. Many of my fellow classmates see the world so differently than me as they view it through their own lenses of life experiences. The class included all the controversial topics you can think of that Evangelical Christian Churches are discussing today. I have realized how small minded I have been, and I feel like I really have learned to think for myself this semester. I have had a great foundation of Christian beliefs laid for me and now I get to experience other viewpoints as well. I appreciate how the students and teachers have challenges and helped shape me in my thinking . These people along with many close friends here have helped me mature into the educated thinker I am today. This isn’t because we all agreed on everything, but because we had a forum of open discussion in which we can appreciate others. I have learned the skill of being able to hear and appreciate others as we work towards a fuller understanding of Christ.

Almost Done with College: Life’s Crossroads

As the days run out for my time at Nyack, my mind is trapped thinking about the future. And, as my mind races wild my heart is caught between Thailand, America, and wherever I’m headed next. It’s a crazy realization to wake up one morning and realize all the plans you have made for your life are simultaneously ending and only beginning. My goals in life include college and a life overseas. At the end of the year, the college chapter will end forcing me to take the next step into my dreams.
I feel like many friends I’ve talked to lately are stuck in the same place as me as they struggle to decide what to do next in life. Life holds many crossroads, but what is the right choice? I realize now, looking back on some of the biggest decisions of my life  that one way or another the path will become clear. I remember times where the choice was easy and I obeyed the path before me. But, even more so I recall the times of disappointment when my plans were wrecked and my heart was broken. Those moments of hardship aren’t easily forgotten. But those moments were the launching pad leading me to the greatest opportunities of my life. The heartbreak came from making the choices on my own while neglecting God clearly directing me in another direction. Because of these harsh yet merciful redirections in my life I have received many incredible blessings. I am grateful for the people who have played a role on the path to my destiny for they are the worth the initial heartache. And, above all I have learned to be sensitive to Christ for his direction and very clear presence in my life.

CTA button for Blog UGBig decisions are in my near future and I’m trusting that God is with me as I take these steps. My favorite verse gives me a little solace in knowing that God is working in me and has a plan for my life far better than what I want. Psalm 139:14 reminds me that ‘I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well’. God has made us all unique and incredible. Each of us posses different gifting and passions which bring about God’s plan for us and for our lives. Wherever this path may lead, I know that God is good and leading my life with unexpected blessings all along the way.

 

Setting Graduation Goals and Remembering Good Lessons in My Final Semester

Today, I am heading back to New York to complete my final semester at Nyack College. It is crazy to think how time has flown by and also how much I have learned over the past three years. I think about the freshmen who will be moving in this week and how different I was when I was in their shoes. I was anxious and excited for this new adventure called college. I have grown up a lot in these past years and attribute much of that to my experiences at Nyack. I came in as a freshman wanting to change the world, but not really knowing how. I have learned that it’s not really up to me to do big things and to make a huge impact on the world. But instead I learned that change comes in the little things we do. I have been able to put this into action whether it be in interactions with my friends, families, or even people around the world I have learned to love and serve others more humbly. 

I have also been able to experience many new and amazing things that I never would have encountered had I not come to Nyack. My classes have introduced me to many unique people and new experiences. I’ve traveled to the east coast, all around New York City, and even most recently all of the way to Thailand. These trips as well as my various classes have given me a much deeper love for people and their different cultures. I feel so much more equipped to one day go out into the world and serve people wherever I may end up on the globe. 

CTA button for Blog UGThis school has also given me some wonderful friendships and I look forward to the new relationships I will be able to make as I head back this fall. If you have spent any time here you know that the community here is surely something to write home about. Being such a small school, it feels like you know everyone and there is such a diversity of people that I definitely appreciate. Not only classmates, but the teachers too work to bring students together and encourage a Christ-centered community.

All in all it is a bittersweet thing to be heading back to Nyack for my last fall on the hillside. I’m excited to see all the people I love and appreciate after being away for the summer. I am also excited to graduate and move on to whatever life holds in this next chapter. But, I also know that I will miss this place and the community here. I am ready to embrace this semester for all it has to offer, and just enjoy the end of my time here at Nyack College.

 

Learning about Leadership through the Book of Titus

To be honest, I was less than thrilled when my summer director told me we would be going through the book of Titus my first month in Thailand. My first thought went to the books author: the famous Paul. I know most of you out there revere and adore this man for his many writings and contributions to the various books of the New Testament. But, I will admit I was part of the small group of those who struggle to adore him.  Instead I tend to think that he’s just this big religious guy who traveled around telling women to submit to men. So I started the study already annoyed by my love-hate relationship with the controversial Paul. Also I had become weary of the whole concept of leadership earlier this year and of course Titus is all about leaders. My plan was to avoid anything having to do with leading, but of course our funny God puts it right back into my hostile lap. 

Well now you know where my heart and my head were as I sat in my leader’s living room in northern Thailand. In short I was sick of Paul and sick of leadership. I’m not going to say that I magically or immediately started to understand these things, but I think Paul did give me a lot to think about. The book of Titus is full of guidelines for leadership and CTA button for Blog UGqualities to look for in both male and female leaders and relationships. Paul first talks about qualities of good elders including being hospitable, a lover of what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. A man who leads well should do so in the professional and personal realm. Someone could be the best preacher and leader of the world, but if he fails to lead his family well he has ultimately failed as a leader. The book also speaks to the role of women in leadership and in support of their husbands. Women are to be encouragers and to help in teaching and raising up younger women. They are to be self-controlled, pure, hardworking, kind, and subject to their husbands. Wives are the supporters of their husbands and essential in raising their children and supporting their families.

Paul says some other stuff, but the leadership aspects are what stuck out to me most. These qualities remind me of amazing leaders I have been blessed to be able to work with and also encourages me to keep striving towards being a better leader in the way I live my life. I have definitely made mistakes at times and learned a lot in the many different positions I have held. Mostly I have learned that leadership really is not just about a summer position or when you’re the oldest person in a group. But instead, being a leader is a lifestyle which we are all called to. As Christians we should be continually striving towards these character traits as we are all called to lead by example and be an encouragement to those around us.

What Makes a Good Friend, Especially in College

College is a time of great change, and I have learned that even friendship is a part of that. You gain new friends, keep some old, and sometimes you move in different directions. Most of the time those friendships start to look very different as they readjust to fit busy schedules and the miles in between. Nyack College has given me some of the closest relationships of my entire life. I feel blessed to have met some of the best people in the world while here at school. Other people may take a lot more effort to stay in contact with. I left several amazing friends in Ohio when I made the move to New York. Some are still my best friends, but we had to work really hard to fill the gap of not seeing each other very often face to face. Keeping up with people who live hours away requires many texts, phone calls, skype sessions, and even the occasional hand written letters to keep those people involved with your new way of life. And then there are those who you’ve grown apart from whether for the distance or changing interests. In my experience, your entire high school crowd are not going to be your only friends for your entire life. Friendships change and people change, but new people come along and support you as you become more and more the person you were made to be.

My “vast” experience with many different stages and types of friendship has taught me much about what really defines a friend. A good friend above all loves you and cares for your best interest. Loving a friend sounds simple and obvious, but in times of indifference or betrayal it can be the hardest thing in the world. Someday you might have to love in such a way that truly is patient, kind, humble, honest, and keeps no record of wrongs. This kind of love is really hard. But, if a friendship can overcome a challenge and still practice real love then I believe it could last for a lifetime. As I said a good friend also cares about what is in your best interest. They dream your dreams with CTA button for Blog UGyou and then tell you when you are being ridiculous. Friends also let you be yourself and be completely comfortable with what makes you, you. I want to be a person that you can laugh, cry, dance, scream, or sing at the top of your longs and still feel completely secure and loved. Friends change, but also grow. The many lessons of friendship can be hard to learn, but help you to be a better person and to value those good friends you have been blessed with.

Photo Blog: The Last Month in Thailand

Well my time in Thailand as an intern has come to an end. I am flying back to America in a couple days to spend two days at home then head to school for my final semester at Nyack College. My time in Thailand has been an amazing trip filled with many beautiful people. I wish everyone could experience this place along with me, but for now with these pictures I hope you can see a little of that beauty.

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My Last Week in Thailand: The Confusion in Leaving

This is my last week in Thailand. It is shocking to me to think that I have already been an intern here for seven weeks. Those weeks have taught me many new lessons, drawn me closer to the Lord, and given me many precious friendships. I have learned more about myself and about God and the amazing ways he works in our lives. And, above all I have seen the unique ways that love can be expressed. The people here, who I have had the pleasure of working with, live lives which express the most selfless form of sacrificial love. I truly love this place, these people, and the lessons this chapter of my life has taught me.

Other stories from Thailand:
A College Internship that Matters
Photos from my Internship in Thailand
After One Month
PHOTOS: The Only One Left But Still Loving It
Running out of Time

 

Now, comes the hard part of this journey: having to say goodbye. Just like in a book, every chapter must end. My last pages are turning as I prepare to say my goodbyes in a week. It is crazy that just as I am really settling in I now am leaving. My heart is confused by the hard goodbyes I will be saying while at the same time excited for the happy reunions I am going to experience when back in the states. It’s hard to leave, but at the same time I am really excited for this final semester and to finish my degree at Nyack College and the adventures it will hold.

 

CTA button for Blog UGAs life moves from one chapter to another my heart will continue to ache as I miss the people who I don’t get to spend my days with anymore. But, in life we never really get to spend every day with every single person we love, that’s why Heaven is something to look forward to. It hurts sometimes to miss people, but that just means that those friendships are important and share great love. It is a blessing to miss people because then you know that you have invested time into each other. In Thailand I miss my friends and family, and in America I will miss my new friends and family here. These people have made an impact on my life and I am honored to miss them because this means that they have changed me. These people have given me a new outlook on the world, on love, and on living life as a family, even if you don’t share the same last name.

 

Thailand Internship: Running out of Time but Staying Strong with Love

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There is this horrible and wonderful thing that happens when you travel: you fall in love. Somehow you look past the heat, bugs, and strange food to see the incredible beauty of a place. I’ve been away from home and everything I know and love for six weeks now. Those weeks here in Thailand have held laughs, adventures, tears, friendship and so much change. I have experienced many new and amazing things, but have also experienced days of culture shock and confusion. But, this week I felt so connected to this culture and its people that I truly did fall in love with Thailand. It was strange because I did not take even one picture this entire week. I found myself thinking that something would make a great picture, but not wanting to miss the moment by going to get my camera. One of the little girls singing me a song on the guitar or a child hugging their house mom are moments I will cherish even without a picture.

CTA button for Blog UGIt really was a beautiful week of new friendship and great joy at the homes. I continued teaching English during the day. Although I had my doubts about being able to adequately teach someone when I do not know their language, somehow I have figured it out. As teacher and student I worked together with them to teach English, and also grow in relationship. I love my different students and really enjoy getting to teach them my heart language and be able to communicate with them more effectively. At night I spend my time with the girls usually helping with homework, singing, laughing, and playing 100 rounds of ‘Go Fish’. I love being able to hang out with the girls and goof off with them. They are so beautiful and I love getting to know their hearts.

I have grown to love Thailand, but the time is going by so fast. I know I will be boarding a plane and back at Nyack College in the blink of an eye. But, I know that part of my heart will stay in Thailand as I remember the dear friends I’ve made and the experiences we’ve shared. It is bittersweet, but truly an honor to serve here with Remember Nhu in Thailand. It is hard knowing that I will be leaving in a couple weeks, but I’m excited for what these last weeks will hold. It motivates me to love stronger and serve harder in order to bless the children and workers alike.

PHOTOS: The Only Intern Left But Still Moving Forward With Work

 

Change.

For many, it is the most annoying, yet inevitable thing about life. This week has held a lot of change here for me in Thailand. And, while I am usually not the biggest fan of new things however I have come to realize not only its necessity, but that not all change is bad. It brings about newness and can provide fresh beginnings with new adventures. This week Remember Nhu, here in Thailand said goodbye to some beloved interns as the term ended for a few and one moved to a new house. We also just got a new team here that came with the World Race, and are making us their eighth country on their journey around the globe. So I have found myself going from a team of interns to the lone intern in this area. I loved serving with them, but I am excited to see what lays ahead of each of us in our new paths. I’m looking forward to August and what the second half of my time here will hold. The unknown can be uncomfortable, but if there’s one thing God has taught me this year is that he is in control. I need only to trust him as he leads me down the path of my destiny.CTA button for Blog UG

Well besides interns moving all around, there have been some other exiting changes this week for one of the homes here. After a year of construction and many helping hands there has been a brand new home built for the boys here. They have been eagerly anticipating the completion of their new and improved house for a long time, but knew the building was coming near to being finished. Well this week we put the finishing touches on and everyone came together to clean the house before the surprise move in day last Friday. No one told the kids, but instead the workers from all the homes came together and we moved all their stuff from one home to another. One of the missionary couples picked up all the boys from school and brought them to their new house for the first time. The rest of us stood with cameras at the ready to capture the boys seeing all their things in their new home. There was so much cheering and excitement from all of them. It really was one of my favorite moments here and one I will not soon forget. God is amazing and he uses change for our benefit. So many of these children’s lives have been rewritten from impending tragedy to new hope and love. God is the author of change and is one to be trusted.

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After One Month in Thailand

This week during my internship in Thailand has been full of culture and fun. I was so blessed to have a fellow Nyack student come out with a team from her church and to spend time with them throughout the week. Along with the day to day tasks I was also able to go along on several cultural events with her and her group. I rode an elephant, went to a cultural dinner, and shopped a special Sunday night market. But, even apart from these touristy attractions this week was all about falling in love with Thailand.

I would look out the front door in the morning at beautiful mountains and trees with a blue sky and fluffy clouds. This place shows me just how creative God is as he shaped each culture and nation. God has been showing his beauty this week to me and I have really been falling in love with this amazing country this week.  It is crazy how much I love this place and that I have already been living here for a month. Thailand is an amazing country and I have loved getting to know the people. Living in a home with 60 Thai people has given me great insight into this unique culture and helped me make many lasting friendships. The culture and people are amazing, but so incredibly different from the American life I’m used to living, especially as a student of  Intercultural Studies at Nyack College.  With four weeks of Southeast Asia under my belt, I’m still moved to appreciate life every day. After only a short time here I have realized how new and unique these people are.

 

1. Thai people are incredibly polite and respectful. The traditional greeting includes putting one’s hands together and giving a slight bow. Upon every meeting you greet people in this way. Even at a semi-professional soccer game after a red card had been handed out the player left the field, but not before first politely giving a bow to the entire crowd.

2. Thai people are relaxed and more event oriented as opposed to time oriented. I have always been a go-with-the flow type so my personality fits in well here. Life is less chained to time like we tend to be in America. Instead people and relationships are of top priority.

3. Along with loving relationships, the people of Thailand value community. Time spent together is the best way to pass the time. Even simple trips to the market are made exponentially better when a friend comes along. They are a collective people living in stark difference to the individualistic society I’m accustomed to.

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Internship: Thailand Pictures

It has been another exciting week in Thailand! I am living at one of the girl’s homes for Remember Nhu along with the 60 girls here. They are all in school so my week days consist of teaching English to the Thai house parents and other helpers from the home along with the two boy’s homes down the road. When I’m not teaching, I get to plan games for the kids, clean up around the house, do my laundry, or from time to time go and work on a new boy’s home they are building. The girls are all home from school by 5 o’clock so at night we play games and I often help them with their English homework. Also, different teams come for weeks at a time and will eat dinner with us and run activities on Saturdays when the kids are off school.

So far, we have had teams come out from California, Korea, and New Jersey in my short time here. At the end of a team’s trip they have a paper lantern send off as a way to bless and thank the teams. Everyday here has been different and I’m looking forward to what I will be doing this week. Here are some of the pictures I’ve taken so far in my journey to Thailand for my internship. Enjoy!

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It’s Crazy That We Share The Same World

It’s crazy that we share the same world. I overheard a woman from one of our teams say this when sharing different cultural norms she’d encountered already in Thailand. I love this phrase because it so perfectly sums up what I’ve been feeling during my short time here. In high school, I spent a few scattered weeks around South and Central America which gave me my first glance of how people live in different countries. For some reason I had this expectation that coming to Asia would be similar, but I was definitely wrong in my thinking. It doesn’t even make logical sense to compare these places after being here and experiencing just a little bit of this unique culture. Mostly I have realized that each place is beautifully unique and also that God is incredibly creative.

 

Basically, I have come to believe that everyone should pack up their bags at one point in their life and take a trip to Thailand. But, if you never make it here let me share some cool things I’ve been able to experience already in my short time here:

1. They literally eat rice at every meal. If you are a rice fanatic than this is surely the home for you.

2. It’s bloody hot. At Least that’s how my intern director describes it so if you’re sick of winters in New York spend a summer in Thailand to appreciate the sweet white goodness.

3. At least where I am there are markets all over the place. Food, clothes, coffee, and more for way cheaper than you can buy stuff in the States.

4. Public transit is readily available and easy to pick up a ride into town.

5. The people are incredible. Honestly, Thailand has some of most polite people even in the craziest of situations. The people alone are worth coming to here to get to know.

6. There are so many different things to try and do. My time here will be filled with markets, professional soccer games, visiting an elephant camp, seeing ancient temples, cultural dinners, and so much more.

7. For most people, the food alone will draw them here with many saying Thailand has some of the best food in the world. I have been able to try many new things that are not only Thai, but cuisine from around the world.

8. All in all Thailand is a beautiful place, full of culture and an amazing variety of people to meet and new things to do and I would encourage any traveler to add this amazing country to their bucket list!

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