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JESSICA MARIE TAYLOR  Believer // Lover // Storyteller World Race 2017 Currently: Cambodia


My girls ❤️ // Karla and I have had the absolute privilege of teaching these two beauties. They are inseparable and it's very obvious that they are the best of friends. They're gentle but bold, so incredibly smart, and strong enough to keep up with the boys. Their classes aren't until the afternoon but they show up almost every morning to help with the younger kids and they show up every Sunday to help at Church. Today I broke out a little hula dancing and they thought it was the coolest thing. I love making them laugh! Half of the time I'm not sure if they are giggling at me or with me but I don't mind either way. I just love them so much!

Over the past weeks our students have been earning stickers in class. Today their stickers turned into pretend dollars and they got to spend those dollars at a market we created. I was helping these two angels pick out shirts to buy and I questioned why they were looking at bigger sizes. Turns out they were using their hard earned stickers to buy shirts for their dads. 😭
• •
I have story after story about these two and about every kid that I met this month. I'd like to think I've had as big of an impact on these kids as they've had on me. ❤️

#worldrace #11n11 #cambodia #jesswhattheworldneeds

Yesterday we took the boat out to a floating platform. We sat there, in the middle of the river, as people from the village surrounding us came boat after boat to hear the Good News - some of them for the very first time. I literally felt like we were reenacting a scene from the Bible. As if that wasn't powerful enough, our translators were the kids that we've spent all month teaching English to. It was so cool to see the whole month come full circle. The same kids who practiced forming sentences with me every day in class were now using what they learned to tell the story of Jesus to their own neighbors. After the first few people, I asked if they wanted to try telling the story on their own. And they did. Again and again. I watched them with the biggest smile. I could burst with pride and joy and hope and all the good things because of this crew right here. •

#worldrace #11n11 #cambodia #jesswhattheworldneeds

Touristy Asian photo: ✔️

#worldrace #11n11 #jesswhattheworldneeds #cambodia

Look out Battambang! The New Girls are on a little break from the village and we're loose in the citayyyyy! 💃 The bridge we're standing on is over the same river that our village is in, 2 hours away! #hellocleanshowers #walkingonlandfeelsweird

#worldrace #11n11 #jesswhattheworldneeds #cambodia

Sunrise at Angkor Wat - the largest religious monument in the world. Added this to my bucket list and crossed it off the next day. 4 am wake up call - worth it! // #worldrace #11n11 #cambodia #angkorwat #jesswhattheworldneeds

Pro tip for future racers: keep shampoo on you and get those showers in when you can. We use the word "clean" loosely. •

Photo: @kpineda10 // #worldrace #11n11 #cambodia #jesswhattheworldneeds

I got 99 problems but 1 through 10 ain't one 😎 // How cute is my 2nd period class?! #proudteacher #worldrace #11n11 #jesswhattheworldneeds #cambodia

Teaching is a breeze with this crew. Don't tell the rest of my students, but this class is my favorite. These kids are brilliant and resilient. With limited resources for education, and the intense physical demands that life in a water village require, they blow my mind every single day. They come to class with big smiles, finished homework, and completely eager to know what I have planned for them next. They really are 4 of the smartest kids I've ever met. •

#worldrace #11n11 #cambodia #jesswhattheworldneeds

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ // NEW TEAM, NEW ME! Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce you to my new team, NEW GIRLS. Partly named in honor of the one new girl (🙋), partly named in honor of the hit show ("it's Jess!".. get it?), but mostly named because every single day we're being made NEW in Him.
I'm so excited to take on Asia with this crew of totally tough, snake-fighting, boat-sailing, fearlessly faithful women. Watch out! // #oliviaandthecat #worldrace #11n11 #jesswhattheworldneeds #cambodia #newgirls #thisisourfrontporch #winstonthecat #checkoutoursweetride

Beginning the race, one of my many prayers was to be challenged, pushed out of my comfort zone, and conquer fears because my trust in God is that big. That same prayer has been reignited within the past few months. I wanted more. I wanted to be pushed further. I even said to my squad leadership recently (verbatim) "I did not come here to be comfortable". So... God hit me with a surprise team change and then he threw me into a floating water village for the month! (LOL)
My new team and I live in this 20x20 house/church/school surrounded by water. No way in or out except by boat - it took a 2 hour canoe trip through the swamps to get here! We shower & wash clothes with river water. We sleep on the floor surrounded by mosquito nets. We teach English & Bible classes all day to the village kids who blow my mind every day. I've never been so comfortably uncomfortable in my life. This month, this ministry, this team --- they're all answers to prayers in ways that I couldn't have imagined on my own. God is good. God is faithful. God is BIG. 🎉 // #worldrace #11n11 #cambodia #jesswhattheworldneeds

Thank you to those of you who have been checking in on my family, my hometown of Houston, and I during the madness of Hurricane Harvey. •
I arrived safely in Cambodia last night but my heart and mind are very much in Houston.
According to the National Weather Service, Harvey has set a record for total rainfall from a single tropical cyclone in the U.S., with total rainfall of over 48 inches, and counting.
It's surreal to see my alma mater turned into an evacuation shelter and the streets I grew up on turned into rivers. To see social media used for evacuation cries and photo after photo of the disaster. I feel like I'm right there with you and truly, I feel guilty that I'm not.

I've been in tears most of the night as I try to make sense of it all.

My family is safe, but like most of Houston, there homes are not. My heart breaks but it is so full of hope. It's been incredible to see Texas come together in such a powerful way. I've watched from afar as you all have literally saved people's lives. You all have shown the world a glimpse of humanity that I think we've missed.

No matter where you are in the world, please join me in covering Texas with prayer. •
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who is giving their time and prayers and resources to this community that I used to call my own. You all have shown up when I cannot. I desperately wish I was there to work alongside you to rebuild our city. And as if I could be any prouder, today I am prouder than ever to be a Texan.

#texasforever #hurricaneharvey

Month 9 --- Cambodia, we're comin' for ya! //
Europe, you've been an absolute dream! The past two months far exceeded my expectations and I already can't wait to return here. //
Please pray for Q Squad as we head to our last continent & last leg of the race - Asia!
P.S. Selah's have managed to get a team pic in every country. 😍 @sara_trammel was a bit sleepy so we brought the camera to her. 😂 Can't imagine doing the race without these six humans! //
#selahsurvived #selahsinromania #worldrace #11n11 #jesswhattheworldneeds

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