So many amazing things have gone on this week. This morning I was taking a walk and listening to worship music on my iPod when a song came on that I used to listen to all the time after I returned home from Botswana the first time I came. It is "Amazed" by Jared Anderson (it's beautiful, if you have never heard it.) I remember listening to that song over and over while in Austin when my heart was aching to be in Botswana. To hear it now, walking around the plot where I am now living with 32 precious teenagers and teaching 13 wonderful students in Botswana...I just had to stop and take it all in. I AM so amazed by God...and to think that this is only the beginning of my experience here!
An Inconvenient Blessing
On Wednesday we had a very interesting evening here in Maun. Most of the town lost its power at 4:00pm and it didn't return until 10 or 11pm. That is bad in and of itself, but when you are responsible for entertaining 32 kids for hours without power, well that is just horrible! I knew things would be ok until sunset. I had the kids start their study time a little early so they could use the sunlight, and they were so wonderfully cooperative. After that, as I watched the sun setting, knowing we still had no power, I began to get a little worried. I took some time to pray and ask God to just take control of this situation. Boy, did He ever! As I was sitting and talking to a few of the kids, God reminded me that there was a box of "Guesstures" cards in my classroom and a flashlight in my room. I got them both and had the kids all gather together so we could play "Spotlight Charades"! It was so great!! When we got tired of that, we moved to "Spotlight Pictionary" using the whiteboard at the dorm. I am so proud of the kids for having great attitudes about the power/water outtage and being willing to have "lights-out" a little early. We actually had a great time and I'm really thankful for the bonding time God gave me with them.
Bible study continues to go well with the girls. This week we discussed the importance of prayer and why we pray. I taught them the "ACTS" prayer method for those who just didn't know where to begin with praying. I was really excited this week because I am finally seeing the girls begin to open up and talk some during our study!
Fire by Nite
It looks like I will be regularly accompanying the kids to their youth group time, "Fire by Nite". I love this time because I, too, get to have worship time and really, really love hanging out with the kids outside the dorm atmosphere. Last night Gary had asked me to share, and after much prayer God led me to share about worship and praise: what they really are and why we do them. I was nervous of course, but I can only hope that every bit of Andrea was put aside and that God spoke through me in some way to the kids who were there.
Definitely the most powerful time of the night was after I finished speaking. We played the song "Jesus, Lover of My Soul (It's All About You)", a beautiful song of surrender to Jesus. Kids kneeled at the front, praying, some crying, spending some real time with the Lord. God totally showed up and you could feel His presence. When Gary gave the invitation for anyone who would like to rededicate their lives to the Lord and get things right, many of the kids came forward. We ended the night playing "Undignified" and the kids just let loose and danced before the Lord as David did in 2 Samuel 6. There was such joy and victory in that place! Amazing!!
A friend mentioned to me when I first arrived here and was still feeling nervous about working with teenagers that the most important thing to remember was that teenagers just want to know that you authentically care about them and that this takes TIME. I have seen the wisdom in those words many times while being here and am SO excited to see that relationships are really being made and trust is being established between me and each of the kids here, both girls and boys. I absolutely adore these teens and really enjoy my time with them. I love getting to know them, hearing their thoughts and hopes, learning their personalities, and totally cracking up everytime I'm around them. They are amazed when I tell them that people in America know about them, have seen their pictures, and care about them. THANK YOU for investing in their lives with me.
For those who've been wondering about my health and energy, I am very excited to report that I have been feeling great! Prayers have definitely been answered! I've also been better about getting more rest and usually have tons of energy. Yay!! I am filled with so much joy in what I am doing and where I am in my life. Every day has such purpose. When I think back to the original dream and vision that God gave me of me in Africa surrounded by kids, and look around me to see that that is really my life now, my heart just cries out with thankfulness and absolute awe!
Here I am with some of "my kids":