Thank you for any prayers you offered up after my last post. God is so faithful!! I am very excited to report on many blessings and answered prayers!
1. One of the things burdening my heart the most after the kids returned was not having the time to invest in the new friendships that God has given me here. My heart was aching that after spending a month building those new relationships and investing in their lives that I was now having to kind of put those relationships on the back burner as I focused primarily on the kids again. Even the wonderful domino nights that I'd come to love seemed to be over because of needing to be on duty with the boarders. Well, God has provided in wonderful ways in this area! First of all, He's helped me make the best use of my time so that when I have an hour or two free, I am able to spend some time at the offices, keeping communication going with my new friends. I've also begun taking a night off each week so that I can go out for dinner or just have "hang out time" with other adults. Then a HUGE blessing is that we have four summer interns here helping out at the mission. One of their jobs will be to cover for us at the hostel every Saturday night for three hours so that we can continue with our domino fellowship nights! I can't tell you how wonderful this is and what an answer to prayer!!
2. With God answering prayers concerning friendships, He's also opened up time and opportunities for me to spend time with the kids and really enjoy my time with them. I've been able to have some wonderful chats with both the girls and the boys and have been so encouraged with the spiritual growth going on with them. I think a great foundation was laid with the teens last term and it seems that God is really deepening those relationships now. It truly feels like a huge family, which I love!
3. Have I mentioned lately how much I LOVE having a vehicle?? It's wonderful!! I love being able to make a quick trip into town whenever I want to buy groceries, go to the post office, or just get out for a bit. And a fun new ministry/serving opportunity that has come up is a little "taxi ministry". Every day from 5-5:30 I go to the offices and give rides to people who are heading home. When you leave the mission offices, you have to walk a long dirt road to get to the main road. The walk can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes and leave you really dusty! I know that God did not bless me with this vehicle just for me and I don't think there is any reason for anyone to walk that road when there are vehicles here that can drive them. So, I gladly make myself available each day to make a couple trips down to the main road. It's really one of my favorite times of the day because not only am I able to bless others, I am doubly blessed in return because I am getting to know so many new people and getting even more fellowship time!
4. Other various blessings include my cat, "Princess" who I just love having! She stays in my room and goes in and out the window as she needs to go outside. She is such a sweet kitty and a wonderful little companion to have here. Also, my healthy eating/exercise routine continues to go well and I feel great! Having the ability to go to the grocery store whenever I need to has given me the freedom to have more salads and healthy foods again, which I've really missed since being here. I've also found a way to go jogging/walking a few times a week and have an aerobics night with the girls once a week. I just pray that now I continue to stay motivated and disciplined!
Finally, I am very excited at the opportunity to teach the guys here about American football. :) They have been working hard to teach me about soccer and I've spent a lot of time watching the big matches on tv with them. Well, I ordered the 2006 College Football National Championshp game on dvd and have a date with the boys to watch the game together and explain American football to them. We're all really excited and love getting the chance to teach each other. Plus, I get to watch some football! (Something else I've been missing.)
Thank you again for your prayers. As you can see, God has been answering! I continue to find myself amazed daily that I am able to be here, living here, serving God in this way. And can you believe I've already been here six months now?? Crazy! Thanks so much for walking this journey out with me!
P.S. Congratulations to my brother, Jason, and his new wife, Kristin. I was extremely sad to miss their wedding last weekend and Saturday was a pretty rough day for me. I hear the wedding was beautiful, though, and I have really enjoyed seeing the pictures. I love you guys and am so excited for you both!