Today I've concentrated on these tasks:
water situation this past week, my dirty clothes hamper has been pretty full. I've enjoyed a day of being to get it all done.
new album. (Have I mentioned that I really recommend you getting a copy?? It's an amazing album and a great way to spend $10!)
Now it's off to bed as I prepare for church tomorrow. Monday I'll begin working in my classroom with grading and lesson plans. I'm really excited about all these days off!
1) I used to be a super-duper, major Barbie fanatic when I was younger. I had SO many different barbies, ken dolls, barbie clothing, etc. I used to enjoy playing Barbies with my cousin, Jennifer, especially, and we could play for hours!
2) One of my Barbie dolls was a Michael Jackson doll. (I'm also not ashamed to admit that I used to have a serious crush on MJ...back in the Thriller days. I mean, who didn't??) Anyway, the Michael doll was very cool with his red jacket, one white glove, and shiny socks. He had a little stand that helped him stand up and even had a microphone he could carry in his hand. So funny!
While Emily and I were discussing how we each used to have one of these cool Michael dolls, she referred me to her sister's recent blog post celebrating Barbies. I laughed so hard when I read it and it brought so many memories back. If you were also a Barbie-fan, I recommend you checking it out, too, and enjoying a short trip down memory lane. (Even if you missed out on having the cool Michael doll.)
When I visited home in August, Aaron was leading worship one of the Sundays at church. One of the songs we sang and I immediately fell in love with is called, "Found." I was happy I had my video camera with me to tape a little bit of the service, because I was able to tape part of this song and have listened to it several times since then. When I heard Aaron and the band were working on recording a new cd, I was so excited to finally get to own the song!
I dowloaded the album from iTunes this week and it has already been ministering to me. So many beautiful songs! (I am especially enjoying "Found," "Let Your Kingdom Come," "The Name," and "Beautiful Mystery.") If you are looking for new music, this is an album I recommend you checking out.
The problem is that we get our water from town and currently it just isn't coming in. Fortunately we do have places to go in town to fill up large jugs with water to function with. And we've been blessed the last couple of mornings to get a little bit of water overnight, enough for showering at least. I am very thankful for these blessings, but must say that I'll be really thankful when our running water has returned for good.
Here are some pictures of us making do with what we have:
Lone bracing herself for the heavy lift
Ludo preparing to wash dishes
A team effort
Using pool water to flush the toilets
In times like these, we have a saying. "TIA...This is Africa!"
This weekend is significant for several reasons:
- June 20th-Jason, turns 29 today! I'm so proud of him for so many reasons, and I feel extremely blessed to have him as my brother. Thanking God for him today and praying for him as he celebrates his birthday in Iraq. Happy birthday, Jason!! Love you!
- June 20th-Saying good-bye to Wesley. Today is the day my family is gathering to say the final good-byes to my cousin, Wesley, and I hate that I am so far away. Today I am taking time to think of the great memories I have of Wes and praying for all of my family as we continue to cope with this incredible loss. Good-bye sweet Wesley. I'll miss you more than you can imagine.
- June 21st-Father's Day. I've been blessed with the best dad ever. I'm sorry I can't be with him to celebrate, but I send my love and hugs across the miles. I love you, Dad! Happy Father's Day to the best dad a girl could have!
- June 21st-My parents' anniversary. Tomorrow my parents will have been married for an amazing 34 years!! I am so proud of them and praise God for parents who have modeled marriage so well for their kids. No, their marriage is not perfect, but they have mastered the art of loving each other through every season of life and being committed to each other no matter what. Thank you, Mom and Dad! I love you both so much!
Then today I encountered personal sadness. My mom called this afternoon to tell me that my cousin, Wesley, passed away this morning. He was only 24 and leaves behind two beautiful, young daughters. My whole family is really grieving right now and it's hard to be so far away. I am very thankful for the internet and Skype, which help me to feel somewhat connected. My heart is with my family already, so it's nice to be able to talk to them, too.
The Bible tells us that our life is but a vapor; it comes and goes so quickly. I've been especially reminded of that this week and feel encouraged to not take the people in my life for granted and appreciate every day. Life is such a gift. Let's live it well.
- Grocery shopping and checking my mail whenever I want
- Dinners out on my nights off (and a break from hostel food!)
- Meeting up with friends that don't live at the mission
- Getting to pick up a couple of my students for church
- Taking the teens out for milkshakes
- Afternoons at Audi Camp!! (This is my favorite place to go in Maun. Quiet, relaxing environment, good food, and yummy cafe mochas!)
- A way to "escape" when I just need a little bit of time away
Yesterday and today I've been receiving weird looks and stares from the teenagers, along with several questions like, "Miss, what happened to your face??" One of my girls said yesterday she thought my face was just red from taking a nap, but then she said, "I kept looking at you and it wasn't going away!" She also proceeded to tell me a lot of the kids were laughing and making comments in Setswana, trying to figure out what was going on with my face. This, to me, is hilarious!! I have to keep reassuring them that it will go away and my normal color will return...maybe after a little bit of peeling, of course.
I forget what a surprise something like a sunburn can be to those who never experience it. Thank you, sun, for providing new, interesting conversations and fun laughter around our boarding hostel.
At Bible study we were discussing "Guarding Your Mind," and we read through a couple of really good articles addressing this subject. When we were discussing this one and the need to immerse ourselves in the Word of God by daily meditating on what it says and applying it, I shared with them how for many years I woke up every morning and began my day with an hour with the Lord, doing Bible study and praying. During that time in my life, it was so much easier to guard my mind and to have my priorities right, because I was beginning every single day by focusing on Him and filling my mind with Him. It was easier to love others, to be gentle, to walk in peace, to put others first, and to live in joy.
A few years back I went through a really difficult season in my life and began to get off track with the Lord. I began to neglect my daily time with Him and definitely saw the results of that in my daily life. When I reached a point of brokenness, healing began, but I found myself in a new struggle to restore that daily time with the Lord, a struggle that still continues in my life today. How is it that something can be such a natural part of my every day and then end up becoming such a struggle? I don't get it, but that's what has happened.
When I was sharing this with the girls last night, it was like a light went off in my head and heart. It's time for a change. It's time to put my precious time alone with the Lord at the top of my priority list again. It's time to "be still and know that He is God." (Psalm 46:10) It's time to return to my first Love, to fervently seek Him again. In doing this, I expect I will quickly begin to see changes in my life. That's how the Holy Spirit works. Give Him more access to our lives and we will quickly see His fruit increase in us. Galatians 5:22-23
Amazing how God will use even our own words to speak to us. I am pretty sure that out of the twenty of us at Bible study last night, it was the leader who learned the most. I pray that I will be faithful in pursuing Him and this change I'm so hungry for.
I've shared before how much I love my class, what amazing kids they are, and what a joy it is to go to work everyday. I often pinch myself because I just can't believe how blessed I am to have a class like this and to have the opportunity to teach in this kind of environment. Our school is an international school, therefore my class is an international class. I have students from Botswana, Zimbabwe, America, India, and South Africa, and last year also had students from Finland and Poland. It's a beautiful view from my teachers' perspective when I look into the faces of my precious, multi-cultural students.
Being an international school located at a mission brings double the blessings because I also have the freedom to pray with my class and share Biblical truths with them. Along with learning math, language, reading, science, and social studies, my students get to learn about heroes of the faith, godly principles, and Jesus' parables and how they relate to us today. I absolutely LOVE teaching in an evironment like this!
Weekends stay pretty busy for me since I live with the boarders, so I am often feeling kind of run-down on Monday mornings. Yesterday morning as I was walking to my classroom, I saw several of my students waiting outside the door. When they saw me, a bunch of them ran up and hugged me and told me they missed me over the weekend. I just stood there, thanking the Lord that this is what is waiting for me every Monday morning. :)
I haven't shared many pictures lately, so I would like to share several recent shots of these kids I adore so much.
Getting ready for "Sports Day"
I worked at the long jump station: