Hello everyone. 🙂
God is my helper, you know. I have to constantly come back to that and trust him. Jesus said in John 6 and 7 that he was going to send a new helper to be with the disciples, and that helper is still with the followers of Christ today. I am glad to have his help.
Planning for classes is incredibly hard for me. But I am gathering resources, and people are very helpful. Looking at my backpack or at my school stuff makes me tense up, but I have decided to trust that God will continue to help me. He has always been faithful, and he will be again.
- Please pray that I have good ideas for class activities.
- Please pray that my co-workers and bosses believe in me as a teacher and that they would be willing to let me do more activities than making the kids memorize sentences they cannot even read yet.
- Please pray for my comprehension of grammar rules for the 6th graders, and that I would have the tongue from God to be able to explain them.
I cry often because it is difficult. But God immediately sends me peace and comfort. This comes in the form of the Bible, in people praying for me, in my roommates giving me back rubs, in singing, in smiles from random strangers who break out of the social norm and return an acknowledgement, in giving me Tuesdays off and no work on weekends, in giving me a super incredibly fantastically encouraging and helpful co-teacher in my 6th grade class, and in the weather being nice for the last few weeks so I can see the sun.
Sing to the Lord!
I travel about 45 minutes both ways to get to my job and home again, and during this time, I try to read the Bible as much as I can, pray, or sing. That is the single most effective way I have found to safeguard against anxiety and sadness (homesickness, stress, discouragement from teaching), because they are a presence right now. Singing. I sing when I walk down the street, I sing on the bus, I sing on the MRT and people give me weird sidelong glances… I love the comfort that comes from praising God. It’s some kind of wonderful! 🙂
I never thought it would be this hard, but I guess I never thought too hard about it. I mean, what was I expecting? I was a music major, for Saint Pete’s sake! I have no training for this!
But God is the best trainer. And he knows just what I need.
For instance, let me tell you a story about something that happened to me this last Monday night:
Mondays are a little weird because the Aroma is not open, but it has been the night when I want to practice piano the most for the last month. (Probably because I am off on Tuesdays and do not have to think about lesson planning just yet.) But, since The Aroma Cafe is not open Mondays, I have not been able to get in.
However, this Monday, God was gracious, and Chris O’Dell (coffee shop owner and pastor of the Aroma Church which meets at the Cafe) was able to open the shop for me. I got to practice for about two hours, and it was wonderful. But I was also exhausted and very very very sad, so I prayed to God that he would provide someone to pray with me.
Chris came to lock up the shop again around 10, and I asked if his wife Jamie was up. He said that I could go and see, and she did happen to be awake yet. She prayed for me, listened to my woes about work and missing piano and blah de blah, and even rubbed my shoulders for me. She has been a real angel!
- Please pray for Jamie O’Dell and for Chris too. Pray for Jamie as she mentors me and any others who would ask her to in the future. Pray for her baby on the way, and for her to be able to have enough study time for an online class she is taking.
- Please pray for unity within the church here.
- Please pray that the O’Dells would feel refreshed by God every week, and that they would be able to withstand the enemy and the pressures of having leadership over Envision, the Cafe, and the Church.
- Praise God with me! Praise him for Jamie and Chris, who are so supportive and kind. Praise him for a keyboard at the Aroma to play.
So, the real fun started when I had to go, actually. The O’Dells had a visitor staying with them named Emily, and she said that God had given her a vision while she had been getting ready for bed.
She saw a rubber band stretched to the limit, and said that God showed her that I am that rubber band. She said that I am being stretched to the point where if you stretch the rubber any more, it will just snap, right? But then God said, “Jai-O” to me, which is a funny little Mandarin expression that literally translates as, “add oil.” (There is even a gas station named that, apparently.) It means, “go for it!” “you can do it!” “I believe in you!”
God said that every time I get to that breaking point, he will “Jai-O” me, and add oil to make the rubber band stretch even farther than thought possible. At just the end of my strength, he will add more, and keep me going. Because then it will be obvious that He is doing this, and not me. That is exactly what I needed to hear that night, and so God “Jai-Oed” me and made me stronger. Standing there in Jamie’s kitchen, I felt strangely comforted and grateful.
You know, I have said before that I love God. I have said it to him, “I love you, God.” But it was more of something where I said it because it was the thing to say, because I generally felt that he is good to me and that he loves me. But now I say, with full confidence that he is here with me and loves me, “I love you, God!” And it is a genuine love. I have been praying to know this love for years. I guess it just takes some things like this (for me, at least) to understand how to love God for real. It feels good.
Right now it is 1:30 in the morning, so I need to go to bed, but I have one more thing to tell you:
I decided to take a Sabbath rest today, and I have not done any school planning at all. I felt a little tense and fearful, and like I needed to take this time to plan, and like What are you doing? But then I realized that was from the devil. God has given us the day of rest for a reason, so I decided to use that today. I look forward to seeing how he provides time and ideas for me this week. I got to play piano, take a nap, sleep in, and help out with some kids from a school at the park today. And I got to see a movie and listen to a podcast of a sermon online. I cried because I miss my family, but God immediately gave me peace, and led me to a newsletter from another missionary about the need for Bibles in Myanmar, which brought me back to the right perspective. Jesus said to pray for workers to bring in the harvest. Who am I to say I do not want to bring in the harvest? God’s gift must be declared to the world.
Keep the Faith!
Don’t turn back!