I'm so sorry that I have not updated my blog sooner. I was quite sick this past week and before that I was just super busy. The week before last, I was working long hours trying to get the Keans into their new house and trying to help them get set up. I was so tired at the end of every day that I just dropped into bed.
This past week was not filled with anything very interesting because I was sick. I did, however, make a budget for the Keans guest house where I am currently staying. I am so blessed that they are not charging these fees to me. The money that I have been budgeting, has been for the coming teams who will be staying with me over the next couple of months. I am unsure of how it will all work out, but if God has taught me one thing since I've been here, it is that I do not need to know, because He does. Because I was sick, I had more time to spend in prayer. It is surprising to me how all resolve to be strong and self-sufficient, goes right out the window when one is sick. It is not the relying on God to make me well when He sees fit, but having to rely on other people that I have a difficult time with. I have definitely been working with our LORD on this one, this past week.
The week before this past one, I was helping to prepare some children for boarding school. At home, boarding school is not a regular thing. In fact I don't think I know even one person who has been to boarding school. High school is usually boarding school here. These were young children, however, who are from the Marurui slum. In a boarding school, they have access to an Education that is not interrupted by excuses of unwashed uniforms or by hungry tummies. In boarding school, they each have their own bed and three meals every day. They will be taught from a Christian perspective. All of these things do not make it easy to leave your home and family, though. It was an emotional day when we brought them to the school.
When I went back to visit them at the end of the week, I was told that most were really enjoying it. One boy even cried when he was told that the students would have to go home at mid-term. I was told that this boy cried because he really liked eating food and there was a lot at the school. As funny as this seemed to everyone else, I couldn't really laugh along with them. To think that this school is where he wants to stay because he has food, tells of his home situation. Most of these children are in poor health and are malnourished because of their home life. I almost cried when I saw the school conditions compared to their home life.
During this same week, I had the opportunity to go to the Marurui branch of Jacaranda Kids school. I am teaching under another teacher, but on my first day, she stepped out to talk to Brenda Kean and left me in charge of the children. I though that perhaps they would be gone for 20 minutes at most. Twenty minutes turned to two and a half hours. I did not know what these kids were learning or where their books were or what they could understand. They took advantage of the language barrier and were kind of unruly, but we made it through. I went through their alphabet and asked them to point out some things and tell me what the word started with. We also did math. and then there was outside game time. Every time I would crouch down to speak to one of the children or to see if they were alright when they had fallen or been pushed, five other children would try to climb on my back. I finally learned (after it happened twice) that I should just not do that. The inability to communicate cause confusion at some times, but we made it and I'm still alive to tell the tale.
These children and those in the nursery, are usually hungry when they come to school and by standards at home, would be classified as not well cared for. The really young children do not have diapers, and are just left to soil their bottoms. Their parents either don't have diapers or don't worry about changing them. None of the children are a healthy weight and size for their ages. And none of them come to school smelling like Lemon Verbena. There is a pure kind of love required that really shows what a person is made of. Are you going to hold your nose while you teach, because of the smell, or refuse to pick up a crying child because they have wet their self? These children need love and caring more than most, but you'll never see them for the gems they are if you focus on the outward things.
I have also been doing Sunday school, which I feel is going really well. The first couple of Sundays were a challenge and we're still trying to smooth out the wrinkles. I am working with the children's pastor, Giffan, to teach the kids. It has been difficult to communicate with him and I haven't been sure if, on any given Sunday, he might not show up. I feel that the kids are learning and that I am fulfilling God's purpose for me in this Church.
I can't believe I've been here for pretty much one month. My time here is already 1/3 past. As I was telling Brenda Kean,when she apologized for not making more time for me to go out and minister to the sewing ladies, all that I do is ministry. Whether it be sharing the gospel or setting up a house. I am feeling more settled and have been extremely blessed by those I have met here. I am still missing everyone at home, especially the kids, when I think about the similarities and differences between them and the children here.
I hope peace is in your hearts as you read this. I love hearing from you guys, so feel free to email me if you have the time.
Until next time,