Well, it has been 14 days since I stepped off that plane into the glorious humidity of Grenada, West Indies. What a crazy, up-and-down week and a half it has been.
I have so much I want to tell you all that I don’t even know where to begin. To say that my new life is completely, absolutely, and utterly different than my life in little ol’ Conowingo is an understatement. I experienced a bit of a culture shock during the past two weeks. But now, walking within a foot of moving vehicles (or riding within a foot of walkers); taking 40 minutes to get somewhere that should only take 15-20 minutes; riding in two different vans (most days) that are crowded with strangers; greeting every.single.person whether you know them or not with “morning,” “afternoon,” or “good night;” and running on <6 hours of sleep every night is normal. The accent doesn’t seem as strong now; in fact, I’ve been told I’m starting to sound Grenadian. Americans are revered and yet get blamed for a lot (i.e. legalizing homosexuality and banning physical punishment in schools). Strangers reach out and touch my hair, or gape at my blue eyes.
I LOVE IT.
Don’t get me wrong: I have had my share of meltdowns and homesickness, as I knew I would. But God continues to bless in spite of me, and He has taught me so much in just the short time that I have been here so far.
Well, let me give you a basic rundown. Last week was mostly getting settled in. Wednesday I went into town with Pastor Denis (to whom we affectionately refer as Pas) to go to the bank and get a cheap phone I can put minutes on, for local and international calls. I rested and unpacked, and then went to the prayer meeting that night. Thursday, I went to the preschool/daycare at which I had been planning to work, and it was not at all what I expected. I left early due to sickness that suddenly made an appearance (not sick myself; two of the children were violently vomiting), and went back to my apartment confused and distressed. Well, after chatting with my roommate that night, we decided that maybe I could try the preschool/Christian school at the church that is trying to vamp back up, of which my roommate, Kemisha, is actually the director. We asked Pas if it was alright, and the next day I went to work with Kemisha. It was grand. There are four little girls: two 4, two 3; and one boy she personally teaches who is 10. It was more relaxed, and I have better opportunity to teach. That night we went to an open-air “crusade” (special service; usually a revival) out in the country. And by open-air, I mean we were on the ruins of an old building on the side of a hill, setting up loudspeakers and mics and a keyboard. It was awesome. The next day, as we do every Saturday, we went soul-winning: and by soul-winning, I mean not just handing out a tract, not just handing out a John&Romans, but presenting the Gospel right there on their porch or on the curb and encouraging them to make a decision for Christ right then and there. Afterward we grabbed lunch and then headed to the church for Bible Club! It was quite low in number so all the classes just stayed together, and we dismissed early. Sunday was a challenge, as I sat in the service and missed my church family; but it was a good day in the Lord’s house. I sang a duet with one of my new friends, to one of my favorite songs: “Complete in Thee.” That night our church held its first night of open-air crusade for that week, in the community in which we went soul-winning the previous day. I sang a duet with Kemisha, and one of the young men gave a clear Gospel message. Monday and Tuesday I went to work with Kemisha and then we went to the crusade. I sang a solo another night, and the Gospel was always clearly proclaimed. I believe several locals made professions of faith. Please pray that they would be discipled and grow! Wednesday was a long, tiring day. After work we thought the new sign language class was starting so we stayed all day; but as it turned out it is not starting until March. Although I was exhausted that night, the prayer meeting was a blessing. Thursday was a lovely day of work and relaxing. Friday was exciting! We went to work like usual; Pas picked us up to go to the “American” grocery store; and then back to the church for youth meeting, which they have every Friday night (unless there is a crusade). The meeting that night was unfortunately low in number; just a few of us college-and-career folks were there. But we had a time of prayer, and as one of the young men gave a devotion more young people trickled in. Saturday was soul-winning in the same area, but there were more of us so we were able to spread out; and then Bible Club! I got to teach this time, and it was great telling the 3- through 5-year-olds about how David wasn’t afraid of Goliath because God was with him. Sunday was the last Sunday of the month, and therefore Youth Sunday AND prayer and fast. (Prayer and fast is when we don’t eat anything all day until the time of prayer ends at 3.) Young adults led the music, gave announcements, read a poem, and preached. And this young adult sang a solo with her guitar! After a powerful message titled, “What Are You Doing with Your Life?”, I was privileged to lead a young lady to the Lord! Please pray for Celine that she would grow in Christ and be a tremendous witness of Him. Afterward, we took a break to fellowship and relax before coming back together in the sanctuary to pray. First we prayed separately, each person in their own place; and, after a time of singing and a short message about prayer and thanks, we all gathered at the alter to pray together. It was a wonderful time. The pastor’s wife, Sister Pinky, had Kemisha and I over for dinner; and we relaxed that evening at our apartment since there was no evening service. I gave her a foot massage (don’t think I’m a great roommate–that is little compensation for all the meals she makes for us!), and we sat and talked for two hours. I got to Skype with my family that night as well, so that was a blessing.
Today was a rough day. After a wonderful weekend, the devil really attacked me today. However, I am so thankful for the blood of Christ that I can claim, and nothing, not even the devil, can come through it! I am learning every day to rely on God more and more. It isn’t always easy, and often I want to give up; but I keep reminding myself that my sufficiency is not in myself, but in God (2 Cor. 3:5).
A huge thank-you to everyone who is praying for me, and sends me messages, and asks about me. It all truly means so much to me. I will try to write more often. This week will hopefully set the pace for a weekly routine, and I will be able to devote more time to blogging. Thanks for all the love!