Well, it’s been almost a month since I stepped out of that plane into the glorious humidity of the Isle of Spice. Wow. It’s hard to believe that! I’ve been through so much, experienced so much, learned so much already–and I’ve got 5 more months to go!
It’s wonderful having a weekly schedule, albeit a rough outline. I like to do things on the fly sometimes, but I also like to have a plan. Here is the basic schedule for a typical week:
Sunday: 3 hours of church in the morning; 2 hours of church in the evening.
Monday: Preschool from about 8:45-2.
Tuesday: Public school (teacher aid and then teaching a guitar class with four boys).
Wednesday: Preschool; stay at the church the rest of the afternoon; sign language class; prayer meeting.
Thursday: Public school.
Friday: Preschool; grocery shopping; either to the apartment, or just back to church, until youth group.
Saturday: soul-winning in the late morning; grab lunch; Bible Club!
In my down time, I communicate with friends and family in the States, work on pictures, hang out with my awesome apartment-mate, read, clean, do laundry or dishes, sometimes cook, and prepare lessons. I am enjoying living “on my own” but with a friend. Kemisha, my apartment-mate, is a true gem. I cannot say enough about her. I had no idea that I was going to have someone living with me; but now I can’t even IMAGINE what it would have been like without her! She makes me laugh, encourages me, is totally honest with me, makes me delicious food, and has helped me understand life in Grenada.
Actually LIVING here for a month has given me a completely different perspective about the country, people, and culture of Grenada. When I’ve been twice before on short-term mission trips with GPA, it was a grand time and God used the trips to touch my heart for the Grenadians; but living here, living, walking, and riding every day with the Grenadian people has opened my eyes in many ways. I’m not above them or around them; I’m one of them. (Just with blue eyes, fluffy hair, and white skin with brown specks [that would be freckles].) I’m not here for a couple days and need to cram in everything that I can; I’m here for 6 months to live and be and do things and take pictures and serve and love. This mindset helps me through the frustrating or difficult times: when my hip is smashed against the metal inside of the bus and the guy next to me smells like B.O. and who knows what else and I’m dripping sweat and the music is horribly worldly…I just remember, I’m a Grenadian now. This is their life. Keeping that in mind, and also remembering to gather details (usually just going through each of the 5 senses), help me fight against self-pity. I cannot be selfish: that is completely against why I am here.
Selflessness is one of the lessons I am learning here, along with fully trusting God in EVERYTHING and being patient. I’m so thankful that even when I mess up and try to figure things out on my own, He still gathers me in His arms and whispers quiet reassurance to my heart.
I have to share something with you that happened last Thursday (last day of February). The previous Wednesday was just awful. I felt down and lonely and upset and selfish most of the day; but when I finally knelt at the altar in the empty sanctuary and poured out my heart to God, that is when I felt peace in spite of my loneliness, and comfort in spite of my sadness. I asked God that evening to give me some kind of breakthrough. I didn’t say when, how, or what I meant; that was all I asked. The very next morning I was sitting alone at breakfast reading my Bible. I went to some of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 29:11-13; but after reading them, I realized I had never read the verses BEFORE those. You know, it’s so popular to quote “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Buttttttttt what happened before those verses to make God say that to His people? Well, I started in verse 1 and read the entire chapter…and God could not have spoken more clearly to me from that scripture unless He had been sitting right next to me. The first 14 verses specifically are God’s letter to his chosen people who are in captivity (again) this time in Babylon. In verses 4-7, God says this:
4 Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;
5 Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;
6 Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.
7 And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.
God was telling them that, even though their situation seemed pretty low and disappointing right now, He wanted them to
T H R I V E.
WOW. And that’s not all! In verse 10, God promises them that it’s temporary! He says that after 70 years, He will visit them, and perform His good word toward them, and cause them to return home. So even though it was temporary, just a season of their lives although it probably felt like forever–God wanted them to LIVE and THRIVE there in a foreign place.
I was mind-blown. I sat at the table and wept and got goosebumps and all that. It was so awesome. I said, “Alright, Lord. I get it. You want me to stop thinking about home and everything I miss, and worrying about what it will be like when I get back; and You want me to live in the here and now, however long or short this season is.”
The more I get to know my Bible, the more I learn about and love my Lord and my Redeemer. Frequently I find myself saying, “Why didn’t I read His Word like this before? Look at the blessings I’ve been missing out on!” God wants us to know Him in an intimate way. I could do a whole other blog post on “yada” in the Bible but I won’t get into that now. But, just know that God wants every one of us to pursue Him, chase after Him and His will. Not just the missionaries or the ministry workers or the pastor’s kids or the Bible teachers or choir members. Every one of us that has been adopted as His beloved child, He wants to have a real, existing, growing, intimate relationship with.
Well, that’s all for now. This is just some stuff that has been on my heart this past week. Please pray for Maranatha Baptist Church, that it would grow and the various ministries would grow as well: with staff and with children/people attending. I would appreciate if you continue praying for me as well. I can feel the prayers of God’s people–no joke. The other day when I asked for prayer, I could just tell that Christians were bringing me to God in prayer, and that means more to me than you can imagine. Thank you for all the love and encouragement! ❤