August 23, 2011

The Right Place at the Right Time

This past Sunday we returned to the church, Palabra en Acción (Word in Action.) The singing, the praying, and the preaching was once again very passionate. The sermon was based on the book of Esther. The pastor brought up the point that God had created Esther exactly the person He wanted her to be, and had placed her in exactly the right place, at exactly the right time, to save her people from certain destruction. Out of fear, Esther did not go to her husband, the king, right away on behalf of her people. Yet her uncle Mordecai warned her: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14).

I love the story of Esther, and I loved this particular sermon. It’s true, that God made us exactly who He wanted us to be. It’s true that He placed us and guides us on this earth to exactly where He wants us to go. It’s true that he puts us in our predestined places at exactly the right time. There are times where I have wondered how in the world we ended up in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. But I have to believe that God made us exactly who He wanted us to be, He sent us exactly where He wanted us to go, and He did it all at just the right time. And just like Uncle Mordecai told Esther, if we decide to not follow God’s will, He will use find others to do the job. If we had decided not to follow God’s lead to Guatemala, He would have found some other crazy people to hire as teachers at this school. I mean, we all know how scarce teaching jobs are. But how crazy and exciting is it to be a part of God’s work, and to go where He sends you? Even though we aren’t even sure how yet, God made us the right people, He put us in the right place, at just the right time.

And the past week was wonderful, without many dull moments, making us feel like we were in the right place at the right time…

1. Birthdays are a big deal here. A huge deal, actually. Almost every morning we hear fireworks at 5am celebrating some citizen's birthday. But on Saturday we went to a birthday party for one of my students. This “Hanna Montana” themed party took place at “Magic Land,” and consisted of loud music, extremely good nachos, yummy chocolate cake, two colossal piñatas full of candy, and a lot of cute kids hyped up on sugar. I even got to swing at the piñata a few times. Awesome.

2. Transportation is crazy here. We often ride around in a large, very old and rickety 15-passenger van, called a microbus (pronounced, meecro-buse). These 15-passenger vans turn into 25-passenger vans in a hurry. People are sitting on laps, crouching on the floor, or literally hanging outside of the bus, as Collin got to experience this weekend. Yes, the van door was open, we were traveling down the road at normal speeds, and Collin was hanging out the side of the bus. But seriously, these things get packed with people. Between the bumps of the road and my long knees pounding into the passengers in front of me, I practically give out a free Chinese shih-tzu massage every time I climb into one of these things. All of the safety rules we grew up with – seatbelts, car seats, “door ajar” alarms, and car maximum-capacity rules – have literally been thrown out the window. They simply do not apply here.

3. Speaking of safety on the road…apparently one of the high schools was having a pageant this weekend. As we were traveling in one of the local microbuses to the grocery store, we ran into one of the daily local parades. This time it was a line of cars and trucks, all decorated with balloons and streamers, and all hosting the throne of one of the pageant queens on top of the car! Remember the “Beverly Hillbillies,” with Granny’s rocking chair strapped to the top of their vehicle? Yes. But more glitter.

4. And my students are still pretty cute. The other day we were practicing words that help us compare and contrast each other. I wanted to show an example, so I asked one of my students to stand next to me. I asked him, “How are we different?” He looked up at me, not noticing that he barely reaches my waist, that he has feet one third the size of mine, or that he is a boy and I’m a girl, and says: “You are smarter than me.” Thank you. “A” for the day. And then today in Bible class, we were talking about how God gave Adam a wife. One of my students raised her hand and said, “What is a wife?” I decided to check my students’ understanding and asked, “Class, what is a wife?” One of my students raised his hand and said, “You know…like when you have a son and a dad…so then you need a wife!” Apparently they are still not sure what came first, the chicken or the egg?

5. Today was an Open House for school, where parents come in and can see their students’ classroom, talk to their teacher, and attend the first PTA meeting. I had the pleasure of meeting most of the parents of my students. It was really great to meet them and connect the kids to the families they belong to. It was also a test of my Spanish skills. I think I did okay, but while talking to one of the dad’s, I attempted to tell him in Spanish that my husband and I are learning Spanish, but that I had a little more experience with Spanish than Collin did. Without missing a beat he told me, “It’s okay, girls talk way more anyways.”

As we get deeper into the school year, we are feeling blessed with the opportunity to work and the wonderful people God has surrounded us with.

The right person, in the right place, at the right time.

Grace and Peace,

Prayer Requests:
1. Upcoming election in September
2. A huge thanks that we have not gotten sick yet. I am convinced our horrible fast food and greasy diets in the States has prepared our stomachs for life here. So, before you come to visit, eat an extra cheeseburger. You won’t regret it.