September 24, 2011

Great is Thy Faithfulness

Teaching makes it easy to feel like a hypocrite sometimes. You know, “do as I say, kids, not as I do?” This week was my turn to plan elementary chapel. Our chapel theme for this year is the Fruit of the Spirit, and our fruit to talk about was Joy. So this week in Bible class we talked about Joy, and sang about Joy, and planned our chapel about Joy. As we learned it in class, we can have joy all the time because Jesus is in our hearts.

But sometimes I would rather complain and not embrace the joy in my heart.

Person A and Person B walked out of their house one morning…into the rain…again. Person A said to Person B, “You know, one of these days I would just like to walk outside, not into rain, and into some warm sunshine.” Person B said, “That’s a terrible thing to say!” And Person A said, “Why is that so bad to ask for?” Person B said, “Because God blessed you with the opportunity to walk outside this morning.”

Person A was me. And Person B was Collin.

But this morning I can’t help but feel overwhelmed with joy. My cup over-floweth. I woke up this morning at about 5:45, my mind going hundreds of miles an hour, thinking about the following:

1. School felt busy this week. Maybe it wasn’t that much busier than usual, but after a vacation weekend normal life feels a little more hectic. 

2. We were feeling a little discouraged. Sometimes being here feels like it’s just a job more than it is a home. Our lives seem to revolve around school, and not much else.  

And then Friday happened.

3. The school day came and went. I was tired from the busy week. We had to walk home in the pouring rain again. It was a night where I just felt like curling up, staying home, and watching a movie. But we had plans to go to one of my students’ homes for dinner. That is me complaining.

But God is faithful, and He knew exactly what we needed.

We were told we would get picked up at 5:30pm for dinner, so naturally we didn’t even walk outside to wait until at least 5:45. We are quickly learning how to calculate Guatemalan time. While we were waiting, two kids strolled up with a wheel barrel full of fruit, platanos, green oranges, and papayas. They were a brother and sister, 12 and 10 years old. They walk up and down the streets everyday trying to make money for their family.

We struck up a conversation with them as best as we could with our Spanish, and what a delight they were! Here they were walking through the rain, working on a Friday night, laughing and cracking jokes about us and with us. I really hope we get to see them again. Their energy and joy was contagious.

4. And then our ride came for dinner. I will honestly say that I was nervous about these dinner plans. Our Spanish is basic, and as far as I knew my first grader was the only one who spoke English in their family.  What would we talk about? How would we relate?  

They drove all the way across town to pick us up, through traffic and hundreds of potholes. When we arrived, they welcomed us into their home, which was magnificently beautiful. The father is an engineer. We sat down right away in their sitting room. When you go to a Guatemalan’s home for dinner, they may not even start cooking until you arrive, which was true for this event as well. So we sat and talked in a mixture of Spanish and English. It turns out that the Father and the older son speak a little English.

Then we moved from sitting room to dining room, which was set with an amazing feast of special Xela burritos, salad, and bread, after which we had the option of two desserts. And might I add that dessert is not a common thing around here, it is reserved for special occasions, like holidays. They prayed a blessing over us before eating, for God to bless our health: physical, emotional, and spiritual. They showered us with kind words, thanking us for our work at school and for being willing to come here. And then they drove us home, all the way across town again, right up to our front door.

What a blessing it was. What a gift from God to experience another family dinner with another wonderful Guatemalan family. Their kindness and respect filled us right up and made us feel more at home.

And now it is Saturday morning, a day of rest, right before another day of rest. Great is Thy faithfulness. He knows exactly what we need.

Grace and Peace,

Ps. Every week my first graders learn a new Bible memory verse. One of my favorite moments about being a teacher is listening to them recite their Bible memory. The faith of children is so pure and refreshing sometimes. This week we learned Psalm 66:1-3, which reminds us that we can have joy in our hearts because God is awesome!

The rainbow we saw after the rain. God's promises are forever.