This past week, the staff at my school has been in teachers' in-service, which is like a week of pre-planning. But the refreshing difference is that we start each morning with a devotional and prayer. This time has allowed me to focus each morning on what I am here for; I have time to consider what my purpose is as a teacher of 4th and 5th graders. I have been thoroughly encouraged by the thoughts and transparency of my fellow staff members. It is truly an honor to be here and to learn from so many people.
On the other hand, the enemy has been whispering so many lies of inadequacy and doubt into my mind, despite the peace that the Lord has given me. I think about all that I have working "against" me:
- I have never taught a class of my own, and oh wait, I am teaching two grades.
- I am "alone" in this journey; I don't have a husband by my side.
- I went to a secular institution and am a product of the public school; I don't know much about Christian education.
- I am neither a gringa (white girl) nor a Mexican; I look a little different than most around here.
Yes, I have never taught a class of my own, and I haven't taught two grades. But what an amazing opportunity to get my feet wet and truly love on and pour into 10 beautiful wonderful children! Yes, I am unmarried. But so were many brave, strong, and courageous women who changed the world. (Not that I am claiming to be any of those adjectives.) Mother Teresa didn't have a husband and look at what she did! Yes, I am a product of the American public school system, and I am proud of it! So much of what I learned through my experiences at school and with my peers has prepared me for what I am doing here. And finally, I may look a little different, but I honestly don't feel like a anomaly until people stare at me in Subway or at VBS. I was a little overwhelmed when I went to Wal-Mart last night because people stared left and right. But that's okay.
I am here because God sent me here. And while this transition time is somewhat uncomfortable, it is so worth it. Even when things are hard, I am stubborn, ungrateful, or inattentive to His goodness, He continues to be faithful. Yet I am completely undeserving. There's nothing like knowing without a shadow of a doubt that you are where you are supposed to be. It makes the tears, worries, fears, hard work, phone calls, letters, meetings, and 17 years of education fully worth it.
All I can say about the people here is that they are a blessing. Each and every one of them in their own way. The other missionaries have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome. I have enjoyed dinners in people's homes, advice from veterans, and funny anecdotes. Some of the teachers' kids (including one of my 5th graders) have been helping me get my classroom set up, and they have such beautiful little servants' hearts. It makes all the more excited to meet the rest of my kiddos on Monday. I can hardly wait.
This whole week, the Holy Spirit keeps on allowing this verse to replay in my head, over and over again:
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
-2 Corinthians 12:9
My purpose here is to give glory to God in my weakness. Isn't that supposed to be my purpose wherever I am? Absolutely cannot wait to love the mess out of my kids. This year is going to be incredible; I can feel it.
Home sweet home in Chihuahua
Kids listening at VBS; there were 95 kids in attendance last night!