So this weekend, I had some fun plans with another teacher who was going to take me along on an adventure, but she wasn't feeling well and really needed to get some rest. I was really looking forward to our adventure, (which has been postponed; I'll tell you about it when it comes. I know you are on the edge of your seat.) but I also really needed to rest. My kids are wonderful and I really enjoy teaching. But it is so. exhausting. The first couple days my feet were killing me because I was not used to standing for eight hours, and then my throat was kind of hurting towards the end of the week. But God is faithful and because my little adventure was postponed, I feel much better as a result of lots of rest.
So anyways, I thought I would take this chance to tell you about some of the amazing cuisine I have enjoyed here. If you know me somewhat well, you know that I love to eat. I am not picky; I like trying new things and finding new favorites. My wonderful roommate, Tanya, took me to lunch on Saturday so that I could get out of the house, and we went to a place called "Tortas Piolin." It was so. good. A torta is a type of sandwich here. It was amazingly delicious. I got a chicken torta. The picture below looks almost exactly what I ordered, but my meat was shredded. And I got yummy fries, too. :)
Then, on Sunday, I went to my first carne asada after church. A carne asada is somewhat equivalent to a cookout in the States. Everyone brings their own meat and then they grill it. The hosts of our carne asada had purchased my meat for me, which was some deliciously marinated steak. It was scrumptious. The picture below is pretty much what my taco with carne asada looked like, except instead of slices of avocado, I had amazingly wonderful homemade guacamole. Mmmmmm!!!
Oh, the things you take for granted in the States. Here the ice cream is not quite the same, so yesterday Tanya and I went to a place called Supercoldy to buy ice cream to bring to the carne asada. The ice cream was delicious and cheap; I got a cone for a little more than a dollar! Move over, overpriced Ben and Jerry's and Bruster's!
So this post was not super spiritual; I wanted you all to see some of the fun everyday things that I am experiencing, too. I have not been sleeping super well, but praise be to God because He constantly multiplies my energy throughout the day and I am able to keep up with my 10 students. He is so faithful, whether He provides a wonderful opportunity for food and fellowship with neighbors (as He did tonight) or a great day at school (as He did today).
Always remember His promises, friends. They far outweigh the things we see as "problems."
This is somewhat delayed, and I sincerely apologize. I felt as though a thank you was in order to those who helped get me here. There are so many people who have been a part of my life in various seasons. I owe each of you so much, and I honestly have no idea how to express my gratitude. The last month before coming here was pretty intense, and I am so grateful for all of the prayers, encouraging notes, texts, and phone calls I received in my last days in the States. Thank you for standing beside me and choosing to believe in a God who is always more than enough.
This post is a little lengthy, but so necessary.
Thank you, Daddy and Mommy, for believing in me and entrusting me to the Lord's care. I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing without parents like you.
Thank you, Kai and Lyndsey, for laughing with me, praying with and for me, and keeping me sane through these crazy times.
Thank you, Erica and Ali, for laughing and reminiscing with me. And many thanks for adopting Lauren and I into Pebbletech. ;)
Thank you, Miss Carol, for loving me and teaching me through prayer and God's word. Thank you for allowing the Lord to use you to speak truth into my life through His discernment.
Thank you, Cort and Teresa, for loving me through the messy times.
Thank you, Whitehead family, for giving me so much great babysitting experience. And for being awesome, great, fun, wonderful...all of those positive adjectives. Especially you, Kelly. ;)
Thank you, Katie, for being a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. And for giving me so much to laugh at for the past 4 years. And for so many road trips. And for being you.
Thank you, Honey and Eugene, for your prayers and wonderful godly example.
Thank you, Kristen, for speaking (and sometimes singing) truth into my life over and over and over again. You are too beautiful for words.
And last but not least, thank you to my sister, Lauren. You see, she probably thinks that I have forgotten about her and didn't want to thank for anything. But she's wrong. Thank you, Lauren, for watching movies with me late at night, for singing West Side Story tunes at the top of your lungs with me when we're the only ones at home, for crying with me, for laughing with me (and at me), for going to Target two times in one day with me, for introducing me to Yogli Mogli, and for being you. God's got some pretty amazing things in store for you...just wait and see, because it's going to be good.
When Brothers Dwell in Unity
A Song of Ascents. Of David.
1Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! 2It is like the preciousoil onthe head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down onthe collar of his robes! 3It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.
I've been awake since 6 this morning, so bear with me; this could be very random. But somewhat inspirational? Anyways...
1. Even teachers make mistakes...in my tiredness yesterday, I wrote "Welcom back to school.-Love, Miss Miller" on my chalkboard. And I love spelling! 2. My kids are awesome! 3. I met one of my student's moms today; the family is from Colombia. We had a good conversation in Spanish. :) 4. My kids are all bragging about how they don't have to "do work" because we are waiting to get into the textbooks until next week...but they were somehow excited to do the manual labor of beginning to organize our extensive classroom library. 5. My kids are creative! 6. Everyone here is so nice; have I mentioned that? 7. Our house is slowly but surely beginning to look more like a home! 8. My kids are sweet! 9. My sister will be 19 tomorrow! (That doesn't really have anything to do with the first day of school, but oh well...) 10. I am blessed beyond measure with wonderful family and friends back in the States; not so sure what I would do without all of you.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:19-20
Dear friends. This past week has been so crazy. I have been thinking about how to tell you all about what the Lord has been doing and all that I have been learning, and I honestly have no idea how to condense it all. Bear with me...
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.
So I take a look at those things that are supposed to knock me down, and I say, who cares? I have the God of the universe on my side. He told me to come here and made a way for me to be here. He has provided for me in myriad ways. He has given me a new song to sing!
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!
Finally! I arrived in Mexico on Tuesday evening after a long day of traveling by plane and car. Since then my life has been a whirlwind of meeting, greeting, eating, and setting up my classroom. It is hard to figure out what to write and tell about these past four days. I can say with confidence that I know God has me here for a reason. I know that this is where He wants me. I have met one of my students, and she is a dear girl. From what many people have told me, teaching here on the field is a dream because the children are well-behaved, and I have the freedom to talk about the Lord in my classroom. That in itself is a dream come true!
I haven't seen much of the city except for when we drove down from El Paso on Tuesday. Chihuahua is a huge city. Like almost a million people huge. And what I noticed as I flew into Texas on Tuesday was the vastness of the land. The land is so flat and widespread. It was like we flew over a whole bunch of nothing and then suddenly, there was a town. The city is widespread and surrounded by mountains. I've been told several times that this is the rainy season (even though we are in the desert) and that the green I am seeing will not last long. :( When I got into El Paso, a younger missionary couple picked me up and we made the drive down to Chihuahua. (Don't worry, we avoided Juarez.) They have only been on the field for a year, so they are pretty familiar with being the new kids on the block. We had a great time getting to know each other and I learned a lot about what it will be like to live here and teach at my school. The ride was not bad at all, and crossing the border was not nearly as scary as I expected. All of the military personnel just looked at me and stared a little longer since they aren't used to seeing my kind around. :) I just loved looking at the countryside and taking in all of the sites!
Everyone here has been extremely encouraging and kind. They are all excited that I am here and very welcoming. On Wednesday it was my roommate's birthday, and there was a surprise party for her that evening. We played several card games and I was able to practice a little Spanish. I have also had dinner the past couple nights with families and have enjoyed getting to know them and talking with them about how we were led to the same place. Everyone here has a different story and background. Each person's history has been woven in a way unlike their neighbor's, and yet we are still part of the same team and family of believers who just want to serve and somehow make a difference.
Today I spent the majority of my time in my classroom getting things set up and somewhat glancing at the curriculum, too. I was there for what seemed like an eternity and didn't get a ton of stuff done, but things are starting to come together. Next week is the inservice week for teachers, so I'll be learning a lot and getting more things in order!
Thanks for all of your prayers and support! It is truly a blessing to be living my dream...
He is good. All the time.
The view of the city and mountains from the school dorm.