Friday, January 14, 2011

Thoughts After One Week, and a Birthday for Dan!

we eat our breakfast in our dorm kitchen, then have lunch and dinner in the cafeteria. They are keeping us well fed (too well fed, in fact!)

It's been a wonderful week here, despite the surprise of winter wonderland weather!

The girls have had a great week at their new (and temporary) public schools. One week down, three to go.

Savannah is enjoying her teacher and the new friends in her second grade class. They go to P.E. three times a week, the computer lab once a week, and the library the other day. She was bummed I picked her up early for our group photo on Tuesday, because they were just getting ready for indoor recess. She thinks math is easier here ("they don't even do multiplication!"), and is in the Nancy Drew Reading Club which feels like a real privilege. Savannah came home on Wednesday speaking with a drawl - we think she has a knack for accents, and she's been perfecting her British English as well - with Welch, British, Kiwis, Aussies, South Africans, Canadians, Austrians, Dutch, and Germans here, there are many accents to work on, domestic and international!

Kylie, too, finds the math to be a little bit easier here, and has had a good time playing four-square in the gym. She has made two friends in her class: Bree, and Bri (both girls). She also asked me if I would buy ramen noodles for her snack time. I was confused by this and asked,
"Do you have a microwave?" "No, mommy, you eat them raw. They are SOOOO good!" Something new I learned!

They are thoroughly enjoying meeting new friends and picking on the 20-somethings. They got their nails done this week by one of the girls here in our class who has a soft spot in her heart for them, and they are having fun. Even waking up at 6:45 hasn't been too much of an adjustment, so we are thankful for this!

Our topics this week in class have been really good- grounding us in the foundations of the character of God (i.e. who do we serve and the need for all of our service to stem out of our relationship with Him and our communication from Him). The verse that has been really studied in depth this week is Exodus 34:6-7, what the LORD spoke to Moses as He was passing in front of him while on the mountain, at the time of the creation of the ten commandments:

The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.

Key points:
  1. God is compassionate

  2. God is gracious

  3. He is slow to anger

  4. He is abounding in love and faithfulness

  5. He maintains love to thousands

  6. He is forgiving of wickedness, rebellion and sin

  7. He is just - all the punishing of the guilty can be left up to him- it doesn't go unnoticed.

So, the action becomes: how do you move from believing to TRUSTING? How do you not just say it, but LIVE it? While moving to Africa may seem like the extreme answer to this, really it's just an act of obedience. "Obedience is the opener of the eyes," a quote by George MacDonald has been hitting home to us this week. The more EXTREME of the acts of not just saying it, but living it, may be just reaching out to your neighbor (yes, the annoying one) with grace and compassion. We are challenged in those little, mundane moments as much (and sometimes more so) than in the big moves where we know God is in it.

Class has been revolving around topics such as this, with lots of good insight and discussion from all our cultural perspectives and experiences we bring to the table.

We were reminded that to LOVE someone means finding the BEST in them, and we certainly strove for that today with Dan celebrating his 34th birthday. He lead worship this morning (along with an Austrian and Cannuck) and that started his day off right. We also had a large Texan cookout tonight at the home of one of our Gateway leaders. Brisket, sausage, grilled chicken, beans, corn on the cob... a true cultural experience!

And we had some fun as some of the students planned and orchestrated a balloon popping obstacle course for him - with a little jesting of course, thrown in for good measure.

We are looking forward to our silent retreat tomorrow (the girls will go with another family hamster shopping and a day out on the town), and tomorrow night and Sunday we'll do our final reorganizing and packing to get all the stuff we're sending directly onto the ship (and won't need with us the next three and a half weeks here and our two and a half week outreach in Sierra Leone on land) packed and ready. They are loading the container starting Monday and it will get sent this week.

TTFN (Ta-ta for now!)

1 comment:

  1. My friends and I ate ramen dry (raw) when we were kits. I still like it cooked but mostly crunchy. Great post and happy birthday Dan!!! -Sue E.