That pretty much sums up the past few weeks here. We have had so many challenges this month in the ELS, everything from relationships to finances to depression to health to work duties. I am used to the steady stream of problems that you have to deal with being in leadership, but this month it just hasn’t let up! Some days I wake up at 6:00, get to work at 7:30 and work straight through until 9:00 at night. One day this week, we were short on teachers for various reasons, and I ended up teaching three classes at once! At the end of the day, I collapse into bed feeling drained and exhausted.
Yet, despite all this, we’ve really seen God’s faithfulness more than ever before. One of the ongoing challenges of course is financial, and two of our students were about to be sent home because of unpaid school fees. Then one day as our students were performing some amazing skits they had prepared, God gave us the idea to use this talent to raise funds for the school. That night we performed the dramas at our community meeting and enough funds were brought in for both students to stay! We have also seen breakthrough in various situations that we have been praying for in our students’ lives. Another day, the students asked to wash the feet of ELS staff from every nation to honor us and our countries. That very morning before going to school, I had been in bed crying and pouring my heart out to God about feeling alone and isolated because of being one of the only Americans on the base. Unlike the Koreans or the Brazilians or the Africans, even though I have many good friends I don’t have my own little culture group where I belong. And as the students knelt and washed my feet, I broke down in tears. I heard God saying to me over and over, “This is how much I love you.” It was such a precious time in His presence as He reminded me that these people ARE my family and this IS where I belong. Sure, it’s a crazy, mixed-up family with problem children and all, but they really do take care of me, and I am very blessed. Afterward, I was sharing with the students why it blessed me so much, and they couldn’t help but chuckle as I said between sobs, “Everyone can speak another language except me! I only speak English!”
Speaking of rain...it is turning winter here, and with winter comes the rain. Have you ever been driving on a windy, rainy day and seen a person out walking on the street with their bags of groceries and wondered what poor misfortune left them in this pitiful state? Well, I realized today I AM that person! I must have been quite a sight with my sweatpants rolled up to my knees to keep them from dragging on the wet pavement, my winter coat zipped up to my chin and my hood pulled tight around my face with grocery bags on either arm braced against the driving rain and the bitter wind which makes it impossible to carry an umbrella even if you have a free hand to carry one with, which I didn’t. And for just a second I stopped and marveled how it was that I went from being the person who drives by in the car and looks on with pity to the object of that pity. I sighed and decided I’d better invest in a pair of rain boots.
Our building begins to show its age as all the buckets come out when it rains. We spent two hours today outside in the middle of a rainstorm securing plastic tarps on the roof to slow some of the leaks and digging a ditch to redirect the water around the dormitory to prevent flooding. I use the term “we” very loosely. I mostly stood on and watched as the guys ran around in the mud (and prepared coffee for them when they were finished). G.K. Chesterton said, “An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly considered.” Life here is full of adventures.