"But I, by your great mercy, will come into your house; in reverence will I bow down toward your holy temple." --Psalm 5:7
As I read this verse this morning, I was struck by the phrase, "by your great mercy." I have been finding more and more each day just how big of a need I have for God's mercy and grace. It's not like I didn't know that in the first place, but sometimes (more than others) it just really sticks out to me. I fail a lot - as a wife, as a teacher, as a friend - but each day I am reminded of God's mercy. Each day, I have woken up; I have been able to breathe, eat, sleep, form relationships, see the sunshine, complain about how hot it is, etc. God's mercy is new every morning - so great is his faithfulness! By his mercy today, I can go worship him in fellowship with other believers. How wonderful! We can be joyful as we go about our activities each day because God's grace is sufficient.
With this thought, I enter a new week. With this thought, I also look back on the past week. It wasn't anything completely out of the ordinary, but I learned a lot of things about myself and about God's grace and love for me.
For the last couple of weeks (in general), I have been frustrated. I love teaching, but I just haven't felt like I'm adequate. I didn't feel like I could teach for a whole year and actually succeed at it. Most of all, though, I was frustrated with the uncertainty within my own head. For homeroom class, I am expected to do devotions with the kids. To me, that meant reading a passage or devotional and talking for a bit - 5-10 minutes total. However, it came to my attention that I am supposed to be "teaching" devotions like I would any other class. Well...I don't know how to go about doing that. I currently know of three of the students in my homeroom who are Christian, and I'm assuming most of the rest of them are Buddhist, but I really don't know. Some have come to GES for several years, and have heard the Gospel numerous times. How does one teach such a group of teenagers about Christianity in a way that challenges those who are Christians and impacts those who are not? It's tough, and I don't have a solution yet. I am, however, thinking about reading through C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters with the class, because it touches on a lot of issues within Christianity, but also addresses questions that some of the kids might have. We'll see where that goes.
Michael had an interesting week! Last week, Ajan Sahat (also known as Peter - one of the owners/founders of the school) asked Michael if he could help teach at a leader's training session using some of the Ray Vander Laan videos that we brought along. Michael was quite excited about this, and so he spent part of that week and most of last week doing research and writing a lecture that he could give. The whole time he assumed that he was going to some sort of a pastor's training session at a seminary or something. As it turns out, it was actually a church retreat for some of the leaders and lay-people of the church.
On Thursday, he got up at 5 AM and was ready to leave at 6. Unfortunately, though, he felt quite sick that day...not so much fun. He and Ajan Sahat left (I don't know exactly where they went - a village in the mountains somewhere north of here) and arrived safely. By this time, Michael was apparently feeling really sick. Once again, though, God's grace was sufficient! He felt sick up until he had to give his speech/lecture, but while he was speaking in front, he felt perfectly fine. After his speech was done, he felt sick again. It was really neat to hear about later on, - he'd been working so hard, and wasn't sure if he'd be able to actually give the speech he'd written. It was such a blessing for him to be able to speak, though - he did a fantastic job, and Ajan Sahat already has Michael working on another lecture to be given somewhere else at a different time. It's totally something that's right up Michael's alley, so to speak - he's really being challenged to think and work, but he's still doing things that he really likes.
I was also a little bit sick this week - similar to what Michael had, but not quite as bad. We're wondering if maybe we ate something bad in the middle of the week or something. I didn't take any days off of teaching or anything; I just didn't eat a whole lot for a couple of days. We're both quite a bit better now, thankfully! Hopefully this coming week will be better health-wise than it has been previously, for us and all the rest of the teachers here.
One of the highlights of this week for me was getting an iron. Yes, it sounds stupid, but I was really excited! I can now actually iron our clothing when I need to, as opposed to either asking around to borrow an iron or simply wearing wrinkled clothing to school. :) Next weekend is a long weekend for us; we have Monday and Tuesday off from school. A bunch of teachers are trying to make travel plans to either go visit beaches or possibly go to Cambodia. We aren't certain yet what we'll be doing, but I'm personally hoping that we'll be able to use the time to repaint the living room. There's a reason why we haven't put pictures up yet - our living room currently is a rather nasty shade of orange (sort of rust colored). It goes really well with the red curtains and chairs, let me tell you! I'm not sure who's bright idea that was, but I don't particularly appreciate it (and I'm not usually very picky). Since we both spend a lot of time in the living room, I think we'll try to take a day or two and repaint it over the long weekend. Maybe after that we'll finally take pictures of it for you!
We're looking forward to a new week of school. I find that each week I learn new things about the kids and their individual personalities. It's one of my favorite parts about being a teacher. I rather enjoy getting up in the morning and wondering which one of my students will surprise me that day with a little glimpse into his/her personality! Building relationships takes time, but I for one definitely feel like I'm starting to know a few of the students a little better as individuals.
That's about all for now. We hope you have a fabulous week, whatever it may bring!