I will put it bluntly: the way that God provides things is truly amazing, and I'm so thankful that he is working in my life and the lives of the people around me!
Let's start with the frustrations: school. Teaching is an exceedingly rewarding experience...sometimes. Other times, it's just ridiculously frustrating, and lately, I've been experiencing the latter of those two options. Over the course of the last month, I've come home from school more often than not with a lot of anger welling up inside of me. I don't know about you, but whenever I get angry, it's really hard for me to find the positive side of things.
Fortunately for me, I'm not the one in control of all those situations that anger me. As it turns out, God has been mixing blessings in there the whole time, especially recently, but I haven't been able to see them until now. I'd like to list them for you here as my update on life:
Blessing #1: a homeroom class filled with students who are willing to talk. This is also frustrating at times (when they want to talk and not listen!), but it's also been the best part about this school year. Right now, I'm planning to start reading C.S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters with half of this class because they wanted to read it. Yes - I gave them a choice of several books, and this was the one that sounded the most interesting to them. As the students in this class range from being strongly Buddhist to strongly Christian (and everything in between), I'm really looking forward to having an opportunity to discuss the issues presented in this book with them, and to find out what they think on a more spiritual level.
Blessing #2: the ability and resources to take a three-day trip with my homeroom class. The students planned this trip, which we appropriately titled the "Senior Trip". We hit some snags here and there, but in the end 7 of the 11 students in the class went, along with me and one other teacher. We drove down to Hua Hin, an area along the coast, about three hours away from where we live in Bangkok. It was BEAUTIFUL, and everyone seemed to have a really great time. We laughed, made some inside jokes with one another, got to know each other, and enjoyed one another's company. I am immensely grateful that I had that opportunity, because after the frustrations that I've been experiencing at school, this trip provided the time and place needed for all of us to bond as a group. I will most definitely miss these kids when they graduate at the end of March.
Blessing #3: a supportive community of friends from our church. The strength of small groups meeting together is really incredible. If you go to a church that forms small groups, but are not a part of one, I urge you to join one! The small group that we have been a part of has been such a blessing in terms of prayer and encouragement through the frustrating times. I've gotten a few text messages and emails recently from the friends in our small group, and they've come at times where I really needed the encouragement.
Blessing #4: a visit from a cousin and friend. My cousin, who also lives in Asia, came to visit us recently on her way from Chiang Mai (northern Thailand) to India. She stayed a few days at our house, and I can honestly say that I was overwhelmed with the blessings she provided. She told incredible stories of things she's seen and things that she's heard of from friends, and I realized two things: 1) God has a calling for each and every person, and 2) all of those callings are important. It's like the image of the body presented in the Bible - some people are different parts, but we all make up one body. The job that one person does is not any more or less important than the job that another person does; we need all of them and God uses all of them for his glory! I have a much clearer vision for what God is doing in my life, and I have a better understanding of what God is doing in different areas around the world. I'm thankful to have gotten a glimpse of the bigger picture.
Blessing #5: meeting new people and making new friends. In the airport, my cousin met up with an acquaintance of hers whom we had never met before. This acquaintance came home with us and stayed at GES in our friend's apartment, where there was a spare room. Michael and I both regard our cousin's acquaintance as a friend, now, and we've thoroughly enjoyed getting to know him and the work that he is doing in Asia. Once again, by listening to his stories, we've been able to get a bigger picture of what God is doing in the world.
Thank God for blessings, and especially for his faithfulness!