Saturday, February 20, 2010

God's Abundant Grace

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things, at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:8

It's been a while since I blogged, not because things were going poorly, but because I am so immersed in the day to day aspects of my life here, that I have not thought to take many pictures or sit down and describe what is happening. As I reflect on the past two months I am thankful for the peace that hovers in my class and at the church. I am thankful for God's grace and faithfulness to every part of my life here in Belize. My sisters and I read a Seeking Him by Nancy DeMoss together. She says that God's grace is that "amazing, extravagant provision for our every need." Some people comment about my work here in Belize saying, "This woman is all alone." I am never alone. Not only has God surrounded me with wonderful Belizean friends and children, He is never far. His hand is always there, almost in a motherly nature, taking care of everything we need.

Brrrrrr! It's cold here at night. Well, it's not as cold as it is in the states and we don't have snow (smile), but we also do not have heat. At night the temperature plummets to somewhere between 61 and 66 degrees. After a cold shower, that temperature feels chilly. Sulmi and Kristel like to cuddle up on the couch with blankets. Both blankets were given to us, free. God's grace again.

Sulmi's reign as our school queen ended last Friday. She passed her crown and pink cape to the new queen. The other people standing with them are the "also rans". Sulmi enjoyed being the queen and getting her hair styled and dressing up in pretty clothes. She likes to feel pretty, but was embarrassed by all of the attention her classmates gave her. I'm glad she had the chance to experience this boost to her self-esteem.

Both Sulmi and Kristel are 100% teens. I have to make an appointment to use the bathroom sink. On Fridays they can wear something other than their uniforms. Thursday night they both pick out their clothes, trying on different tops to match different pants or skirts. They often try on three or four things before they decide what they will wear. Then having decided, on Friday morning they may change and pick something else. (Hooray for uniforms...They sure make getting up and getting dressed much easier the rest of the week.) We are usually done with breakfast about 7:30. They will spend the next 30 minutes in the bathroom giving each other advice about how to comb their hair. It's fun to see them take care of themselves. I remember that stage when I was a teen trying to select clothes and changing my mind three, four and five times.

School is great! These are pictures from our Valentine Party. During the week each child made 12 Valentines, one for each person in the class plus Angelica and me. They could decorate it anyway they wanted but the inside had to have at least one compliment. On Friday the children took turns passing out their Valentines one at a time to their friends and reading the compliment. In this picture Rayan is reading his valentine to Hipolito. His smile reflects not so much what the compliment said, but how proud or impressed he is with the younger student's writing and reading. Hipolito is always kind and gracious to the younger children trying to encourage them and build them up.

This is Elizanie showing off two of her Valentines.

Church is going well. Every Tuesday Manuel comes to my school and asks, "What story do you want to teach next Sunday?" We talk about some ideas and I tell him to pray about it. He comes back on Wednesdays with a verse or a story. Then we look for pictures to help him tell the Bible story in a more interesting way so that everyone will understand. He practices and then on Sunday he tells the Bible lesson during church. All of the children look up to him. He is increasing in confidence and growing in his ability to use space and facial expression.

The thing that amazes me the most is recently he has been adding an interpretation. He'll explain what the story means. I don't usually go over that with him, because that is what I do in the "sermon" with a power point. Yet, God's spirit fills him and he says things that are so right on and so direct to what the passage is communicating. I asked him how he learned this, and he says he watches the video and tries to match it to the easy to read Bible and God helps him understand.

I used to wonder how he as a semi-illiterate young man could pastor our church, not really being able to read the Bible. I shared this with Galen Groff. His reply was, "God's spirit helps illiterate men and women read the Bible all the time." God is enabling Manuel. It's amazing to me.

This is Mario. He is holding the first driver's license ever awarded to a Deaf person in Orange Walk. Many prayed that he would get a license, and God blessed him. On the driver's license application in OW is a place where a doctor must sign saying the person has good hearing and good vision. This signature had been the roadblock for Mario and others for years. It looked like a deaf person would never be able to get a license in OW. But many of you prayed... and your prayers after a year or two were finally answered. The man at the transportation department waived the need to have the hearing test. Amazing. This all happened about a year ago.

Shortly thereafter, Mario left the church. I wish that he could have seen God's grace in his life... how he is the only deaf boy in his class with a real job (We prayed! He prayed, God answered his prayer.) Now he has a license which is also a gift from God, but he doesn't realize the grace that has been extended to him. He stayed away because he cannot pretend to be a Christian on Sunday morning and go out carousing Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. I am thankful that he knows there is a contradiction with that lifestyle.

Last Sunday he came to church. He said he wants to try and change his life around. By Grace I was teaching on temptation (How Jesus was tempted in the desert and how we can learn to resist temptation following Jesus' example.) Pray that the Holy Spirit leads and guides Mario. Pray that he can resist the temptations all around him.