Saturday, April 19, 2014

Strength for Today and Bright Hope for Tomorrow

I am so glad that God is my strength for today and my bright hope for tomorrow!  When you've lost your way, when things are going well, God is somehow working out His plan in all of it.

"Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow" has been a personal theme of mine for a while now.  It goes well with one of my favorite songs by Rend Collective Experiment called "My Lighthouse" [click here to see all the words]

I won't fear what tomorrow brings
With each morning I'll rise and sing
My God's love will lead me through
You are the peace in my troubled sea

I wanted to share with you some things that I'm rising and singing about these days - my bright hopes for tomorrow".

First up, the clinic!  When I left in December, they were still leveling the land.  Now, it's well underway!

Some people who have been working really hard on the construction of the clinic (Dave Shirk not pictured although he has worked quite tirelessly on the clinic):




The inside corridor

A bush started growing in the floor of the clinic.  If it hadn't been dug out, it would have broken the cement of the floor. This is an extremely resilient plant.

Fitting the windows.

Ever since I've set foot in Catel, people have been asking me when I'm going to start up English lessons again.  I too, was getting anxious to start.  I picked up my tub of books on April 16 in southern Senegal and decided to grab some sandpaper and chalkboard paint while I was at it.  Now, I will have a "brand new" chalk board to start a new school year off with.  And finally, there is an announcement taped to the cashew tree (which is the Catel equivalent to Grand Central Station) inviting all interested parties to join me for an English School organizational meeting on April 21 at 7pm in the church.  School is starting soon and I am SO EXCITED!!!

In case you were wondering, this was a piece of wood painted and disguised to look like a chalkboard.  As you can see, I am "ALMOST DONE".

My "classroom", which will soon be packed with students in the evening hours.

This is also the church in case you didn't know.  We're often very thankful for the more "open air" feel on a hot, Sunday morning.

Ah, yes!  It is because of Jesus that I have bright hope for tomorrow!  Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Exploded Oatmeal and Other Stuff

It feels good to be home.  I am thankful to report that the trip was relatively un-eventful.  Unfortunately, my bicycle got all the way to the airport, but had to make the return trip to my parents' house because of baggage restrictions.   Ah, dear bicycle, do not fret. We will soon be re-united.

I was seriously wondering how I was going to manage both my bags on my final leg of my journey from northern to southern Senegal (I discovered that I no longer have the muscle that I left Guinea Bissau with), when God surprised me with an awesome solution!  Some of my missionary friends who live in southern Senegal were staying at the very same guesthouse in northern Senegal, and offered to take one of my bags in their truck (free of charge!) if I was willing to wait 2 weeks for it.  No problem!  Who was I kidding?  I wasn't going to start teaching English in these first two weeks anyways.  So...  I unpacked to repack again, putting all my books (which probably comprised 2/3 of the weight I brought) in the tub to come later.

What I found when I opened my suitcase gave me a start!  Do you know what 7 pounds of oatmeal looks like exploded in your suitcase?  Well, I didn't either.  Apparently it didn't matter that I had double bagged it.  

I saw that I had two choices - to cry or to laugh.  Oatmeal is very precious here, but I decided not to think about what my life would be like trying to clean all that out of my suitcase later.  I chose to laugh.  I mean seriously - it was EVERYWHERE!  

Crisis averted, joy overwhelmed me as I made my last and final descent into southern Senegal.  Not only was I still quietly giggling about the oatmeal ALL OVER my suitcase, but I was just downright giddy with excitement.  I was finally home.