Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lent and Love

I just ate my final piece of Dove dark chocolate until Easter Sunday morning.  Tomorrow is the beginning of Lent, and as I’ve done for the past several years, I plan to stop eating chocolate and sweets. 
The one exception will be sugar in cafecitos (the super strong, super sweet, super delicious Dominican coffee served in most homes).  It would be seriously close to impossible to drink without sugar.  Plus, most women serve it with sugar already stirred in.

I asked one of our Dominican staff about Lent yesterday.  I’m thankful I did, because from what she told me, I think there’s just too much ‘baggage’ with it here to attempt to talk about it right now.  Perhaps next year (si Dios quiere) when I have a much better grasp on Spanish, and a much fuller understanding of the community, I can give it a try. 
Yesterday I met with our Adult Women.  I had planned to share I Corinthians 13 and other passages about how we are to love each other.  As I skimmed through I John, my eyes stopped on 4:10, which says, This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us. 
It suddenly occurred to me that I was starting at the wrong place.  All the verses about how we are supposed to love point to God’s love for us in Jesus.  I thanked the Holy Spirit for His insight, put aside the verses about OUR love, and started looking for those which teach about GOD’S love. 
What a gift the Bible is to us!  Verse after verse showing God’s love.  I settled on nine, which I shared with the Women.  It seemed to go well, and I was pleased when some of them shared their thoughts, too.
Searching for Animal Pairs
This morning started with our Little Girls and the story of Noah.  Along with the story we played “Memory” with cards I made gluing pairs of foam animals onto index cards. 

Adding our Memory Verse (Gen 9:13)
to their pictures
I also had them do a ‘multi-media’ craft.  Doesn’t that make it sound so fancy?  Take ocean/island scene paper, then have them glue pieces of yarn for the rainbow, small popsicle sticks for the ark, and more of the foam animals, and voila – multi-media!

This afternoon I met with a group of our teens to continue discussing the importance of being rooted in Christ, and how our character grows through those roots.  We read the story of Sadrac, Mesac y Abed-negó refusing to bow to Nabucodonosor’s golden statue.  (The teens tried to help me pronounce these names, but I never did get the king’s name right!)
To help teach positive characteristics, I made another Memory game, this one with one of the pairs having a characteristic such as Patience or Self-control, and the other having the definition.  After the game I asked them to give definitions in their own words. 

One of the most interesting discussions was about Forgiveness.  If someone asks you to forgive them, you should forgive them.  Okay, I said.  But, what if someone does something wrong, but doesn’t ask for forgiveness?  Should you forgive them?  No. 
I tried to share with them what the Bible has to say about this, but they didn’t seem sold.  Needless to say, I hope to continue building on this in the weeks to come!
I miss Daisy like crazy, but am also thankful for the ways God has been at work in my time alone.  I still struggle with understanding and being understood.  I still feel out of my depth with trying to come up with crafts and lessons.  But, slowly but surely I am feeling more at home. 
I am humbled and excited to see how He uses this time.  I pray I continue to allow Him to move in me, changing my plans for His glory.  What a great God we serve!!

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