Monday, March 26, 2012

Challenges and Joy

This month has been a whirlwind.  Each week we’ve had new teams, which means meeting new young people, helping get them acclimated to the Site and El Callejon, sharing what we do, learning more about them, helping translate, answering questions, etc. 

Switching back and forth between English and Spanish gets confusing.  One day a couple of weeks ago I could not remember the English word for Mariposa (it’s Butterfly).  Another time when Daisy was speaking in English, I turned to our American team and said, “Bueno.  Ella dijo que… Umm, oops!” 
Today we’ll meet our fourth and final team.  We’ve got four high school girls this week.  It’s the first time since coming that I’ll be with all high school aged participants, which will be challenging, but also good, as most of the summer teams will be, too. 

Along with the work with the outreach participants is our continued work with the women, teens and girls of El Callejon.  As I shared on our Social Work site blog we’ve been facing a lot of challenges in this, too. 
All of this is, of course, what I came here to do.  Although I’m pretty tired, I’m also so thankful. 

Thankful to be working with Daisy, whose passion and love for Jesus and the people of El Callejon is an inspiration. 
Thankful that I have my little apartment (and Kindle!), a quiet(ish!) space to rest and unplug. 

Thankful for friends back home, praying for me, sending encouraging cards, emails, messages. 
Thankful for friends here, who are in various stages of the same transitions, feelings of loneliness, frustration, elation and peace (sometimes all in the same day… or hour!). 

Thankful, most of all, that God is inviting me to see more of His character, His love, His glory.  That by being here, I am learning things I could not have learned about Him back home.
Yesterday our sermon was on James 1:4-5.  Fernando (our SI doctor and also a gifted teacher) reminded us that instead of complaining about all our trials, we are to ask God for wisdom.  Wisdom to see that through them, our faith is being made mature and complete. 

This morning, Brian, our SI Director, also shared these verses.  He said, “And so, I’m rejoicing!”  You see, it’s not just the Social Work site that has been going through trials. 
Power stolen at two sites plus ours, vehicles breaking down, serious sickness… Every time we think we’re getting ahead of it, Wham! another trial. 
Do I see this as a way to grow my faith?  The truth is, most of the time, when I get so caught up in all I’m trying to do, I easily forget this.  I’ve got my plans, and when they don’t come to fruition, when there are roadblocks along the way, I quickly start to fret and whine.  Why, God, why? 

What would it look like if I would, instead, consider them ‘pure joy’ (James 1:2) and then ask for wisdom to see a glimpse of God’s greater purpose in allowing them.  That is my prayer for this new day, this new week, this new team.    

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