Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The End of Summer

Hi, everyone!  It’s been a while since I’ve last posted, I know.  Just to assure you that I’m doing well…. and, I’m on vacation!!  We ended our busy summer last Friday, and now have a week off, ending with a weekend trip to the beach.  Our staff is heading out for a few days of relaxing and just hanging out together. 

I’ve yet to go to the beach here, so I’m looking forward to it!  I’m rooming with my friend Rachel (our newest SI missionary, and an awesome sister in Christ!), so that’s an added bonus!  Oh, and the bathing suit I ordered online came in, and actually fits.  Yep, another bonus!!
I was talking with my Spiritual Director today, and as I talked, I realized it’s no wonder I’m feeling tired.  Attempting to balance the needs of American students as well as the people of El Callejon, having to translate from English to Spanish and then back again, all while striving to stay connected to Jesus, working out regularly, plus have a personal life… yeah, it’s been a full summer.    

But, it’s been a good summer, too.  It’s been good because I’ve watched young women (girls, really, as young as just 14!) interacting with people from a completely different culture and way of life.  They’ve struggled with the poverty, but they’ve also opened their minds and hearts to seeing God’s love in the midst of it. 
Each team was different, and I’d be lying if I said they were all easy.  But, even this was good.  Of course, it took some time, some distance, and a whole lot of prayer to be able to say that!  It was good because I learned a lot more about myself, my reactions, my prejudices, through the more challenging personalities.

God has been stretching me, inviting me to face my own areas of weakness.  The areas where I’ve been prideful and judgmental are the very places He has been exposing.  And, can I confess how decidedly unpleasant it has often been?! 
More times than I like to admit, the Holy Spirit has convicted me of the need to confront a sin or temptation in my life.  The sad truth is, just having ‘missionary’ in your job title doesn’t make all that muck and mess instantly disappear! 
Because talking about Jesus is my job, I have found myself having difficulty just spending time with Him alone.  After all, when we get home from work, the last thing we typically want to do is more stuff related to work. 

Of course, since Jesus is the only Source of my strength and ability to do my job, withdrawing from Him only increases the exhaustion.  I’m so thankful for my small group, friends back home, and friends here, who have continued to point me back to Jesus and His life-giving, life-sustaining power and love!
My prayer is that as I continue to process and ponder the summer, I will be open to God’s refining, so I can become more like Jesus as the dross in me continues to be burned away.  I’m not there yet, I’m not even close.  But, I know the One who is with me will not fail me or forsake me, no matter how many times I stumble and fall down. 

In Him, even my failures can be transformed and redeemed into beauty.  I’ve heard it over and over again in the testimonies of the students.  I’ve seen it over and over again in the lives of those in El Callejon, in my own life. 
What an amazing God we serve!  I’m so thankful He has guided me this summer.  I can’t wait to see how He continues His work in all of our lives.  May you, too, allow Him to work in you and through you, as your Summer end and turns into Fall. 

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