"So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us." - 1 Thessalonians 2:8
I read this in my devotions this morning, and it really didn't mean much to me until Joel, the director of School of Promise, read Romans 12:1 to the staff this morning. Yeah, we know it, we've heard it, but sometimes it takes action to understand it. So we offer our bodies as living sacrifices... and suddenly that took on a new meaning and my mind flashed back to my devotions, that we impart our lives. I had been feeling down, thinking that I should be having opportunity to directly share the gospel, but where was the opportunity? In these verses God opened my eyes to see that in little acts of service to others I also serve Him.
Then, when I needed to sort through papers for the school almost all day today, I wouldn't let my mind think about how the task seemed menial, but rather glorified God in considering that it was a service in which I was offering myself too.
This may seem like a trivial lesson, because as Christians it really is no secret that we should be helping, or serving or seeking ways to give to others, but it becomes more than something we should do, and rather something that is part of sharing the gospel, "... not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives..." that if we love with a love where we want to see lives changed, people saved, this involves also us giving our time to service them - this is our "reasonable service" because we have already been saved, and should desire to impart that blessing to others.
Still, as I was working, I felt sad. It may have been a type of homesickness, but I think it was more of a desire to have someone to really talk with, past the routine "hello"s and "how are you"s. I didn't realize this at first, but rather was first moping in a desire for a husband, which is something that I really don't do. It's true that I do want to be married, someday if it is the will of God, but I usually don't dwell on that. Yet with so many missionaries I've met here thus far who are married, I think it was brought to the forefront of my mind. I started praying, asking why I was thinking so much on that and began to realize it was actually community I wanted - fellowship, and someone to converse with meaningfully. So I asked God for someone I could talk with, expecting I'd meet some new young girl...
First, I felt an overwhelming amount of peace as I continued my work, and I wasn't overwhelmed with the thoughts of sadness that I had previously been feeling. Then, Vivian (the older woman that had "assigned" me the work I was doing) and her husband Neil and I began to talk. I heard about different things from their home country Australia, and heard about their family. Vivian told me of how much she loves working for the school and showed me in the way she spoke, how much she wanted to see its success in reaching the students - she very much wants a pre-school to start so the children aren't exposed to the Buddhist teachings in the general pre-schools. The Lord had sparked a conversation where there previously was none, thus wiping away my grief. He never ceases to amaze me - why do I ever doubt His goodness? Now I must trust that He will lead me to understand why He brought me here this summer, even if for these mini lessons He has been teaching me.
As an update, today was swim club after school, and the students were all bussed to "The River," a hotel/mission complex for people to stay (I believe I'll end up staying there at one point), where there is a pool. Today the students were tested for where they should be, as in swimming levels, and next week will start the lessons. Tomorrow I'm to be working at Connie's Home, an orphanage for babies. I don't really know a lot about it quite yet but I'll keep you posted. I'm really not a baby person. I don't mind holding them for short amounts of time and I love looking at them and marveling at God's creation, but for long periods of time I'm not sure how I'll do, so this will be an adventure!
With that I feel I must ask for prayer in dealing with the babies. Please also pray that the landowners of the School of Promise will be willing to give more land for room for a preschool (I can say more about that at a different time), and pray that we may see ways to service the kingdom and take them!