“Lord, transform my thoughts.”
My initial shock at the prospects of living in India for an entire year was justified, of course, but it was still very real, and very painful. After all, what if I was stuck in this place that I hated, praying for it to end? Or worse, what if I left early, blatantly disregarding God’s calling? Advice from friends and family was invaluable, but it was still only the Lord who was able to refresh my spirit and give me an inexplicable peace and excitement about working here.
One way that God showed me that my year would be joyous rather than depressing was our third day of VBS out in the villages. It was a relatively poorer church, but the smiles in the single room were priceless. I garnered so much energy from the children there, and hardly noticed the intense heat and humidity or the fatigue that results from jumping up and down to the tune of “I’ve got the joy down in my heart: WHERE?”. I know that everyday working essentially as a vice principal will not be this fun, but I am confident that I will be strengthened in the same way to enjoy the company of everyone I meet.
I am especially thankful that I am staying for a year because of a few of the relationships I have formed already. Several of the girls in my VBS group were very clingy, and I had some trepidation about reinforcing the spiral of “white missionary comes, smiles, and leaves without contact” (read more at http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/may/good-missionary.html?paging=off). Thankfully, though, at least a few of them attend Riverside, and I will be able to continue our relationship beyond these 48 hours.
It will doubtless be a difficult year, and I now have a better picture of that, but I also trust that it will be a beautiful year, full of growth for both me and the school. Thank you to each one who has prayed for me this week – your prayers have not gone unanswered.