Friday, May 22, 2015

As usual, I am long overdue for a post. There are so many things going through my heart and mind right now, I hope this is not a jumbled mess of a post. :-)  This second year in Suriname has been a year of growth, challenges and blessings all rolled into one.

The first thing I want to write about is my Heavenly Father. Words cannot express how much my heart is bursting with love for Him. My mind can't comprehend how mighty, holy, and awesome He is.  Just the thought of Him makes me smile like a fool in love.  He has become the most precious part of my life while living here in Suriname. He is the one who gives me the strength, peace, joy and love I need to further His Kingdom on a daily basis. But lest I paint a picture of just rainbows and butterflies, let me assure you, there have been some times of sorrow, anger, confusion, and the feeling of complete abandonment.  There have been days where I have cried out to Him wondering why in the world he sent me here. There have been days I have felt utterly alone and cast off. There have been days I have walked in confusion about what direction to take. There have been days where I have been hurt by the words and actions of others. There have been days where I have dropped to my knees in complete brokenness because of my sin and failures in my dealings with others and with Him. And you know what? I am VERY thankful for those days. Why? Because, it is in those days that "in my weakness, He is made strong." It has been those days that drew me closer to Him because He was all I had. It has been those days that I learned to rejoice because the only other option would get me sent to prison. It has been those days that I learned to walk in His power to love others "because He first loved me". It has been those days that I have learned to forgive, and be forgiven because HE canceled my sin debt and has forgiven me. It has been those days where I have learned that "there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother", because "He will NEVER leave me or abandon me."
I serve. love, and worship a God who is faithful, kind, gentle, loving, merciful, patient, and ever-present. His Spirit lives with in me. Because of that, He empowers me to be more like Him. Because He lives in me, I, too, can be faithful, kind, gentle, loving, merciful, and patient.  I love Him more and more each day.  "Praise the Lord, oh my soul. Bless His holy name!"

Now, on to other updates. :-)  The school year is almost over. 12 more school days. Then I will teach English Summer camp for 3 weeks. I will fly to the states on July 7! Praise The Lord! I cannot wait to see my Shelby and her husband, Ryan, my wonderful church family and all my sweet friends and family.
I have loved my sweet, little class this year. The countries represented in my room this year are: Indonesia, America, Brasil, Zimbabwe, Australia, Malaysia, and China. I LOVE teaching in an international school.  I have had 8 children in my room. Lost one and gained one, but stayed at 8 most of the year. During the summer last year, I was praying for 12. When I got to school in August, I had 8. I was still praying for 12, though. THEN, I saw how perfect and wonderful 8 was, and I quit praying for 12. HAHAHA :-)  I have stayed at 8 most of the year. Thank you, Lord.   Next year, it looks like I may have more than 8, and that is ok. God always knows what we need and which students need to be here. I will gladly teach all he sends me.

This semester has been busy.  We had winter wonderland in February. Suriname is located near the equator. So, it is almost always hot. For winter wonderland, we turn the air conditioning down really low in the school gym. We make snowballs out of recycled copy paper. There is a giant slide for people to go "sledding" on.  There are game and food booths all over the gym. The students and teachers all have fun pretending they are enjoying a nice winter day.
In March, we had an international food fair. Tables were set up to display foods from different countries. There were also performances going on while people were tasting the different foods. This is a huge event and always draws a large crowd. (pictures below)
For Easter, some of us gathered at the Prescott's house for Easter lunch and games. The food was very yummy and company sweet.
For Mother's day, my students invited their mothers to our room for a party. They sang a song for them and then served them their food. It was so precious. The moms had a great time.

Since my last update in December, I have gotten to know the medical side of Suriname better. Most of you know I have hypothyroidism. Since I have been here, my thyroid levels has been up and down. It has been a constant stream of doctor, lab and pharmacy visits. My last lab work showed stability. Finally.  Praying it is the same when I go back in two weeks for yet another check.  I also had some issues with one of my ears. Had a constant earache for months. That led to multiple trips the ENT, an MRI, and an echo gram.  Thankfully, today, I am pain free.   All that ails me now is that "end of year teacher tired". :-)

What is next?  School ends June 9. Then I will teach summer camp from June 16 - July 3. I fly home on July 7.  I will spend part of my time in Dothan, Alabama, with Shelby and Ryan and part of my time in Valdosta, Georgia, with my church family. In between, I will make a visit to Florida to see family there and will meet up with some of my Valdosta friends. Somewhere in between all my visiting, I will fit in a visit to the eye doctor, get my license renewed, get some official seal on my birth certificate (a new requirement by the Suriname government), get another International Driver's license and shop for all my needed supplies and new clothing.   I will return to Suriname for a third year. I am very excited about that.

Thank  you for your prayers and encouragement. "May the Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. "

Enjoy the pictures. :-)
People went all out decorating their tables to represent their country.

 These are some of our wonderful teachers.

Each Wednesday, we have a Bible study at my house. These are some of the teachers who come. This pic below is our living room. 

We had Easter dinner at the Prescott's! 

Mother's Day at church.  They gave us all a lovely gift: a glass oval baking dish and a bottle of perfume. Then, they served us lunch. 

Yes, it is a sloth in a onsie. AND I got to hold him. SO SWEET!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Where He Leads

(Photo taken by Jennifer Donovan)

Where He leads, I will follow.
How many times have we uttered those words, or words similar to that? How many times have we professed to follow Jesus? Have you ever stopped to think about what that really means?  Since my time in Suriname, that has been on my mind. What does it really mean to follow Jesus, and am I doing that?  Have I completely surrendered myself to Him? Is He truly Lord of my life? If you had asked me these questions a year ago, I would have answered yes without hesitation. 
Recently, I was put to the test.  Without a doubt, I believed God called me to Suriname. I sold/gave away most of my possessions. Gave my 3 cats away, left my adult daughter behind. No regrets because He called and I followed. Once here, I began to think about what it means to truly follow Christ. I pridefully thought that, yes, I am following Him, because after all, did I not give up everything I had?  But it is more than that. Following Him is more than just giving up your worldly possessions.  It requires giving up the right to yourself. Giving up your right to have a say in how you live your life.  Giving up your possessions is the easy part of following him. After all, even Judas Iscariot did that. When Christ called out the 12 disciples, they all left their jobs, their homes, and some their families to follow him around the countryside.  But not all gave their heart. Judas lived with Jesus for 3 years. 3 years of watching Jesus heal the sick, forgive sins, love the unlovable, casting out demons, restoring lives and giving hope. Yet, it never reached Judas' heart. He never truly followed him with his whole being.

 I am currently in my 2nd year of a 2 year contract here in Suriname.  All summer, the decision to stay a third year was constantly on my  mind. Once we all returned to IAS, it was the main topic of many conversations. "Are you staying a third year?" "I don't know, are you?"  The December deadline was looming large in front of me.  It was something I was constantly praying about.  I knew God had called me to Suriname. But I needed to know if He was still calling me to stay longer, or to move on to another country.  Then about a month ago, I was at a crossroads.  I began to really miss home. I was entertaining the thought of returning to the states. I knew getting a job would not be too difficult. It would be easy to go home. I began to long for it. As I prayed about this, I felt I was at a fork in the road. One way was leading towards "home", the other was leading to complete abandonment to Jesus. Going home would be the safe thing for me. Home is comfortable. I knew if I went home, it would not be God's best. Would I still be saved? yes. Would God still love me? Yes. But for me, I knew I would not be fully following him with my whole heart.  I knew it was not the right decision.  For me, following Jesus meant giving up EVERYTHING. Even my desire to return home.  My life is no longer my own. I am His. My identity is found in Him. I desire to love and serve Him with my whole being.  With fear, trembling, and humility, I say, "Yes, Jesus, I will follow where you lead me. I choose to give up my will for your will. I chose to love with abandon. I chose joy in the midst of pain. I chose obedience over comfort. It is you my heart longs for. It is you I live for."

The deadline to turn in my contract for a 3rd year is this week. Monday morning I will hand in my signed contract to the Academic Dean. Yes, I feel like the Lord wants me to stay here in Suriname a 3rd year. I am both excited and terrified. Excited, because I know this is where He has lead me. Terrified, because I chose to give Him complete control of my life to Him. But I know my life is in Good hands.  "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus..."

Friday, October 10, 2014

I am long overdue on an update! Thoughts are always floating around in my brain. But finding time to actually  sit still long enough to WANT to process them into a post...well, that is where I fall short. :) I have written dozens of blog my mind.  But that doesn't benefit you, does it? ;)

Let me catch you up on what has happened since my last post in February, 2014. Finished out my first year of teaching overseas (20th year in the classroom!) in June, 2014. What a year it was! I learned so much. And was stretched so far beyond my comfort zone I could have been elastic girl. I absolutely fell in love with my students. Teaching 15, mostly ESL, children was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done, next to parenting my lovely daughter, Shelby.  So, here are some bullet points highlighting the many areas I was stretched in.

  • Learning to live in a foreign country.  Grocery shopping and cooking here took some getting use to. I am able to find most of the things I am use to cooking with. However, the question then becomes, "Do I want to pay THAT price for it?"  I will occasionally splurge and pay an astronomical price for a little bit of comfort. (Can anyone say Breyer's Oreo Cookies and Cream?)
  • Teaching a class mostly made up of ESL (English Second Language) students. It was a challenge, but one I absolutely LOVED!! I was so very grateful for all my years of ABEKA phonics training. Whether you love or loathe the ABEKA curriculum, one thing you have to give them credit for is their phonics program. It does the job well for most students.  Using my knowledge of phonics made teaching my sweet ESL babies a lot easier. 
  • Roommates. The house we live in is divided into two apartments. An upstairs apartment where 3 ladies  live, and a downstairs apartment where I live with 2 other female teachers.  Living with the same people you work with is different. Not bad. Just different. I am an introvert. Extreme introvert according to the facebook quiz. ;) Finding the balance of being sociable and hibernating in my room has been a bit difficult for me. While I enjoy the company of my roommates, I also enjoy the solitude of my room. As someone just recently said to me, "I am comfortable in my own company." That was a spot on comment.  I am quite content to be alone. BUT there are times where I do enjoy mingling with others. It is necessary to stay balanced and sane. 
  • Bathtubs. I MISS BATHTUBS! Bathtubs are a rarity here. I don't mind showers. Even in the states, I took mostly showers. But there are those times where a nice, long ,hot soak in a tub overflowing with bubbles is greatly needed.
  • God.  My relationship with my Heavenly Father has indeed changed. I have learned to depend on Him more than ever. And He has shown me things that I have never before understood. I love Him more today than I ever thought possible. I am hearing Him more than I ever thought possible.  At times, the spiritual stretching has been down right painful. A lot of tears have been shed. Tears of sorrow, tears of repentance, and tears of joy. 
After the school year ended, I stayed behind to help with the English Summer Camp. That was a difficult decision. But in the end, it boiled down to money. In order to claim the foreign income credit, I had to live in Suriname for 330 days. Which means I couldn't leave for the states until July 15. So, I may as well be productive and help out with camp. Which also helped me earn the money I need to buy my plane ticket home. :)

While home, I ate way to much American food. But I enjoyed every calorie. I was able to see my grandma, my mother and one of my brothers. I got to spend a lot of time with my church family. And of course, I got see my Shelby and meet her now husband, Ryan. Yes. You read that right. I now have a son-in-law. Sept. 10 Ryan and Shelby eloped. They are crazy in love and happy. They are living in Dothan, Alabama.

The new school year began August 18.  This year I only have 7 students. I am loving the smaller class size. They are a sweet bunch and I am loving the fact that I GET to be their teacher! They are from Brazil, China, Australia, Indonesia/America and Zimbabwe.

So, do you know what this introvert is doing this year??? Leading a Bible study. Yes, you read that right. I wrestled with the Lord on that one for a few days. But finally gave in and offered to lead one.  It has definitely been a learning experience. Our little group is great. I am enjoying their fellowship.  We have been having some great discussions.  Right now we are in Ephesians. Next, we are moving on to 1 John. I LOVE first John. Of course, I said the same thing about Ephesians. ;) I just love HIS word.

My days and evenings stay pretty busy.  There are things I am committed to on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. The school staff also meets once a month on a Saturday to worship and pray together. I help out with an after school Bible club on Wednesday afternoons. Do some cooking for the Bible studies here and there. I don't mind the cooking. I love to cook.  I also started attending a local church here. I am enjoying His teaching. I am learning a lot.

So, that pretty much catches you up on things with me. I do have some prayer requests though.

  1. Please pray for my students. Pray that I am the teacher they need and that I effectively teach them not just academically, but also the truths of God's word. May they know His love for them and one day follow Him. 
  2. Christmas vacation is coming up. I would love to go home. But, if I want to go home this summer, I most likely can't go home Christmas too.  Tickets are just a wee bit pricey. I sometimes feel guilty praying for a Christmas trip home when there is so much suffering and tragedy in the world.
  3. I am in my second year of a two year contract. I have to let them know in December whether or not I will return for a 3rd year. Please pray that God will show me if I am suppose to stay here or move on to another country.
Enjoy these few pictures!

Several of the IAS teachers were invited to the Chinese Embassy.  These are two of my fellow teachers.

Here I am on the first day of this school year. 

These last two were taken last June.  The one below is me in front of the Suriname River. 

Thank you for reading!

May the Lord bless you, and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Introverted Perspective

Hi, My name is Tonya and I am an introvert. I never really questioned why I am what I am. I suppose I always thought that was how God made me. That would be my response if someone teased me about it. But now I am wondering, did God make me an introvert? Or did the circumstances and trials of life turn me into one?  I never questioned this before, as I was quite content with my rainbow & butterfly existence. (In the states), I would go to work, do my job to the best of my ability, talk with coworkers, students and parents. Then I would drive to my safe-haven: my home. Once home, I could shrug off the cares of the day, relax and be myself. I didn't have to worry about my facial expressions, whether or not I said the right thing, or mull over what someone else said and wonder "what exactly they meant". At home I could be quiet. At home, I didn't have to paste a smile on. At home, I didn't have to talk to anyone. I could just sit in my recliner and be me.

Growing up, I was always the quiet, shy child. I never was one for conversation. I was content to sit in the corner and listen to everyone and watch what was going on around me. I was a deep thinker. Even at the age of 6, I can remember being in deep thought about heaven, the after life, and God.  We moved around a lot. I was in at least (that I can remember) 12 different elementary schools from grades Kinder to 6. Two different middle schools and 2 different high schools.  I often heard comments that were negative and not at all encouraging.  I had some horrible relationships that just were not healthy. By the time I was 17, I tried several times to end my life.  Thanks to Jesus, things leveled out some during college. I still struggled with social situations. Found the whole college roommate thing quite difficult. In the end, I was able to room alone the last 2 1/2 years. During college, ended up in another bad relationship.  It caused me to further draw in to myself and away from others.

I say all of this NOT for any pity, but to just to bring up the question, why am I an introvert? Did God make me that way? Or did some of my life experiences make me that way? Perhaps God did have a hand in my personality, but life experiences distorted it and made it into something it was never suppose to be: a safety net.   Drawing into myself and away from others was self protection. "You won't hurt me because I am not giving you a chance."  I have spent the last 7 years fighting this. I was told on several occasions that I built up walls. And, they were right.  So, I have really worked on my social skills. I try to smile, engage in small talk and take an interest in others.

The last 2 years, my heart cry has been that others see the Love of Christ in me. I did not want my introvertness to get in the way of my Christian witness. So, there is the rub! At what point is it "my God-given personality" and not a selfish gesture meant to keep people at arms length?
I find myself in a position where I once again have roommates. I dearly love all of them. But I admit to spending a bit too much time in my room. Once I am home, my first inclination is to go to my room and decompress. The problem is, I tend to stay there. Yes, I do socialize when asked, 80% of the time. Ok, maybe 70%. ;)  I struggle to find that balance. I am just one of those people who needs a bit of alone time.  That is how I energize myself after a long, hard day of herding cats, I mean, first graders.  :-)  But at the same time, I worry that I am not loving enough or trying hard enough.  **sigh** It is a catch 22 for me.
It is a source of constant prayer for me. "Lord, help me to love others as you love me. Help me to reach out even when I'd rather stay in a book. Forgive me if I've caused anyone to stumble or feel unloved. "

This wasn't my typical blog post. Just thought I'd give you a glimpse into what goes on in my introverted head. Hahahaha. :-)  Prayers are always appreciated.  Things here are going well. Still loving my students and being here. I know this is where God wants me for this season of my life. He has been showing me so many things.  I guess that is why the introvert issue has been so heavy on my heart. I am suppose to be here to minister and to serve.  I just need to find the balance of serving, and refueling.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

January update

Well, I titled this post "January Update". Then realized today is actually February 1! How in the world is it already February? Time is passing too quickly.

Well, as most of you know, I did get to go back to the states for Christmas break. Very thankful for the Lord's provision. I had a good visit with Shelby and some great friends. It was good to be with my "church" family. I have missed them.  When I arrived at the Valdosta airport, they were all there. It was such a happy surprise.

I arrived back in Suriname January 4. The students came back on the 7th. It was so good to see them. I had missed them. Although, that first day back, I only had 8 out of the 16 that are on roll. Some took an extended vacation. :).  We quickly fell back into a routine.  I am loving these first graders.  There is never a dull moment in our class. One of my students will be leaving this week. He is returning to Italy. My heart is going to break! I love that boy. He played hangman with me one day. I could NOT guess the word. I got down to just two spaces left. He then looked at me with this sly grin and said, "Now I give you a word in English." LOL. It never occurred to me the word he gave me was Italian! ;-)

Tidbits since my last update:

  • Got a new student in January. He is from America.  
  • Driving on the left side of the road still terrifies me. I avoid driving as much as possible.
  • I am able to join my home church service on Friday nights thanks to Google hangout. IT is my life line. 
  • Finally beginning to adjust to life here. Still haven't quite found my niche, but it is definitely feeling a little more like home.  Bringing back a few homey touches from the states for my room here has helped to make it a little more comfortable. 
  • I've not been able to post a lot of pictures lately because my laptop has died. It is hard for me to upload them to facebook from my phone.  
  • I eat at McDonald's here WAY more than I ever did back in the states. Here, they serve spicy fried chicken. It is so good. I went one day last week, and they were OUT of chicken. I nearly had a melt down right in front of the worker. lol. 
  • Still having trouble shopping cheaply for groceries here. I just can't quite get the hang of it.  Maybe if I ate differently.....
  • A few weeks ago, it hailed here in Suriname. A very unusual occurrence. The locals said the last time it hailed was over 70 years ago. All the neighbors were out side in it. I couldn't understand what they were saying. But based on their voice tones, they sounded excited and awe struck. Yes, I was outside with them. :)
  • The thing I find I am missing the most: a bath tub.  Bath tubs are not common here. And there are some days that would just end much better if I were able to take a nice long, hot bubble bath.  :)
  • Went to my first foreign birthday party. It was fun! One of my Brazilian students. The invite said 5 to 7. My American mind would interpret that as "arrive at 5 and leave at 7". Nope. It meant, arrive between 5 and 7. You stay as late as you like or until the party ends...whichever comes first. ;) A lot of good food!
  • My introverted self is trying very hard to be a little more extroverted. But I must say, when faced with the choice to read or socialize....sometimes reading just has to win. You know? :)
Overall, things are going well. I am learning to completely trust in the Lord. There are times I feel very insecure and wonder what I am doing. BUT one thing I do know for sure, I am suppose to be here. I just need to remember that He will equip me and give me what I need to do what He has sent me to do.
When you pray, please remember me and my sweet students. 
Blessings to you all, sweet friends!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Being Thankful

Today, in the states, is Thanksgiving day. As I am scrolling through all the Facebook posts seeing everyone's comments about Thanksgiving, I want to cry. My heart is sad because I am not in my American kitchen slaving over the stove cooking everyone's favorite dishes. I want to hug my daughter and pet my cats. When I get "down" like this, I want to curl up in a ball by myself and block everyone out. But not this time. Not today.  I've been trying to teach my students the importance of being thankful, even when you don't feel like it. So, today, I will practice what I teach. :-)

Things I am thankful for: (in no particular order)

  • First and most importantly, I am thankful for God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. For reasons I can not explain, I have always sensed His presence in my life since I was a small child. He is the reason I choose to get up every morning and not give up on life.  I thank Him for loving me, for not giving up on me and for teaching me how to love and serve Him with an undivided heart. 
  • I am thankful for a special family in Valdosta. There is a Scripture that says, "God sets the lonely in families..." and that is just what he did with me. He placed me in this family and they loved me and my daughter without reservation. I saw the love of the Father in them. Because of them, I am a different person than what I was before I met them. They are precious and I love them and do thank God for them. 
  • Shelby Ruth Thompson. This girl is most precious to me. Life with her is NEVER boring. I miss her more than I thought possible. Hopefully I will get to see her in June. This is the longest she and I have ever been separated. But it has been good for her. She is learning to live on her own and has done a lot of growing up the last several months. Love you baby-bear to the moon and back. :-)
  • My two baby brothers. Bless their hearts. They had a rough time of it growing up. Part of that was my fault. I wasn't the nicest big sister. They have grown into fine men and I love them both very much.
  • My parents.  Was life perfect? No, but then what family is? They did the best they could. I thank them for loving me and giving me life.
  • Highland Christian Academy. I was at this school for 14 years. Shelby practically grew up there. It was like an extended family. I miss all the teachers and staff. We were a close group and I miss that.
  • Mary Lisse. My sweet team teacher. How I miss you! I am so thankful God sent you to HCA. I will never forget the first time I met you. I walk into your room and you are all smiling and bubbly and I try to match it, but well, you know me... hahaha. But one thing I did know when I walked away from your room that first time, I knew we would get along just fine. And we did. Probably too well! LOL You kept me sane and on level ground. Whenever I was about to go off the deep end, or think to much of myself, you were quick to pull me back down with your sensible, practical way of looking at things. I LOVED that about you! I miss having you next door to me, poking your head in my room, commenting on my latest organizational anal-ness. Miss and love you bunches!
  • International Academy of Suriname. Without a doubt, I know God has placed me here. I love my precious students and the staff here. 
  • Books.  Yes, I am thankful for books. I love to read. Lately, I have done a lot of reading. It is a safe way to escape the loneliness that sometimes assaults me in the evenings. 
  • Hardships. Yes, you read that right. I am thankful for the hard times, the lonely times, the sad times. For it is through these times that I am forged into the person God wants me to be. It is through these times that I hopefully shed some of my fleshy ugliness and am clothed in His righteousness. It is in these times that I more clearly see the hand of God moving. The hard times make the good times even sweeter.
  • Family. I have family in different states. I am thankful for all of my aunts, uncles, cousins, niece and nephews. I think of you often.  Granny, I love you and miss you so very much. You are on my mind quite often. You will be one of the first people on my list to go see as soon as my feet hit American soil in June. 
  • Friends. I am thankful for the friends the Lord has put in my life. I miss the ones stateside. But he is forming new friendships here in Suriname, and for those, I am very grateful. :)
  • My students. I love these sweet little lambs. I have 15 precious first graders. I enjoy teaching them. They are a bright spot in my life. 
Praying you all have a great day. Eat a lot of yummy food, and hug your loved ones tight.  And don't forget to thank the One who makes it all possible.
"Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever, his faithfulness continues through all generations."  Psalms 100:4-5

Monday, November 25, 2013

Ants, driving, beauty and the Kingdom

November is almost over. How in the world did that happen? I know people say this all the time, but there is truth in this statement: time is passing way to quickly. In just 3 weeks, it will be time for our Christmas break.  I will not be able to go home for Christmas and it was nearly my undoing only because I've been a bit homesick lately. However, as sad as I am over this, it will be fine. I will survive. There must be a reason, so I will take comfort in that. Silver lining: it will be very quiet in the house and I will have a lot of time to read.

Just a few things to mull over since my last update.  First, Ants. Yes ants. If I never ever see another ant in my life, I will be a happy girl. There seem to be an overabundance of ants here in Suriname. They are everywhere and in everything. BUT, with that said, I'd MUCH rather have an ant problem than a roach or spider problem. They say things grow bigger in the tropics, and I think I may agree. I have seen some pretty big roaches and spiders. Thankfully, not in my house. Just ants in the house. So, I think I can live with that. Although, I will still reserve the right to be highly annoyed at them. ;-)

Next, driving. They drive on the opposite side of the road here. It has taken some getting use to. I really don't like driving. But sometimes I just have to. When turning, I still have to remind my self, "stay left, stay left."  I was out and about on Saturday and almost turned the wrong way into on coming traffic. Oi Vey. Even when walking, I forget about the opposite lane thing and sometimes look in the wrong direction before stepping out. I almost got hit a few weeks ago because I was looking the wrong way first and almost stepped in front of an oncoming car.

It is the little things in life. Like the beautiful Suriname sunrises.  Captured this beauty one morning as I walked to school. 

Walked out my back door one evening, and saw the beautiful full moon beginning its rise in the sky. 

Suriname sunset. This is just one of many beautiful sunsets I have witnessed since living here. 

Saturday night, the International Academy staff had an American Thanksgiving. 
There was a lot of GOOD food, fellowship and laughs. I don't know about the others, but I know I ate way too much food. I was miserable once I got home and tried to sleep. Heartburn is not fun. But it was worth it! 

And last, the Kingdom.  I am still in awe that I am in another country.  Sometimes, when I am out and about and see the different people and hear the different languages, I just start grinning like an idiot. I just LOVE it. I love watching people and listening to them, even though I don't understand what they are saying. Which in some cases, is probably a good thing!   Sunday night, I went with a friend to an Assembly of God church here in Paramaribo. They had a praise and worship service that was led by a team from Trinidad. It was really a neat experience. At one point in the service, I started looking around at the congregation. Most were praising, some were swaying. I thought, this is what it will be like in heaven. It won't just be white people, or black people or just in English. It will be people from ALL nations and ALL languages together praising God.  I think that is why I love teaching at IAS so much. I have children from 8 different countries in my class. I literally have the nations in my room. Some days it makes me weep. I love them so much and am so very thankful that God is allowing me to minister to these precious ones. The Kingdom of God is here.