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!