God’s Ways

This morning, the Lord had me read II Kings chapter seven.  This chapter is about two specific promises the Lord makes, and how He keeps those promises.  It made me think about my life, and how the Lord works in His own ways. 

In the midst of a war, the land of Samaria was experiencing a severe famine.  There was obviously not much food, and the foods that the people did have were very costly.  God spoke through a man named Elisha and promised that the next day the scene would be entirely different–the prices would drop significantly, and there would be plenty of food. 

The second promise was given to the king’s right-hand man: he would see the first promise come to pass, but he would not eat of any of the food himself.  This promise was given to him because he doubted that the Lord could actually bring food in abundance by the next day.

Those of us who know God know that He keeps His promises.  However, what we don’t always get right is how He keeps His promises.  For example, in regard to His first promise to the Samaritans, we would think that He would answer the promise by sending sun and rain and supernatural power to make plants grow and produce.  Or maybe He’d send along a caravan that had plenty of food at low prices.  Logical, right? 

He chose a completely different way to show His faithfulness.  He “had caused the army of the Syrians to hear the noise of chariots and the noise of horses–the noise of a great army; so they said to one another, ‘Look, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of the Egyptians to attack us!’  Therefore they arose and fled at twilight, and left the camp intact–their tents, their horses, and their donkeys–and they fled for their lives” (vs. 6-7).  The army left everything behind, including their food and gold and silver.  The Samaritans were able to plunder their things and bring home all the food.  Thus, they had food in abundance–and at a low cost.  

The second promise was also honored in an unusual way.  The officer did not taste any of the food because the people, in their mad rush, trampled over him and killed him at the gate to Samaria (vs. 17-20).  Who would’ve thought?

But isn’t this how God works?  His ways are not our ways.  He has plans that we don’t know about and don’t understand–not because He’s a mean, selfish God but because He alone knows what’s best for each of us.  It’s simply that He knows the grand scheme of things; we don’t.  He gives us His promises and we may think one thing while He plans and directs another.  And for reasons specific to each circumstance, it’s always better how He plans it. 

This isn’t to say that we can never know the mind of God; Paul says, “But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16b) and “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Ph. 2:5).  As we walk with Him, His desires become ours and we think more like He does.  But He is the One who directs our steps and plans our ways. 

I’ve had to learn that as I’ve been here in Belize.  There are promises that He’s given me and I thought I knew exactly how they’d work out, but I was wrong and He showed me a greater plan.  I’ve learned to not cling to anything earthly, or any of my own ideas, because His ways are not always what I imagine.  His way, though, is truly what I seek and truly what is necessary.  Nothing–nothing–else matters!

I’ll be home in a matter of days (!) and have to move on with my life.  A few months ago if you had asked me what I’d do once I got home, I would have told you one thing.  A couple months ago I would have said another.  Each of those answers were me trying to figure out what God’s promises would look like in my life; how He was going to fulfill them.  Now, however, I have a different answer. I have sought the Lord and He has answered me, though on His timing and not mine.  He has a plan for the rest of my life, and He is revealing it piece by piece to me as time goes by and He sees fit to tell me. 

Please continue in the journey with me–the journey of knowing Christ and Him crucified in this life here on earth.  I will keep writing and posting once I get home, and hopefully again before then.  Thank you for all of your prayers!

Today I have more time to write, so hopefully I’ll be able to remember everything worth writing about.  Summer school is officially over, as of Friday.  The two weeks went by very quickly.  Every day was a bit chaotic and hectic.  And I won’t go so far as to say that every day was easy, because that’s certainly not the case; but every day held its own joys and blessings.  The kids truly enjoyed coming, and I truly enjoyed seeing their faces!  They learned new dramas and dances, recipes and games, and were able to refresh their knowledge in reading and writing and arithmetic.  Plus they got to ride the buses to and from the base, which is something they take immense pleasure in.

The summer school program went from 9:00am to about 2:45pm.  Once the kids left, all of us teachers would run around like crazy (depending on how much adrenalin we had left) to clean up and be done for the day.  Oftentimes my afternoons were spent going to the river, walking to a friend’s house, picking and eating oranges and avocados, reading, getting dinner ready, and getting myself ready for church or Bible study.  Below is a picture of my friends and I on our walk in the gardens next door (L-t-R: Melody, Katie, me, Rachel).

Yesterday all of us teachers went to Old Belize, which is a historical part of Belize–like a museum.  It’s out on the ocean, and our main purpose in going was to spend time swimming in the natural saltwater pool.  There is also a slide (at least 65 feet high) and a rope swing, both of which are very fun.  So we spent the day there, relaxing and goofing off.  I found a chair in the shade and read for a good part of the day, which was a blessing.  God is always teaching me.  I am learning the truth in the Psalm: “How sweet are Your words to my taste, Sweeter than honey to my mouth!” (119:103)

Things here at the base have quieted down.  The teams are gone; we dropped the last two girls off at the airport yesterday morning.  Currently there is only one other girl staying here with me (she will be here until November).  It’s really nice having her here, especially since she’s a friend I know from last year.  We are staying in the girls’ dorm, just the two of us.  Tomorrow Pastor Ron and Sondra fly out for the States, so there will be even fewer people here.  And next, it’s my turn.

It’s hard to believe I’ve lived here for almost three months.  In 12 days, I’ll be back home in the States.  It’s bittersweet… there are many things I’m going to miss about Belize and life here.  Some things I’ll probably bring back with me.  But there are also many things about home that I miss.  These last two weeks have yet to be discovered; I do not know what they will hold.  God will continue to reveal Himself to me, and I’m just looking forward to that every day.

Summer School and Beyond

So.  Summer school has begun, and we are now halfway through.  It has been incredibly busy around here, as you can imagine.  We had a team of four come, then a team of two, one individual, and then another team of two.  Then three left, then one team of two, then the one individual.  Now we have one team of two and one individual here, all girls.  And, they’re all girls I know from last year.  It’s been fun having some friends here.

Last week we began the summer school program.  Many of the kids are ones that I know from last year, and it has been so neat to watch them grow.  Most of them have really matured and grown.  It’s a blessing to see! We have 116 kids enrolled in the program, which is quite a bit more than last year.  I will let you watch the video below to get a better understanding of the program.  The news station here decided to come last Friday and film us in action.  There are now 11 subjects, and I am in charge of the cooking class.  Over the course of the day I get to see each precious face and teach them how to cook!  It’s kind of ironic, because I’ve been in the kitchen cooking for the past two months.  I thought that I’d be teaching reading or writing or something for summer school, but I am right back in the [outdoor] kitchen.  It’s fun.

Today was eventful.  I had a class of boys in the kitchen, and all of a sudden I hear, “Miss!  Miss!  Eeeh, there’s a frog in the sink…”  I thought he was joking, but he wasn’t.  There was a little frog stuck in the drain.  I ignored it, and somehow it disappeared.  I have no idea where it went, and I don’t really want to know.  A little while later I had a class of girls and we were sipping our slushies and talking.  Then I noticed something slithering past my foot and the foot of the girl next to me.  A nice, long snake.  Of course the girls started screaming, “AHHH!  SNAKE!  SNAKE!”  And of course, the boys all came running.  Then everyone else came running.  I didn’t know what to do.  I couldn’t leave the kids there with the snake, but I needed to get someone to dispose of it.  And I wasn’t sure if it was poisonous or not.  It slithered right behind some boxes, and eventually Andrew came to get rid of it.  I still don’t know if it was poisonous or not, but it’s dead now.

Hopefully I will be able to write more in the coming days.  I have been sitting here at the table for over an hour trying to write this post, but there are six other people in the room and I’m quite distracted.  Very, very distracted.

Below is the video.  If I have time in the next couple of days, I will write more about what has happened in the past couple of weeks.  For now, know that things are going well and God is good–as always.

Brief Update

“The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, slow to anger and great in mercy.”

Psalm 145:8

What a great God!

This past week has been different.  There is a team of four here, a team that comes year after year to conduct a drama camp with the Belizean youth.  They all have been working hard learning their dramas and songs, and they will present them all on Sunday at church.  Tonight they are in town performing for passersby.  A great ministry!

Once again, the majority of my week has been spent in the kitchen.  I really enjoy cooking for so many people!  It’s chaos sometimes, and usually incredibly hot, but it’s fun.  We have been feeding the kids in drama camp, too, which is an additional 25 mouths.  That means feeding about 40 people every lunchtime.  Thursdays are typically the most intensive, since it’s burrito day.  I actually thought that I was going to lose muscle by coming down here and not exercising like I did at home, but it’s quite the opposite–tortillas make sure of it!

Wednesday I went with the drama team down to the river heading into San Ignacio.  Pastor Ron and I whipped out hamburgers for lunch (they have a nice big grill on the lawn there), and everyone swam and jumped off the banks.  After lunch I walked into and around town with two of the women from the team.  It was nice, sunny, and hot!

Last night Pastor Ron, the little girls, the boys, the team, another girl, and I went into San Ignacio to get ice cream and walk around.  It was just dark enough that the street lights shone against the grey-blue sky… it looked so pretty.  The stars are bright here, because there isn’t much smog.  And before I continue, let me briefly update you on the family situation here.  Delmi and Dani are no longer staying here;  they decided to return to their mom.  So for about a week, Irma and Elbia were the only two girls here.  They were positively wonderful together.  Then another little girl needed a place to stay, so eight-year-old Nicole moved in a couple of nights ago.  Irma was especially glad to have someone closer in age to her (though Nicole is closer in age to Elbia).

Today was quiet, as the team went to the beach and Pastor Ron took the girls to a pool.  Our last day of quiet for two weeks.  Tomorrow we pick up seven more people, five of whom will be here for one week and two of whom will be here for two.  Sunday another woman flies in to spend a week.  Monday marks the beginning of Summer School, which will last for two weeks.  We are expecting 100 kids!  I am excited for this year’s program, because it includes many more subjects and a different setup than what we had last year.  The kids are really going to enjoy it.  Instead of teaching reading as I did last year, I am in charge of the cooking class.  I’m stoked.  And I’m very thankful for all the preparation I’ve gotten already this summer cooking for teams.  This is a first, though: handling amounts of food to feed 100+ people in one day.  Whew!

Thank you for your continued prayers, dear friends.  They DO make a difference.  Please continue to pray for everyone here (in case you need names: Ron, Linda, Sondra & Ayva, Andrew, Junie, Akeem, Melvin, Ben, Elbia, Irma, Delmi, Dani, Nicole, Heather, and Allison).  Please also pray that I will run wholeheartedly after the Lord and desire Him with all of my being.  I hope you are learning more and more about the Lord through my journey here; that you are seeing Him and what He is doing.  He must be glorified!