Friends, I have sat down a multitude of times to update you on our progress, and each time I'd get some of the words out, and somehow, at the end, it didn't seem relevant.
Since our return in August, a lot has happened.
We moved into a sweet little garage apartment that began as an unfinished man cave from the previous owners and turned it into a cozy little space, made precious by the family that lent it to us, the people who helped make it home and the memories we made. We were sad to leave.
I got a job at a daycare preschool I didn't want, but he provided. I struggled even to admit that is where I was. Turning the curve to realize we were not leaving as soon as expected was difficult, but there is so much joy in obedience. I began in October, and by December, I gave my notice. Just weeks after silently shaking a fist at God, doubting if I had heard correctly about "taking that teacher certification course," and feeling guilty as if the gift of it was a waste, I accepted an art teacher position at a local charter school I only know about because the first teacher I ever worked with told me about it. I didn't want to work there, either, because at that point in my life, I swore to God I would never ever work with children. This teacher is the one who pushed me to get certified, and she's the one who told me about the position. And she's from Kona.
Yeah, what about that teacher certification program, indeed. What a comfort to hear he heard me, even in my frustration and grumbling and discontent, he heard me, and let me know I was right where I needed to be.
I inherited a neglected fine arts program, teaching 470 children, Kinder through eighth grade, with zero storage and no sink. Wrestling at what to do, I woke up the day before Christmas and knew I needed to compose an email to three people specifically, and within thirty minutes, the entire project was funded by the generosity of one of our supporters. I've been able to bring a fresh newness to a chaotic and cramped room, filled with at least 30 kids for 45 minute stints, from all backgrounds: Muslim, Hindu, Christian and Atheist alike.
Just before my first day, my friend came to pray over me and my room, praying all that wasn't from the Lord would just fall off my kids as they entered. I still pray that, and would ask you to join me in that.
I have jumped on a fast moving train. I am holding on for dear life, trying to remember names, what day it is, and when I have who, but always stepping back to remember all I can do is be faithful where I am. And its pretty neat: I am literally building this program from the ground up, and I am learning so, so much. It encourages me to know I will be doing something similar in Italy as we pursue the heart of the arts with the gospel of grace.
Toddling along, one foot infront of the other, depending on my big brother and looking toward my Father.
About a week into teaching, we moved back into the apartment we had before we left for YWAM. Yes, the exact apartment, but this time, it's just Amelie and I. It's the first time we have had our own space since 2011. Moving Day was a sight to see. A truck was rented, men from our church organized, and I was told not to lift a thing. Never in all of my moves has that ever happened. It was so strange how guilty I felt, but what a picture it was. That chilly Saturday morning, the lead pastors from my church, staff, elders and neighbors led by example and moved all of our things from that little garage apartment to our apartment in less than two hours, as I got to sit by the fire.
When it was all said and done, we gathered in our new-old living room, held hands and they prayed over us, our home, and our neighbors.
It was so beautiful, so moving, and allowed space to feel loved in a way that was sweetly intrusive. What a picture of the gospel, the hands and feet of Jesus. I am so thankful for them, the families they represent, and the ministry of The Village Church.
Tomorrow afternoon I leave for fundraising training with Reliant. I have been going so quickly I it hasn't really sunk in this is really happening. While there I will learn about how to fundraise, will have a platform and a back office, a whole team of people to help me to do this. Reliant is very good at what they do with sending people.
For those of you currently giving through Italian Ministries, I will update you soon on how to switch to Reliant, so all funds can be in the same place.
Would you pray for me? The whole process seems daunting as I am not administratively gifted in any way. Pray that I would remember all I learn, for relationships, whoever my coach will be, and as I begin to make appointments with people to meet with them and invite them onto our team! I am also asking for strength, as I will continue to teach until we are funded.
I am excited and nervous. It seems so big, but I remember our God is bigger. Always. There is joy in obedience, even when it seems too big, or too much. And his ways are far better than our own, we just need to be obedient and faithful as best we know.
Thank you for praying for me, for Amelie, our team, and all God will do in Italy! Oh, it is so beautifully exciting!!