I like to keep my email updates short, so here is a more nitty-gritty, in depth (and long!) update on all that’s been going on here. Thanks for being interested! I know it’s been a while since I sent an update, but the past month (or so) has been full and wonderful.
Here are the topics:
- language learning
- cultural learning
- what God has been teaching me
- what’s next
- prayer requests
Teaching has come to a close for the semester as this week and next are final exams, and after that the students will go on Christmas break. My final project for the semester was a “Change the World” project. My students had to pick a cause or problem in their community that they care about, present on it, and come up with a creative and new approach to try to solve it. They then had to create some kind of advertisement to publicize their cause. Here they are with some of their advertisements. Some of my favorites include a creative video one student made to persuade people to not be so addicted to their Blackberrys, and a hand fan another student made to persuade people to use less energy. I was so proud of them!
I have been investing a LOT of my time and energy into language learning since I got here. I have really appreciated my language teacher as she pushes me hard and really motivates me to work hard and learn it well. We have also become quite close friends (here’s a funny photo of us)! I began Unit 4 a couple of weeks ago and well enter into Unit 5 after I return from Christmas break (usually there are a total of 6 units with an optional 3 more for further study). It has been so freeing to be able to speak more and more, I know many of you have prayed for this and I am so grateful! I am far from fluent but am making a lot of progress.
Wow there’s a lot to learn about this culture! Just when I feel I might have a handle on things, something will happen and I’ll realize, “Wow, I’ve got a long way to go!” Someone once told me, “If at the end of 2 years you have a pretty decent handle on the language and culture, I’d consider that a great success.” I think I underestimated how great the learning curve would be on this one, but I am in for the ride and enjoying every twist, turn and bump along the way.
If you’ve kept up with my blog you know I’ve started coaching high school girls basketball at the local International School. This has been a blast! Most of the girls are Korean, with a few Americans and one African. It has been wonderful to pour into them and disciple them, and furthermore I am able to do it in English, which is a nice break! We started out a little rough but had our first win last week, and I am so proud of the progress the girls have made. Sorry the photos are a little blurry, but be sure to check them out!
I had a most wonderful Thanksgiving with my team here. Although the actual day came and went without much notice, we celebrated the Saturday after. It truly felt like Thanksgiving; we cooked all morning, ate around 2pm, then played some soccer outside before eating Pumpkin Pie for dessert. Somehow rice made it on the table, but nobody ate it! When we went around and shared things we were thankful for, I was overflowing. Looking back on the past year, there is so much to be grateful for.
what God has been teaching me
Wait, wait, wait. That’s what God keeps saying. I’ve been so anxious to get this language and culture under my belt! But God has been faithful in teaching me what it means to wait on his timing, his good and perfect timing. You’d think I would have learned about trusting his timing with the whole visa process. The truth is, any kind of growth takes time. This will likely be a continual life lesson.
December is a full month! We are having some national leaders get together for encouragement, worship, and training in a couple of weeks, so we are busily preparing. We will also have some short term guests associated with our organization from North America come. Additionally, I will be taking another trip to a different island to visit another school and site. And this is all before Christmas! I am looking forward to a month full of ministry, followed by some time to rest and celebrate the birth of our Lord.
Many of you all have been faithfully praying. Thank you! Here are some prayer requests for this month:
- Health – I have been sick several times this month as have many of my teammates. Please pray for protection for germs and amoebas and all the other things that swim around here!
- December events – please pray for all of the ministry anticipated this month (as described above).
- Language – many of you have prayed for this, thank you! Please continue to pray for my language and culture learning.
- My students – please pray they would implement some of the things they have learned this semester and that God would continue to work in and stir them.
- My community – please pray for the people I interact with on a daily basis, that I would be able to minister to and encourage them.
Thank you! Much love sent to you from Asia.