Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Normal Life

I realized a couple of weeks ago that I’ve made the shift from finding life in Cameroon novel, to finding it normal. I mostly understand Pidgin and can speak a little of it. I like Cameroonian food. I’m comfortable traveling in Bamenda by myself, I’m not as aware that I stand out as a white person, and it seems strange when I’m in the market and don’t get several marriage proposals. As life continues here, I’ve avoided updating my blog in favor of waiting for something “new” and “interesting” to happen. I had fooled myself into thinking that there was nothing noteworthy about my daily life to write about. After I realized my self-deception, I started opening my eyes to the “new” and “interesting” things God does here every day. While this update isn’t as much of an adventure story as my first Sala celebration, it’s a whole new kind of adventure to experience daily life here over an extended period of time.

Babysitting for another missionary family, and using a "baba" for the first time to hold the baby on my back!

Although I only have two students, it seems like I’m only now beginning to understand what makes them tick and how to best help them, and I still feel I have so much more to learn. But by the grace of God, the results of six months of study are paying off. Lum and Katelyn’s reading and writing skills have noticeably improved, which is evident even in their poems about farting and stories about being attacked by snakes in the jungle. They are also ever increasing their knowledge of and interest in Science, Math, and History, especially through creating Science picture books and raps, as well as reports about American revolutionaries. It is so exciting to watch this process unfold, and be a part of it! And the two of them are not the only ones who are learning. I am getting such great opportunities to develop my teaching and relational skills, and have noticed that God has not only used teaching to develop my creativity, but my humility as well. I am glad we still have three more months for the three of us to learn from each other.

Our Easter Egg Shell Animals

It has also been exciting to see the pay-off of our weekly ministries. Karen is testing her new Sunday School curriculum at our Bible Clubs, which are going well. The students in my reading class are getting better at recognizing new letters, sounding out new words, and comprehending the storylines of the books I read aloud to them. The handicapped kids still give us the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen in my life when we visit them, and we have even started helping give five of them physical therapy on Karissa’s horse Prince. It’s amazing to see how walking twice around a soccer field and giving a horse a banana can increase children’s physical and emotional health.

And then there are the seemingly small and insignificant aspects of my weekly routine in which I find such joy. I love Saturday mornings, when I can sleep in, then get out of bed only long enough to bring a mug of coffee and a bowl of homemade yogurt back into my bedroom, and spend a couple hours in quiet reflection. I look forward to each Friday’s movie and pizza night, where we can all crash from our long and exhausting week. I still get excited anytime I can go horseback riding. Also, the Jacksons and I recently started ballroom dancing classes in Bamenda, and the delight of whirling and twirling around the dance floor gives me not only really sweaty clothes, but a recharging that provides me with the energy I need to continue with my other weekly commitments.

Thank you so much for all your prayers—they have truly sustained me. I know that your prayers have been a huge part of why I have been unusually healthy this year, why I’m learning and growing so much, and how I’ve been able to see and take joy in how much God has been working here. Please keep praying for wisdom about what to do next year and how to continue being a strong support in all my ministries here. I can also use prayer for comfort when I get homesick, continued physical health, and sustained energy for the rest of my time here.

Also, many thanks to those of you who support me financially. Along with covering my living expenses, your money has made it possible for me to give gifts (financial and material) to my Cameroonian friends and those in need, like Christmas stockings to some Cameroonian kids who have never had stockings before, makeup kits for a girls’ Bible Study and makeover night, and a monetary gift to a widow that occasionally works for us.

Makeover Night

I’m also using the money to help provide resources for the handicapped students to make items they can sell to make money for the school. All of this is possible because of God’s abundant provision through your generous and sacrificial support. May you see clearly how God is blessing you because of your support.

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