Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Quickly Coming to an End

Tomorrow is my last day of teaching Katelyn and Lum. Tomorrow is also my last reading class for the neighborhood kids. Throughout the next week we’ll be having different graduation festivities for Karissa, and in three weeks we pick up the summer team coming from Grass Valley. We leave in six weeks.

It is so strange that my time here is quickly coming to an end. It’s difficult to figure out how to find good closure. Do I cram in as much as I can, or slowly transition out of my activities and commitments here? Is it okay to spend time looking forward to the future God has provided for me in California, or should I only focus on what God has given me here in Cameroon? How do I balance the emotions of being both thrilled to get back home and mournful that I’ll have to say goodbye to Cameroon?

Karissa teaching the alphabet to our smallest students

But one thing I know. Even while I am pulled in all these different directions, God is with me through it all, and He never changes. When I am weary of pushing my energy levels and of missing home, He gives me peace and strength. When I dread wishing farewell to all the friends and beauty of Bamenda, He reminds me of the good plans He has for me. When I wonder if I really did anything of importance here, He encourages me that, because of His goodness and power, my labor is not in vain. When I worry about the cultural shift I’ll experience as I get used to living in the U.S. again, He reminds me that He will be with me and will provide for all my needs, even emotional needs.

I also am praising God for His faithfulness to me in regards to the future. He has already abundantly provided for my needs. I will have a full-time teaching job this fall! I’ll be the 6th/7th grade teacher at Grace Classical Academy in Laguna Niguel ( God has also provided me with an apartment; I’ll be living with my good friend Amanda in Fullerton. He’s even provided me with a reliable car for when I get back.

It is also encouraging to see how He is already helping me find some closure here. A couple of weeks ago I got to stay at the missionary rest house in Mbingo (a nearby town) with my friend Elaine and her mom and cousin, who were visiting for a couple weeks. Since Elaine is moving up to the far north of Cameroon soon, I might not get to spend time with her again, so it was so nice to have a few days together, especially in such a relaxing place.

Elaine and her cousin Christina in Mbingo

Last week we had all of our dance friends over for dinner and a movie. We ate jelof rice (a favorite Cameroonian dish) and spaghetti while we watched Hairspray. As soon as the credits started, we pushed the chairs out of the way and started dancing to the music, and kept dancing for another hour! It was such a good time of connecting with those friends in a different way, outside of dance class, especially since we won’t have very many more dance classes before we leave.

I’m also anticipating that with all the graduation festivities I’ll have a chance to spend some extra time with friends, and I’m sure that having the summer team come will provide good closure regarding the ministries and significant people and places here. But today, I’m excited to see Lum and Katelyn perform a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and I’m looking forward to finishing up school with them tomorrow. I have loved teaching them, and our last day of school together will be very bitter-sweet. I will dreadfully miss being a part of their education, but I am so excited for the good plans God has for all three of us in the future!

Performing the Shakespeare scene

God is good all the time! And all the time, God is good!