Cray-Cray Ridiculous Grandmas

Let me just start by saying, this story is way better when told in person.

First, some background information:
I have 19 students, and there are always the special few that become the key characters in teachers’ stories. For me, this student is an adorable Japanese girl, who is new to the school this year. She took all of 1 day to adjust to ICS and get comfortable around me. After a few weeks of school, I made the mistake of giving her, and a few lucky others, a little pop culture lesson in slang by teaching them the word ‘cray-cray.’ After I explained the reference and told them that they are, indeed, cray-cray, the word has been used in 90% of their conversations.

After regretting ever telling them about this word, I decided to use this as new vocabulary activity and teach them a new word to incorporate in to their language. Ridiculous. So now, if something is cray-cray it is also ridiculous.

For example: “Oh my gosh Miss Slegers! This is cray-cray! This is ridiculous!” Or “This is cray-cray-ridiculous!” (Insert this in to any part of the day.)

The other day, I was sitting in my chair at my desk. The students were finishing up some of their work. This student walks up to my desk. I cannot remember the exact reason for her little visit to the front of the room, but eventually it involved me answering a question she had. After our conversation was over, she proceeded to give me a hug. This is an extrememly normal occurance for a handful of my students, and this one is no exception. In fact, I believe she is the leader in this movement. Example:

Miss Slegers says, “You don’t have any homework tonight.”
(Adorable Japanese student jumps out of her chair to run and give me a hug.)

Miss Slegers says, “Everyone go to the back of the classroom and find a seat.” (Adorable Japanese student jumps out of her chair to run and give me a hug.)

Miss Slegers says, “You are dismissed for lunch. See you in 30 minutes”
(Adorable Japanese student jumps out of her chair to run and give me a hug.)

However, this time, while she is giving me a hug with her head on my shoulder, she says in a slight whisper, “You remind me of my grandma.” I immediately burst into laughter.

I am a 25 year old, white teacher and apparently I remind this Japanese girl of her grandmother. Awesome.

And also, just so I don’t forget about this great compliment I have been given, I later receive a note that says,

“Dear Miss Slegers,
I love you so much
because you are cray-cray.
You reminds me of my
grandparents.

xxoo”

Later that day, I decided to go cheer on the U-11 girls basketball team at their games. This student is on the team. I tell this story to the basketball coach, Rachel, who is, quite often, asked if she is my sister.

While waiting for the games to start, Rachel asks this student, “Why does Miss Slegers remind you of your grandma?”

I expect an answer having to do with my nurturing spirit or maybe even my grandmotherly-like love. This is what I got instead,

“The way she smells. The way she feels.”

Again, dying of laughter.

Then, because you can’t just stop there, Rachel and I ask, “Well if Miss Slegers is my sister, and she reminds you of your grandma, then who do I remind you of?”

“MY GRANDPA!”

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Year 2

It’s 11:37 p.m. I have just put the finishing touches on my Quarter 1 report cards. In less than 6 hours I have to wake up, and get ready to take on Wednesday and a whole bunch of 10 year olds. The mere thought of tomorrow’s tasks brings on exhaustion, however, I remain wide awake. Is this year already 1/4 of the way over?

Summer at home was just like being back from college, except now my friends are married, with kids, or live in different cities, or have full time jobs and I’m 25. Living back in my high school room. With my parents.

It’s a good thing I love my parents. And my Pepto-Bismol-pink room is still home to me. And no matter how many kids my friends may have, I will still come over, sit on their couch, talk about life, laugh too loud, overstay my welcome, and sometimes, if I’m really lucky, they’ll pick up Mexican food for dinner and invite me to stay.

Summer:
Family. Hiking. Swiming. Wedding. Movies. Long Walks. Bachelorette party. Friends. Bridal Shower. Eating. Graduations. World Cup Games. Dancing. Long lunches. Longer Happy Hours. BEACH. Triathlon. Gospel Choirs. Nephew. Nieces. Mexican food. Raquetball. Baseball Game. Laughing.

I soaked up every minute of family and friends to keep close while I am gone. I knew that the day to leave would sneak right up on me so I decided to ignore the inevitable and enjoy what I had in front of me.

My brother and new sister-in-law decided to throw me the world’s best going away party ever and had their wedding in San Francisco the week before I left. It was a beautiful day, celebrating two of my favorite people in the world with a few tears, infectious laughter, a bit of champagne, and lots and lots of dancing.

And then all of a sudden it was August 2nd. (20 some hours of travel and a 15 hour time difference later)

Plane- lands in Singapore on August 4 at 5:30 a.m.
Taxi- drives to new apartment at 6:30 a.m.
Bus- Get to school for Meetings at 8:30 a.m.

Year 2 has officially begun.

It’s my second year teaching at ICS in Singapore and even writing that sentence down does not make it seem more real. I think of the haze and blur that was my first year of teaching. Not only is the first year of teaching supposed to be scary, confusing, and life-consuming, but I chose to move across the world to make it a bit more challenging.

Last year, I remember thinking more times than I am comfortable admitting, “What am I doing?” This thought came to mind many times throughout the year: while teaching, sitting in the school carnival dunk tank, dancing at a school assembly in front of the entire school, grading piles of papers, or at half time of an 8 year old soccer game.

I like to think that with one year under my belt, I have more of an idea of what I’m doing, or at least, what I’m supposed to be doing. Knowing what the schedule is or what the year’s events are usually like has been very helpful coming back this year. The whole, I’m moving to a country I’ve never been to, can kind of throw some unexpected adventures your way. However, landing in Singapore this time around, felt more like coming home. (Dont worry Mom, California is still home too.)

As much as I may have been more prepared for this year, there is no way to fully prepare yourself for an entirely different class and new and interesting adventures that are always coming your way. If I have learned anything throughout this entire experience, it’s to take chances, be flexible, and take advantage of the opportunities you are given.

One of these little hidden opportunities I was given came to me the week before school started. Our amazing athletic director asked if I would be interested in being the assistant varsity boys soccer coach. I said yes because I thought, “If I can coach 8 year old boys than I can coach 18 year old boys, right?”

Now, we are two months in to our season and, honestly, it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve made this year. The team is a group of boys all between the ages of 14-18. They have no idea, but they have given me so much joy from being able to coach them, watch them play this brilliant game, and see them grow as a team. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re good. The boys can play.

We won our last game 4-2 against a pretty large international school on the island. And they played beautifully. They hustled, they scored goals off corners, breakaways, and perfect passes, and they played their hearts out. After the final whistle blew, I think my heart burst in to a million little pieces. Proud Coach.

Also, a perk of coaching in Singapore? We have a soccer tournament in a couple weeks.

In Thailand. Yup.

So far, Quarter 1 is done. We have three more left. I’m excited to see what other hidden opportunities may be coming my way.

My 5 Year Plan

When I graduated from high school they asked all of the seniors where we see ourselves in 5-10 years. Being the mature 18-year-old that I was, I think I wrote something along the lines of “Graduated from college, happily married, with a family.” It is coming up on my 7th year out of high school (wait, what?!) and that 5 year plan…? Well, I’m single, no kids, and living in Asia. At least I graduated and I got the happily part right, right?

As of about 13 months ago I would have never guessed that I would be living in Asia, so I think it’s fair to say that my 5 year plan didn’t exactly go as I planned.

My school has started to hire new staff for the upcoming school year that is fast approaching, which made me take a trip down memory lane to the day I decided it would be good idea to attend a little job fair in Southern California. 

Before I attended the job fair, I did a bit of research to see which schools and which areas I would be interested in. I knew where I wanted to go: Rio de Janiero, Brazil. I had never been to South America, and was excited to check out a different part of the world. I was pretty settled that this area would be great for my next adventure, and possibly a great tan and a few world cup soccer matches on the side.

When I drove up to the church, I was welcomed by a group of people handing out Krispy Kreme donuts. It’s like they knew how to reel me in.

I sat in an auditorium, in the back, by myself. I listened to each director stand up and give their best “why our school is amazing” speech.  

While I sat and listened to these men and women from all over the world, I knew God was going to send me where I didn’t want to go. I remember sitting there, almost laughing at God because it was so clear to me that this wasn’t my decision. On my way home, I called my dad and told him I had just had job interviews with schools from China, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Singapore. Isn’t that the kind of news every parent wants to hear from their daughter?

 

Less than 2 weeks later, I had a job offer to move my life to Singapore and teach elementary school for 2 years. Before this, I couldn’t find Singapore on a map, and now I was supposed to move there. My reply was sent within a day that I received the offer. When you know, you know.

However, I had moments where I seriously questioned my sanity. These moments usually came when I was sitting on the beautiful beach in San Diego, a stones throw away from my front door. Did I really want to move so far away? Was this just a really fun idea? And then the big one: Are you sure, God? 

So overall, my 5-year plan, 10-year plan, and my life-long plan? They don’t really exist for me. I have dreams and goals and bucket-lists 10 miles long, but one thing God has shown me and continues to show me is that my life is not one that I have control over or one that I can plan. 

Let’s be real, I can’t plan what my life will look like in 5 years when I don’t even know what it will look like in 5 months. I have moved 8 times since 2007. 8 different addresses, 3 different counties. Each place is like a monument for a different time of my life. Each place amazing, adventurous, scary, and so full of self-realization and life learning experiences. Each place has furthered my contentment in not having a set plan. 

I like not having a plan. It’s fun and frustrating. It’s full of surprises, both wonderful and a bit frightening, but it has opened up so many doors and allowed God to work in my life in ways I have only just begun to see. 

I still have moments where I struggle with being away from people I love and so far from any decent Mexican food. (What does a girl have to do to get a little Santanas over here?) There are still moments when I look at God and ask for the millionth time, Are you sure?  Or my not-so-glorious moments of, What the heck are you doing, God? But as I look back on these 8 moves, these past few plan-less years of my life, I can be assured in the fact that God has always provided a way for when His plan is in the works. I can look back and see not only the way that He was paving, but also how he has worked all of the direction-less, plan-less, confusion of the whats-next into an amazing adventure that I am on.

 

Speaking of adventures, I get to see these beautiful people in less than 24 hours and I feel like the excitement is bursting out of me.

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And then to bring that to the next level, this girl is coming on Thursday.

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Talk about God being on time. My heart could use a little love from home. 

And please excuse the lack of postings lately. I’d come up with an excuse but in all honesty, I’m just slacking. A catch-up on all that is my Singapore life will be coming shortly, but first thing’s first: soaking up these bits of home for the next 12 days. Happy Happy Heart.

Sweet 17

I’ve come to the realization that Christmas break was invented as a break for the teachers rather than for the students. From the time of Thanksgiving until December 18, I vaguely remember all the teaching, parties, sugary treats, and a steady stream students running in and out of my room. It was a blur of activities to say the least. And then, December 19th came. Two words have never sounded sweeter.

Christmas. Break.

I stepped off the plane at LAX and I was home. That first night consisted of lots of hugging, In’N’Out, laughing, marveling at a pregnant belly that was 4 times bigger than it was in July, and lots and lots of love. I had envisioned this day for the past 5 months and it had finally arrived. For about 17 days, I enjoyed this cycle on repeat. 

The sweet reunions were made even sweeter by the fact that the past 5 months apart had no effect on my relationships. Things jumped right back to the way they usually just are. During breakfast one morning, one of my dearest friends looked at me and said, “Is it weird that this isn’t weird?” I guess we had both pictured the slow-motion-run and embrace with tears streaming down our faces. Thankfully, the dramatic reunions mainly consisted of long hugs and maybe a little squealing of excitement. No tears and limited running were involved.

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My heart was so overjoyed, refreshed, and renewed in ways I hadn’t realized I needed. The time I was able to spend at home was more than I could have ever asked for in so many ways. 

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December 24, 2013. Savvy Faith. 

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She’s beautiful, she’s pretty perfect, and she already has my brother wrapped around her precious, tiny little finger. Holding her only a couple hours after her big arrival? Cue the tears.  

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I was selfishly praying that this sweet girl would make her debut during the time that I was home. Not only did God answer that prayer, but my whole family was able to be together. Considering that one of us lives in Asia, and another in the polar vortex of Chicago, the timing could not have been more perfect. Thank you God and thank you Tawnee. You both did great.

 

Fortunately, the time at home was generous and more than I had even expected, but just as soon as December 19th was here, January 6 shortly followed. And I’m really trying  not to make a habit out of being the crying girl at the airport, but maybe next time I’ll get it right. By the time I made it to security the tears had dried up, so at least I’m making progress since the last dramatic airport goodbye!

I was welcomed back to Singapore with weather I never thought existed here. I was outside this weekend and hardly broke a sweat. Cute, right? In a country where 80-85 degrees with about 80-90% humidity and at least a 60% chance of thunderstorms is the norm, this weather is blowing. my. mind. I’m taking advantage of every second because sadly, I know it won’t last. 

I’ve already been back in Singapore for about 2 weeks, with one week of the second semester under our belts. Two students from last semester have moved or switched schools, and I gained two new students over the break. Such is life at an international school.

I felt a little spoiled with all of the love that was shared over my time at home, but I am so, SO thankful for it all. I feel like I lead two separate lives, in two opposite places of the world, but, my family and friends, you will always be my home. I am grateful beyond words for the love, support, and time you shared with me while I was home and continue to do so while I am gone. You all are what makes coming home so sweet.

 

5th Grade Thinking

Today marked the first games of my U10 soccer team. Last season ended a little over a week ago, and now I’m coaching the 10 year olds (4th grade) all by myself. Now, seeing as I am my father’s daughter, I’m competitive. I have mentioned what coaching 9 year olds is like, refer to “organizing a cat parade” in your local dictionary, but I put my competitive nature aside and had fun watching them run around the field not always knowing what they were supposed to be doing. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from my 10 year olds. We’ve only had one practice and I was pleasantly surprised. But today, I left the field feeling like we had just won the World Cup. We won 3 of our 4 games, and tied the 4th. I love kids, I love soccer, and I love coaching. But, I’m going to be honest, I love winning. And I had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that they won today seeing as we only had 1 practice. I could not have been more proud of my baby Knights.

Hanging out with a group of 10 year olds all day has already taught me more than many college classes or Church sermons have and probably ever will. Last Friday we had “Question day” in room 309. A couple weeks prior to this I told my students to write down any questions they may have about their faith, God, the Bible, anything related to Christianity was fair-game. I let them in on a little secret that they probably figured out during the second week of school, I, their brilliant, bold, and stoic teacher, did not know everything. Because of this unfortunate revelation, I decided to invite our school chaplain to be our guest speaker for the morning. On “Question Day” the students listened intently while our chaplin answered their questions. And they sat. They listened. This group of 10 year olds sat and listened for an entire hour because these were things they were curious about. Questions they wanted answers to. Questions like, “Why did God create sin?” “If God doesn’t want us to sin, why was there a tree in the Garden of Eden?” “Why doesn’t God just destroy Satan?” “Why are there wars?” Are you understanding why I called in reinforcements? ImageSpirit Week: SuperHero/Villain Day=SuperTeacher

Their Questions. Something I have forgotten is how important it is to ask questions. God is not afraid of our questions. In fact, he wants us to come to Him with questions, because if we have questions or even doubts, that drives us to seek answers. And I believe, those answers are found in Him. And as many times as I answer their questions with, “I don’t know,” they never quit asking. Along with their questions, I love their ability to trust. Children trust without abandon. They listen to what you say and aside from the inevitable, “why?” they trust. One of my favorite things about Jesus is His love for children, along with his understanding of them. He says that we need to believe in Him with Child-like faith. I’m constantly blown away at the faith my students have, and even though they ask questions, they don’t question Him or His love for them. 

ImageTea Party Day-It was up for interpretation, but I was part of the Boston Tea Party.

Their simplicity. One morning we were talking about a song we were listening to in class. This song is not one that can be found in the Psalter Hymnal in the church pew, but more of a get-up and dance-for-Jesus type song. Along with the meaning behind the lyrics, we were talking about different ways we can worship. Dancing came up quickly in the conversation. I asked them why we would dance when we are worshipping God, and one of my boys answered, “Because God gave us feet.” That was it. There wasn’t a lengthy theological perspective on what the Bible says about swaying your hips attached to his reasoning of dancing as an appropriate form of worship, but simply…because He gave us feet. 

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Their Honesty. At the end of our poetry unit, I had the students get with a partner to write a rap that they had to present to the class. They were able to choose whatever they wanted to write their rap about. One pair of students wrote it about me. Overall it was pretty comical and very sweet. However, one line of the rap went a little something like “She’s really good at teaching and not good at singing.” Keep in mind, my students have heard me sing a countless number of times. When they were finished a few students argued, she’s good at singing, but then followed that up with “well, just not the high notes.” ouch, honesty. On the other hand, after the final match with the U9 soccer team we were closing our season with prayer. (Sidenote: We did not win a single game.) A 9-year old boy was praying and wrapped up our season with these words “Dear God, Thank you for this day. Thank you that we are here today. Thank you that we got to play soccer. And God, why did we loose every game and tie one?” As funny as this prayer was out loud, it wasn’t far from the one I was praying in my own head, he just had the guts to actually say it out loud. Honesty. Image

As you can see, I’m loving teaching (and coaching) even more now than in the beginning. These kids keep me laughing, keeping me frustrated, keep me loving, and keep me accountable in more ways than I can count. 

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Also-The countdown has officially begun. Thirty days from today and I get to hug the ones I love so much, eat the best cheeseburger, animal style fries, and chocolate shake a girl could imagine, and wear a jacket. These things are especially exciting in the midst of this month and missing so many birthdays of the aformentioned “ones I love so much.” Also celebrating the engagement of the girl who has practically been my sister. And, Lord-willing, welcoming in the newest, and most-likely cutest, of the Slegers bunch. I was trying my hardest to not get too excited too early, but this weekend I facetimed and saw baby-bellies, an engagement ring, and faces I cannot wait to see in person, hence the beginning of the countdown.

Image A few of the ones I can’t wait to see.

 

Normal, Dance-Party Fridays, and Steve Jobs

First Quarter. Done. These first few months have flown by. I can’t believe this school year is already 1/4 of the way over. Life in Singapore is basically the same; full of fifth graders, lesson plans, thunderstorms, grading, exploring, and conferences in Thailand. Completely normal, right? At times, I have to remind myself that even though this life is becomming very normal to me, the things that I encounter on a daily basis may not be typical to most people. For example, riding a bus home, looking around only to realize I am the only white person in a group of 50 people. Playing on a soccer team with a group of girls who are all from the Philippines and who speak English because this poor little white girl only understands one language. (Literally my jersey says ‘Philippina” on the back.) Having to go to a writing conference in Thailand to meet with other teachers who work at International schools all over Asia. These occurences are part of my daily life and are now considered somewhat “normal” to me. ImageTeachers in Thailand ImageImageImage

Parent Teacher Conferences. Done. To be completely honest, I was a little excited for my conferences. As you have read on countless posts by now, I love my students. They are quirky, silly, a little dramatic, and so truly themselves I look forward to work every day because I know I get to hang out with them, and maybe even teach them a thing or two. With each student comes parents. Fortunately for me, I am also quite fond of the parents of my students, so I was looking forward to seeing them. I baked some goodies for my backup plan, just in case things didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped. “I’m sorry your child isn’t getting good grades…can I offer you a cookie?” Now that every conference is done, I can honestly say that it was a great first conference experience. Nobody yelled at me…whew! However, I realized I may talk about my love for baked goods and sweets a little too often in class. A mother of one of my students walked in and said, “Julie said you like cake.” And then proceeded to hand me an entire chocolate cake.

In Miss Slegers’ Class, Fridays are officially known as “Dance Party Fridays.” This consists of random dance parties in between subjects throughout the day as well as a dance party before we leave class at the end of the day. Most of my students are still at the point in their lives that they don’t care what other people think of them and their uncoordinated dance moves and I am so thankful for this, because I think I look forward to these days just as much as they do. My dancing skills are pretty up-to-par with any other white girl who thinks she can dance but cannot, if any of you have ever seen me at a wedding you can most likely attest to this fact. In a room full of 10 year olds, it’s perfect. I never thought that these majestic moves of mine might possibly make their way out of room 309 for the entire school to see. How little did I underestimate my 5th graders. A couple weeks ago, our school had a group called the Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda, come perform at our school. For those of you who have been to Africa or any type of gospel church, you probably know that their praise and worship consists of far more rhythm and dance than just raising your hands in the air while singing Amazing Grace. During their concert they asked for 4 male volunteers and then 4 female volunteers. When they called for the girls, I could feel 5 pairs of 10 year old eyes turn in my direction and then in loud, high pitch voices my name rang throughout our gym joined with very jumpy and insistent fingers pointing straight at me. I found myself on stage in front of our school, Junior kindergarten to 12th grade, the entire faculty and many parents. It was girls vs. boys, and we had to watch the kids in the choir dance and then perform the dance ourselves. In front of the whole. Entire. School. At this point, I figured I was already up on stage, I might as well give it my all, embarrass myself, and win. And that’s exactly what happened. ImageFeeling very sure of myself ImagePlanning our attackImageThe audience that I blessed with my dancing.

Life here is always evolving and definitely not boring. I feel so blessed by the community I am a part of and the opportunities to meet new people and try new things on a regular basis. However, in all of this there is one person I have really appreciated in my time abroad. Steve Jobs. (RIP) My mind is blown every time I am able to facetime someone from across the world. This week I was able to talk to some friends and family in California, my borther in Chicago and a friend in Ghana. We are in completely different places, in opposite times zones, sometimes even in different days, and I can see their faces and hear their voices with a dial of a phone number. The fact that I can hear about new jobs, babies, soccer and flag football games and baton performances face-to-face is something I never take for granted. Being away is not always easy. I know my not-so-normal life is amazing and I am fully aware that not everybody gets to do the things that I am doing, but sometimes it’s the little things in life that truly mean the most. Like when a life-long friend gets married and I get to see part of the wedding and even talk to the father of the bride at the reception, or when I get to see my sister-in-law and best friend’s baby bumps grow from week to week, or talk to my nieces and nephew before they get ready to leave for school in the morning. It almost makes it feel like Singapore isn’t 9,700 miles away. So, Steve Jobs, I am forever grateful for facetime, imessage, and the ability to stay connected so easily with my home. ImageEven Laci gets some love.Image

IMG_4512 Snuck a picture of this adorable Baby Belly. Sorry Sis 🙂

Best friends a the wedding

Best friends a the wedding

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Goodness

Today marks two months. I can hardly believe it. The weekend came and went in an incredibly fast fashion, as it always seems to do. Apparently it was the “mid-autumn” festival this weekend which is supposed to include many lanterns and celebrations. The Gardens by the Bay were decorated with giant, lit-up creations and ended with a fireworks show. With the lack of fall weather and real Chinese lanterns, it felt more like a 4th of July carnival than a Chinese cultural celebration, but an excuse to get out and adventure nonetheless.

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5th grade is still up and running in room 309. I keep holding my breath every time they take a test or do work on their own after I teach a lesson, praying that they actually understood the words that came out of my mouth. So far, I think they’re still hanging with me. (I must have some serious prayer warriors back home.) 

 

For this first quarter, I am helping coach the under 9 year old soccer team with another teacher. They are adorable and so excited to play. However, my competitive nature is definitely being thrown to the wayside as I try and teach 12, eight and nine year olds how to kick a ball down a field into the big goal at the other end, in somewhat of an organized manner. A saying I have picked up from a friend of mine that I find quite applicable in this situation would be, teaching 8 year olds how to play soccer as a team is like herding kittens; adorable, rambunctious, energetic kittens. Dad, I have a completely new-found appreciation for your days of coaching me and my middle school girls’ basketball team…twice. 

 

Mini-Missions in Manila- Kids International Ministries (KIM)

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A little over a week ago, I was blessed to be in a setting that is quite the opposite of Singapore’s squeaky clean, safe, and comfortable island. On Saturday night, I found myself sitting in a room, filled with a group of teenage girls, singing worship songs to the Lord that has delivered them from unfathomable abuse. I danced and sang with an adorable, parent-less boy who giggled and smiled as I tried to get him to do the dance moves to our songs. I walked around the dirt roads of Manila, amongst children running around in torn clothing and without shoes in the pouring rain, who found pure joy in playing catch with a single, flat ball they had. In times like these, I can’t help but think “God…why?” 

 

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ImageImage(A community we delivered hot food to.)

I don’t know their stories. I don’t know how they ended up where they are now. And I have absolutely no idea why atrocities, such as these, happen all over the world. Things like these pierce my heart in a way I can’t even explain. 

 Image(I tried to take sweet baby Rose, but apparently they look down on kidnapping)

After my weekend in Manila, I left with many different thoughts, feelings, and experiences. I don’t know why people are diagnosed with terrible, fatal diseases. I don’t know why people have to go without food or water. I don’t know why innocent children experience such life-altering, damaging pain. But at the end of the day, I believe in a sovereign, almighty God. I believe that in the midst of the pain and the suffering, God is there to bring healing, comfort, strength, and redemption. I don’t just believe, but I know, that even in a world full of school shootings, terrorist attacks, heartbreak and life-taking disease, there is good

 

I have a friend who is teaching in Kenya where there was recently a terrorist attack. This same friend just found out her brother has been diagnosed with cancer. I read her blog today where she included a quote from J.I. Packer and it said this, 

 

“The world becomes a strange, mad, painful place, and life in it a disappointing and unpleasant business, for those who do not know about God. Disregard the study of God, and you sentence yourself to stumble and blunder through life blindfolded, as it were, with no sense of direction and no understanding of what surrounds you. This way you can waste your life and lose your soul.” 

There won’t ever be a day when I can answer why things like this happen in the world. But God promises to never leave or forsake us. Wherever we go, He is there also. In a world engulfed in sin, God holds us in the palm of His hand. 

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” 

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This is our job, our calling, to share this good news, of great joy, comfort, and peace with those who haven’t heard. We have to take care of those who need it because this world is corrupt, and no good will ever come of it without Christ. I choose to believe in Him, in His great plan, in His hope and His overwhelming goodness.

 Image(A painting hanging in the girls home we visited, which sums everything up quite beautifully.)