So it's time for another month's update and I'm wondering how it's now October. Before we know it, 2017 will come to an end...*deep breath*.
I've been sitting on this post for a while. It has been quite a season...a season of doubt. Wrestling with God. Wrestling to understand His sovereignty, His goodness and what it means to trust when we don't understand why. Sometimes there are no answers...yet. And in the waiting...still we are called to continue doing what He's called us to do at "such a time as this".
I usually paint a pretty nice picture of life, even when the reality is not the greatest. This school year definitely feels like my most challenging so far in Thailand. My prayer is that it actually ends up becoming the opposite.
Recently at a social styles leadership training session I attended, I unpacked how I've been perceived by people lately, and honestly the results were not surprising to me considering I've been choosing to withdraw and complain rather than engage and be an encouragement.
The song "hills and valleys" comes to mind...I can say I'm tromping through a valley.
I love my students, I do, but it's a tough love that most days I struggle to convey. The amount of work (not only with teaching...many other things demand time) leaves me completely worn out and exhausted even when I feel like I've been trying really hard to find balance.
Fortunately, I'm beginning to see that I'm in the midst of a refining process...which somehow gives me renewed hope because there must be a reason for this challenging season. Even when circumstances don't change, I can still choose joy.
Positive things to share:
1. I am confident that my kids still love me even though I'm hard on them. It's been humbling for me to teach them. Sometimes I think God is instructing me through them. I am teaching our earth science unit and enjoy teaching geology...so that's a highlight!
2. Diakonia started up again last month. My teaching partner is helping me out this semester and maybe next, but we're still in need of someone else. Everyone is swamped with accreditation tasks and other commitments this year so it's been hard to find help. This Diakonia group has been a surprise. A group of misfits serving other misfits has actually proven to be good. Our kids have dived into ministry and on the first outting, many were already connecting with others...practicing Thai and helping teach new vocabulary to build friendships and connections.
3. Thank you for the many birthday greetings! Even though my birthday was on a Monday, I was blessed by so many, especially some ladies here who surprised me and treated me to Korean dessert, when I had no plans to do anything. Also, my teammate, who threw a party for me with my class.
4. A three-day weekend. Finally! One of my housemates and I escaped to a rustic cabin at the base of Thailand's tallest mountain. I have never seen so many creepy crawlers in my life. Huge bats, rhinoceros beetles, camouflage bugs, spiders, millipedes, snakes (fortunately, dead), rats (also, dead). I spent hours between the trees in a hammock and ventured out to explore the nearby royal projects (vegetable, fruit and flower farms). I enjoy walking through villages and markets and speaking Thai with the people I meet.
1. I would choose joy in the midst of hardship and that I would get out of the "funk" I'm in, acknowledging what God is teaching me.
2. My heart is heavy for so many people and places every.day. All things out of my control. This includes the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, floods (including those in the States and SE Asia) and numerous political issues going on in surrounding countries. Also, many here (both foreign and Thai) are going through immense hardships. It's like attack on all sides. Continue to pray for protection and for hope in the midst of uncertainty, instability and challenges.
3. October-it's been one year since the passing of Thailand's King. Prayers for the unknown governmental situation, as no one is aware of what could happen after his cremation ceremony at the end of the month (...a year after his passing). October 1, we started another month of now, the end of mourning (for 30 days...we will wear black each day again...)
4. 6th grade overnight trip is in a month! As I'm busy preparing, please keep all those going in prayer. This group is a very different group than last year's and I'm hoping that they will grow in friendship and faith with one another. This is a highlight for many past students!
Thanks for lifting these requests up!
I also would like to pray for any requests you may have.
-End of Quarter 1 Reports
-3 days of Parent-Teacher Conferences
-Joining my my half Vietnamese roommate on yet another trip to Vietnam for a visa run and to the south.
-6th grade trip NEXT MONTH!
Sara Gurule c/o