September. One of the hardest months of the year for me to be away from home. Not only am I missing out on the most perfect fall weather, prime 14er season, pumpkin spiced lattes, wearing boots, I also miss spending my birthday with family and friends.
This year, the week leading up to my birthday was difficult. I was dealing with some frustrating work related issues, and then out of nowhere, my hopeful trip to India over Christmas fell through due to some confusing circumstances with the family I would go with and stay with. Remember how I said I need to surrender. A daily surrender. That's literally happening. Holding every. single. thing. loosely. Clearly there's always a reason to why what I planned didn't work out. I just didn't know yet :)
I'm living the day-to-day. Trying to live presently and with the assurance that God's ways are not my own. His ways are always better. Believing that is what got me where I'm at today.
Every day of the week there's something going on:
Thai- I'm ACTUALLY reading and writing! SO exciting! Although, my speaking has taken a step back...need to get going with that again soon.
Technology Team-Leading and representing the Elementary teachers as they implement technology in the classroom to support their teaching and student learning. This requires me to attend meetings, collaborate with other "tech" people and share ideas with the Elementary at staff meetings.
Diakonia- This is our 3rd week of our 3rd year with Diakonia. It's been a learning experience this year in continuing to trust God with each participant in this group. Going into this semester, my expectations were HIGH. I was hoping for at least 20 kids. I was thinking, we're not novices anymore, right? This is year 3! It's going to be big. We will have many leaders from last year join and this group is going to be strong and confident! It will be a success.
That was my thinking, so imagine my dismay when we got the opposite. 12 kids. Majority of them less experienced with serving, more immature and needing lots of guidance. Many new to the group and are not what I would call 'natural leaders'. Things have changed since last semester where the group was practically running everything on their own, to now having to spend more time and energy coaching and directing them. Praying the Lord will do a great work in our own hearts and in those we serve. I believe in a great God who does BIG things through small people.
On Thursday, we went to our Thai school and there were 40 kids. We are up against a lot and it's a lot of extra energy and work for me too. Training these kids up while simultaneously having to help manage this massive group of rowdy Thai kids is not easy and I have to keep reminding myself that God wants us here because He desires to use us, developing relationships with the Thai's to lead them to HIM.
Thai bible study- Every other Friday, I've been attending a bible study with a Thai friend of mine. She is unable to make it to church on Sundays because she takes care of her elderly, bed-ridden mother. Therefore her pastor and his wife make a house call each Friday night to bring the message and worship to them. This pastor also makes a house call to another woman's home and her elderly mother. Just last night I received a phone call from my friend, saying that her friend's mother, Khun Meh (what we called her), had passed. I've only met Khun Meh twice, but both times I felt so accepted by her. I'll never forget her sweet, toothless smile and twinkle in her eye as she gently grabbed my hand. This is a difficult loss for the family. Pray for these my friend and her friend, Jintana (Khun Meh's daughter) and their families. Both are Thai believers, yet struggling to live out the Gospel in their Buddhist families and community.
It's been a LONG monsoon season. Since arriving back in CM late July, it's been raining almost every day. Cloudy, wet and humid. I don't mind it most days, but I've been rained on a few times while out and about. Nothing like showing up to Thai class completely drenched through all my clothes and standing by the door by a fan trying to dry off for an hour.
So life here is quite busy, but that's probably a good thing. Keeps me living presently with my students and community.
Birthday-I am thankful for another year of life. This year I went to another Thai mountain for a weekend getaway. I went with my 3 housemates and we stayed in a cottage in the mountains. It was raining, lush and green. Between rain showers I hammocked, then played my ukulele and read. Just rest was all I needed. One day was devoted to exploring a nearby cave and getting a tour. The shrines, bats and smells (incense, gas-lantern and bat guano) were unpleasant, so not my absolute favorite. We drove to the top of the mountain we stayed on and the view from the top was amazing! Time in nature was my favorite gift. Enjoy some pics!
Look ahead to October:
I'll finally be going to Vietnam for a week over our school's October break the end of October. I'll be staying with an acquaintance from Teachbeyond who I met when she visited CM last year. I'll be spending time at a national Vietnamese school on the coast and then another school in Hanoi...just to get to see other schools in Asia. I'm looking forward to this experience!
1. God's provision in change of plans. Thankful for the opportunity to visit other places and cultures and even more into the future (Dec.), being able to attend and participate in my dear friend's wedding!
2. The gift of refreshment to celebrate another year of life.
3. The joy that teaching 6th grade is!
1. Stay healthy. A lot of sickness is going around school. A few weeks ago over 20 students were out sick and teachers are also dropping like flies.
2. God's continued work in Diakonia this year. That despite my lost expectations, that I will trust God's work in it all...to Him be all the glory!
3. I will find a rhythm in the midst of busyness. That I wouldn't be so busy that I forget what/who is important.
Sara Gurule c/o