November 5th. How did you get here?
Seriously though, I can't believe it's November. I have finally stopped saying, "earlier this summer." It took all of September and October for me to reconcile that school is going on without me.
For the first time in 20 years, I did not enter a classroom this fall. Insane.
Anyways, I am still tutoring though, so the teacher in me is somewhat satisfied. Actually, I am quite enjoying it. I only have one client, but she is one of my former students. She needed a lot of support last year, but with 21 other kids, I always felt stretched to meet her needs. Now, I get an hour a week to spend just with her. She is doing very well. I plan to share a fun game I played with her soon. Just want to get some pictures of it first.
Now, I know it's the 5th, which means I am probably the 1,534th person to join the Currently. However, I still felt like joining.
After a friend announced that she starting listening to Christmas music last week, I decided that it was time for me to do the same. November is right before December, so though it is still early, I find it acceptable to begin enjoying the Michael Buble Christmas Station on Pandora.
Last post I rued the fact that my trusty laptop died. In the time since then, I ordered a new one. Tried the new one. Discovered it was possessed by aliens. Spent over 4 hours on the phone trying to return the evil thing (still have not finished that process). Found an amazing deal on an even better laptop from Staples. Purchased it. Am amazed by how awesome it is.
It was definitely a stressful and annoying process. However, God used an old memory of watching All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten to remind me that not having a working laptop is an "inconvenience" not a "problem." Still, I am beyond thankful to now have my Toshiba Satellite that runs smoothly, quickly, and quietly.
For those of you who know me or have read my other blog posts, you know that I have one strong sweet tooth. Dessert is not an optional course. It is an essential part of both lunch and dinner.
Lately, though I have been visiting a nutritionist who is attempting to tame my stubborn sweet tooth. She encouraged me to do a cleanse for two weeks. The cleanse is really not too bad considering I either never or almost never eat/drink most of the things on the "Do Not Eat" list.
Give up red meat? Already did that.
No caffeine? No problem.
Cut out the eggs? Only have 'em once a month or so anyway.
No sugar? WAIT!!! WHAT??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THAT'S INHUMANE.
Though I knew I needed to cut back on the sweet treats, I did not want to go cold turkey. Still, I decided to go for it and surprisingly it's working.
The combination of drinking lemon water in the morning to balance my body's acidity, the focus on hearty meals comprised mainly of vegetables and protein, and the occasional apple have all helped me go 10 days without chocolate, ice cream, cake, cookies, or anything of that nature.
Now, I know 10 days does not sound like a lot, and the goal is only 14, I think the bigger victory is that I do not crazy sweets anymore. I have been around them and do not find them magnetic. The compulsion to eat and overeat sweets is waning. I think perhaps my palate is changing and my resistance is strengthening. I hope that it will remain even when I have sweets again. I want them to be treats, not irresistible temptations.
Right now, I am in the process of raising support for my new job with World Orphans. You can read more about that here. Today, I calculated that through people's generous one-time and monthly gifts, I have reached 29.6% of my monthly salary goal. That is exciting, but now I really want to make it to 33%. It would be great to be a third of the way done. Here's my progress graph.
It's been two weeks since I've been to my prayer/Bible study group. I need and want to see my best buds and to spend some time in the Word with them tonight. Can't wait.
I just finished reading, Radical by David Platt and have begun the companion, Radical Together. Boy are both convicting. I think I will dedicate a future blog post to sharing some of the many thought-provoking quotes and lessons from both books.
Now, for another entry from my Mission2India journal. I know it's been over two months since I got back, but I am still planning to finish sharing these. Only a few days left.
I awoke today knowing I needed a word from the Lord. The combination of my toe injury, the stress of being a team leader, and jet lag merged into a blanket of weariness. Fortunately, at breakfast, R and K noticed I needed some encouragement, so they came up to my room to pray with me.
With new joy, I limped downstairs to the van. During the ride, to the boys' home, I felt slightly disengaged. I didn’t feel like laughing or joking, but at least I felt peace.
We arrived at the home, all nestled between the huge, pink apartment buildings. M informed me that people should be moving into them by December. Then, the pastor’s vision of being a light in the community will spread even further.
The minute we got out of the van, the pastor’s son, A, immediately grabbed my hands and said, “Beck Beck! Beck Beck!” His daughter, S, and one of the orphan boys, P, were also excited to see me.
At the site, kids swarmed us and led us into the tiny church. Though we expected 15 children, there were at least 25 plus many older girls and women. I tried to store the new names and faces in my drained brain, but was less than successful. I found myself gravitating towards A, S, and P. I knew them. They knew me. Internally, I disliked myself for taking the easy way out, but I felt incapable of doing much else.
Without fail, singing, dancing, and drumming began. D, P, and a few more boys threw down their intense moves. They invited us to join the fun. Soon, the whole team was jumping around, flailing their arms, and dying of laughter. In order to protect my toe, I stuck to hopping.
Next was cake for our host P’s birthday. His wife, M, got away with smearing cake and frosting all over his face. Hahaha.
For the rest of the morning, everyone hung out with the kids playing soccer, learning hand-clapping games etc.
By everyone, I mean everyone, but myself and my co-leader. He was relaxing, talking to the pastor and M, so I decided to rest my foot and join them. I also just felt checked out. The number of kids I wouldn’t be able to get to know overwhelmed and paralyzed me from even trying. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed listening to M talk more about the neighborhood etc. It just felt weird not to fully engage.
I did get excited though when the pastor’s sister, Sh, and her friend, J, arrived. Last year, the three of us had talked a lot. Sh is very spunky and likes to tease, J. She is also working to become a police officer. Very hardcore.
Lunch was a delicious buffet of potatoes, curry, rice, beans, chapatti, and sweets. Ki was served seconds, but too full to eat, so I helped her get them taken away, so she didn’t offend anyone by not eating. Earlier I had helped K throw away her piece of cake. One of the orphan boys took me out of the church yard, pointed to a pile of trash, and waited.
Cue culture shock dilemma.
Do I add the wrapper to the heaps of trash scattered about the yard?
Do I refuse the offered opportunity to dispose of it and risk confusing or offending the boy?
I ended up leaving it.
After lunch, we began our program with the story of the Prodigal Son.
It was the first and only time I read a narrative during the trip. Next, we began the mobile craft. H quickly realized that we had too few prepared due to the extra kids, since we had only planned on 15. My immediate fear was, “these kids can’t share.” Too aggressive. Too competitive. The blame for this falls on the government’s declaration that boys and girls cannot live in the same homes. 15 boys living together is not an ideal situation.
Sharing definitely was a challenge. I sat down with a new boy, Si, P, and A. A and P were set up to share, but A quickly changed that. He moved so that he could “share” with me, meaning he got the craft to himself in the end. Still, I was pleasantly surprised by how he took turns, asked me for help, and worked carefully on the project. Thankfully, Si and P shared well. Looking back later, I realized how cool it was that God put the boys and us in a situation where sharing was the only option. He knew they needed practice and we needed to trust Him when plans changed.
Though the room was excruciatingly hot, we stayed inside and listened to the pastor share his story. Al led the conversation with P as a translator. Halfway through, the room hushed. Children divided to make an aisle. Everyone sat up straight. A key political leader in the area had arrived. He has been very supportive of the pastor and the home. It also happened to be his birthday. We sang and had another cake.
As soon as he left, the tension melted. We continued listening to the pastor tell of how God told Him to be a light to the community. He built his church in tiny space surrounded by a bustling neighborhood with soon-to-be-filled apartment buildings looming all around.
When he finished sharing several of us prayed over him and his wife. Then, it was time for a group picture and goodbyes.
Dehydrated and exhausted from sweating buckets and trying to manage rowdy boys, I slept the whole bus ride home.
Back at the hotel, we freshened up and regrouped before going out for biryani. The restaurant could have been a five minute walk, but we drove instead. Safety reasons, I guess.
Dinner was AMAZING spicy mutton kebabs that lit my tongue on fire, chicken biryani, and naan. There was also a gray paste-like mutton dish that paired well with the rice.
Back at the hotel, we debriefed, packed up tons of supplies for the farm, and discussed how to use the evangelism cubes we brought. By the time the bags were packed, I was EXHAUSTED.
I jumped in the shower so I would be fresh for the farm and packed my overnight bag. Then, I could no longer ignore my bed calling to me, so I hit the sack. It had been a crazy, hot day of mixed emotions.