jueves, 22 de diciembre de 2016

A Christmas Celebration and a Homecoming

The last few weeks have been extremely busy with finishing up the semester, midterms (again, didn’t go as well as I hoped), preparing for the school Christmas celebration, and trying to finish my grad school class a week early so I don’t have to work on it while I’m back in America. However, everyone survived and everything went well.
The Christmas celebration was pretty fantastic. Each class presented a song or skit, everyone ate, and all of the kids were sent home with large bags of food and a toy. Because of a lot of generous donations, we were able to send each child home with some rice, beans, oil, noodles, corn meal, sugar, fruit, cookies, sardines, and more. Each child received a toy like a large toy car, doll, yo-yo, tea set, ball, or hula-hoop. They were so unbelievably excited. It was such a blessing to get to see each of their faces. 

However, the reason they receive these bags of food each year is one thing that these children and young adults need prayer for. While we may look forward to vacations, they are actually very difficult times for these students. For many of them, the only food that they receive each day is what they get while at school. What that means is that vacations are times of hunger. These bags of food will help some, but they honestly are probably already gone, or almost gone (depending on the size of the family). This vacation is three weeks long. Please pray that God will provide for the physical needs of these students during this vacation.
Also, for many of these students, vacation means isolation. Almost none of them have family members who sign. The older ones who live near each other can get together and have some social interaction. However, the younger ones and the ones who don't have deaf friends nearby will be spending the next three weeks in isolation, with little to no communication. They need prayers in this aspect as well.
I've been told that December can a dangerous time in the DR. It is a month when all of the thieves are out working overtime. Please pray for protection for these students and their families during this dangerous month.
I’m currently sitting in my bed (what used to be my bed? My American bed?) after having dinner
with my mom's side of the family and getting to surprise some church family and my aunt and uncle on my dad's side by showing up at a restaurant jam session where they all were. I can’t believe I’m back in America. I don’t think it has really hit me yet. It’s definitely exciting and I am so happy to be here. Finally getting to see family and friends who I have missed so much was an indescribable blessing. I feel so happy, blessed, and loved. But it’s also a strange feeling, if I’m being honest. I have been living in a different country for six and a half months now. I have developed an entirely new life. A new routine, new diet, new job, new city, new language, new culture, and I have added family and friends to my life. Full disclosure, I feel more like I’m traveling than like I’m finally home. That’s a weird thing to admit, but I’m going to take it as evidence that I am where God wants me to be, doing what He wants me to do. I still don’t know why He chose me, and some days I am sure that He made the wrong decision. But then He gives me glimpses of His plan and reminds me that this isn’t about me. That He has chosen to use my life, and all I can do is trust and obey.

But for now, I’m on vacation! I get to spend the next two weeks visiting family and friends, relaxing, and enjoying the fact that everything is in English!!