Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him. Psalm 34:8

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Facts

Here are some random facts of life:

  1. I wake up around 5:30 am, and I'm usually in bed by 9:00 pm.  But yesterday I splurged and was up until 10:00!  It was worth talking on the phone with my brother.
  2. What do we eat here?
    1. Breakfast – 6:30 am: hot cereal (I had to get used to that one), breakfast sandwiches, refried beans with corn tortillas, or oatmeal (They strain the oats out of the oatmeal, so it's like thick, hot milk. But it's not bad!)

      Chocolate Rice Krispies are my favorite cereal to have with hot milk, because after I finish the cereal, I have hot chocolate!

    2. Lunch – 12:10 pm: chicken and rice, stir fry noodle things, rice and beans, spaghetti, and sometimes we get an “American” meal of fried chicken, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes or french fries! Those days are my favorite!

    3. Dinner – 4:30 pm. Baleadas (refried beans, eggs, and mantequilla all wrapped up in a flour tortilla), sandwiches, hotdogs, pizza, or hamburgers.

      This is fried tortillas (tostadas, I think), with refried beans, cheese, and salsa.  The green jalopeno salsa Marta makes is delicious!
  3. In a mall in Tegucigalpa, there is a movie theater full of recliners -- for only $6.50/ticket.  The USA needs to get with the program and give the gift of lazy-boy seating to it's cinema-loving citizens.

  4. In many public restrooms here, you get the toilet paper you need BEFORE you enter the stall. I have finally started to remember this before someone has to remind me …
  5. Power outages are regular here, and the teacher's cabins is the only place without a generator. Living in the dark isn't always bad, though. It just means more stars and less bugs when you sit outside! 
    1. If I had a nickel for every bug bite I've gotten in Honduras ... 
  6. In Honduras, Pepsi is better than Coke. (That's coming from a girl who's been a die-hard Coke fan all her life!)
  7. Without constant internet or phone service, I have lots of down time, so I read. I sit on a chair outside or lay on my bed (those are pretty much my only two options), and I read.
    1. Books I've read/finished reading:
      1. Tortured for Christ, by Rev. Richard Wurmbrand
      2. Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, by Nabeel Qureshi
      3. The Hiding Place, by Corrie Ten Boom
      4. Growing Up Duggar, by Jana, Jill, Jessa, and Jinger Duggar
      5. Sex, Dating, and Relationships, by Gerald Hiestand (I read this one a couple weeks ago, and I'm rereading it already! It's a great book about biblical dating in the modern world. Singles, go read it.)
    2. Books I am currently reading:
      1. (Rereading) The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
      2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin
      3. Anything: The Prayer that Unlocked My God and My Soul, by Jennie Allen (for Wednesday afternoon Women's Bible study)
      4. The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears, by Mark Batterson (for Monday night teachers' bible study)
      5. (Audiobook) One Thousand Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
  8. Marching bands have made it to Honduras, people!  A nearby school came to perform for the GSCA students.  They only had percussion instruments, but this former band student was grinning from ear to ear.   

    Some of my 4th grade students performed a traditional dance at the Independence Day program.
  9. Speaking of music, I'll be teaching music classes for the bilingual students next year!  I'm super excited about this opportunity, and I've been brainstorming ways to use the resources that will be available to me (since musical instruments are limited).  I was sitting outside yesterday (reading in my chair), when I started thumping my newly-finished Coke bottle on the arm rest.  Then I had an idea!  Not only could we use coke bottles as home-made percussion instruments (there are so many different percussive sounds that can come from one bottle), but we could also fill them with water and use them as melodic instruments (you know how when you blow across the top of a bottle, it makes a sound?).  So I spent a good hour in my bathroom trying to map out the notes on the Coke bottle.  It's not perfect (I had trouble with  G, G#, A, and E), but it's a start.  I even got two more bottles and made a chord with G, B, and D!  
Love you guys!  

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Accepting Introversion

It is May 2012, and I have been in Honduras, Central America for three weeks. Tomorrow, two of my three roommates will be leaving, and then it will be just myself and one other girl left for a week of service. The night has been filled with laughter, reminiscing, and comments to the departing girls such as, "The house will be so quiet without you!"  And it will be.  For the past three weeks, I have lived with these three loud girls, and my quiet, introverted personality has slipped into the background, almost invisible behind them. I have come out of my shell significantly, however, and I now consider them all my friends. 

I briefly leave the room to plug up my phone, and as I am walking down the hallway to rejoin them, I hear one of my new friends exclaim, "Now let's get a picture with the Trio!"  The other girls giggle in agreement and squeeze together for a picture, echoing "The Trio! We are the Trio!"  I have just entered the room when I realize. I am not in their Trio. I force a smile and sink into a chair at the foot of the dining room table. A guy friend sits down next to me and asks, "Why aren't you in the picture?" I shrug as I think of an appropriate response. 

I understand why I am not in the Trio.   

Although I have been living with them for three weeks, I cannot compete with the five that they have spent together.  By the time I arrived, they had already formed their tight-knit group, and I was intimidated. I struggled to find my place among the their giggly, energetic, and at-times-obnoxious personalities.  And for three weeks, I rarely spoke for a variety of reasons. For one, it was hard to get a word in between the Trio's chatter.  Their conversations blended together with little room for my quiet, unneeded input. For another, I worried about what would be said behind my back when I did offer input. Although I considered each of these girls as Christian friends, I also shared a room with them.  I heard every word they said behind closed doors about the people they were perfectly kind to in person. Nothing was meant to be mean, but what seemed like harmless jokes to them was only a source of insecurity for me.  I even awkwardly overheard a conversation they were having about me.  

"Nothing was meant to be mean, but what seemed like harmless jokes to them was only a source of insecurity for me."

It was the first week I was there, and I was walking down the dark, unlit hallway to a girl's movie night. I was excited about spending some time getting to know my new roommates. Only, before I opened the door I heard them discussing their reserved new house guest -- me. They became real quiet, real fast once I turned that door knob. I still remember their flustered, embarrassed faces when I entered the room.  I decided to let it slide, and I chose my seat for the movie.  But I never stopped feeling inferior, and as a whole, unwanted. 

I was young. I'd never been away from friends and family before. I was in a foreign country and I knew exactly zero of my ten housemates. I walked in intimidated. I was uncomfortable with my introversion, because to me it was a crutch. An obstacle that I, out of my own willpower, had to overcome.  I prayed for years, Lord, if You can just make me more outgoing, then I'll be able to make an impact for You. If you could help me be more extroverted, then people will like me more, and I'll fit in. But do you see the fault in that logic?  When God created me, he did not create an extrovert. He created an introvert, and he knew exactly what he was doing.  But I didn't. 

"I was uncomfortable with my introversion, because to me it was a crutch. An obstacle that I, out of my own willpower, had to overcome."

For years I tried to fit the mold of my mind's "Perfect Christian" -- an outgoing person who can always win over a crowd; who always knows the words to say; who can evangelize with ease.  The Christian who everyone loves to be around.  But in all of my discontentment, I missed the gift of my introverted Spirit.  One day God brought me to 1 Corinthians 12. It is a passage about the Body of Christ, and it was a welcomed wake-up call!

"Now the body is not made up of one part, but of many. If the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be?  If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be?  But in fact, God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. 
The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!'  On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable."  (1 Corinthians 12:14-22)

"But in all of my discontentment, I missed the gift of my introverted Spirit."

I spent so much of my life trying to be a part of the body that I was ill-fitted for.  God created me with his Kingdom in mind, and what I viewed as a weak aspect of my personality was, on the contrary, "indispensable"!  Although I had been walking with Christ for several years, I had absolutely no clue where I belonged!  

So I started to pray that God would reveal to me exactly where in his body he had created me to serve.  And he came through for me, as he always does. I realized that I am much more comfortable in the background of events -- setting up beforehand, washing dishes afterward, and being a welcoming friend to the outliers.  Once the pressure to be the "life" of the event was removed from my shoulders, I was able to embrace my true role. It came so naturally for me to spend my time seeking out those new, quiet, laying-low-to-avoid-looking-awkward faces in the crowd -- my kindred spirits!  It's was as if God was telling me,  "Bailey, I created you an introvert so that I could reach other introverts through you."  Once I learned to embrace this previously loathed facet of my personality, I had less insecurities, less intimidation, and a much clearer purpose for my life in Christ.  I no longer felt intimidated by "loud" personalities, because I accepted that they were created with a different purpose in the body than me.  We are, every one of us, valuable. 

"It's was as if God was telling me,  'Bailey, I created you an introvert so that I could reach other introverts through you.'" 

I am proud to be an introvert, because I am proud to be a creation of The Lord, God Almighty! He did not mess up when he formed me in my mother's womb, and he did not mess up on you, either.  Are you fighting a part of your personality that was meant to be a gift from God? Perhaps your quiet spirit or your boldness or your not-in-the-least-bit-athletic nature is not meant to be an obstacle to overcome, but a channel through which The Lord can move to accomplish His Kingdom plan.  After all, "God has arranged the parts of the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be."  (1 Corinthians 12:18)