Simple Stories, Sage Advice

Isn’t it funny how certain memories stick with you over the years? Often, the seemingly insignificant moments are the ones that resonate with me the most.

Growing up, I remember sitting in church three times a week listening to my dad preach. As a little girl, I was most interested in the illustrations he’d tell between the points in his sermon outline. One of Dad’s stories has continued to impact me throughout the years, and I draw on its principle often. It goes something like this:

A farmer was visiting his friend one afternoon, but he happened to stay at his friend’s house til after dark. As the farmer prepared to walk home, his friend gave him a lantern so he could find his way. The farmer stepped outside, but he quickly returned. He told his friend, “This lantern isn’t any good. I can only see far enough to make it one step.” The wise friend said, “That’s OK – take that one step and you’ll be able to see far enough to make the next one. Keep doing that, and pretty soon, you’ll make it home.”

This simple story has grounded me in the midst of uncertainty over the years.

Oswald Chambers once said something similar: “When you don’t know what to do, trust God and do the next thing.” What sage advice from a man of God who experienced life on several different continents during such a pivotal point in history.

Today, this world seems to be spinning right off its slanted, little axis. To look at the circumstances – in my home country and in my own community here in the DR – is unbelievably overwhelming. How do I respond?

I must remember: my sovereign God has a perfect plan that He’s allowed me to be a part of. And then I must take that next step and do the next thing.

Albel

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Oh, Albel.

At the beginning of the school year, the mention of this kindergartner’s name brought some mild feelings of frustration rolling my direction. For me, Albel was not an easy kid to love. I didn’t feel like I had a “connection” with this lanky, big-eyed boy. He wouldn’t respond positively to me, and that bothered me. It didn’t help that he was always picking on other kids or disrespecting visitors in the classroom. I often found him getting under my skin as he talked over me during our whole group teaching times.

I can’t pinpoint any certain day or momentous event where things changed.  The pace has been much more gradual with Albel. But slowly – ever so slowly – we’re seeing tiny glimpses of transformation in this little man’s behavior and in his desire for academic success. He listens more quickly when we correct him. He frequents the time-out corner less. He’s taken some serious pride in his writing notebook. Now he’s one of the first to finish copying his letters each day. While nothing will truly be changed for Albel until he’s walking with the Lord, outward signs of growth are being seen by the Freedom team.

You know, God’s been doing something in my own life as well. I’ve recently been reminded of a simple yet profound truth. God created Albel in His image. He is valued and loved. Whether or not I ever personally see Albel change, I have the opportunity to guide and direct him in my class this year. Whether or not I ever find that “connection” with Albel, I can do my part to help this boy understand how important he is in the Lord’s eyes and that He sent His own Son to rescue Albel’s little soul.

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Albel the Wiseman – Christmas 2013

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Alfredo and Albel – Independence Day Parade – February 2014

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March 2014