Echoes of mercy, whispers of love

This past week was difficult, but good. Lots of struggles – computer issues, physical exhaustion, daily interruptions, limited time with my family, feelings of stress from my messy house, and, well, I needn’t go on. You get the idea.

One morning, I “set up shop” in the upstairs portion of the multi-use. As I sat there waiting for my computer to boot up, I looked out the window. Jimena was standing there, broom in hand, whisking the dust off the sidewalk. Across the way, students were rhythmically repeating some chant after their teacher. Toni was in the breezeway, preparing team members to meet their pre-schoolers. The safari truck pulled up, and Martires began collecting empty water jugs to fill up. Becky’s happy voice echoed through the air as she reminded the 3-year-olds that it was time to put their “Heads down!” Hammers clanged in the distance as the construction crew started their day.

All of the sudden, I felt so very small. I forgot about my troubles for a moment and breathed up a prayer of thankfulness to the Lord for allowing me to be a small part of all that He’s doing here. Maybe those sights and sounds of our wonderful ground team working together were my “echoes of mercy and whispers of love” for the day.

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We’d love for you to pray that our family continues to learn what it means to submit perfectly to Jesus – even when our days don’t go the way we expect. Fanny Crosby wrote about the delight, happiness, and rest that are available when we allow the Lord to fill us with His goodness. And I want that.

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Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

Flat tires, Moldy Mattresses, and Village Drama

We’ve been in the DR about 2 weeks now. It’s always a battle to get back into the groove, to have the right perspective. Things always seem to “go wrong” when we’re trying to get settled in again. My attitude can go from happy to grumpy in just seconds flat.

This time, it started off with a flat tire on our new car. Flat tires are a normal part of life here, and I really shouldn’t have been surprised. We were gone for a month. Scott took care of it, and life went on. But when other frustrations started piling up, it was just too easy to add the flat tire to my “I have every right to be annoyed right now” list.

A couple of days ago, Scott blew another tire as he was returning from an early morning airport run. Thankfully, I was able to go rescue him. After we drove all over the city looking for an open tire place, we were able to get the car back on the road.

Our first day back, we spent several hours unpacking the myriad of supplies, clothes and randomness we bought in the States. After getting things somewhat organized, we fell into bed exhausted late that evening. I suddenly looked at Scott and asked him if he smelled something awful. I turned over and sniffed the mattress. Apparently, it had rained a ton while we were gone. Our bed had been absolutely soaked with rain water. It was a mildewy mess. Talk about trying to have a joyful attitude having traveled the entire day on 4ish hours of sleep. Blah!

We teachers recently had the opportunity to talk to parents in the villages about their children’s first quarter grades. While our school was on vacation, one of the public school teachers spread some lies about us to parents. While we’re slowly gaining the trust and confidence of these precious people, it can be frustrating when we hit road bumps along the way.

As you pray for us, remember me – I want to learn to respond correctly when stressful or frustrating situations arise. I desperately want to grow in my ability to cast my anxieties on my Savior first instead of reacting negatively to the circumstances around me.

The little stuff (or maybe it’s the big stuff after all)

Sometimes I feel like I only write about the big things going on in our lives – the difficult struggles, the huge joys, the deep pain, the answered prayers. I thought I’d just share some little stuff from the week – things that have made my heart happy in the midst of the ‘daily grind’.

The kids are starting to lead out in prayer! I almost cry when I hear one of their little voices sounding out the typical “Señor Jesús, Te damos gracias…” that starts their conversations with Jesus. Marcia, Sonia, Chiquito, Nika and Yeanny have all volunteered this week.

Yeifrey has been exceptionally “roller-coaster-y” recently. I feel like I walk on eggshells with him – that he may explode at any moment. This week, I’ve really seen him searching for some extra love and attention. Each day during writing practice, he grabs my arm and says, “Miss Angela, please just stay…”

Sonia led her entire small group during center time today! We were short-handed when we first started centers, so I just gave her the little worksheet and told her what I wanted. I asked her to explain to the others how to match the color names to the crayons. I’d look up every once in awhile to check on them, and they were staying on task better than any group so far – without a teacher there! Sonia is one smart little gal. So proud of her.

I’d be lost without my helpers in the classroom. Our Dominican teacher Mery seems to know the days I have no strength. She leads the kids with confidence and creativity and energy. Kurt interacts and plays with the kids – he’s recently taken on the task of helping struggling students learn to write their names. Gabe has been great about doing whatever I ask him to do. And Katie fills in all of the gaps to keep things moving throughout the day. Prepping notebooks and pouring juice and dishing out hand sanitizer and talking with kids in the corner aren’t the most splendid of ways to spend one’s time. But in my mind, those humble jobs are the very ones I imagine Jesus rewarding someday as we stand before Him.

Recently, I’ve just really felt the presence and closeness of the Lord in the classroom. I don’t know who all is praying for us, but I can attest that God has been helping me personally as of late. Days are still chaotic, emotional, and draining. But through the struggles, I can feel my Savior’s gentle leading. He is so very faithful – even in the little stuff.