So, today I was making Canadian-ized gallo pinto (I’ve decided that the reason mine tastes so different is because I put 1/16 of the amount of oil in mine compared to the locals) and I dumped the rice in the pot before I realized that the whole bag (even though it was sealed pretty tightly with a twist-tie) was crawling with bugs. There goes that batch… I’ve bought cream of wheat twice too. Both times FILLED with bugs before it’s even left the grocery store. Sad days. I am also an expert on what cockroach poop looks like now (note for any future ex-pats: rinse the pots before you use them).
Also, 5 out of 6 active volcanoes were currently in eruption mode. It’s crazy. All is safe still, no worries.
Lessons & Learning, Prayers & Petitions
Have you ever done something for so long with so little tangible success that you start to ask yourself, “Why?” “Is it worth it?” “Does it make a difference?”
That’s where February often sits for me for whatever reason. This February felt exceptionally brutal. If you’ll recall, I was sick for a good chunk of January (I’m feeling better and only get brief relapses for short periods now. I’m still denying that it was chikingunya…) and so by February I was already exhausted. Add to that the 100th day of school, Valentine’s Day (if you are not a teacher, you may just have to trust me on how brutal these days are), progress reports, and a freighter-sized load of other exceptional challenges and I was ready to throw in the towel.
I’ve been running for years off and on, but never with any growth. Now I have found two wonderful morning running buddies here. We have been seriously running three times a week since Christmas, and it is paying off – a fun 5 km Color Run in January with my students, the Managua Marathon 10 km in February. It was such a thrill to see the improvement in my time and distance.
I’ve also been helping choreograph for the school’s musical since October, and it’s finally opening night! Up until the last rehearsal, I was worried they were going to fall apart and there were a lot of interesting rehearsals, but they looked amazing now!
Since August I’ve been trying to teach my students Bible with a “faith is action” kind of lens. Yes, we believe and knowledge is important, but it means nothing without action. However, it has been hard to see that tangible evidence in them and the practical implementation. Since the Lenten season began we’ve been doing daily faith challenges in Gr. 1-3 (thanks for the lasting impression and idea, St. A’s teachers!). The challenges focus on study, prayer, and service, always linked to Scripture. The sweet stories, important questions, genuine prayers, selfless acts, and wonderful discoveries they are making are profound. Oh, the faith of a child…
All three of these things have taken months or years. None have been in a week or a day. Now I continue to struggle with residency and daily interactions, but I am trying to remain focused on purpose, fulfillment, and patience.
So, the lesson: It leads to fulfillment. There is an end, there is a reward (even if not the expected one). There is purpose. There is peace. There is joy. Do I need to get better at seeking the peace, purpose, and joy in the midst of trials? Yes. Without a doubt. Do I need to get okay with not seeing the immediate successes? Definitely. There are things that permanently fail. There are things that I will never see evidence of my impact. But is it refreshing to see the very physical fruits once in awhile? Absolutely.