Thursday, February 20, 2014

Letters from Home

It has been more than one year now since I have been in Belize. Although I have gained a new family here, there is still a part of me that misses friends and family from back home. Some of my favorite days are going to the post office (a lady’s house in our village) and picking up letters from home. I usually can’t even wait two minutes before opening the letter and reading what is happening back home. Last night, I went back through my letters that I have received over the past year. I have received around 50 letters in the last 12 months. They have come from Asia, Falkland Islands, California, Tennessee, Arizona, Ohio, and many other places. I have received wedding invitations, graduation announcements, sad letters, joyful news… However, one trend I noticed was that most of them contained a Bible verse or inspiring quote. I know that those of you who have been missionaries before can relate. Getting a letter from home is so encouraging. You feel like you haven’t fallen completely off the edge of the world; they didn’t all forget about you. But more than that, what a delight it is to know that God is the only answer. Sometimes, letters took over a month to arrive from their original destination! Yet I felt as if it arrived at just the right time. I really try to keep up with sending hand written letters, but sometimes life goes faster than I can handle. If I were to write a little note to you, it would go something like this:

Dear ____________ (Insert your name here),
Can you believe that it has been over one year since I have seen you? Some days I feel like I just got here, but other days I feel like I have lived here for years. I get confused sometimes with time. It has been rather cool here the last few months. Being in the 60’s may sound really warm, but when you have only warm weather clothes it hits you hard. One morning, my toes were purple because they were so cold! It is finally starting to warm up now, but still chilly in the morning for a little while.
            We just started the first set of classes this week. I don’t remember if I told you about the school here so I will fill you in just a little. This is not a normal school. We are on a mission to train missionaries. The students (who are 18 or older) come for three months of intensive classes. We will teach them about evangelism, practical missionary skills, health, mechanics, construction, agriculture, and maybe some other things along the way. After the program is finished, we will send the students out to other mission projects. They will serve in that project for a minimum of six months. Our hope is that they will fall in love with serving in the mission field and make a lifetime commitment. I will be teaching practical skills. Since my arrival, I have learned a lot of different skills: little bit of mechanics, how to use a machete in the kitchen or the bush, welding, driving a manual without using the clutch, making a thatch roof (well still in the process of learning), and a million other things. Although Southern Adventist University has superior standards for education, those were not things I learned during my time there. I have a suspicion that most of the students will have a similar story. Therefore, I am going to try and teach them a few skills that could be useful in the mission field.
            In January my dad came down for a visit. What excitement to finally be able to show him all the things I talk about on the phone. He had a half-week of prayer for all of us here at the project. The theme was about faithfulness until the death. One sermon that really stuck out to me was when Paul really desired to stop at Ephesus, but needed to pass by. That city was where his heart longed to be. I do not know where your Ephesus is, but I know that sometimes God leads us to places that are unfamiliar and uncomfortable. The amazing part is that God is leading all the way and would not take us to somewhere that would be harmful for us.
            Not much other news around here that I can think of. Hopefully we can see each other sooner than later!
Love and prayers,

1 comment:

  1. Katie, I wish we could teleport you to Collegedale this weekend. Heather and Willow will be home and we're having a bonfire-supper-vespers behind our house. The circle of friends here in the area is small. But then, that's what God does--He trains then sends His children out into the vineyard around the world. Thank you for your letter. Even though I haven't been the writer of any of those 50 letters you have received, I put my name on the blank line above and read it as a letter to me. I am thrilled to learn about all the new skills you are learning and about the depth of insight and understanding you are gaining about God and life.

    Blessings, my friend!