find ways

posted on: Friday, September 26, 2014



a month back i took a 2 day trip to bahrain where i had the chance to explore the grand masque. it was a chilling experience. hijab+abaya. our tour guide was loving and gentle. i think there needs be space to love and honor those who you disagree with. i mean how could we share life otherwise?





video




encounter others with love
extend grace a little further
find ways to love those we don't understand
spend a day in their shoes (...or clothes;)) 

posted on: Tuesday, September 16, 2014


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it's 9:34, one hour and 1 minute passed my new bed time. yikes. 
we don't really try to go to bed by 830, it just happens. 
for me, being a teacher is fun + exhausting + beautiful
i have 19 little habibis. (and they don't mind me calling them so)
tuesday is hump day here. praise Him. so, two more days until the sweet weekend. 
life lately has looked like a lot of planning and adjusting to our new school and schedules. 
poor j has junior high boys. two of his classes of seventh graders are definitely giving him a run for his money. they give everyone a good workout haha. 
my littles are a lot more pleasant. i laugh ALL DAY with these kids. it's amazing how natural it feels to be doing this. 
monday nights i meet with the women of our little community. we pray. and dine. and laugh. it's nice. 
it's been incredibly easy adjusting to our new community, both work (which include our floor mates) and the ones i'm sure we will be lifers/family here. 
 we hang with friends here and there throughout the week
OR watch netflix, netflix, netflix, dinner, sleep. :) shhhh.
friday nights we meet with our new familia and sing and hear and eat. it's so good. 

and if i weren't so tired, i'd write more. 
it may be a while until i am no longer this tired :)
thanks for your grace and love and support
we are doing really well
-j

far more precious

So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world. 1 Peter 1:6-7



and trusting grace when we don't

posted on: Saturday, September 6, 2014


today marks three weeks of living in the ME. i have ached for home this week. and felt at home all at once. 
it’s a strange thing being so far and yet still connected.
since we knew we were moving back in february we had a chance to know, at least via world wide web,  who we’d be building community with. i’d see this faces on screen and get excited to know them. and now we’re here. sharing life. worshiping. dreaming. it’s fun.

I tend to have these moments where I don’t feel like I fit. I’m not very good at trying to fake it either. sometimes I grow bitter when I feel like I’m different. sometimes I just walk away. sometimes that is good, sometimes it is not.
it is good to be true to myself. but it is necessary to give people a chance. and then maybe a few more.
i have been really intentional about seeing others. i think God is softening my heart. i think you see a lot more when you open your eyes. and it's so easy, so human, to look the other way. 
grant me the grace to see them. 


there is a lot of turn over at our school. i mean we're definitely not in kansas, but come on people. a lot of the second years (because teachers often only stay for their two year contract) have been quick to inform us newbies of all the schools problems. the negativity is hard for me. 
thankfully, i think we've been given a grace to handle it. and the fun thing is we've helped convince our floor friends (5 other newbies) to stay positive. and to honor those over us. it's a good start. 


this week I went to bahrain. x-rays. blood test. I should have my residency within the next month.
traveling to bahrain was exciting. relaxing and exhausting all at once. it was strange to be in another country on my own. I went with four other teachers but they all were grown ups haha. I missed my husband. I missed my family. I wanted to hold my nephew and kiss him all over. I really really wanted a huckleberry donut and iced latte. 
I felt overwhelmed with the load and the pressure to get it right. to be a light on my campus. to stay positive. to benefit others.

there are these lies that i’ve been giving into-that I’m not good enough to do this. that I’m not worthy of love. that I can’t offer enough to the kids I will be teaching. and so on and so on.

there’s this song by steffany g. on her “the undoing” album (this version is just sweeter) these lines grab my heart:
just when my hallelujah was tired,you gave me a new song

you remind me. of things forgotten; fear was no match for Your love.

over and over again these last few weeks i have felt God lift my fears from me. 
it just takes trusting in His love. 
and i know it will happen again and again. because i'm human. because fear creeps in. 
but His love washes over until fear is gone. 


last night we had church with our new community. it was what i expected. and then it was more. these hearts that i feel like i've known for long and just met lifted prayers for us. and they affirmed the desires that we have. to be present. to take it all on one day at a time. to shine by being ourselves. that He holds the wisdom we need. that we get to spread love. 

we had open house this last week. we met our kids and their parents. we have profession development tomorrow and monday marks our first day of school. it is a big week for us. i'm sure fear and doubt and negativity will all try and maybe momentarily succeed to creep in. 
but we hold in our hearts and minds the truth of where victory lay.
we're on this adventure of winning.
just by trusting Him. 
just by being. 
by honoring every soul we encounter. 
by loving them to their skull. 
and trusting grace when we don't.


for right now

posted on: Saturday, August 30, 2014



.

we have been living life for two full weeks in kuwait.
 and truth is i am tired. 
but we love our school. 
we love our community. 
and we are doing really well. 
God is faithful and gracious. 
we are grateful for right now.
hugs & love to our friends and familia. 
i promise to update you all very soon. 

posted on: Friday, August 22, 2014



life is happening in kuwait.
the days are starting to all mix together.
though I could blame it on the lack/mis-placement of sleeps.
all I remember of tuesday was falling asleep in the middle of the day.
for seven hours or so.
wednesday was our first day of work.
when we walked down stairs we realized half our floor was filled with co-workers.
we also realized that we weren’t the only ones jumping up and searching out our peep-holes every time we heard English/the jingling of keys.
we quickly made friends with the other twenty-some expats who decided they could beat the heat of Kuwait. they came in all shapes and sizes.
after a day of introductions we headed home and ordered Chinese food. (so good.)
then we fell asleep by 7. oops.
thursday was a productive morning. since we fell asleep by 7 we were up by 4, if not earlier. bougie breakfast. devos. showers. packed bougie lunches. off to the bus.
on our second day of work we met our teams, head of departments, found out our official classroom assignments and received our room keys.
I will be teaching an all-inclusive first-grade class. math+science+social studies+english.
he will be teaching english to sixth+seventh graders. 
kyrie eleison. Lord, have mercy.
after receiving our books and classroom keys we headed home for the weekend.
that right. our thursdays are your fridays. and our fridays are your sundays.
thankfully, we had plans with about half of our colleagues. otherwise we would have passed out as soon as we walked in our door.
we headed to a restaurant off gulf road (near the water) and had Lebanese for dinner.
the restaurant was filled with kuwaitis+hooka.  
we headed home and finally slept through the night.
this morning we headed back to the sultan center and had iced-lattes. praise.
we are loving our life here. a bit anxious for our community to return still, but glad to have met our new work friends.
school starts in two weeks, so we will be busy.

i’m missing home, so get ready for some pictures of our last weeks in america.

posted on: Monday, August 18, 2014

yesterday we went to the avenues.
the avenues is a mall that opened here in 2007. and hasn't stopped growing.
it is considered one of the largest malls in the world with over 800 stores and 7 districts.
take that south coast plaza.
to be honest i was a bit overwhelmed.
not with the amount of stores. or the renowned international brands.
not with the mountain size domes or the copper and gold.
not with the fountains or the outrageous prices.
but with the amount of people and cultures.
and especially with the ratio of muslim women to me.
two-thirds of kuwaits population is filled with expats (ex-patiots)
(don't worry america, i still will celebrate 4th of july. i just don't live there anymore.)
these are some of the ethnic groups that fill kuwait:
indian, bangladeshi, pakistani, sri lankan, nepali, afghan, egyptian, syrian, jorandian, palestinian, lebanese, iraqi, yemeni, iranian, filipino, ethiopian, indonesian, american.
for two people who love culture and people, this is the place for us.
but it still comes with adjustment.
walking around the avenues i felt like the odd one out.
almost every other woman i saw was covered from head to toe.
but i can get use to the staring. and i can honor who they are.
last night we met one of the women who will be a part of our community.
she is lebanese and has called kuwait home her entire life.
she is bold in her faith and her love for God.
as an architect in the city she gave us the perfect tour.
this city is beautiful.
(we will share it with you through pictures soon)
after dinner with our new friend we headed home to catch up on sleep.
we slept for 10 hours. rest is a beautiful thing.
today is our last day off before we start work tomorrow.
we're headed back to the sultan center and to do some more exploring.
love and hugs to all our friends + family.
-JR