Monday, March 28, 2011

Build Me a Home

The past few weeks have been filled with so many emotions. Some days I am frustrated, confused, and lost; others I am filled with direction, determination, and joy. The experience of language school has been one to test my faith. Some days I fear that I am losing faith and the will to continue, but I know that to be false for the simple fact that I wake up each day willing to try again. Even though things here have been difficult, the Lord is providing for me in big ways. As you probably already know, Erika was with me for my first week of language school. Once she left, I really made friends with some of the students at IDEAL. Two of the students are missionaries and seminarians. It is a blessing to have people around me that share (somewhat) the same vocation as I do, as well as, the same faith. It has made my time here easier. I actually have friends to go to mass with and to hang out with. I actually have friends to have bible studies with. I am also beginning to feel like Selene, Carlos, and Coco (my host family) are family. My favorite time of the day with my family is dinner time, because I love to hear the silly stories of Coco (she is ten), even though sometimes I cannot understand them! :)

Last week I had one really good day. One of the prayers I have been praying since I've been here is, "Lord, please show me what my mission is here." Because I know so little Spanish I am tempted to say I can't do missions here in Cuernavaca because there is still such a large language barrier, but then I remember Mrs. Genie saying, "Can you smile? Then you can be a missionary!" On Wednesday my friend Som was putting on the communion service at the church we go to and he asked if I could type up his sermon so he could translate it to Spanish on his computer. I said yes and actually felt like I was contributing to the building of the kingdom. I know that the Lord can use my talents here in Cuernavaca whether I can speak Spanish or not. I know that serving my host family each day is being missionary. I know that smiling at the people I pass in the street is being missionary. I know that praying for my brothers and sisters in the mission field as well as all of my loved ones is being missionary. I know that I am being used by the Lord in many small ways.

As usual, one of my struggles has been to stay in the present moment. I keep finding myself thinking, "What's next? Where am I going to go?" I don't want to continue wishing the present away by thinking of the future. I know that the Lord has plans for me in the present and plans for my future. I know that He will reveal my future plans in His perfect timing. SARAH, DON'T WISH YOUR LIFE AWAY! Please be praying for me to embrace Cuernavaca as my home for now and to patiently wait on what the Lord has for me next.

"Your life in Christ makes you strong, and his love comforts you. You have fellowship with the Spirit, and you have kindness and compassion for for one another." Philippians 2:1

Mi iglesia (sorry it's not the greatest picture)Jardin BordaInside Jardin Borda

I'll end with this, "Build me a home inside your scars. Build me a home inside your open arms, the only place I ever will belong." Jon Foreman

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So, I know that you can be overwhelmed and that you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?

So, about the title of this blog entry, I know that you cannot ever be whelmed. I wonder what it would feel like if you could? Think about it...

On Sunday, the 13th, I left Louisiana to fly to Mexico. Our flight left at 6 am. First, we flew to Atlanta where Erika and I just barely made our flight. We waited only five minutes before boarding. God protected us from missing our flight! We landed in Mexico City at 11:15 am. Once we landed, we had to go through customs and then we were on a journey to find food!
We found some at Carls Jr., I think that is what it is called, in the airport. After we ate, we wandered around until we found the bus station and purchased our tickets to Cuernavaca. The bus ride was about an hour long. It was a pretty nice bus ride. We were offered free drinks and snacks on the bus. I had a manzana lift, which is my new favorite drink. It is like a fizzy apple juice! I actually fell asleep on the bus ride because I was so tired from the day of travel. I am a new traveler. I haven't been many places and this was only my second time flying.

Once we arrived in Cuernavaca, our host family picked us up from the bus station and brought us to our new home.
Sunday evening/night was very laid-back. Erika and I ate lunch with our host family (Carlos and Selene) and spent most of our time in our room resting.

Monday was my first day of language school. After about 15 minutes with my teacher I was overwhelmed! I don't think it was possible for me to mentally prepare for language school. It is the hardest thing that I've done in my life, so far. It is the first time that I feel like a foreigner. Not only am I having to learn a new language, but I am having to learn a new culture and a new city. It is definitely a humbling experience. Mr. Frank says that learning a new language tears you down. It is very true. I have to start from the very beginning and learn how to pronounce words, learn vocabulary, and structure my sentences. Spanish is so different from English, but once I learn how to speak it, I have a feeling I will like it more than English! So, to sum up my first day of language school, we will use the word overwhelmed.

Tuesday was a really good day. I felt like I was grasping things better and I actually had a small conversation with my teacher (Lily) about my family. I felt like I actually accomplished something! In the afternoon Estella (my afternoon teacher) and I went to el centro (downtown) to explore. El centro aqui (Downtown here) reminds me of downtown in a big city. It is very busy and full of little shops, restaurants, parks, and big buildings! To get downtown, Estella and I took a bus. Wednesday, today, I had a rough morning. I was having such a hard time pronouncing words and it was really frustrating. I even cried a little. I am finally allowing myself to be vulnerable and be frustrated for a moment and then move on. After I cried, I felt a little better and was better able to concentrate in class. The rest of my day was really good. I feel like I know my vocabulary words a lot better. I am still having a hard to with giving directions, or telling you where things are, so if you don't know where things are, don't ask me this week! Maybe I'll be better next week! I am also learning that I am not a very descriptive person, something to work on.

All in all my experience in language school has been great. I am no longer overwhelmed, nor am I underwhelmed. I think I am just whelmed! :)

"I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am week, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:10


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mexico, here I come!

The waiting has finally paid off! My training for missions ended in early December and I have been state-side ever since, waiting to go into missions. My time state-side has not been wasted at all. The Lord did some fine tuning in my heart and life and redirected my focus back on Him, where it should always be. He taught me perseverance, which is a really important virtue to have, especially in missions.

On Friday March 4, Erika, my mission partner, and I bought our plane tickets to Mexico City! We are flying out of Lafayette, La on March 13. I am going to language school before going to my mission post in General Cepeda. The Language school I will be attending is Ideal in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

I will be there for a month. School is five days a week, five hours a day. We will have homework and activities within the city. Please be praying for me. Please pray that I will be a sponge and soak up all the Spanish I am hearing.

A Few Firsts for the Week:
Monday- I rode horses for the first time. I actually rode a horse by myself! It was such a freeing feeling to be up there as Jose, the horse I rode, trotted and ran. I think I was born to be a country girl!

Thursday- I made my confirmation! My cousin Brooke and I made our confirmation together. It was a glorious event! When the Bishop anointed my head with oil, I felt overwhelming peace and I knew it was the holy Spirit coming upon me. I am excited to walk in the new graces I've received from being confirmed in the Church. How perfect it is to be newly confirmed and being sent out on mission!

May God bless YOU in all that YOU do!

"This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine!"