Week 6/7: God's Humor and Thanksgiving
1. Since the second week of being here I’ve struggled with stomach problems and then a couple weeks ago really bad shaking. Everyone told me it was either culture shock or my body getting used to the food. After having it continue on for a month, though, I was getting pretty frustrated. During a walk back from the grocery store Patty asked me if I was consuming more caffeine than normal. I told her maybe, but then dismissed it until later that night. Before going to bed I looked up the side effects of too much caffeine and sure enough upset stomach, fatigue, uncontrollable shaking, etc. were on the list. I hadn’t been consuming a ridiculous amount of coffee, but I was definitely drinking more than I did at home and the stuff down here is at the least three times as strong. I am now down to one cup in the morning and then sometimes a cup at night, I’m happy to say I’ve had a normal stomach for about two weeks now.
2. Growing up in a household of women I have put it in my mind that I want to have all boys someday, or at least more boys than girls. Not growing up around little boys, I just assumed they got along most of the time and just played boy things. Two weeks ago I started nannying for a family that has two boys and two girls. I guarantee you God just had to sit up there and laugh at me as I realized what it’s really like to raise boys. Not only do they think that some of the most disgusting stuff is funny to do, for instance coughing on you, but then proceed to do so just to get a rise out of you. I still hold to the fact that I want to have boys someday, but oh goodness I hope I have girls to balance out their competitive, constantly on the move, let me sneeze on you nastiness.
3. The upstairs of the Wired building is the living courters for the interns. My room is at the end of the hallway next to the enclosed patio area where we hang our clothes out to dry. When I say enclosed in that doesn’t mean little critters can’t get in. There are bars all the way around the outside of it, but they are just far enough apart that cats can get in. A few weeks ago at 3am a couple of cats decided to get into a late night fight over who knows what and ran around that stupid thing for a solid hour. The next week I went to put on my favorite tank top before heading downstairs for work. Just as I slipped it on I got a huge whiff of cat pee, I didn’t know where it was coming from, but I immediately knew that’s what it was. After sniffing around my room I looked down at my tank top in horror, before getting even 3 inches from my nose I realized that it was drenched in cat urine. Needless to say I whipped that nasty thing off faster than if it was on fire and soaked it in the washer for the remainder of the day.
Though all three of these events weren’t necessarily funny at the time, I have to look back now and laugh at the humor of God. He took one of my favorite morning drinks and made it the reason I had become bestfriends with the toilet. After telling myself having little boys would be better, he gave me a glimpse at the life I thought I wanted to have someday as a mother. And honestly, who knows about the cat marking his territory all over my tank top. Maybe my morning was just a little too uneventful for God or something, but that definitely added some zest to it.
I never realized how much of a family person I was until I had my first holiday away from home. All week I was dreading it because I was sure it would be filled with emotions. I wasn’t going to wake up to Sophie knocking on my door wanting to watch the Macy’s Day Parade with me. I wasn’t going to have my mom tell me to hurry up and get ready so we could head over to my uncle’s house. I didn’t know what the day held, but I knew it wouldn’t have anything familiar in it.
We left for some friend’s of ours house at noon and after driving around San Salvador trying to find a marked street that didn’t exist, finally got there. The house was filled with about 30 missionaries and their families, most of which were originally from the United States. I don’t think I could’ve been any happier to not only see their house decorated with Christmas decorations, but the kitchen full of normal Thanksgiving food, especially corn casserole. After eating more than any human possibly should, we all gathered in the living room and discussed what brought us to El Salvador and the work God had done in our lives this year. Most of the people were parents or grandparents, but to me that was the coolest part. Hearing stories of these people who have lived here for 20+ years and don’t plan to go anywhere because they know this is where God wants them.
The most inspiring story I heard all day was from an 82 year old lady named Leila. I sat down next to her after lunch and we began discussing what my future plans were and why she was there. Once she heard I wanted to pursue vocal performance in one way or another her face lit up and started telling me about this vision God gave her. She told me a couple years ago God gave her a vision of little boys riding their ponies down to the beach from the volcano. The boys were living at a “Boys at Risk Worship Ranch” where they learned how to worship God with their talents, the main one being music. She told me God has continued to give her more information and financial support for her ranch, but is still telling her to wait. To me, this story was absolutely incredible. Not only to see the journey God has brought her on just with this ranch and the people He’s intentionally placed in her life to help out with it, but the fact that she’s 82 years old and more willing to do God’s will than ever. Right before I had to leave she said, “I wouldn’t be telling you this, but since you know God has called you to music and you love El Salvador, I thought you would like to hear it. Who knows, maybe you’re apart of this grand scheme. If you would, just pray about it.” Who knows, maybe the whole reason I’m here was just to hear about her vision and someday be able to contribute my gifts and time to it. But if not, that’s an incredible story I’ll never forget and can’t wait to see God use.
My one request to God was that I wouldn’t be sweating my buns off on Thanksgiving and oh man, I assure you I wasn’t. Amazingly enough, from last Wednesday to Saturday I spent the day in either sweatpants and sweatshirt or jeans and a t-shirt. According to everyone who has lived here for the past few years, that was the coolest it’s ever been.
Throughout the day I was given little things to be thankful for, from the weather, to the food, to the ridiculous laughter that was shared. I was beyond thankful to be surrounded by a bunch of disciples of Christ, who refuse to allow their age to define the work they are capable of doing for the kingdom.