Here I am, sitting at my desk trying to catch my breath. I just went for a run, if only to clear my head. It was a little bit drizzly out, but it was refreshing. I often wish that God would speak more clearly to me. I want to hear what His voice sounds like. I want Him to tell me the best choices to make in life. I want to feel Him wrap His arms around me and whisper words of comfort into my ear. I want lots of things, and most of them I can only write to myself in my journal.
Tonight is the second night in a row I've used the lyrics from the same song for my title. The song is "Find your Lovin'" by Drake.
I'm more than just an option Hey, Hey, Hey Refuse to be forgotten Hey, Hey, Hey I took a chance with my heart Hey, Hey, Hey And I feel it taking over
[Chorus] I better find your love and I better find your heart I better find your love and I better find your heart I better find your love and I better find your heart I bet if I give all my love Then nothings gonna tear us apart
I’m more than just a number Hey, Hey, Hey I doubt you’ll find another Hey, Hey, Hey So every single summer Hey, Hey, Hey I be the one that you remember
It’s more than just a mission Hey, Hey, Hey You hear but you don’t listen Hey, Hey, Hey You better pay attention Hey, Hey, Hey And get what you been missing
[Chorus] Too many times I’ve been wrong I guess being right takes too long I’m done waiting, theres nothing left to do But give all I have to you and I better find your love and I better find your heart I better find your love and I bet if I give all my love, Then nothings gonna tear us apart I bet if I give all my love, Then nothings gonna tear us apart
I know the lyrics are kind of iffy, but I actually really like this song. I enjoy the tune, and was surprised that it was clean, especially for this particular artist.
I will write more later....I'm tired and need sleep.
I planned today's afternoon activity: baking party! I picked out four recipes, and divided the students into four groups of three, so they each got to bake something. There was a peanut butter chocolate square, a cherry cream pie, chocolate chip cookies, and a chocolate cinnamon cake. Yum! All the students did really well reading the directions in English, and I just walked back and forth between the groups helping as needed. Then we had a huge feast around 5pm, which definitely spoiled everyone's dinner, but it was so worth it. Koreans are not overly used to sweet things. Arleen and I had no problem, but some of them were getting tummy aches from the sugar. We had so much fun, and I'm glad we could do something different! It was a neat experience getting some of the ingredients at Zehrs beforehand, and you can tell that they are getting over some of their initial shyness with asking strangers for help.
Tonight was my roommate's birthday party, and she asked us to give whatever money we would have spent on a dinner to WWF. It was a great time, full of meeting new people, and everyone got along fabulously.
I am extremely tired, and have another full day tomorrow, so I am signing off now.
"Bottom line is infidelity is a marriage-preservation device for many pepole. They love and cherish their partner, their children, but they need a change of intimacy. They need something different. Everybody needs a hall pass, time to live out some kind of fantasy. "
~Flare Magazine, Aug. 2010 ed., excerpt from "Cheat, Pray, Love?" by Olivia Stren
I shook my head, and my heart broke into a thousand pieces when I read this article. I learned about the ease and alacrity with which people are able to commit infidelity these days. There is a website called Ashley Madison that was formed in 2002, which is where married people can go to meet up with other married people who want to cheat on their spouses. I mean, really, how sick and disturbed is that?!
The article stated that most women who cheat are those who have been married for just over 3 years. Another woman, who they named "Laura", mentioned that soon after she married her husband, he took a new job, and changed drastically, and didn't put her needs first anymore. She went on Ashley Madison to find someone who could meet those emotional needs. The article said that this is the case for most women, while men search for women who can meet their physical needs.
I cannot imagine wanting to cheat on Jake. EVER. Fidelity is one of my passions in life, something that I feel strongly about and cheer most for when it comes to marriage. I was chatting with some friends about this before, about how spouses can seem to change after you marry them. Generally, it should be gradual, because everyone changes as they move through life, and they should also be changing together. If you are constantly on the same communication level, and sharing your hopes, dreams, and goals, then you should be moving on a path together. This is even more so for a Christian couple. With Christ, we are constantly moving on a trajectory of purification and towards a pursuit of holiness, and with goals to serve Him together.
It is scary to think how accepting this culture is of adultery. The article mentioned that there are about 6 million users from around the world, mostly Canada, United States, Australia, and New Zealand. The excerpt above states that most people are looking for variety, as they get bored easily within their own committed relationships. So, why not do something to spice it up? There are so many ways and ideas people have that can help couples with boredom and disinterest. I realize I am speaking with some naivete, but I believe that people sometimes don't try hard enough.
Jake and I, while discussing our wedding band options, decided that we wanted to have something engraved on the inside. We talked about many options, most of them including grace, but one that stood out to both of us was this: "Faithful by His grace". We want to remind ourselves every time we look at our rings, the symbol of eternity (no beginning, and no end) and the timelessness of love, that we will be faithful to each other only by the grace of God. No one knows the future, and it is easy to fall for the charms and deception of the world. But when we keep our eyes focused on God, and keep Him at the center of our relationship, then He will keep us faithful to one another, not only physically, but also emotionally and in every other aspect of our marriage. My love for Jake alone will not be enough- it is God who will be the glue and the cohesiveness we will need to make our marriage last and be successful, for His glory alone. Soli Deo Gloria.
1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. 3 You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 4 No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier. 5 And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer must be first to partake of the crops. 7 Consider what I say, and may the Lord give you understanding in all things. 8 Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, 9 for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. 10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 11This is a faithful saying:
For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him. 12 If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us. 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. (2 Timothy 2:1-13, New King James Version)
*I realize that many of you who will read this have had first or second-hand experience with adultery, and, consequently divorce. I want to apologize if I have offended or hurt you in any way by the frankness and forcefulness of my speech. I am merely speaking my thoughts and opinions about this painful topic.
I'm sitting here at my desk with a sunburned face and iceblock feet. Go figure, Canada. What a contradiction; it's humid outside, and AC in the house. And yet, I am grateful.
I had a great day, we took the group swimming at a community pool nearby. They had a great afternoon, and we cheered one another on as there was a diving board overlooking a completely separate pool than the swimming pool. We watched people do flips and amazing feats, and laughed as some, including those from our own group, barely made it off the end alive, and contorted their bodies into little balls that painfully slapped as they made contact with the water below. We went to Tim's and DQ afterwards, and I am continually amazed at the sharing spirit I see among the Koreans. They buy something, but pass it around and hardly get a bite to themselves. I love it when people share with me, and will always accept if someone offers, but I have a difficult time sharing what I have. It is a good lesson for me.
I was quite frustrated in grammar class this morning, mostly because I couldn't explain a concept to Sun a. She wanted so badly to understand, and the expectation upon her face killed me, as I was not prepared to give her the answer she needed. I am more sure than ever that if I EVER teach ESL again, I will get my TESOL certificate. I must be ready to tell these students what they need to know.
Jake and I shared a lovely dinner of PC chicken and Breyer's ice cream on the back porch this evening, and it was nice to have some down time. I needed to just be with him and unwind. I am so grateful to God for him, and the blessing that he is in my life. I can't believe it, in 107 days we will be married, Lord Willing. What a wonderful thought!
Devotions with the students was very compelling tonight, and once again, it was relevant to my life. I love how God does that, how he speaks to me exactly how I need to hear it.
I am not in the mood to lesson plan tonight. I have been sitting at my computer for about an hour already, just checking emails and catching up on Facebook. *sigh* I have to go back to the school for 9pm so I can lead devotion time. I feel like I don't have enough time in the day. I have good intentions to do planning, and then I don't do it. Maybe I'll go and get some dinner prepared and then I might feel like planning. Or I might need mood music....Arabic seems to do the trick.
Today I was able to drive some of the students to the mall, and they were able to check out Winners. I also drove Arleen back to her house; we got lost, but normally it takes 15 min., whereas on the bus it takes her 2 hours. I opted for being lost for a few minutes to her 2 hour bus ride. Not cool.
It was a good day, just pray that devotional time will be useful and eye-opening tonight, and that God would touch their hearts.
I had a wonderful visit with Missy tonight. We went to William's, and I ate a "magic bar"...go there to find out! AMAZING! We had a good convo, and got to catch up on life. I wish I was better at keeping in touch with all my friends, and so for all of you who read this, thanks so much for scraping me out of my hole so I can spend some time with you! I appreciate it so much! Love you, Miss...
I just want to comment quickly that classes and afternoon activity went well today. We were able to let the students into the gym so that they could get some much needed exercise. They played basketball (which I detest with all of my heart), and then I got to lead a rollicking game of dodgeball. We had much fun, and I'm glad they could do something different for a change.
I have noticed a trend in my food cycles. I get into two - four week cycles of the same food over and over. Last summer, I always made curried rice, fried eggs, avocado, and tomatoes, for like a month straight after I got home from work. April to May of this year I made stir fry with rice for dinner every day, then it was salad with raspberry vinagrette, and now it's pita with hummus and pickles, with a side of cheese. I don't know why I get into patterns with my food, but I do it with music too, listen to the same song over and over and over again for days, weeks, until I find another song that I can't get enough of. I wonder if it's a bit of my type A personality coming out, and if it's the structure and routine of it all that I enjoy. Hmmm...I'm almost finished the pitas and hummus, wonder what's next?
Sometimes I wish the week-end would last forever. I had such a busy and crazy week, that it was so nice that Jake and I could go to a conservation area and do some hiking, and resting, and reading together. I love how being in nature makes me feel closer to God, especially when you see all the rock faces and different kinds of vegetation. It was so peaceful, except for the insane amount of people that were there. At one point, there was a creeper standing on a rock ledge above from us; we both felt incredibly awkward. Jake took me out for dinner at this quaint little restaurant, and they had the most amazing beef au jus. Yum!
This morning I was able to take all 11 of the Korean students to my church! Since I have my friend's car, Jake, his brother, and I were able to drive them all. They really loved it, met the pastor, and talked with many people. I felt so proud and protective of them, as if they were my children. It was a wonderful, loving, peaceful experience for them, and I hope that we can do it again next week! I am just praying that they will have been able to take something away from the sermon this morning.
I am looking forward to a new week, and am now just doing a little lesson planning before going to bed (Hopefully before 12:30am).
I am realizing that I don't always enjoy air conditioning, and I feel infinitely spoiled for having it in my house. It actually bothers me quite a lot, as it is almost too cold. It's hard to do anything else about it, since I live with 3 other girls.
I enjoyed this afternoon's activity with the students. Arleen and I took them to downtown, and they were mesmerized by the old buildings and all the stores. They especially liked one of the Antique Stores, and it wasn't enough time for them. We took them to the library and instructed them to practice their English by asking a librarian for help. Most of them did it on their own. I was quite impressed! We walked around, and ended the afternoon at a water fountain, which looked much too enticing for its own good. Many of us took our shoes off and waded in it, and, of course, the guys decided to try to push each other in. One of them did have his shoes on, and they were a small casualty in the water fight. I love days like this, where we can all just be ourselves and have fun with one another. I feel like it allowed us to bond with each other.
I also learned that Koreans consider age from the moment a child grows its mothers womb, so when the baby is born, it is already 1 year old. So when I ask their age, they tell me their "international age". It is interesting.
They have a chapter test tomorrow, so I still have to prepare that for them.
I drove some friends to the airport tonight, and my heart was aching to go to Indonesia instead of them. The air was heavy with an exotic heat, and my mind kept reminding me that it's been two long years since I have gone anywhere overseas. *sigh* The good thing is, I have their car for the next two weeks :) Praying for their safe travels...
Praise the Lord for his blessings. Although I don't know how I'm going to pay for many of the things coming up in the future, I feel his presence and his love surrounding me.
We took our convo class outside today, since the students were going a little stir crazy indoors. We talked about Blindside, and it turns out that the movie would have been a better hit if we had stopped every 5-10 minutes to talk about it. I never thought of that, but it makes sense. I can imagine that it was so hard for them to keep up with the dialogue. I'm glad that they feel comfortable enough to speak the truth, and tell me what they need.
I felt like today went much better, and I was more prepared, especially with my grammar lesson. I was almost too tired to get out of bed, but being with my students certainly revved me up like nothing else. I am going to miss them so much (there I go thinking about that already, and it is only Day 3!). I cannot tell you how alive I feel teaching them. In this, I know that I am right where I am supposed to be. I especially enjoyed my personal meetings with each of my six students in the afternoon. I am glad I can meet with them like that, to get to know each of them and what their individual strengths and weaknesses are. I hope that I can be a great help to them. I also need to pray for each of them, as they tend to open up to me during those times. I feel so blessed in this role as teacher and confidant/spiritual mentor.
I learned that every Korean young man must spend two years in the military after he finishes high school, and he has no choice One of my students was telling me about it, and he feels like it was a waste of two years. I don't know how I feel about mandatory military service. It's an interesting concept.
I also went for a run afterwards; no idea where the energy came from, but even though it was hot, I was happy to sweat off the mental acrobatics I've been going through.
Lesson planning is on the schedule for tonight, so I'm out :)
Well. What do you say when you have fallen in love with your students? I am left speechless by the intensity of their desire to learn, their propensity for question after question which humble my lack of knowledge, and their vulnerability and openness during sharing time. Although my lack of confidence in my teaching abilities is strikingly deep within me, I know that this is going to be a growing time for all of us. I enjoyed today immensely, and although I am officially exhausted, more mentally than physically, I would not want it any other way. For our afternoon activity we watched the movie "The Blindside", which I had not seen before this afternoon. It was compelling but too long(perhaps sitting on the floor had something to do with it). I am amazed by how there seems to be no discomfort in lack of personal space among the students. They fit five on the couch in the lounge, where we would be comfortable with three.
Lunch was, of course, a Korean culinary affair, with delicious fried rice, or pappambob (I know this is NOT the right word for it, but I tried my best), and kimchi. It was wonderful, and I hardly had to eat any before I felt full.
It was my lover's 25th birthday today, so after lunch (which he is invited to attend each day), we served pie in honour of his love of all that is pastry. I hope that he enjoyed it; it was hard to do anything for him today, since I worked 9-5:30, and he worked 3-11, but we did manage to have a delicious birthday breakfast of bacon, eggs fried in bacon grease, and leftover pão de queijo. Jake then prayed a sweet prayer of "commissioning" that stirred my soul, causing me to once again focus on my job for the day. Once again, Happy Birthday my love! Just think, next year around this time we'll be more than six months married, Lord Willing. What a sweet pensamento...
After class, all I wanted to do was crash, and after my nap, I spent the evening with Hee-Sook, making dinner together, a trip to Zehrs, and then a surprise venture at the new Shopper's Drug Mart, where a Russian beautician named Stella tested out some mascara on my lashes. Once I found out (after asking) that she was Russian, would you believe I just had to test out my Russian words on her? Complete with my one phrase of, "Excuse me, young man, where is the cinema?" *sigh* Can't I learn anything more in that beautiful, exotic language? I laughed with Hee-Sook afterwards, as she mentioned that me, being Ashleigh, would, of course, speak to her in her language. It's not nerdy. It's me. And that's just the way God designed me. Uniquely. And with a propensity for language that doesn't. stop. wanting. more. (AND yes, I just used propensity TWICE in this blog.)
That's about it for now. Please keep praying that I will be open to whatever it is that God wants to teach me, and that the students will learn from me.
Like a melting bar of chocolate on my fingers, so was the languid heat of today on my skin. I was basically dripping of sweat all day(if only it were chocolate!); not always a good impression to make for students. We were all hot when they arrived at the school this afternoon. I was humbled when, during orientation and reading of the syllabus, my throat suddenly decided to go haywire. I got this funny tickle that would not go away, and I could barely get a sentence out before I needed to cough or get a drink of water. It was absolutely mortifying, in front of these students I am to teach for the next six weeks. But I was reminded, in that moment, that I am not it. I am not a superstar. I am merely a human being teaching other human beings to acquire another skill in life. Pastor Joshua reminded Arleen and I that this is a short term missions trip. We are doing ministry, but in our own back yard, and we have the opportunity to share Christ with these students. I am eager to share with Sun Ah, Dae Ju, Eun Wook, and Mi Jun, to teach them and watch them grow and flourish through Christ's work in their lives. I am merely the vessel with which He will use to reach them. Please pray for us as we start on this journey!
Jake and I drove to church today by ourselves for the first time. It was a wonderful and freeing feeling, and I was ecstatic! We also spent an hour and a half cooking Brasilian. We made arroz e feijao, rice and beans, carne, meat, and farofa. It tasted so good! We also found a bottle of Guarana at the Portuguese supermercado; this is one of the most popular sodas in Brasil, at least where I lived, and it was nice sharing Jake in a little piece of my memories.
We were also able to go for a walk in the warmth of a summer night, something we haven't really done since last summer, when we would go for a walk for a couple hours each night.
I am now doing some more preparation for my classes that start tomorrow. I hope that everything will go ok. I am quite nervous, but I'm sure the students are as well!
In the past year I have become more appreciative of praise and worship music, strange genre title that it is. If we are to glorify God in everything that we do, then every song we sing should be praise and worship (ones that are religious, that is). However, when I listen to Portuguese praise and worship, something hits me inside, and I feel so peace-filled and worshipful. I think, somehow, when I listen in another language, it forces me to listen more closely so I can translate and understand the words.
It has been a great week-end so far; my friend Ashley came up and visited me. We went to the market, and saw some really neat things there. Then she cut Jake's hair, and it looks so amazing, clearly much better than anything I have ever attempted! It makes sense, though, because she did go to hair-dressing school :) I'm glad she came, it was nice to catch up.
This afternoon, Jake and I went to do our gift registry at Sears, and it was our first time! Both of us felt overwhelmed, and learned a lot about ourselves and each other through the process. It is a daunting task, and with that laser gun, you feel as if you hold the world at your fingertips, and could scan everything in the store. Neither Jake nor I consider ourselves to be terribly materialistic, so it was almost too much. Not to say that we don't like our "things", but I think God has prepared us both for a life in missions, where we have to pack light and give some things up when we move on. That's how it should be.
I am now taking a break from working on my lessons for the English Training Camp. Both Arleen and I feel somewhat incapable, but with God we can do much. I just hope that we will be a good example to these Koreans we will be teaching(as some of them are not believers), and that we will also be able to equip them to feel more confident in speaking English. Right now I am working on the conversation discussions, which I hope to have completed tonight to send off to my supervisor so she can approve. It's going to be a long night, but I need to finish it! I will feel so much better that way!
I forgot to mention that I met with a friend of mine yesterday, who is a wonderful, godly, Christian lady, and a wife to one of my favourite professor's at college. It was such a blessing to me, being able to be real with her about life and faith, and learning how to prepare to be a godly wife. I hope we can meet many more times, as I am so eager to glean upon her experience and wisdom as a missionary, a wife, and a mother.
God is truly leading me along this path, and although it's hard at times, I know that deep within me I am wrestling with the right things, and that over time He is smoothing out the rough edges of my soul.
I feel blessed to live in this country. Even though we don't have our own set identity, we are a free country nonetheless. I am so proud to be Canadian, to get special privileges in some countries, to walk through airports proudly sporting our maple leaf flag, and to have free health care (because of healthy taxes, of course).
Thank you, LORD, for our beautiful country. May we always remember that we have freedom of speech and can preach your Word without inhibition.