Friday, April 17, 2009

NEVER say never.

I thought it would be a good idea to keep you updated on what I was doing post-Bolivia--since so much has changed. It's been a few months of adjustment-a little bit longer than expected!! But God's been faithful.

I had been working at Tractor Supply Company since January as a cashier. It was such a blessing having an easy job that was close by. I really liked my co-workers and customers. The work was pretty cool too--but as it goes, "all good things must come to an end"...but that doesn't mean that it's the best we ever get...

About two months ago my mom handed me the classifieds and announced that she had found a "perfect job" for me. It was a children's home with the Baptist Child and Family Services. That next week I randomly met the director of the International Children's Shelter at my work. I visited the shelter, and did an application for employment shortly thereafter. I was a little nervous about working with teenage boys who don't speak any English. But I felt such a peace about it that when I was offered the position I knew that was my new mission in life.

The shelter has two homes and holds up to 28 boys. They are all from South and Central America. It is a very structured program, but without an institutional feel. The shelter is basically a juvenile facility for "unaccompanied minors"--illegal immigrants. They stay for about "3 months--usually less, though sometimes more. They attend school on campus, have meals family style, do chores, and are able to play, watch tv, call home, and--this is the best part--learn about God!

I started this adventure on Tuesday and although I've been there 4 days, I love it! At least once a day I look around and thank God for this amazing opportunity. And at least five times a day, I ask myself if I can really do this! No doubt it will be a huge challenge-likely the biggest of my life-but at least I'm not on my own. The boys have been very friendly. The turnover rate is pretty high, as these kids are only here until they are deported or have paperwork finished to stay here. I've already said goodbye to three kids. That'll probably get kinda hard after a while.
*these are some of my favorite boys from my time in Bolivia!

Tonight was Jose Andres' last night. One of the boys asked if we could say a special prayer for him. Of COURSE we said yes! One of the staff asked the boys who would like to say the prayer,
Miss Kristina!! They, all too quickly, responded.
*deer in the headlights look!*
"well, uh..." I stammered, " I think it would be better if someone who spoke Spanish as a first language prayed", I mumbled to a true bilingual speaker staff-person who was standing next to me.
"Nope", he shook his head, "it will mean a lot to them if YOU pray".
"okay", I sighed, "I can do this". Meanwhile my mind was running a million miles a second trying to organize what I wanted to say and thinking of all the correct tenses.
We all got in a circle with Jose Andres in the middle.
...And my mind went blank. I struggled through a prayer, glad that God understood and hoping he put everything unjumbled in these boys' minds.

As soon as the boys got in bed I ran an errand to the other home, and realized that NEVER in my wildest imagination would I have pictured myself where I am. If I hadn't majored in Spanish (even though at the time I believed it was somewhat of a "worthless degree" without the teaching certificate) then I wouldn't have gone to Bolivia. If I hadn't gone to Bolivia, I would never have thought I could actually work with kids in this kind of setting. So here we see once again that God is SOOOO faithful! And doesn't give us more than we can handle.

Sooo...that's about it. My random new mission is working with teenage boys, who's first language is not the same as mine, and who are "at risk" kids. I'm pretty sure that at some time or another I told myself that I would never [be able to] do even one of those things.

Thanks for your love, prayers and support.