Colombia week 1, or “I don’t have a good title for this”

Hola from Colombia!I’m wrapping up my first week here, and boy has it been one for the books. I arrived Monday night after a day of goodbyes to friends and family, one of my best friends bringing me to the airport, a four hour flight (the quickest flight I’ve ever experienced helped along by Cinderella and Matt Chandler) and then an hour and a half drive to Chinauta, a city I’m working in down here.
I’m writing this post on Thursday, though our internet is out currently so I don’t know when I’ll be able to post it. This morning I woke up feeling the most homesick I have felt since I was like 11 years old. I honestly felt like I wasn’t going to be able to make it through the rest of the day without crying sixteen times because I wanted to be back in the United States so bad. However, instead of crying, I prayed that the Lord would guide me, fill me, and help me. I’d been feeling really overwhelmed at the prospect of teaching English to a bunch of people that I don’t know, especially when my Spanish is as rusty as it is. Today was my first day teaching, in a foundation called Sueños de Vivir, a drug rehab facility I’m working with about 20-30 girls and boys there who are mostly between the ages of 15 and 20. It is absolutely through God that I was able to teach them today without totally massacring my Spanish (or English haha) in the process. If there’s one thing I have learned from other years in Spanish-speaking countries, it’s that there is always a way to explain your way around a word that you don’t know…although it’s exhausting to talk that way. We had a pretty successful morning, though, learning the alphabet, numbers, and some vocabulary words. I ate lunch at the rehab facility with some of my new “students,” and there’s something to be said about sharing a meal with others. I also went on my first motorcycle here (sorry dad!) since that is what the family I’m living with drives — I even have my own helmet now, so we can all take a moment to laugh about that.

The Lord showed me today that He is truly with me wherever I go, if only I remember to continue to seek Him. I must be more disciplined in my time alone with Him because it is easy for me to get caught up in doing other things here (like texting friends and family back home when I have an Internet connection). After a couple hours in the morning of extreme homesickness, that feeling went away almost completely and I am realizing that the Lord will equip me to do what He has called me to here. I am praying that He will teach me and grow me in order to allow me to teach others and encourage them, sharing about His love for them in the midst of whatever they may be facing.

My biggest prayer requests right now are for any lingering homesickness to go away and stay away, that I will be encouraged to continually spend time with the Lord, and that my Spanish continues to get better so I can have more quality conversations with others here. I am so grateful to those of you praying for me! I’d also love to hear about what’s going on at home, so always feel free to iMessage me (or download the Viber app for those of you who don’t have iPhones) and stay in touch :)


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