Everything will change. A Ministry of WorldVenture.
The Bible study I talked about in an earlier blog has started. It's every Wednesday at noon at a high school in my neighborhood, College Bethlehem. It's a private Christian school but just like Christian schools in the U.S. not all the students are Christian. So it's interesting that out of the entire school maybe 10-20 students come. As you can imagine, being at lunch time, some kids would rather go home to eat than come. It reminds me a lot of my days in the Christian club at my high school, Grace Club, back in the day, except it's much hotter, we speak French, and the classroom looks quite a bit different. Other than those things, it's practically the same thing.
I've been working at the school for handicapped children, Don Orion, for about two months now and I'm starting to get the hang of it. I love being there, but it can be tiring trying to do things like help a six-year-old deaf boy to learn to write the letter "a" without using any words. And I imagine he's very confused as to why I'm making him write this curvy looking thing over and over and over, when he doesn't even know what it does. But then you see the older kids who started at the same point but now can read, write, and use sign language, and it's really encouraging! My favorite thing to do with them is play "monkey-in-the-middle". No words are necessary and we just have so much fun. Almut and I have also been doing painting with the kids, which they love. Last week, we painted their hand and foot prints, it was quite the project and I was so exhausted after, but the kids got such a kick out of it. Now we're in the process of painting a big scene of village life.
Another thing I've been involved in is the youth group at my church. But youth groups here are actually young adults, not junior highers and high schoolers. The school system is different here so most of them are still students. I've really enjoyed coming to the group and hanging out with the youth. If it weren't for that, I probably wouldn't have any friends here! We just restarted a small groups project that Heidi and Alyssa started last year. There's three boy and three girl groups and each meets one day a week outside of church to do a Bible study. From what I've heard about the last try, it was difficult. These kids are so busy with school, and then the girls have to work at home too, it's hard to get them motivated and find the time to come. As for me, I participate in all the girls' groups to keep the discussion going and encourage them.
And yes there's more! I'm hopefully going to start going to another high school in my neighborhood, College Don Bosco, to play volleyball with the students there. It's not like a sports ministry or anything, but I might have the opportunity so I'll take it. If anything it'll just be a good way to meet people, get to know them, and just have fun.
The Benkadi team just got back from a trip to Burkina Faso. We went swimming at the Banfora waterfalls and then went to Nazinga Wildlife Reserve and had a blast. Even though I've seen elephants, monkeys, and antelope at the zoo, it's completely different when you see them in the wild and without a fence separating you!
And also, I got baptized last Saturday! It was really fun to spend time with people from my church and not only be there watching but to actually participate. Taking the baptism course and going through this whole thing has made me feel so much closer to the people in my church and I don't even know how to describe it. But I'll probably remember all the hugs and congratulations I got from my friends afterwards more than the actual baptism.
Then the next day was Easter. It's pretty much the same thing just minus the colored eggs Easter bunny, and candy. As much as I could go for a chocolate bunny right now, it was pretty cool though to see how the holiday is celebrated without all the secular things added in. It wasn't a whole lot different than a normal Sunday at church, there was more singing and dancing and the message was about Easter of course.
So it'd be awesome if you all could be praying:
- that more students will come to the Bible study at College Bethlehem and that the students will be affected and encouraged by the messages they hear
- that the youth will be motivated to participate in the small groups and that they'll understand that being a Christians doesn't just mean going to youth group and church
- that everything will work out at College Don Bosco and for my involvement there. Even though I'll just go and play sports with them, I need to glorify God in everything I do, even this.
- for myself, that I'll keep focused on Christ and be joyful even when things get frustrating and difficult