Again with the Internet issues... it'll be more consistent during the week time and less during the weekend- merely because I'd rather spend my mornings doing things on the weekend that are not on a computer, but I have a computer-y job, so on the weekdays it's good;)
So, my first bag has arrived at home.... The Youth Pastor from my church came to visit and took a bag home for me. I honestly don't know him hardly at all, but was glad to host him, as I was sure he'd do fine without any hand holding, and he was:) Some people looked down on me for this, saying I was a bad host, but, when you've got a visitor who is a person who likes to do their own thing, I think I did what I could and he did the rest.
Thursday, our ship shop got lots of new crafts in, so I swooped in. A woman who has lived locally with her family since the 80s provides an amazing service to our ship by going to the market for us to provide us fair prices for items right here in our home, as it can be difficult to navigate markets for those who don’t know markets.... or if you're like me and just don't love going all the way out to the market to argue. I like bartering, but this is WAY more convenient. Thursday, I went and Got as many things as I could that I thought would be amazing gifts, or even things for my future home(a SWEET carved stool). Then I proceeded to wrap everything up tightly in the fabric I had and padded it all with bags I was sending home and it was off. It'll be interesting to see when I get home how much of the stuff I take back is mine versus gifts... I'm so excited about some of these gifts, and I have gifts for people from Togo AND Guinea!!! So my blessing in all of this was that I got a bag sent home for free and it is chock full of things to give to other people when I get home.
This put a bit of a reality check on my shoulders... 1st bag home.... I got 2 boxes sent with books and such that would be too heavy to get back, but I simply cannot part with(my Israel books, journals, etc) and more gifts. I leave in less than 3 months now.
Out of fairness to all of you, let me explain my coming home. I don't really plan on telling many people what date I'm getting home. This is merely so that I am not bombarded. The first week home, I need to take care of me, have some time alone, reflect, get over some culture clash issues and re-connect with my family and my closest friends. Then, I'll head out to see my sister, if the time is right, to meet my new sweet nephew James:) I'll be there as long as she wants me to stay. From then until the first week of July, I'll be home and fair game, but just so that you understand when I post “I'm HOMMEE” and you say, but why didn’t' you tell us you were coming this week... that's why... :) Though, you church people will be in for a fun surprise the week I do come home, as I will go to church and see all of you:)
Another blessing that happened today, rather than earlier in the week, is cabin church. Cabin church is something my friends created. They have a baby, thus making it difficult to get off ship to go to a local church. So, we download a podcast from my friend's Church and listen in on that each week. We worship, listen, and share. This week was especially exciting for me, as the pastor caught my attention early on. At first he said, “I'm going to mess around and joke about something today... don't get mad at me for it, but I hate musicals..... well... actually there is 1 that is exceptional that I'll mention today.... Les Miserables.” He had me yelling in anger and cheering in joy within the minute. Sorry to anyone who had no idea what was going on:) This time with my friends has been excellent- time to be with others- a smaller group- and dig into God's word is exciting- we're doing Hebrews- a surprisingly LOADED book.
Right afterward, I realized I hadn't made myself a lunch. On weekends, we have breakfast and dinner provided, but not lunch, so you're supposed to pack a lunch at breakfast. It completely slipped my mind this morning as I wanted to rush to open the cafe for an hour before church- I love being a barista for an hour a week...:) I mentioned I forgot this detail, and my friend whipped out a PBJ sandwich. She said, “My husband will probably get food made for him anyway, so here- have one.' Thankfully I decided jelly and PB were allowed during lent- jelly only once in a while though. Her husband is from Liberia, and there's an incredible woman on board who is also from Liberia who loves making African food for her friends- especially on the weekends when we're limited to sandwiches. At this moment I was eternally grateful.
I made my way back to the cabin and set up shop to edit a film. I'll go into more detail about this another time, but one of my awesome 12 year old friends and I decided to make a film, and today was the editing day. Surprisingly, it took less time to edit the film than to record the song that goes with it... it's an Musical Comedy Parody of sorts. I sat on my bed, ate my sandwich and edited, realizing after a few minutes I needed 1 more scene, running to reception, and filming my friend Femi pretending to make an announcement- THANK YOU FEMI!!!:) Then.. it was done... I truly felt blessed the process was smooth- in the past it hasn't always been, but this time was easy cheese. Then I layed down for a nap. I always intend to sleep for a short time. Today I knew I needed more sleep, since I didn't sleep well the past few night so I was going to allow an hour and ½... turned into 2 hours because a migraine crept in during the nap, but boy was I thankful that I was able to have a CHILL Sunday for once that I truly enjoyed... it almost felt like home:)
Then I had dinner with my friends and church on the ship. Now sometimes church 2 times in a day is too much, but tonight, I was feeling a little better from my migraine, so I went. I was SO thankful I went. It was wonderful. The songs really touched me where I am, a friend of mine is making a mosaic scene for Easter, where she puts another batch of pieces of tissue paper on the board each week during worship. So intricate and precise- it was refreshing to see another form of worship. Reminds me of those people who draw incredible pictures reflecting scripture during worship... then I was in for a surprise. One of my friends was speaking, who I haven't heard speak in a LONG time.
The topic: the battlefield of the mind- that truth comes from God's word and Satan loves feeding us lies that quickly become our reality because we allow them to and we are not rooted in the word... guess what a friend I had a deep conversation about yesterday? Guess what I'd heard during cabin church? Guess what I heard on the TV after church as I cut up a mango? All the same thing..... I knew this was no mistake and that I need to take it seriously- Satan REALLLY loves using my thoughts to freak me out- he's really gotten it down pat...... but I need to stop letting him...I need to ground myself. Guess what my new goal is? Praise God for directing me and giving me clear direction in what I need to be doing.... Awesome!!!!!!
God is so good, people... like... truly... I'm learning so much and so thankful. This season is one of growing and with it comes growing pains, but even flowers have to get through all of the dirt before they can spring up and grow, then bloom(thanks Beth Moore for the quote). I am blessed... SO blessed. Thanks, God... you are incredible.
I'm looking forward to Easter now more than ever.