For one, my parents are here! It has been such an incredible blessing to have them around, and they've only been here for less than two weeks! God has blessed us with good fellowship and I love being their neighbor. I've been able to help them as they adjust to Niger by taking them grocery shopping and showing them around the school. Since they live just down the street, I've been busy delivering spices they didn't have, dropping off medicine for unwanted sickness, and passing along messages from others when they didn't have phones yet. I went running the other morning around Sahel's campus and ended up doing a lap with my mom. How cool is that?! Both mom and dad and I went for an early morning stroll past the rice fields, green with life and sun shining through the humid sky. This year I get to experience life in Africa with family. God is good.
We have already begun Teacher Orientation at Sahel and during the meetings, I couldn't help but think, "How awesome is it that my parents are here?" We were able to worship together and share our story with the staff. Even getting a simple mom or dad hug at lunch time is a gift from God. I never thought that I would be on the same teaching staff as my mom, but I'm so excited to have the opportunity this year!
Another difference from last year is my living comfort level. As I help welcome new teachers and staff, I am reminded of similar feelings I had this time last year. Knowing how to grocery shop, understanding a bit more of the culture, and having a few familiar faces has made a tremendous difference and reduced a lot of transitional stress and anxiety. The adjustment to Niger has, for the most part, already taken place for me, allowing me to feel much more relaxed and settled into life here.
Also, it's my second year of teaching! I am eager to have older kiddos, as I teach 4th grade this year. Although the curriculum is new to me, the staff and students (most of them) are not. Being familiar with the school and how it runs has allowed me to easily anticipate what's next and understand how things are done here. I'm so grateful to be returning to Sahel for a second year.
It was hard for me a year ago to imagine being in the place that I am today, not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, as well. Many people welcomed and mentored me with open arms when I arrived to Niamey. Now it is my turn to do the same for those around me. Though it's only been a year, I am able to answer questions that new-comers have and hopefully offer encouragement when needed.
I am so grateful for all that the Lord has taught me this past year. And I am also grateful that I feel a bit different this year. Everyday with the Lord is an adventure when we are walking in obedience. That is my prayer and heart's cry. That I would know, without a doubt, that I am exactly where the Lord wants me. So He can use me and continue to mold me. May God be glorified because of my obedience and trust in Him. To Christ be the glory! As they say at SB2W, "The glory goes to God!"
|Mom, Dad and me at Sahel Staff Orientation!|