Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Christmas. In Bolivia? Without snow, and cold weather, and songs about snow?

I do have to say, even though it doesn't completely feel like Christmas is coming here as the temperature rises each day, having Christmas music constantly play in the staff lounge as well as while I am resting in my room in the evenings makes it a bit easier to cope with missing seventeen of the twenty-five days of Christmas. Yet, without a doubt, as we ride the minibus through the city, bright tacky Christmas decorations and singing lights fill the tiendas and demand that Christmas comes soon anyway.

We have our Christmas program this evening (in honor of the last week of the semester starting Monday) and it is a joy to teach the kids our North American Christmas carols even while I am harshly reminded as the ESL teacher that a ton of the lyrics do not make any sense in modern English. Explaining why "the Lord is come" instead of "the Lord has come" is just a battle I have chosen to lose.

This past month (I realized it has been over a month since I last wrote) has provided a number of realizations and has stretched me in many ways.

I remember coming to school one day with a horrible attitude and a negativity towards my morning chapel song duty. Feeling completely disheveled, I was humbled as the songs we sang completely repeated the frustrations of my heart that I needed to place at the Lord's feet. I didn't feel put together. I didn't feel like I had much influence. Yet, as a Senior high school student stood up and shared for over an hour concerning his life of drugs and how God has rescued him from that through being at our school, I was seriously humbled. Even in one semester, I have seen student after student change...seeking a life that is so much greater than what they had already known. It is neat to share Christ with them as we just love of them and live life with them. As has been my prayer in so many ways, I don't want to wish away days, or months, or years.

We did enjoy a Thanksgiving break which included a 12 hour bus ride to Arequipa, Peru. It was a lot of traveling and slightly tiring, but sometimes a change of scenery is exactly what I need. In fact, I recall the ride back. After long hours in bus stations, on a bus, and at the Bolivian-Peruvian border, I felt such relief at the sight of the La Paz mountains. I can't even begin to fully describe what it is like to look over the city pasted over the mountains, almost looking like a fierce battle between nature and civilization. Whatever it looked like, it looked and felt like home. What a great feeling to know that the place where God has called me feels somewhat like home. I was relieved to breathe, to find familiarity in where I was coming and going, and to be in my own apartment again.

I am fully thrilled for the coming week where I will step foot on North American soil.....hopefully eating some Cold Stone and Panera. But I'm excited to also know where I will return, and that I have a place here. A place that one day I realize I might be celebrating Christmas in the heat of the summer weather. But I can worry about that when the time comes. For now....It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

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