"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. We worked day and night in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you." 1 Thessalonians 2:8-9

This blog is much more than our family and our crazy antics. After being overseas in Haiti for 4 years we prayed about coming back to the States and just still felt like God was going to use our family overseas...so here we go again. The big move to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and now the school growing and moving to Barbados. We just can't seem to rest until our family can love as many as we can to relationships with Christ. We always feel so blessed to meet the many people we get to serve with overseas, and of course love that you are reading with us as we serve in a new culture!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Dwelling in a New Land

We're learning a little about adoption as we care for Micajah.  Adoption literally means taking in as your own family, your own child.  While he is with us for the next few months, Micajah is one of ours.  He eats what we eat, he wears our clothes (Mizzou of course), and he goes where we go.  I get an even better chance to think of God adopting me as His child more now through having Micajah. The immediate love God has for all of us from conception and through our mistakes and trials.  And through it all we are still - His! 

This can be hard for me to grasp as lately the feeling of being a foreigner or an alien has come into play more.  "Do not oppress a foreigner; you yourselves know how it feels to be foreigners, because you were foreigners in Egypt" (Ex. 23:9).

Overhearing some ladies passing by they say, "Those white people just came in and forced a family out of their home to start a preschool."  I could have went over and explained that the family that had lived in the house moved back to Jamaica to care for aging parents.  We loved them and were sad to see them go.  It was after they left we realized their house was vacant and would be a perfect place to open a preschool and kids studio to teach/reach kids at.  But, probably even explaining would have done no good.  They just saw us whites as foreigners.

Or when we had another preschool inspection this week from the get go the inspectors repeatedly vetoed our ways and ideas.  I have been so thrilled at all the love and care so many sent and gave to make our preschool look like a place of beauty.  So upon hearing someone want to berate all that had been done did make me sad.  I only know my teaching and decorating ways from the US, it is true.  Do I think my ways are better or the only way, no.  But, as I visited other preschools and saw their diversity from each other too, I thought ours could still be a great learning place.  Yet, because we were not from here locals told us they wanted to make it harder for us. I guess overall it made me sad that it had to be cultural.   I want to just love kids wherever I am.
I guess it is hard as when I hold Micajah, I am not looking at a black baby.  I am not thinking he's Vincentian or American.  I am thinking of how He's God's and I am too.  I am so thankful for this, " We are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  There is neither Jew nor Greek (American or Vincentian), slave nor free (wealthy or poor), male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.  If you belong to Christ, then you are heirs according to the promise."  Gal 3:26-29

So this causes me to think of some points I see from God's word on foreigners, as we all are until we get to heaven.  and it makes me think of how even though not all of us are away from our home country now...we may have neighbors who are visiting from another country.  We may be adopting, we may have friends going through a difficult time, we may know some who are sick. 

1. Let's not opress them.  This includes even talking about their differences in a negative way.  Feel free to talk to them and get to know them, but don't just assume they do something without getting to know them. Hear their story.  Don't judge them.  talk to them rather than about them. 

2. Treat them as if they are from here too.  Treat them like yourself.  We teach kids all the time about the Golden Rule, so let's use if for adults too.  They have feelings too and probably hold on to those feelings longer than kids do too.

3. Love them as you do to others you are close to.  We all have felt loneliness and know how hard that can be.

4.  In Egypt, God saved and redeemed the Israelites....use that as a reminder of His saving and redeeming us for Heaven.

I'm so thankful for the past few challenging days of feeling isolated and left out.  For a minute I wanted to defend, cry, and get mad.  But, I got some extra moments with God and He gifted some great moments last night through some neighbors and new friends that He is working through and in differences and His love does not see those things.  I am praying for my heart to mirror His in this and that others here and all around the world that can have that heart too.

Please know as you read this, I mean no disrespect.  There will always be diverse feelings involved wherever you are.  If you feel offended, it was never to do that, but for us to give a picture of how we can see God's acceptance even more.

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