Hello from France. Hope you are all, right where God wants you to be! I know I am! In my last blog I mentioned that I was beginning to teach a sunday school class at the church here that I attend. I have 10 students, age 6-13. All of them are new to France, as their families just arrived at the language school the end of August. They are all English speakers, so my goal is to feed them spiritually and also to teach them some French along the way. When I leave in December, they will be incorporated into the all French sunday school class. I have really enjoyed getting these kids. They have opened their hearts to me already and I am getting to know each one with their own special personalities. They are going through tremendous changes and stressors. They share weekly that they miss their friends and family back home. They miss their dogs and cats. They are very stressed having to go into new schools, where all the kids speak French. They are the outsiders. Wow, I thought it was hard for me as an adult to adapt to all these changes. But I chose to be here, I know God has called me to this. They are just kids. Kids who need my prayers (and maybe yours' too if you feel lead to do so).
I have been teaching through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5: 1-14). Each week, we tackle one verse and memorize it and talk about it's meaning. We have had some lively discussions about how you can be happy or blessed to be poor in spirit, to mourn, (and this week), to be meek. As usual, when you teach you get more out of the lesson than your students, because you have to dig in the word, and meditate on the application in your own life. As my pastor always says, he has had to live with the message for months before he delivers it to us, and God always does a work in his heart long before it reaches his congregation. (I count it a great privilege to sit under the teaching of such a good teacher and still listen to his sermons each week by podcasts) Anyway, this week's beatitude was "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth". So what does it mean to be meek? The word can also be translated as gentile. The definition in most bible commentaries is that "gentile" means "power under control". It doesn't mean Christians are wimps or weaklings. On the contrary, they have the power of God on their side. As you look at the "greats" of the bible, each exhibited power under control. Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, and the list goes on. But the most important one was Jesus. Isaiah 53 says that as a sheep that is lead to the slaughter is silent, so was he. He never opened his mouth in his defense even though he was falsely accused and sentenced to death. He was the Son of God and could have called a legion of angels down in His defense, but He didn't. My desire is to be more like Jesus, so meditating on "Meekness" was in my thoughts all week.
God provided lots of opportunities for me to think about meekness. The week started with me having to deliver the "culte" (devotional) in front of the whole school in French. Needless to say, it was a nerve-racking experience and I am glad it is over. While, I was able to get through it, I made a lot of mistakes with pronunciation. The students were gracious, and told me "Bon travail" (good work) and a few even said they understood what I said and received a blessing (a total miracle, if that's true). My teacher, however, was not afraid to point out all my mistakes during my tutoring session. Granted, she did it in a kind way, but I still felt the same way, like a little child being scolded. An opportunity to be meek! I felt like defending myself, but the Holy Spirit held me back. It's hard to be a child again (especially at my age), but that's where God has me right now. Every day, struggling to get the right words out of my mouth, being corrected every other word, homework returned with more red ink than black. Ah yes, it's a humbling experience! Blessed are the meek! Another opportunity to experience meekness was during my laundry time on Friday. We each have a block of time (1 hour) to use the washers and dryer. For some reason, my hour on Fridays at lunchtime seems to be a popular time. I can't count how many times I have gone to put my clothes in and the washers, and or dryer have just been started. I have complained to the director, left notes on the machines, but it continues still. This particular Friday I met the "guilty" person in the laundry room, and I just unloaded on them. I was mad, my "spot" had been taken again! Didn't they know how disruptive to my schedule this was, and on and on. Wow, that afternoon the Holy Spirit just descended on me and I was under severe conviction. I had been mean, nasty and angry, over laundry! Not too much meekness going on that day! (just so you know, I have apologized). If I can't handle the stressors of the laundry room, how will I be able to handle the stressors in Africa? Yeah, still a work in progress, but oh, how I desire to be like Him. Please keep me in your prayers, as you are in mine. Catch you later, Bye!