"Stay in this land for a while, and I will be with you and will bless you..." Genesis 26:3
I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “typical” student missionary. We’re all in such different circumstances and positions, surrounded by different people, facing different hardships and joys. We have much in common, but I don’t believe there is one picture that paints what student missionaries look like.
However, if I did believe such a thing, I would consider myself far removed from the “typical” label. I arrived here on Tuesday, October 26, around about the three month anniversary of many SMs being in their countries. I settled into my room in the pavilion, feeling much like moving back into a previous home. The rest of the missionaries left on a trip shortly after I arrived, and as I stay here, the only American for miles, I feel far from lonely and isolated. I’ve spent the last few days getting reacquainted with friends and local church members. Rather than spending my year creating lesson plans and grading at late and odd hours of the day, I’ll be having a fairly abundant amount of time for reflection, reading, writing, and spending time with God.
My first week here, I haven’t been homesick or in culture shock (I believe I’ve crossed those bridges in years passed). I don’t doubt that I’ll be homesick at points while I am here, but as for this beginning, I’ve had nothing but a pleasant time. Sabbath was enjoyable, filled with meeting new people and refreshing previous acquaintanceships, plus a tiny potluck which slightly reminded me of the Hatter’s tea party in Wonderland, much to my inward chuckle.
The Riveral family is acting as our guardians here. At nights, the Riveral children sleep in the pavilion with me so I’m not alone. Last night I taught them how to play Pit. Oh. My. Word. They loved it! We literally played for hours. I’ve never played so much Pit. We had to have been keeping up the neighbors with our yelling and laughing and our fighting over spoons. I’m certain that if we play again, there will be casualties—I have grown quite sympathetic for silverware and cards. I will undoubtedly have to pick up a new deck when I reach America again.
I’ve only just begun my time here. I know there will be a mixture of hardship and joys, like anywhere on earth. But for now, I’m just soaking in the wonders of this land, and thanking God for the blessings He brings my way. Blessings like a wet, blustery Halloween to keep in tradition with all the previous years of my life.