The reason to breathe it in

The reason to breathe it in
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We have 1 year left of our term here in the islands, and I think it’s gonna fly by. Here are some things that have been happening lately:

Phin just finished her first term of school! She joined her class for the last 3 months of the year, and she loved it! They ended the year with a school party, but it wasn’t like end of the year parties back home, this was very much an islander celebration. I noticed something odd – as the children finished their performances, many of the moms would come up and touch their children’s faces with money before putting it in a dish for the teacher, or in the pocket of the children. I was struck by how children are taught to idolize money even from such a young age!

We were incredibly blessed by our neighbor, however, who – since I didn’t know what exactly was required – made the special jasmine necklace and special saluva wrap for her to wear over her dress for the dance the kids did. It was a great opportunity to get to know the community more!

Ki is growing like a weed! And 4 months old already. He is working on his mini push-ups, loves his tummy time, rolling over, and is starting to reach out for toys… and he is also talking up a storm! Phinny loves being a big sister and playing with her brother, and he loves watching her play as well. We are blessed!

A friend of our team, and a local sister, Nancy, recently traveled to the French island. A couple days ago, she gave birth to twin girls, but sadly one passed away. Please keep her in your prayers, she is there with 2 of her older daughters and her newborn, without much of any support system.

Finally, for part of our curriculum we had a creative writing assignment, to write about our relationship with God. It was a very vulnerable activity for our team as we had to share them on team day with everyone…and it definitely pushed us out of our comfort zones…but hopefully it also led us to a little deeper trust with each other. I wanted to share mine with you:

How did I get here

Here is hard

Every day another struggle

Every hour a new challenge

And most days all I can do

Is cry out in my weakness

Yet I would never go back

Because here is a place of light

I know the Light

He beckoned me from the darkness

That place where I was

Where I was alone

Hopeless

And freed me from the quicksand that held me captive

He loved me there

Though I was ugly inside

And covered in filth

Being dragged farther down by my own black heart

There the Light came

And offered me a lifeline

Coated in bloody sweat and tears

I fought through the mire

Reaching with my last remaining strength

To my last hope

And found myself freed

The muddy stains and torn rags

Replaced with a renewed purity

The journey from there to here

Has been a difficult path

Up and down mountains

Across cleansing streams and deserts

Being sharpened by stones and refined in fires

And I look back at that place

Often

To remember where I came from

And though the pain filled memories persist

I am filled with joy

And peace

I know back there I was only an empty shell

Being tossed by the pressuring waves of selfish indulgence

But not here

Here I am filled with life

Life found only in the Light

Here I am never alone

Because the Light is never gone

He is leading my by the hand

On this winding straight path

Here I am whole

Because the Light continues to fight off the dark spots of emptiness in

the recesses of my being

And fills those voids with value

Here I am nothing

Because the Light is everything

He is the strength that carries me through each day

The grace that covers my imperfections

He is the love that gives me each breath

And the reason to breathe it in