As Paul wrote last week, I will be working primarily with the children's ministries here and with a new English outreach program we hope to start. There is already children's work happening in most of the seven areas in which we have church meetings, but Attila's vision is to have them reorganized and revitalized through establishing a structure and a curriculum in a four-year cycle. From talking with many of the leaders already, I can see how this curriculum plan will really help them know what and how to teach! My prayer is that I will be able to help and support them and make their jobs easier so they can focus on building relationships with the children in their communities and their families. We had our first big planning meeting this week. I was so grateful for the turnout and I think we have established a great plan going forward! Please pray for our wisdom in this new endeavor.
Besides the children's ministry meeting, this week I did even more settling in to our apartment. I even did some baking! I am determined to learn the ins and outs of my little gas oven and the different ingredients they have here. One big difference is the sugar. The granulated sugar here is very large, so when I bake according to my standard recipes in the states, the sugar doesn't melt into the pastry/brownie/cookie/whatever I'm making. You can actually see each individual sugar granule still intact! So, soon I will be experimenting! :) I may see if I can find some smaller sugar or if I can somehow ground the sugar into a size that will better incorporate when I'm baking :) So far, I've been able to make chocolate chip cookies, cheesecake-marbled brownies, regular brownies, and snickerdoodle bars! I love to bake, and baking in our little apartment makes me feel even more at home here. I will have to remember to take photos next time!
As far as the apartment goes, this week we bought a coffee table and a small chair for our living room. We are determined to hang a gallery wall above our couch, but the cement walls present a big challenge for Paul to figure out how to make holes for nails and screws! We are about halfway 'hung' and I'll wait to post a picture until we're all done. For now, here is our newly decorated bookshelf and some of our new furniture!
Paul and I try to read a devotional together each day, and yesterday's was so timely for me. The devotional's theme for the day was fear. The devotional said that in each stage of life, the stakes seem to get higher, and life requires more and more courage to move forward in faith. It spoke of the heros of faith in Hebrews 11 and how "...[they] weren't lauded because they were strong in themselves, but because they trusted God. They were weak as they considered the tasks ahead of them, but when they trusted God, he turned their weakness into strength." (The whole devotional can be found here.) These words helped me to re-frame the challenges I am facing. Paul and I believe God called us here to serve, and so we must believe He will equip us for the work in His own timing. I can move forward in faith believing that He already knew my struggles before I arrived and He will take care of them all! Being patient means more than just being patient with myself; it means being patient with God and watching the details of His plans unfold in the timing of His will.
Thank you for praying for us. I hope to have more pictures of the apartment soon!