There are some people who could say, "What a day!" about every day of their life, but for most of us, each day comes and goes, and we move through them fairly smoothly. Then comes the day when you say, just how did so much get packed into this day? Today was like that in some ways. As I write this I'm conscious that the time of day has come when people seem to start using more electricity, and as I watch my internet connection come and go in the bottom corner of my screen I think, OK, we'll hope I can stay connected long enough to post! So just why was today one of those days?
Actually, it was a pretty ordinary day until after lunch. First of all I headed into the office to retrieve a book that had been sent to me by a friend in Australia. For some obscure reason, it came addressed to her & her husband instead of me, but at the school address. A staff-wide e-mail I received late yesterday alerted me to it's presence, and so it was fun to start the day with a gift from a friend, even if I didn't have time to read it.
Shortly after that the students arrived in the classroom, along with the ICT guy who ended up taking away the classroom computer again, this time for a brain transplant! It was not healthy before the holidays, and late last week it died. He took it and did some major surgery yesterday, but when I tried to use it after he brought it back it would not talk to me, so today it went away for a full makeover! Hopefully it will return to the classroom, fully functional tomorrow sometime. Once the computer was gone, the students enjoyed listening to a large chunk of "Spindles" this morning. Since we didn't have Chapel, which I had put into my planner, we had a little extra time for read-aloud story time. We worked our way through our Math lesson and our Language Arts lesson and then I sent everyone off to Khmer/ESL/Computer classes and headed up to the cafeteria for lunch. Nothing unusual so far, and lunch was yummy - fried rice.
After that delicious school lunch, I headed back to the classroom to deal with some paper work (endless grading no-less). The students enjoyed their recess and lunch and then returned to the classroom. They had a short silent reading time, and then we all enjoyed our Bible lesson. It was great to hear the children share their feelings as they thought about God's grace and all it means to them. Part way through the lesson the rain, which had been threatening most of the morning, came down in the form of a tropical thunderstorm. Wow! That was some rain! Once again I forgot to take a photo, but it was so heavy that you could hardly see the other side of the school for a while. The rain was so heavy that we ended up with minor floods! Nothing like what we used to see at the old school, and the roof of my classroom definitely didn't leak this time, so there was much to be thankful for, however, the water did come into the classroom, under the door! It appears that the slope of the floor is not quite how we would expect it to be. Instead of sloping away from the classrooms toward the drains, it actually sloped toward the classrooms, and so both 4th & 5th grades ended up with water coming into them. Happily it was discovered before too much came in, and we were able to block it to some extent. I sent the students off to their music practice, and helped the cleaning staff get the better of the water! I also managed to sneak a quick read of the first chapter of my new book, which just whetted my appetite to read the rest. By the time the children returned for the end of the day, the rain was pretty much gone, and the floors were almost dry.
After school was dismissed, and I'd sent the students off to their various destinations, I was returning to the classroom to put in some preparation for tomorrow when I met a good friend, who wanted to chat with me about something. Since finding out that I wasn't being offered a contract for next year, I have gone through a whole range of emotions, and this friend has been there for me through most, if not all, the ups and downs. She has listened to my struggles, and today it was my turn to listen. I have to say, that there are not a lot of people who firstly would have had the courage to say what she said today, and secondly whom I would have accepted those words from anyway. I praise God for this friend, who was prepared to remind me that, even though I don't have a contract for next year, I do have a responsibility to complete this year well. Yes, I have a responsibility to my current students and their parents, but it was more than that, which as I reflect on it, showed me just how much she cares for me. Her concern was as much for me as it was for my students, and how I would feel in two months time, when all this is in the past, if I don't do the best job that I can, in God's strength, and finish this year well. How will I feel, if, I look back on these last months, and know that I didn't do my best, and didn't fulfil the task that God had prepared for me.
As I thought about what she said, several scripture verses came to mind. Ephesians 2:10 has this to say: "God has made us what we are. In Christ Jesus, God made us to do good works, which God planned in advance for us to live our lives doing." Colossians 3:23-24 adds this: "In all the work you are doing, work the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not for people. Remember that you will receive your reward from the Lord, which he promised to his people. You are serving the Lord Christ".
I thank God for this timely warning, that, no matter what I might be feeling, He has given me a task to do right now, and I need to do that task to the best of my ability. Why? Because I'm doing it for Him, and because He deserves nothing less than the best that I can give Him. And so I'll conclude this section with the verse which I know will help me to do just that. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ, because he gives me the strength." I don't have to do it on my own. He will give me the strength to do finish this year well, for His sake, for the sake of my students, and for my own sake. Praise God that I have a friend who cares enough to be honest with me, and whom I trust and respect enough to accept this reproof from.
So was that it? Was that all? Well, wasn't that enough? No. But wait, there's more! After I'd made sure all the materials I needed to do my best tomorrow were ready and organised, and easy to find, I decided to head home early, partly so that I could take the time to write this blog tonight. I packed up, and headed down to my moto, which despite the rain, started without any problems, and headed out the gate. It was just before 5pm, and so I headed down the lane which is one-way traffic during peak hour, but a quicker route back to the main road. After the torrential rain earlier, it was amazing to see the dry patches already on the road, until I rounded the bend to the narrowest part of the road. I was going pretty slowly, and so had plenty of time to see that I wasn't going to be getting out that way this afternoon. Just ahead of me a car was totally bogged! Oh, why didn't I take a photo? When installing the power line to our transformer (which is still not operational by the way), they had dug up this road to lay wires underground. They filled in the trench, but we all knew that it hadn't been compacted very well. With the traffic that had driven over the "road" during the after school pick-ups, it's quite likely that some fairly deep ruts had formed. I didn't get that close, but from what I could see I'm not quite sure how they were going to get the car out, since is seemed to be bogged up to the axles at least on the left hand side. It will be interesting to see what I find tomorrow morning, or if I'll have to take a detour! Time will tell.
Well, that truly is all for this evening. Hope you've enjoyed reading the joys and challenges that God has given me through this day. In His service, Karen