Monday, November 2, 2015

Update on all things GAP

Ever since I wrote about giving up busyness to make time for what God has in store, I've had a lot more opportunities to have some good talks with a lot of the other students, and I am so thankful. I'm starting to see how God is working in these student's lives, not just my own, and I’m starting to get to know people better. It's crazy how we could be going through the same things, yet take away different aspects of our experiences.
And because I am over halfway done with my first semester here at GAP, I thought it would be best to update you on the different aspects of GAP life and let you know what I’ve been taking away from my trip so far!
Spanish class is going well, but talking to the Dominicans is a different story. I’m able to have simple conversations with them, but they speak SUPER fast. People who go to the language school in Costa Rica have a difficult time conversing with the Dominicans, because their dialect is so difficult and speedy. I can definitely tell that I’m improving in my Spanish skills, but it’s a little slow right now. I could always be doing more to further my Spanish, though; please pray that I am being wise in what extra work to do in order to increase my Spanish proficiency.
Bible/Walk with Christ:
These past weeks, I've been able to have some really good conversations with some fellow GAPers about what's going on in their life. The crazy thing is that the same advice I gave them, are the same observations and advice I should give myself, regarding my walk with Christ. 
o    You are looking for other people to give you advice, when you really should be looking to God. It's good to ask for godly advice, but God is the ultimate authority. We are just humans. 
o    You are blind to your insecurities. 
o    Your focus is not fully here, and you may be missing out on what God has in store for you because you are so preoccupied with other things. 
Why are we always so good at giving advice about things that we ourselves need to work on? 
Throughout all of the classes I’ve been taking here relating to Bible (Nehemiah, Bibliology, Godly Relationships, Gospel, Acts, Creation Apologetics, etc), something that has been sticking out to me is my identity in Christ. Do I truly believe my identity in Him, that I am a beloved, child of God? When I remember that throughout my day, God does really awesome things. When I don’t, I become so self-conscious that I forget the true purpose of why I am here. These classes in Bible are showing me how big, majestic, and powerful God is. It humbles myself, making me realize that I am not sufficient, but that God is all-sufficient and He will use me when I understand my true identity in Him.
Ministry/Culture Experience:
I've been loving my ministry so far. It feels more like home than the SCORE headquarters do. And although I don't feel like we've seen any significant impact, I am confident that God is at work. The kids now know us by name and smile when they see us, which is definitely a first step. And one of the girls in the Bible Study group got baptized last Saturday. Praise God!
I am realizing, though, that even though I work with a ministry in a village, I am still in an American bubble. We’re always surrounded by at least one other American, wherever we go. Two weekends ago,we were able to go to host homes for the first time. It’s a time to speak totally in Spanish (besides the partner that we were assigned to go with) and a time to truly experience the culture. I did not realize how much we were in a bubble until then. I definitely got culture shock, and I realized that I am still learning how to be a good guest in someone’s home. It was definitely eye opening. One of the afternoons, it was raining and the town became flooded… fast. It was crazy to see some people outside with shampoo lathered in their hair so that they could take a shower. Just the little things here that seem so normal, would seem to be hugely strange in the states. I also got to experience a different worship style at church, and see that these well-meaning people worshipping God in a different way than I’m used to.
Something I’m learning more and more here is that it’s a different world, but it’s not bad. And although I am not seeing results right away from my efforts in ministry, I know that God has a plan and that He will show me. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter the number of things that get accomplished for God, but rather my efforts to come from the overflow in thankfulness in what God has done for me.
"These disciples were to find their greatest happiness and deepest sense of security in what God has done for them, not in what they had accomplished for God"
-"Ordinary," Tony Merida