Wednesday, January 26, 2011

If we don't lose heart...

There are many days where I get discouraged, overwhelmed, or bogged down with wondering whether or not I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to do, and if so, am I doing them correctly and giving my best? This leads to entirely too much thinking and over-analyzing, and looking at the small picture instead of the larger one. But then encouragement or solace somehow finds its way to me, and helps me to take a deep breath, be thankful for everything I have been given, and see these challenges as opportunities to learn and grow. 
Often the encouragement that I need the most comes from one of the children here, and today it came to me in the form of a letter. I was walking through the field as the children were harvesting maize, looking for someone, and a very sweet but precocious 13-year-old boy named Samuel came up to me and handed me a folded piece of paper. He told me it was a list from one of the teachers for me, but after he ran off and I opened up the paper, I realized it was in fact a letter from him and Pascal, a kid that I've really bonded with over the past few months. The letter read as follows, and was probably one of the nicest things I've received since coming here:

Dear Greta,
 How are you? I hope you're fine and God is with you. I love you so much because you're a good person and you help us at the City of Hope. I will pray for you. God bless you, I know you're so good to us. 
You are so good because you teach us to draw the pictures, to paint, and to do puzzles. We are happy to work with you and to play with you. Don't forget the work of God is with you. I give thanks for you and God bless you all your life.
From: Pascal and Samuel

I guess what I want to say is, don't pass up an opportunity to encourage someone else, even if it's someone you're not particularly fond of at the moment. Searching for the good in someone in order to praise them for it, will actually cause you to recognize and appreciate their redemptive qualities. This might sound cliched, but you really never know how a kind word or a positive comment can lift someone's spirits and even alter the course of their day. And even though letters are somewhat of a dying art, especially in the US, that only makes them all the more appreciated when received. I can certainly attest to that! :)

So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don't give up. 
Galatians 6:9