Sunday, July 19, 2015

Smiles and Tears...Always Blessed

    July 19?! No, that can’t be right… Wasn’t it just January 19 not long ago? Yikes… I am more amazed every day at how quickly time is passing by! It encourages me to work even harder, for time is so short! :)
    So much has happened since I last wrote that I hardly know where to begin! Perhaps I will just begin relating various happenings one at a time…
June 18…
    I walked into grade 10 and sat down in my chair at the front of the class. The students all sat on the floor with benches for tables at that time, so I looked down at one of my front row girls, Tin Tin Aye (pronounced “Tay Tay Aye”), raised my eyebrows and smiled. She did the same and we both laughed. Then she said, “Teacher, today I think you very happy!” I said, “Yes!” She asked, “Why?” I was a little surprised with her question, but replied, “Because Jesus loves me and helps me with everything I do.” She smiled and nodded her head.
    I got to thinking about this a little later, and God brought to mind that when I choose to give Him my all, let go of my worries and stresses, and be happy in His love, others will see it! Also, when I am not choosing to do this, they can see that too. By God’s grace, I want to always choose peace and happiness in Jesus!
June 21…
    This was a hard day. Mo Mo Doh had asked me if I could move in with Hannah and Sharon, as they were really wanting to use the room in the children’s home where I was staying for more children to stay in. I had been thinking and praying for a while before that about my housing situation.
    I loved living in the children’s home… Rather, I loved the children and the time I got to interact with them… But at the same time I just didn’t have complete peace about staying there for some reason. I missed being with the Stecks too. So this request came as a relief as well as a source of sadness. Oh, how I would miss seeing these precious children every day!
    During supper that evening, Mo Mo Doh and I were talking more about my moving out, and Mu Wah Wah, one of the little girls who is maybe 7 years old, got very serious and said very sadly, “Mama, my no want Teacher Haley to move out.” Mo Mo Doh replied that she didn’t want it either, but they needed that room. Ah! My heart… My eyes didn’t stay very dry with that one. Of course, I couldn’t just start crying, but if I had been alone I’m sure I would have.
     So yes, a day or two later I moved all my things into the Stecks’ new house across the road where Hannah and Sharon are staying. Mr. and Mrs. Steck are still staying at their old house while the downstairs of the new house is being finished.
    It was a difficult but refreshing change. There have been times since then that I have been brought to tears remembering how much I miss my daily interaction with all those munchkins, small and big, but I know this is a better situation for me ultimately. God knows what He is doing.
June 23…
    Grade 10 had just finished their English exams, and since there was still class time left, I started to grade them while I sat there. Of course, many of them crowded around, waiting to see their exams and their classmates too. After I was finished, I was putting them in my folder when I heard Htee Nay Htoo, who had been watching through the window right behind me. He sounded shocked and horrified as he exclaimed, “Teacher!! Who?!” I held up the exam in my hand for him to get a better look. He then said with much relief and a hint of amusement, “Ah! Tharamu Haley!” I laughed!! You see, I had printed an extra exam, and had filled it out with my red pen while they were completing theirs. So, when Htee Nay Htoo saw an exam full of red ink, he wanted to know who in the world had done so poorly!
July 6…
    Sharon has been sick for more than a month now with this strange sickness that many of us are catching. It isn’t horrible for most of us-just stubborn! It lasts for a long time. Sharon got it very bad though. She wasn’t able to do much of anything for a couple weeks. While she was really sick, we moved her to the old house where food, medicine, and a bathroom were right there in the house, making it easier for her nurses to take care of her. Hannah and I also temporarily moved over with her.
    Anyways, this particular night we were getting ready for bed when Sharon commented while looking at her feet, “Boy, my feet are just really cracked up. I mean, they’re not laughing yet, but…”
July 7…
    Mr. Steck: “I just love when those vegi capsules do a handstand in my throat.” “It does a backflip and lands on my epiglottis.”
    Sharon: “Whoa! What’s going on?! Why is my computer acting normal??”
    I forgot to record the date on this one, but one day I walked into grade 10, and Htee Nay Htoo says with a big grin, “Teacher, this evening… Uh, last night! I dream you teach grade 10 new song.” Hint hint… hehe
     Some days after that, I again walked into grade 10, and Htee Nay Htoo says, “Teacher, last night I dream you play game with grade 10.” Right after that Saw Ku Shee says, “Teacher, last night I dream you read the story and I translate.” Ok, boys, I get your point. Htee Nay Htoo likes to learn new songs and play games, and Saw Ku Shee likes to translate stories for me.
July 11…
    This Sabbath… Never to be forgotten! My tenth graders with their class teacher, Tharamu Jonalyn, were in charge of AY that evening. I was asked to play the piano for one of the group songs, and play piano and sing with Saw Ku Shee for another one. As I sat there listening to the program, I couldn’t stop smiling and my heart was so full! You see, they were doing nearly the entire program in English! They recited memory verses in English, the Ten Commandments in English, songs in English, even the words of encouragement in English, with another student translating into Karen. Oh, I was so proud of them! There is nothing like listening to your English students speaking so much English… An unforgettable experience for certain.
    When it came time for Maung Soe Thein to recite the 23rd Psalm, he did so well for it being quite long! But when he said, “My cup runneth over me,” Hannah and I were covering our faces in an attempt to conceal our laughter!
July 17…
    (You may have seen this on Facebook already, but this is for those who haven’t read it yet.) :)
    I tell you.... I never realized before what teachers go through until being one myself. I can now understand more about what my teachers must have gone through... What other teachers continue to go through.... The joys, the heartbreaks, the smiles, the laughter, the tears....
    This day was beautiful.... As I sat in the hallway waiting for grade 10 to be finished with their Thai class, one of my ninth graders came over and started talking to me. He asked me how long I would stay and teach here. I explained how I would go back to America in November, then come back here in December for another 15 months and that I wanted to stay forever. He then asked what "Teacher Marie" (Hannah Powell) was doing and if she would come back. I told him she was going to school and I didn't know if she would be coming back. He then said, "She is very good teacher." I smiled and nodded and very soon he walked away. As I sat there thinking, the devil started putting thoughts into my mind and my eyes became wet. "Of course she's a good teacher-much better than you. Your students would much rather have her than you. She is way more qualified for this job than you. What are you doing here anyways? Why did God call you here? There is surely someone better for this job. You're failing. You can't do it." But then the thought also came, "There's no one else to take your place. You are needing. If you leave, who will do your work?"
    I walked into class feeling less than happy and confident, but I managed to smile and act mostly normal. Then, at almost the end of class, one of my boys, Htee Nay Htoo, asked me, "Teacher, you will go?" Me: "Go? Where?" He just asked again, "You will go?" I looked at him with a puzzled look and cocked my head to one side. I then asked out of curiosity, "You want me to go away?" His response warmed my heart to its very depths and sent a smile to my face. "NO, NO!! I just ask you...." He was so intent that I should know that was NOT what he meant at all!
    It wasn't until later that God brought the connection to my mind.... Right after I was feeling like a flat-out failure, like my students didn't really love me anyways, God gave me that little special moment to remind me.... I am loved. I can do some good, however little. If I left today, someone would miss me. Even if it was only one person, though I know that isn't the case. Maybe other people are better than me. Maybe they are more loved. More qualified. But that doesn't matter… Because God has called me, and I am only a failure when I give up striving to do the work God has given me. By His grace, I determine to keep going, to keep learning, to keeping loving. Even if I can't see the results. If I am faithful to the end, I will see the results in Heaven. And if I am called to live the rest of my life working here; if I am called to be faithful unto death here in this beautiful land serving these beautiful people.... I will count it one of the highest privileges I could ever receive. :')

    There are so many things that happen around here, I can hardly begin to tell you of all of them… I wish all of you could experience them for yourselves! I will most likely be writing another post soon, as there is just too much in my head to fit into one post without it being far too long and tiring. :)