Love Crosses Barriers

last week i completed my first week of teaching English.

wow.

where to even begin?

i was nervous. afraid. how do i teach kids when i don’t even know their language? will they really listen to me, some stranger from another country? i’m so new. what if i make a mistake? will i be any good at teaching? what if i’m awful at it? what if i hate this?

there were so many nerves going into last week. so many times the thought went through my head: i’m not ready; i’ll never be ready. but just when you want time to slow down and the day to never come, it seems that time only speeds up. monday came.

and with monday came my first class.

i work at a camp. so kids come in from nearby schools on monday morning and stay until friday afternoon. then the next week there’s a new group of kids. not every week do we have camp though, there are a few office weeks here and there.

class went well. it wasn’t as awkward as i thought it was going to be. most of the kids seemed to be very energetic. they looked like they were actually having some fun, even if they were shy.

and as i taught more and more classes throughout the week i found my enjoying it. i even started to look forward to my classes. outside of class, the kids started to warm up to me. during break times, we would play games or sing songs or draw together.

even though i know barely any chinese and they have very limited english, they still were willing to spend time with me. they didn’t care so much about the language barrier. somehow, those “barriers” just…didn’t exist. yes, it was still hard when they would say something and i didn’t have a clue. but that didn’t stop us from having fun.

so i found myself trying to spend every moment that i had with the kids. i knew that each moment was a blessing. time is short, especially here at camp. i wanted to hold tight to every single moment with these precious kids and make it last forever.

but i don’t get forever. nothing is guaranteed.

friday arrived. and i was giving the closing speech, i just started crying. i couldn’t even speak for a minute. even if i wasn’t an emotional person (which i am), seeing so many of the kids crying just took me over the top. i couldn’t take it. i was able to finish my speech, through many tears, but it hurt. it hurt to see them leave.

i miss their smiles. i miss their laughter. i miss hearing “hello teacher gabi!” when i walk by. i miss getting those “high fives.” i miss all the hugs. a few even told me “i love you”. just writing this makes me want to cry all over again.

my point is, you don’t have know the language to be able to love. love requires action. if you show that love, people will know, whether or not they speak the same language. i think those kids know that i love them. and i know that they love me.

maybe if we spend a little more time showing our love, the world might change a bit for the better.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

i like to have direction.

don’t you?

isn’t it nice to have an idea of where you’re going? to have the path laid out in front of you? to know that this is where i’ll be at this point in time?

in reality, life is hardly ever like that. those people with their five or ten year plan, i applaud them. i can’t even imagine making a month plan, much less a ten year plan.

because more often than not, life seems to have a mind of its own. it throws things at us that we would have never expected. where i am right now is somewhere i would have never imagined for myself a year ago.

there’s hardly a time when i know what life is going to look like in a few months. i jump at the opportunities that pop up and seem to align with my passions. those kind of things just pop up though. there’s no telling when and where they’ll show up. so ultimately, i’m just taking things as they come. of course, there are certain things (like school) that i have an idea of where i want to be at certain times, but i don’t have much faith that they’ll turn out exactly the way that i think they will.

sometimes, this feeling of uncertainty, this feeling of no direction, terrifies me. what am i going to do with my life? how am i going to make a difference? God gave me this life. what’s his purpose for me? my fear of wasting my life is sometimes so daunting that it stops me from doing anything in the first place.

i feel like i’m caught up in this constant fight with myself. i have so many dreams and passions that i feel like i should do something with. there is so much that i would like to do, but the list is intimidating. and the fear of the unknown, the fear of doing the “wrong thing” and wasting my life is scary. not even knowing where to start is just another reason to not even try.

but you know, it’s okay to not know where you’re going.

it’s okay to have so many dreams and passions that you feel properly swamped by them.

it’s okay to be scared, because true bravery is acting out in spite of the fear.

it’s okay because your life is not your own. your life is God’s.

“don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? you do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. so you must honor God with your body.”

-1 corinthians 6:19-20

and God is in control.

God has a plan for you and he’ll make sure that you fulfill that plan. all you have to do is make sure he’s at the center of your life.

take those passions you have, take those big dreams and start small. God gave you those passions, those dreams. it may seem insignificant right now, but everything has to start somewhere. if you follow them, they will lead you to where you need to be.

hoping to lighten your burden,

gabi

what are some of your passions? what are some of your dreams that seem so unrealistic, but you dream anyways?