Friday, July 27, 2007

Chekov's Gun

Well, I suppose now I'd probably get in trouble for referring to myself as not being a "real" teacher. I've officially taught two lessons in English. The first one went surprisingly well. That is highly due to the fact that the participants in the lesson were pretty decent already so I could ask leading questions and they would just go for it.
The goal of training is apparently removing all positive expectations and basically making you think your life overseas is going to be absolute misery. They have mostly just talked about all the negative things that can happen. All the people you can have issues with. All the ways you can feel alone and useless. All the misfortunes that can befall. I get the reasoning behind it, but it's getting a little old. So we didn't sign up for a cake and cookies sorta trip. We get it. Isn't it about time to start telling us ways we can rise up and overcome?
The main thing I've been learning thus far is that I've already been prepared for most of what is likely to be coming my way. From having my wallet stolen, to having studied German in High school. It never ceases to amaze me the way God sets us up for things we have no conception of.
So I probably spelled my title wrong, but David has become fascinated with a literary device in which a writer introduces something early on to be used later in the story. The saying is that if you introduce a gun in Act 1 someone will shoot it in Act 3. It goes quite nicely with the ways God apparently is preparing me for the challenges that await me in the Czech Republic. Ah the enigmas of the plans He has for me. The continuous conundrums.
So I beseech ye, therefore, to pray without ceasing that I might not fall into temptation, or lose my limited vision of all that is set out before me. And that my finances will come in. I think I still need about $3000 before I leave at the end of August. And the mantra continues: God is in control. To which we all sigh and work toward contentment.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Training Insanity

Well, life is pretty much crazy at the moment. I got up at 3AM Sunday morning after spending all day Saturday working on and attending my parents retirement party (by the by, it was a smashing success!) and headed for the airport by 3:30 with Brian. We had a nice chat about politics on the way in which kept me from getting too sleepy, which was good. I'm not exactly the political type myself, but it was stimulating. I was actually driving seeing as how it was the last chance I'd get for a while.
I had difficulties with both my flights. The first flight was delayed due to fog in San Francisco. When we finally did get to SF we had to circle around a couple of times before we got to land. By the time I got off the plane I had a scant 10 minutes before boarding time for the next flight.
I made it on just in time, only to have to sit for about an hour with no air conditioning. Not so fun. Fortunately, I was prepared to be flexible. I managed to just sit there and not lose my "cool" while other passengers were having a harder time controlling their emotions. There was a woman who was literally freaking out about the temperature which resulted in her refusal to fly on the plane. Some people!
I finally arrived in Burbank, CA only to learn that my luggage had NOT arrived with me. Frustrating, considering we had been on the ground plenty long for it to have gotten there. By the time I had filled out my little report for them to send it when it did arrive, I was over an hour late for my shuttle. All the while I kept trying to repeat to myself that God is in control. It has definitely become my mantra already!
My ride was still there, although a bit perturbed by the wait. All the same, he delivered me successfully to William Carrey International University where I will be for the next 4 weeks doing a very intensive training program in TEFL, and working on team building.
I had a few hours to unwind before my roommate and suitemates arrived. My luggage was still MIA, but at least I had a chance to relax a bit. We had a short Q and A meeting that evening, but I was so out of it, and so worried about the absence of my luggage, that I really didn't pay a whole lot of attention. Basically I had a lot of people say hello, but I really didn't grasp much.
Just as the meeting was getting out I was saved by the bell! My phone rang and my luggage had arrived, and all in one piece! What a relief. I hauled it up to my room and began at last to really relax.
Now, a little confession. I, Sarah Beth Everest, went to bed around 10 PM! Not going to hear that one often for sure! I was seriously dead to the world! We don't have an air conditioner, so I about suffocated in my room, but it was nice to get some sleep.
Today has been full of meetings and slowly getting to know people. This course used to be run over 5 weeks, so they've really packed a TON of stuff into every moment. It's good, but a bit overwhelming. Especially every time the word "TEST" comes up. Do you know how long it's been since I've taken a test? (sigh) I guess this is what I signed up for after all.
It has been good to learn a bit more about the organization as well. While the focus is definitely on being the best teacher possible, the real goal is to develop relationships with our students and team mates and to shine the light of Jesus in such a way that all will see and know. I'm excited about the prospect of what is to come, even while I still feel apprehensive about the actual act of teaching.
We had our first practicum tonight as well. Those teaching are former participants in this program, so it was nice to get a feel for what we'll be learning over the next four weeks. I think I can manage, but I'm still not so sure about that whole test taking business.
Well, this has rather been a bit of an information overload. I'll try to get some photos in before long to break up some of the monotony. Hopefully it'll work this time :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wah! Running out of TIME!!

I'm down to only a few short days before I fly away to begin training. I'm having a great time right now with my family down at Janet's house. 20 of us hiked up to a beautiful lake in the Marble Mountains yesterday and it was so much fun, although a bit on the cool side. It's been such a blessing to be able to be here with everyone. People are waking up now, so I shouldn't type long but I just wanted to note that I'm down to about 3 days and it's pretty much insane. I do have most everything packed and waiting at home, but there is always the freak out fear that I'll be over the weight limits and everything will just go all out of whack. We still have so much to do to make things ready for the party as well.
God is in control. I just have to repeat that over and over until I remember to believe it. Such simple words, yet so difficult to really comprehend.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Feeling a little frustrated!

I just wrote a really nice blog about my parents retirement, and it said it posted, but it has never shown up. Up to this point I've never had any such problems, so I'm feeling a bit on the irritated and confused side. Why ever in the world would the system make my words totally disappear? I'd even added a nice picture of my parents that I took of them on Sunday, and which appeared with an article about them in the Newspaper yesterday. The article was mostly written by me, but I don't mind letting the lady with an actual job at the paper take credit. But I'd like to try again and get in the note about my parents, although I know this time it will feel redundant and cliche'd because it isn't the original!
According to the little box at the bottom of this page, every word is being autosaved. So what happened to the last round? Honestly, I'm not sure if I can even come up with what I said before. So obnoxious.
Anyhow, my parents are retiring the end of this month after 42 years of service wtih Village Missions. My siblings and I are working to throw a party for them next Saturday, but living all over the country it's rather difficult to conference call and have it all come together nicely. Since I'm the only one on location, I've been trying to work on party assignements in the midst of preparing for my rapidly approaching departure.
I'm looking forward to spending the next week with my family. Hopefully everything will go smoothly and we'll be able to have a good time "relaxing" before the main event. It's been 4 years since we were all together, and last time it was for my brother-in-laws funeral, so I'm sure things will be more uplifting this time around. Mom, Dad, and I have been working frantically to clean up the basement so there will be room for people to sleep, but it'll still be a bit of a trick to get everyone in and situated nicely.
Right now, my main hope for the party is that it will be a time when Mom and Dad will be able to see a small reflection of what they have poured into the lives of the people they have ministerd to. I feel so blessed to have them as my parents, and to have grown up in a family where I never doubted their committment to God, each other and to their children. It seems there are few people who have that opportunity these days.
On that note, I'd best be off to see what more I can get done before people start arriving. HOpefully it will post this time!!!

Retirement Party

Well, my parents are really doing it. After 42 years with Village Missions, they're going to move from Blodgett, where they have been for the past 14 1/2 years, and move to Moscow, ID where they'll be next door to my sister Julie and her family. So strange to think of Dad as being anything other than a full time pastor. Quite obviously that is what he has been my entire life and then some. I'm sure they'll find some way to be involved in ministry in this new phase of their lives, but as of yet none of us have any idea what that will look like.
So many people have told me that people they know, or they themselves, are even busier after they retire. In all honesty, I can't imagine my parents being any busier than they always are. I kept thinking that once they no longer had children at home that things could calm down for them, but that hasn't been the case. Now they just have to travel all over the place to visit those children. I hope they do find a way to breathe easy for a little while after they retire. They have certainly earned a chance to rest, but I can't see it being likely any time soon.
I am so thankful for the parents I have been given. What amazing people. I can't even begin to express how much they mean to me. In this world of uncertainty and broken families, I have never had to worry about my parents committments to God, each other, and me. So few people can say that.
Now, in just over a week, we're throwing them a retirement party. I've never been to a retirement party. How in the world does one go about planning such a thing? Craziness. Especially in the midst of all the other things I'm trying to take care of. We've been frantically cleaning out the basement room so there will be space for people to sleep while they are here. Julie and her family arrive tonight, Cheryl and her kids are already in Salem and are likley coming this way tomorrow. Fortunately we'll be spending most of the time at Janet's house where she has already plotted out the sleeping arrangments, but there is much to be done to make this house ready for so many guests.
For now, I'm just hoping that we'll be able to enjoy our time together as a family (I believe the last time we were all together was for my brother-in-laws funeral in 2003 so it's been a while and that wasn't under the best of circumstances obviously.) Beyond being able to have fun together, I'm hoping that the final party plans will come together smoothly, and that my parents will be blessed by the turnout of those in whose lives they have made an impact. They have done so much for all of us, I only hope they're able to realize a fraction of what they mean to those they have been important to.

Friday, July 6, 2007

One week

While I techincally still have a little over two weeks before I fly out, I basically have only one week to pull everything together here. Today the plan is to do massive amounts of laundry and sorting. I want to have everything I'm taking with me packed before I go down for the big week at Janet's house. I've already started collecting a year's worth of toiletries. It's just so much easier to take it all with me and not have to worry once I'm over there. Besides, this way I have more room in my suitcase to bring things back with me!
I recently learned that the parents of my friend Kris who I met at Mother's Choice, live only a short distance away from where I'll be living in Cheb. They're in Germany, but she said it's only like an hour and a half drive away. Pretty cool.
Well, I'd best get back to my frantic planning. I still have a lot of details to smooth out for my parents party as well. I guess that's the life I chose for the summer.