Before leaving the house, I searched for my sweater. It’s a cooler morning and even though the sun was peaking through the clouds, I knew the moto ride to school would be cold. Then I put my rain jacket on because, once again, even though the sun is shining through, I’ve learned it's not a great predictor of whether it will rain or not.
I arrived at school and some of the kids snickered as I walked past them. I thought they were giggling at my skirt. For some reason they are still shocked when I am not wearing pants. But they were actually laughing because I was wearing a sweater. It was a well chosen decoy to distract from the skirt.
Yeah, that whole sweater wearing thing lasted about 15 minutes and it is 75 degrees outside. I’m still pretty happy that I even wanted to wear a sweater. It means my favorite season is approaching, rainy season.
It is a couple months past my 2-year missionary anniversary, and I have been reflecting on the changes I have seen around me and in myself. Here is a little example of how I have grown to be more confident…
There is a bilingual school a few miles away in the town of Rio Esteban. Two years ago, their photographer bailed on their graduation photos and they heard about me from a parent (also a missionary). I agreed to help and went with an experienced missionary to take the photos. That was the time I walked across a river for work. I took their graduation photos completely depending on the experienced missionary to translate and problem solve.
Last year they asked me to take the photos again. This time I had my own moto for transportation, and brought a new missionary along for the experience. They had one of their bilingual teachers translate and assist me throughout the process.
Fast forward to this year, I went alone on my day off from my bilingual school and handled the photoshoot with my mediocre Spanish. I even had a 20 minute conversation in Spanish with a teacher afterwards.
Another example: about 6 months ago I rode into La Ceiba (city where we do our shopping; 1hr away) to see a group off and I was supposed to meet up with another missionary to ride back. I nearly had an emotional meltdown because I couldn’t get in touch with the missionary for hours. I was anxious as I took my first street taxi alone to try and find her. She was having phone trouble, but got it fixed and we were able to meet up eventually. Crisis averted.
Just this week, I went to La Ceiba with a family and they dropped me off by the taxis so I could go about the city running my errands while they ran their errands. No biggie. I hopped in a taxi and went about my business. No fears. No anxiety.
I don’t ride with families as often as I used to, and take the public bus instead. Last week, my missionary friend, Ashley, and I took some of the Children’s Home kids on the public bus for a special treat.
These are just a few examples of how I’ve seen myself grow in confidence in a new culture and place. It hasn’t been easy and requires a lot of trust in the Lord. We talk about the treasures we are building in Heaven, but just having a relationship with these kids right here is a reward that will last the rest of my life.
"being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." - Philippians 1:6