It feels like such a long time since my last blog post. The trip to Poland had some really wonderful moments and I learnt some great things (as well as picking up some Polish). By the end I was reluctant to leave, though I missed Redcliffe life… Right now I’m in the middle of essay-crisis-time. There’s a big deadline every week at this time of year, and I usually need much longer than a week to do an essay well. It’s the time of year most resented by students here and the time of year when the social spaces are (supposedly) the most neglected. I’ve found myself getting around to things that I’ve been putting off for months – it’s amazing what procrastination can do for you. (And now I’m writing this update.) This morning, for example, I found myself with a ball of string, an empty wine bottle from months ago, and a whole load of PVA glue…. Afterwards I ended up playing with canvasses, paints, salt, glue, experiment-made-puffy-paint, and little blue stones. Fun morning of mess and creativity – good thing I’m not behind with my studies! Some essay procrastination can be great, for example doing Greek revision for a while instead of spending yet more time cutting down the words for my Romans essay: afterwards the work on the essay feels like a break in itself!
Anyone who has experienced firsthand my disorganised side will be proud to hear that despite having some time off doing random things I finished my New Testament essay (based on Romans 12 – SO GOOD! God taught me many unexpected things and challenged me in unexpected ways while researching for and writing that essay) 5 days before the deadline – AND finished the Church History essay (for which I chose to research Quakerism: I like to be difficult – and, did you know, 8% of Quakers live in Bolivia working as missionaries among indigenous people groups?! Awesome – Bolivia has the third highest population of Quakers in the world – after the US and Kenya…! I had no idea, having only come across them in England before!) a whole week before the deadline. Now for World Religions, due a week on Friday, for which I’m hoping to do a stream of Buddhism that I find absolutely amazing – they have salvation by grace through faith, and a whole load of other things that are INCREDIBLY similar to Christianity. Except, well, without Jesus. Slight issue there. Anyway, I’m determined to keep up this organisation thing, which seemed to have left me somewhat during my time in Bolivia. Wonder if one day Ben will start an essay more than two days before the deadline…. Teehee
Yet again, God has been teaching me to depend on Him. What with essay deadlines, church commitments, homework for lectures, and a whole load more that I’ve got on at the moment (oh, and procrastination-related creativity!) it can be tempting to work at it all in my own strength and neglect my times just being with God, because it “doesn’t get anything done”. So for the millionth time I’m re-learning the necessity of right priorities in life. It is Him that I’m living for and He’s the reason why I’m here (both here on earth and here at Bible college), and I know that I can’t live without Him. What’s more, in all the lectures, the readings, the research, the essay-writing etc there’s an obvious focus of His will, His Kingdom, His mission field… So why on earth am I tempted to neglect the thing that He sets as His priority for my life, my relationship with Him, in favour of work and worldly worries?! Anyway so yet again I’m learning more and more the importance of setting that time aside to simply talk with Him, as priority, and also to look to Him and recognise His presence with me in everything I do rather than simply looking AT Him or His works or His people. Frustrating and difficult though it may be sometimes, I recognise that I can’t really live in a way that pleases Him without that. Also, recently I’ve found myself in situations where I’ve seriously needed to depend on His guidance as to what to say and what not to say. Without the priority of spending time in prayer I rarely feel God’s peace and provision in such situations.
Once essay-crisis-time finishes (only three weeks to go – that’s scary) the Easter holidays will be upon us, in which time I might see some of you, followed by PLACEMENT TERM – the return to Santa Cru’, Bolivia! Eeeeek…! (I’m just a little excited. Can you tell?) More updates will follow in the next post as to what I’ll be doing there. Ben is spending that six weeks in Senegal with the organisation Frontiers – he’s also pretty excited, and had an orientation day for it in Bristol today!
Although life in Christian Community is far from perfect, I still find it a genuinely awesome privilege to be here. I learn so much just through conversations with people and sharing in people’s lives. Little chats in corridors etc with certain members of staff have been a real blessing to me too – especially the maintenance manager and my Greek teacher! And it’s been wonderful to make the most of the garden, even working outside sometimes, with how awesome the weather’s been this past week. And even though I’ve now been here six months I still continually feel so thankful that I can live here, can make the College my own space and can benefit from the great company that there is here. Having my own room is still a ‘wow’ thing for me after sharing while I was in Bolivia (fun though that was), and I make the most of the opportunity to decorate the walls how I please! I feel blessed.
Thanks for your prayers and support, and for keeping in touch! Please pray that God continues to guide me and teach me what He wants me to learn, and brings me closer to Himself, using every situation for good. Please also pray for Ben, for the same – and for God to prepare him to go to Senegal! God is so good.