A week ago today we officially opened the first dormitory! It was a busy day of hauling mattresses from one side of the pond to the other to fit them onto the bunk beds that had been custom made for the dorms. By nightfall, all the racks of clothes and personal items had been tucked away into both the boys' and girls' rooms and tired bodies found sleep in their new space.
This move also opened up the wooden house on our property so our staff could spread out a bit. A week later what we have is a more rounded-out campus, increased organization, less clutter, and improved personal space for everyone. We're very thankful for the birth of the dorm.
We honestly have no idea if our initial plans are still the direction God is leading. Because we had planned to build more than one dormitory and take in up to 60 at-risk children. We're quickly learning that the more we take in, unless we substantially increase staffing for which we currently have no more housing, we reduce our ability to meet the needs of these kids. Spread too thin we negate much of the impact we might otherwise have. Aim too small and we leave unhelped children who may truly need help. We have no choice but to surrender the whole thing back into God's hands where it has belonged all along. Hero complex is a real thing and sometimes we need a reality check and reminder that we're accomplishing nothing ... only God is able to reach people. We just need to be willing to follow His lead.
Wherein lies the struggle. Because it's often difficult to tell where and how He's leading. We get emotionally invested and want to do it all. Or we get tired and frazzled and want to retreat. Both extremes lead us away from God and our only safe path is to bend our knees in prayer more than we flap our jaws or consult our feelings.
Few among us, however, can boast that this comes naturally.
Tomorrow is the final day of classes in the village school. So after just over two weeks of in-person schooling the doors are closing again. I can't explain it. There wasn't a spike in cases over the past few weeks but it seems fear is ruling the days which means fear is also making the rules. We're choosing to see this yo-yo of a school year as God answering our prayers in a way we didn't expect.
Because we had hoped to have our schoolhouse doors open legally this first term of the year and that didn't happen. But then after only one month of in-person classes, they sent everyone home to do their learning. Two months later they opened the doors again to only remain open for a little more than two weeks. And now we are braced to absorb the brunt of their schooling.
The special challenge is we're still required to do the work the teachers are sending and don't have much of any control of the bookwork they're doing. But the plus side is that we have more time for impact with the children and have far more of a hand in what their time is spent doing. God knows all things and is working every last detail for the good of His people, even when we don't understand a bit of it.
It's deep into rainy season and the waters around us have risen dangerously close to flood levels. Every day sees some amount of rainfall and nearly every night there's a least a spell of downpour. The rice paddies surrounding us now look like neck-deep lakes and our pond is rather quickly rising to the point where water could start seeping into our dorm, schoolhouse/chapel and, given time, even our houses. We aren't looking forward to that and we're praying that God will hold the water levels stable no matter how much rain falls, but we're also willing to remind each other to embrace whatever He sends knowing there's a reason or a lesson in everything.
Let's all keep our eyes peeled for ways to help others and our ears tuned into that still-small voice. We're in this together.