Let me start off by saying that this year is nothing like I thought it would be at all, but I mean that in the best possible way. I honestly didn't expect to meet lifelong friends at training or be challenged by some of the kids here. I didn't expect I would love where I'm living or really love what I get to do on a daily basis. I thought it would somehow be a chore, and maybe it started out that way but it's not at all anymore.
I wake up every morning so anxious to see what God is going to reveal to me for the day. God is exceeding all of the expectations I had for myself. I knew it was going to be hard to be away from my family and friends, but surprisingly it is not as bad as I thought it would be. I really think God is making this transition from home easier for me so I can focus on why I'm here.
I get to work with the coolest kids on a daily basis. Most of them aren't Christians, but they're so smart and clever and you can tell there is something there. Neil and I have the chance to mentor to Year 9's three days a week during a library period. We've been focusing on The Beatitudes and the kids are really grasping what they're all about.
Neil and I run lunch clubs Tuesday-Friday for every age group and I love these times. On Tuesday we have the sixth formers (11th and 12th graders for us Americans) and we just discuss worldly issues and stuff and it's really good to have an intellectually stimulating conversation every once in awhile. On Wednesday and Thursday is the Year 10 and 11 lunch club and I really admire these students. I get to work with them a lot more than some of the other students, because the majority of them attend churches that I help out with. One girl Kathryn is a minister in training and she's only 15 years old! She has such a heart for God and I really love talking to her and hearing her opinions on things. Every Friday we have a lunch club called Rock Solid for the Year 7-9 age group, and I must say they're my favorites by far. They have so much energy and they're so much fun to be around. Most of them are in Year 8 and actually out of about 12 of them that attend only 1 of them is a devout Christian. They're so much fun to mentor to and just to hang out with. They always end my week at school on a good note.
I also am really starting to love the local churches I work with. I mostly spend my time with Great Ayton Methodist Church. The reverend there, Catherine Hutton is really one of the coolest ladies. She and her husband Gavin along with their two sons, Joel and Aaden have really taken me in on Monday nights and just embraced me. I really love the time I get to spend with them and the time I spend with their church.
I really haven't gotten to do much work with Stokesley Methodist Church other than a Friday after school youth club that Neil and I run. Only about four kids attend, but they're all so different and fun in their own ways.
I think what I'm most excited for this year is to see how God impacts these kids lives. I'm really just along for the ride.