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Embrace the Chaos!

Chaos, chaos, chaos….and more chaos. I was informed at MTI (Missionary training International) that when transitioning to a new country (and really any new major change in your life) you will come to a stage called “Chaos.” As much as I have been struggling though it with many lonely nights full of tears and confusion I was reminded recently this is the stage that you learn and discover the most. Being a new teacher right out of college is hard… and even harder right into a whole new country. Students teasing me by hiding roaches on my desk, being pulled left and right with all their different needs and unsure how to help them all. It feels a lot like a battlefield some days with booms going off and fires being set and not sure what or where to go to defuse all the problems I feel so unqualified to aid. Sometimes I do wonder what in the world is God doing with this young 22 year old blonde woman in the Bahamas, but nonetheless I will follow the call and embrace the challenges ahead.

I recently asked a Bahamian gentleman who has been teaching for years for advice and how best to walk this path set before me. While he said many wise words to me the one line that stuck with me the most is when he spoke of this word “Chaos.” He said, “Emma the best advice I was ever given was to have Chaos in my classroom. I grew up with strict order and neatness during my school years when I was young, so I expected to do the same for my students. Until one day at a new job of mine an administrator complimented me on my nice and neatly put together classroom she said on the way out, ‘Just so you know I want Chaos this year.” I looked at her strangely and said I was unsure what she meant by that. She said to me, “ Sir, I mean I want flour, ants, dirt, sand, and absolute chaos because that is where children learn the most. When they are engaged and making a mess of things.” So Emma go ahead and don’t be afraid of the mess and the chaos.”

So here I am in my own version of chaos with English, Creole, Bahamian accents, so many potholes, obnoxiously large speed bumps every five feet, roaches, strange fruits, no internet for a few days, single-hood, and my first year teaching in a new country. These are but a few things that either make me rejoice some days or cause confusion. While I cry about the challenges sometimes I’m learning not to be afraid of it, but embrace the Chaos!!! It has caused me to reflect upon who God has created me to be and what I need to refine within myself. I encourage you to do the same within your own lives in whatever stage of chaos you are going through and allow God to show you the cracks and strengths we all have within ourselves.

On a new topic, some really great news to share is that on Monday nights I am helping Mrs. Lisa, a former Haiti Missionary who was also a teacher for 30+ years in the states with her tutoring program. We work with students who haven't had school since Hurricane Dorian in 2019 or those who just need extra one on one attention in reading skills. She is using the Wilson Reading Program, which is also a reading program I am very familiar with, thanks to my reading professor at Geneva college. I have really enjoyed getting to use and see this reading program in action with these kids and learning from Mrs. Lisa herself. She has been such a blessing!

BYN youth group has been going great and recently had my first one on one with a girl in a small group. Soon I will be having a small get-together at my house to carve pumpkins, bake and play games. I would deeply appreciate prayers over this event and my girls' small group as I try to get to know them individually and love them throughout the year.

With all that said, I am thankful for my 5th grade classroom, potholes, lack of knowledge, single-hood, overly packed schedule, and yes, even the roaches (but I will still squash them) because they reminded me of God's provision and grace that I need and rely on everyday to fight the good fight and just love people. Sometimes all we need to do is show up in someone's life even though it can be inconvenient or hard to help them through their own version of chaos. Go embrace the mess and even make a mess because no matter what, we can’t ruin God's plans.

Prayer Request:

  1. For me to find a balance between work life and real life.

  2. My small group of girls at G2 BYN Youth Group.

  3. Teaching and my grade 5 classroom!

  4. Loneliness.

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