I'm finally getting to sit down and post, and I have so much to say! Guyana is an amazing experience. I have learned so much in the past 2 weeks, and feel like 3 months have gone by. There are the struggles, but God has been so good.
It is very amusing to be a spectacle everywhere you go here. I get stared at wherever I go, especially the market, and get called fun, inappropriate, and just plain strange names. Some of which include "white girls, white girls", "Beautiful", kissing noises made to try and get my attention, "Sweet, Sweet", etc. I always ignore people, and Ellen tends to answer/acknowledge them when they talk to us/her/me. I guess I feel safer ignoring people. Its probably not a good policy, as today I had a black man try to say something to me, and I completely ignored him, and then he said "You no talk to black men?" I then looked at him, and finally said "Sometimes." And then looked away. Ellen pointed out that I may appear to be a jerk to these people, but the thought never crossed my mind, I'm just thinking, "If I don't look at you or have anything to do with you, you can't and won't hurt or bother me." I believe Ellen thinks that's flawed thinking.
I was tempted, as Ellen to be sad that I wasn't going to be home with everyone for the Holidays, especially when I hear about how much fun every one's having, and the time being spent with family, but God has provided exciting things for us to do for the Holidays here. Tonight, we are having a "combined service", which means that all of the churches in fellowship here will meet- #57, Roadside, and Corriverton. They are all coming here to Corriverton, and we will have a combined church service as well as a time of fellowship, games, sharing of our upcoming plans for 2009, prayer for those plans, and food. I asked Brother John on Sunday if we could cook all American food, and he thought that sounded like a fine idea. So I made a rather strange menu, but you have to deal with your resources: spaghetti with veggie spaghetti sauce, Golden Knots, melon salad, cereal bars, chocolate chunk cookies (because there are NO chocolate chips here!), brownies, and iced tea. Today will be spent preparing all of this for tonight, so there is much work to be done, of which I am happy about. I love to be busy. They call this holiday Old Year's Day, and Ellen kinda likes that term, so maybe she'll come back calling it that:).
Yesterday was a very busy day for Ellen and I, we taught a vacation bible school of sorts in two different villages which are pretty far away from here- #57, and #55. There were about 30 kids at each, and we were going from 9:30 in the morning til 4:30 in the afternoon. I really enjoyed being able to interact with the children, though many of them are so stone faced, and its SO difficult to get them to talk. I think they are still a little shy around us, and they often touch our skin, and ask where we live. One little boy asked Ellen how her skin got so white, and she said something like, "When I was born, they washed all the darkness off with water." Our lesson yesterday was the same for both villages, and we based it out of Acts 16:16-34, which in short, is about Paul and Silas getting thrown into Prison and the jailer saying "What must I do to be saved?" We read the story straight from the bible, then retold it, elaborating on certain words and explaining it a little more simply for them, using flannel graph, and finally, we had them act it out, which they seemed to have fun with.
I have enjoyed the opportunities I've had to teach one-on-one. I am trying to make a point to get into people's lives, and establish relationships.
Saturdays, I teach Hemdath, a guy from the church who wants to learn phonics, spelling, and in general, English. He can read and write, but they teach sight reading here, so he has a difficult time breaking words down, and spelling them out. Also, with the creolese, they pronounce so many things wrong here, so he when I tell him to write a word, and he writes how the word is pronounced here in Guyana. I'm working on the alphabet, and forcing him to pronounce the 'a', 'e', 'o', and 'u's correctly.
Sunday, I taught Ravini some piano, and she ate it up. She is so excited to play, and she will ask me to play her "favorite song", a song I played, and we sang, for a special a couple Sundays ago. I find myself playing By Grace Alone whenever there's a keyboard and Ravini near. She is such a sweet girl, and becoming very special to me. She's 12 years old, and Brother Moti's daughter. He is going to be the Pastor of #57 as soon as the building is finished.
Sunday evenings, they have a time of learning new songs before the service starts here in Corriverton, and we will be teaching that from now on. I find it frustrating to get them to sing on tune, and I need patience! I am so thankful for Ellen and our being able to sing together. Hopefully we will be able to teach the some of the people here how to sing on key and to not waiver in their notes. Everywhere we go here it seems we sing. Brother John will ask us to sing even if we go to someone's house for dinner or just stop by. We sing a special at every single church service, and any other special events there are. The people here seem to like hearing us sing, and more than one person has told me that they want to learn how to sing like we do. They are amazed at playing the piano with "10 fingers" as they call it. They have never seen someone play with both hands, so they will stare at me when I play. I so wish that I could sight read music better, sometimes I just pick a key and start playing the songs by ear, but that can be frustrating.
Matching clothes here is not a big deal, in fact, it doesn't seem to matter at all. As long as you have clothes on your body, and sometimes not even that, you're good. Life is so much simpler here, and people don't ever seems to be stressed out. They have much smaller agendas, and they enjoy one another's company rather than rushing around. I want to be more like that. I have hardly felt stressed out since I got here, but I could see that changing once the school starts up in January. I think they are going to put us to work there.
It has rained pretty much since we got here, which makes it cooler. I was telling Ellen yesterday, its funny that sweat running down my face, back, etc. does not even bother me anymore, and in fact, I don't even notice it sometimes, because its so normal. She agreed, and we are both thankful for how fast we have gotten used to the weather.
I still can't get over the random times of day and evening that a car will drive by with a blaring voice telling where someone lived, who their family was, where all of their family lived, and where services will be held. That's their way of announcing the death of a person. It creeps me out still.
I'm sure there's much more to say, but there's much work to be done, and I need to get going with it. Please continue to pray for the people here that their hearts would be open and receptive to Christ, and for us, that we would have the words to say, and be living testimonies among these people.