I hope you all had a good week. I got back from Utah on Tuesday. I got to visit the Gunthers again (he was my branch president in Bethlehem). And met new people and visited old friends. I had missed Utah even though I have only been away a few weeks: the mountains, the people, the conveniences...Utah's weather was so nice, all the trees were starting to bloom and there was a smell of spring in the air. I was shocked to find snow in Idaho when I got here. I stopped driving so fast when I saw that a car in front of me slipped and flipped over. All the trees are still pretty brown and bare here. Hopefully soon that will change.
I had two mission reunions in Utah last week. They were great and it was so nice to see missionaries I have not seen in a while. Sister Carpenter invited everyone to her house on Monday and it was great. Here is a group picture of everyone who came:
I have been busy preparing for classes. I found two students who will work as graders with me. Two of my classes have completely filled up and I have 50 students in each. I'm left with a few students in my early class. No one wants to take a 7:45 class it seems unless they have to!
I got my Idaho drivers' license. It was such a relief because I was worried it may not work. I had to take the written test, but it was fairly easy (didn't miss any of the questions). I am reluctant to change my license plate to an Idaho plate as it is such a good number and easy to remember. But, I may have to change it soon.
I have been struggling with eating here. Nothing tastes right. I am going to start a garden on my balcony next week. I need real tomatoes and cucumbers! I attempt to cook but then it turns out tasting bad just because the vegetables are not good. Anyway, I will get used to it I guess. Emily gave me some Mulukhiya (I have been craving it). For those who don't know what it is, it is a green leafy vegetable. It did not taste as good as the one we make at home. Maybe the spices I use are different. I don't know. But, it was still better than anything I eat here.
My friend gave me a gift before I left Utah. It's a money tree...supposed to bring prosperity and wealth...yay.
I have everything I need here and feel very blessed. But, my heart is often sad about what is going on in the world. I have been saddened because of the bad situation in the Middle East. It amazes me that things can get so bad and that people can turn against each other like that. Over a quarter of a million people were killed in Syria. My heart aches especially those who are not involved in all this, but are suffering anyway. Those in the Palestinian refugee camp of Yarmouk are starving and being killed as well. Children are surviving by eating grass. How will they live when grass dries up in the hot summer months? Somehow it seems like help is hardly noticeable.
I spoke recently to a friend of mine who is a member of the church in Yemen. This person has tremendous faith. He told me that all flights have been suspended, no one goes in or out of Yemen. They have no food, no gas, no petrol, nothing. People are getting killed everywhere and it is not safe (especially for Christians). Yet my friend says that the Lord wants him and his family to stay in Yemen. and "if we die for our faith, what an honor that will be!", he says.
He also said: "We feel the presence of the Lord with us always and that gives us strength and protection. The glory of God is manifested during hard time!"
Wow, this amazing man has found peace amidst all that!! He truly has discovered the peace of the Master, Jesus Christ, which He offers to all His followers: "Peace I give unto you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be dismayed." (John 14: 27)
My friend asked for our prayers for his country. May we pray for the people of Yemen, Syria and even everyone in the Middle East. May they also find the peace of the Master. May they all come unto Him and find rest to their souls.