Stress - Steve In Ethiopia

Stress

10/19/2009

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The word that characterizes these past two weeks has unfortunately
been “stress”. Upon hearing that I would not only be helping out with
the 12th grade English class, but actually be solely responsible for
leading and teaching the class, I kind of freaked out.  I’ve never
taught a class before in my life. And in my mind the 12th grade
English class is one of the most important classes considering the
student’s national exams at the end of the year is only in English. So
last week was a mess of lesson-plan preparations, class schedules, and
teaching philosophies all before the first day of my class. I sort of
became a hermit and interacted minimally with my teammates and the
group of twelve visiting doctors and nurses here to give physicals for
all 1,500 children.

I got so stressed that I developed two canker sores that later
developed into four making it almost unbearable to eat.  I realized
that I wasn’t trusting God. I had even given up spending time with Him
during the day in my attempt to be well prepared for class. But this
past week has been a huge wake up call. Class is actually going great,
the English teacher has agreed to take on the grammar section (which
is my weakest teaching subject), I’ve gotten away from it all a few
times to talk to God about the stress and apologize for not trusting
him. And then yesterday I spent some time volunteering with the
doctors helping out with the health clinic. And then later on in the
evening I went down to the house kids to read the bible and pray with
them, something I have not done for quite a while. God totally used
them to be a huge encouragement to me and communicate God’s love for
me.

God also used a comment by one of my teammates, Nathanial, to teach me
an important lesson.  He said “Wherever you go, there you are”. And
that is so true for me. Just because I’m in Ethiopia amidst the slow
pace of life and interacting with patient, gracious people, I still
gravitate to overworking myself and trying to prove my worth by what I
accomplish.  I work 10 hr days here despite my fairly easy work load.
I try to fix every problem I run into and am always saying yes when I
should be more balanced. I think God is still trying to teach me the
importance of being still and enjoying God and recognizing his love
that enables me to be affective in what I do rather than working with
all of my own effort to prove my worth.

I’ll try to write more later, but thought I’d give a quick update on
how I’m doing and what to pray for me about. Thank you all for your
prayers and emails and support. I’m sorry that I can’t get back to you
all quickly… I have a list of about 20 names of emails that I have to
write this week. The one hr in the computer lab per week (if it works)
is not nearly enough time… Especially when my inbox says (105) !

Grace and Peace to you all,
Steve~



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