So as I'm sitting here writing this--5 feet away from the ocean, waves are crashing and hundreds of stars are shining in the black black sky. Lights from fishing boats are out on the water and I can hear crickets from all directions. It is so calm, but disorienting in a way as well. I know that on a Saturday night at home I would probably be at young group, singing for Jesus and laughing with great friends; instead, while most of the group has gone out to town, I curled up with a book and the ocean. Some of my non-drinking friends and I went out to the dock to stargaze for a while because the beauty here is just amazing... stars all the way down to the horizon line since there is nothing surrounding us but water. God's creation as it spans the world is so cool--- how it changes so much across the miles and oceans!! I am glad for this chance to see and experience life in another corner of the world, both the good and the bad.
I'll admit that living on a Caribbean island sounds (and sounded) idyllic, and now that I'm here God has shown me that living anywhere has its challenges. I have felt pulled in some different directions in the past year and was praying God would use these months to show me what I can handle and what His plan for me is... hopefully with fewer distractions than I find in my routine at home. I am not saying I couldn't handle moving to an area like this, but it isn't just beaches and sunshine. Yes, the water is GORGEOUS and the skies are perpetually sunny, but days are sticky hot and sweat is present almost every waking hour. It is so much that we survive only by seeking shade or water to jump in, coveting the breezes, drinking gallons every day, and lathering on "sun cream" (as my UK prof calls it). My skin is a bit puffy from so much sun exposure and I had headaches the first few days because my body isn't used to this heat and sun. With no AC and only 1 freshwater shower a week, the griminess of our clothes and our bodies is beyond what we are used to. Today, Aimee and I "did a load of laundry" for the first time, which entailed going down to the dock with tote bins full of our clothes and bags of laundry detergent. The SFS dock is actually public, so there were at least 15 kids down there splashing around and playing on the dock. Kids immediately gathered around to watch us and ask what we were doing--- all either Haitian or local, 4- 10 years old. It was quite an experience, as I (barefoot---smart, I know) hopped around on the hot cement and swirled my clothes around in ocean water + soap. The clothes didn't actually smell much cleaner, but one of our new friends informed us that they smell better after they dry. And then we strung them up on clotheslines outside the girls' wing. While it may have been due to my salty skin, my clothes didn't actually feel much cleaner and most of them had dried salt streaks on them. Such is life on a water-restricted island.
But clearly all is not bad in this place because I am loving it for the most part. Snorkeling and diving are indescribable, as are the sunsets. After dinner, the weather cools off and there is usually a breeze through the hammock area-- then it is absolutely wonderful to be out. It is kind of nice to be a bit disconnected from so much technology and phones; a lot of the materialism and outward vanity of the US is gone as well-- you don't have much but it is so easy to be happy with what you have. It's pointless even if you wanted to spend a lot of time getting ready, because the heat destroys everything. And it's a hard environment so fancy clothes would be ruined anyway. It is easier to appreciate God and be close to him personally here, because it is just me and Him. He is what keeps me going and reminds me of why I am the way I am. Sometimes back home it is easy to fall into a rut of YG and church without really focusing on a personal relationship with God. But it is hard not having family around me, close friends who understand me, the support of my brothers and sisters, and the spoken direction of the Word. But I know God will make me stronger because of this and will draw me closer to Him.
So at the end of the day God is here and this place is pretty awesome, even with the cockroaches and the salt.
I'm a twenty-something from the Pacific NW making home in new places as I follow where God leads.
My intent is to show Christ's love to the world and use business to solve some of the social problems we face: hunger, illiteracy, healthcare, economic hardship. For now, I'm in a stage of learning. A little adventuring, a few books, some good friends, and a whole lot of prayer and life runs on.