Sunday, January 10, 2010

be strong and take heart and WAIT for the Lord

I have been in Missouri about a week now! Things are going well. The first night I arrived (last Monday), the new Bigs went to have dinner at the LeadTime directors house and just hung out. We were all pretty quiet at first, but it was a good time. There are 2 other new girl Bigs, and 2 new guys Bigs. There were already 8 girl Bigs here when we arrived, so there are now 11 of us, and currently only 9 girl Littles. They boys house is quite different, with 5 guy Bigs and 9 guy littles. The ratios are quite different, and more guys Littles are coming in the next week or so. We may get more girl Littles soon, but I'm not sure. Right now I live in a room with the 2 other new girl Bigs, but eventually I may get to live with some Littles. We haven't really been responsible for Littles yet, but tomorrow we will have more responsibility.

The first few days we spent the morning hours going over policies and procedures for training - learning the rules and way things run around here. There is a lot to learn and responsibilities, and things to keep track of. Most of the time we just hung out with the Littles and other Bigs, watching and learning how everything works and interacting with everyone. We had kitchen training for a couple hours one afternoon, but we still have more to do. We are responsible for preparing and cooking meals during our time here, but we rotate responsibilities as Bigs so we don't always have to cook. Generally, we will have breakfast duty for a whole week once a month or so, and then a lunch and dinner each week. There is still a lot of scheduling stuff to be figured out so I don't know exactly how it will all work. We still have more kitchen training to do and have 4 meal shifts to work while being observed before we can be put on the actual schedule.

As new Bigs we enjoyed CPR and First Aid training. It was interactive and we laughed a lot and now are certified! I have already been through that kind of training a couple times before for Lifeguarding, but it was a good time with the new Bigs. I have enjoyed being around everyone here, and I have started to get to know people, but it takes time, so I am trying to be patient in this transition time.

Friday nights are House nights, where all of the girls do something fun together. This week we had a Miss Shelterwood pageant as the girl Littles dressed up and performed a talent, then dressed up in a costume they created, and answered questions asked by the House Directors. As the Bigs we were their "coaches" and they all got fun awards - such as Best Talent, Most Positive, Miss Congeniality, and then one girl was crowned Miss Shelterwood and gets a week off from doing her chores. After the pageant we watched Miss Congeniality together. Last night was Room Night, which happens every Saturday. Each room gets to do something fun. One room went to Taco Bell and rented a movie, while another room went shopping at the mall. Each room has one or two Bigs and two or three Littles. Bigs that don't have Littles in their room are assigned to rooms that do have Littles. As new Bigs we just picked a room to go with. I went with a group that combined 2 rooms. We went over to the same house we had dinner at on Monday and did crafts - like modpodge to decorate buckets or decorating wooden crosses. We also ate some pizza, had brownies and ice cream, and watched A Walk to Remember. It was really fun and the girls seemed to enjoy it, too.

As far as the weather goes, its been cold. School was cancelled here last Thursday because it snowed a lot the evening and night before. Temperatures have been freezing, probably into the negatives with some days having a high of 5 or even 2 degrees! Surprisingly though, it hasn't bothered me too much. I don't go outside much though, only when walking between building on property. I did however enjoy some snow-cream that the girls made! It was basically ice cream made out of milk, sugar, vanilla and snow! A first-time treat for me. :) Apparently its been really cold in Texas this weekend, too!

I feel like I have been here much longer than a week! One of the other Bigs says that time here seems 5 times longer than usual. I am not sure why that is. I feel like I just just watched a lot the past week and am waiting for things to actually happen. And I am sure they will...but so far its just been kinda slow I guess. This has been one of the best transition times for me. In the past when I have gone through changes, I often feel anxious, insecure or fearful, but I haven't really felt that way this time. I have felt a great sense of peace and patience and I am slowly getting to know people and become more comfortable with my new life here. Its been weird actually not feeling that way, but I praise the Lord for His peace that transcends understanding and faithfulness to work in my life. My current prayer is for discernment and direction in the relationships I have and am beginning to develop. There are 10 other girl Bigs and 9 girl Littles. Then there are other people on staff, the guys, and all my family and friends that aren't here with me. I've been asking the Lord to teach me how to love the people He has blessed me with and what His purpose is for me in each relationship I have. I know that ultimately life is about knowing Christ and making Him known. I just ask that He will show me more of what that means specifically each day. As for now, I feel like I am simply waiting - waiting to know more of Christ, to see what He is doing and to listen to how He wants me to be involved. I pray I will be obedient to that.

I don't know what all to share because there is so much information and things that go on. Feel free to ask any questions you have and I will do my best to answer them. Pray that we would be united as Bigs and staff here. Its been interesting coming into a group of Bigs that have been together for the past 4 months. They have more experience than us and have been helpful and encouraging, but change is always a crazy time, so I pray that Christ would draw us all closer to Him during this time and unite us so that we can encourage each other and support each other as we learn how to love each other and the Littles. Thanks for your prayers support and love. I can only praise God for the people He has surrounded me with in my life. I have praying a lot this past week - it helps me feel more connected to everyone who is not with me. Please keep me updated on how you are doing and how I can be praying for you. Feel free to send me letters, email, or call me! I always love hearing from people!!! :) Be blessed my dear family and friends. You are loved.

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