Today we wanted to share a graphic with you that was a great visual for us in our training in April. This visual was made even more absorbing by being acted out in front of us. So, imagine Mr. Feelings: Louis in this case, but it could me, or any person, you even! Standing in the middle with a rope wrapped around his middle being pulled back and forth between the two ducks. That is how paradox can make us feel, pulled back and forth. Sometimes we lean toward Yay Duck, and sometimes we lean toward Yuck Duck times. We already shared with you about the Yay Duck vs. Yuck Duck, living in paradoxes. We continue to share about paradoxes as they come up. And we hope that it has helped you to be more empathetic, and also able to find joy in the hard times using this example.
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Next up is Reality vs. Expectations. This can be challenging. When our expectations are far from the reality, the rope is pulled very tight against us. When there is a “twang”, a snapping of the rope, it can really hurt. But as our expectations move toward reality, the slack that grows makes the “twangs” hurt a lot less. So one goal is to keep our expectations as close to the reality as possible. Here are some of the Twangs of life in Lebanon so far:
Expectation = We will find language helpers and be able to work with someone on language every day.
Reality = 1 Arabic teacher 3 times a week
TWANG!!! If we clung to the every day goal like we did at first, we would not be able to recognize the extreme blessing that our language teacher is. In addition, because we did not find other language helpers yet, Louis and I have been able to adjust to life here without overpacking our schedules. Our language learning is at an Intensive level with 6 hrs. per week of class, and while we still hope to find language helpers to practice more intentionally with in the future, we are pleased with our life now and have stepped our Expectations over toward Reality. The reality of our situation is that there are only three people on our team who speak English well enough to help us at this point, but they are already overworked and do not have the time. As we continue to live here we hope to find friends with good English and free time to have conversation dates. Also, we are now at a Survival Level of Arabic, and so are very pleased with our class as it is now.
Expectation = We will be in Lebanon for 6 months, then we will fly back to the States to finish fundraising.
Reality = Until Horizons is a registered organization here we are only on tourist visas which expire after three months.
TWANG!!! Due to the last traveling ending with David in the hospital I have been terrified of traveling with him again. I thought after 6 months maybe I would be over it, and to find that I have to take him at the end of THIS MONTH to another country was very overwhelming. But now I am excited about our mini vacation to Cyprus, an island the apostle Paul was on with Barnabus. We are going to have a beach day, an IKEA shopping day, and then come back home to Lebanon. The next three month trip should end at the time our flight goes back to America, and then we will be in Arizona until we can raise our funds.
Expectation = We will get used to the noise.
Reality = Nope!
TWANG!!! Our apartment is right above a very busy street, and when we first moved in the whole apartment echoed due to being completely empty and with only tile. In Phoenix we had lived next to a busy street, so I figured we would eventually tune it out, and as we got furniture the echoing went away for the most part. But as the World Cup happened there were fireworks every time someone scored, and then last night was a holiday for the Saint Elias (Elijah) which had unending fireworks for several hours….We are still adjusting our expectations on this one.
I am sure many of you have experienced these same types of Twangs in your own lives. There are other examples as well, and we will continue to adjust our expectations toward reality in many areas. However, (here is a paradox for you) sometimes we must have higher expectations than the reality, and there will be many twangs as we do ministry. An example of this is that we see many needs at the center that we hope to help fill, and our continuing to have high expectations for them will eventually help us accomplish many amazing things for God here.
One of our expectations is that people who are coming to visit the center from America are not having a good experience. This is ridiculous since there is so much amazing going on! There are salvations, healings, and religious freedom here. Louis really needs to write up some of these amazing stories for you guys! In any case, we are now in charge of helping these foreigners have a good experience and be better utilized at the refugee center, so our high expectations, and the Twangs that we were bringing up with Pierre brought about an excellent change! Yay God!!! There is more to this graphic, so stay tuned for a later update on Mr. Feelings and his family! We love you guys!!!