Feliz Ano Nuevo!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying being back in your usual routines. I apologize that I haven't sent an update in a long time, but now that I'm back in Bogotá and more or less back in my routine, I'm excited to be back in touch with you all. It was wonderful seeing most of you over break, so keep writing me so I know what's happening in your life and how I can pray for you.

First, I have to share with you the way that God took care of me during my travels home. Remember the blizzard in December on the east coast? The day I was traveling home, there was snow from North Carolina to New Jersey, so they cancelled my flight from Atlanta to Newark. My parents were planning on driving 3 hours there to pick me up. However, instead the Lord inspired the nice folks at Delta to let me take a flight to Bradley airport, which is a quick 10-minute drive from my house. I felt a little guilty but also very excited about how that worked out.

Once I got home, I had a wonderful time seeing friends from high school, church, and college. I spent a relaxing Christmas with my family and New Year's with Messiah friends in Washington D.C. I did a lot of driving around the northeast United States to see a lot of people I love, and I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with everyone. With mixed emotions, Shannon and I left for Bogotá on January 8.

Yes, my sister was able to visit me for a week and a half during her Christmas break from college! Here's another cool airplane story. When we booked our flights, it was cheapest for her to get a round trip from New York to Bogotá. But it was significantly cheaper for me, buying a one-way ticket, to start in Boston and meet Shannon in New York (who knows how airlines decide on prices). However, the night before, another snowstorm hit, and guess which flight got cancelled? Yup, Shannon and I got to start our journey together in New York. Again, I felt a little guilty that the snow had probably inconvenienced a lot of people, but I couldn't help but feel grateful that things worked in my favor.

While Shannon was here, I played science teacher by day and tourist by night. It was so fun to have her here. We went to visit places I had been to and enjoyed in the city as well as beautiful parts of Colombia I had never seen. Shannon has promised to put pictures up on facebook of our adventures to art museums, Bogotá's historical district, a cathedral carved into a Salt Mine (it's enormous- we spent 2 ½ hours underground!), mountain vistas and a water park. It was fun to share my beautiful city and community with her and be with people I love from both of my "worlds;" I only wish she could have stayed longer!

Furthermore, this past week at school God blessed me with renewed energy for teaching. At the end of last semester I was tired and a little discouraged by my students' performance. At home during the holidays it was great to rest and think about my classes, and it has been fun to be back in the classroom. My seniors are starting chemistry, and thanks to my grandparents' and parents' Salvation Army hunting, they now have "lab coats," or the best we could find. The kids feel very special wearing them, and after using them two days in a row to do an experiment, a few of the boys put them on at the start of class the next day even though it was just lecture. I enjoy chemistry, I hope I haven't used all my good material at the beginning- this week we've exploded sugar and are getting ready to tie-dye shirts. My physics class is learning about waves, so pray for a few of them that are struggling with this especially challenging unit. And my biology students- praise the Lord- have completely changed their behavior. I was very discouraged with the disruptive and disrespectful behavior of a few at the end of last semester, but since we've started up again they've turned around 180 degrees. I pray that this continues. I can't stop praying for my kids once it seems like God has "fixed" a problem. My kids, like all of us, need someone to intercede for them and bless them.

So, as always, I appreciate your prayers that support and bless me here. I can sense your prayers supporting me. As you talk to God this month, could you keep in mind:

  1. Haiti. I think we're all praying for the situation there. Our school is raising money for a sister school there that is currently being used as a shelter in its community
  2. My self-discipline. My two new year's resolutions are: 1) to practice dancing again. I miss it, and I want to be ready for opportunities in the future when I might be able to bless others with dance. I bought an MP3 player so I can do exercises and stretching in my room. 2) My other project this year is to keep up with MCAT material. This summer I need to take the med school exam again, and my goal is to improve my score by two points.

I love you all and would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading this long email. Hopefully future emails will be more frequent and shorter (nerdy observation- if emails were waves, multiplying their frequency by their length would give you their speed! High school physics, anyone?).

God bless,