war_279Hi friends! How are you? School's out, and I've had more time to think and pray about many of you. Let me know how I can specifically lift you up in prayer. I'll be home in 2 weeks- from June 25 to July 26- so hopefully, I'll see many of you soon. Santiago (age 8) and Juan Nicolas (age 11) will be with me, and I hope they have a good experience spending their summer with me in Connecticut- a very different place than Bogotá. I pray that our travels and time in the states goes well.

School ended well. The last week of school was service week, and I went with the juniors to work for 3 days in the special needs orphanage we've been visiting one Saturday a month. It was great to spend lots of time with the orphans and my students. In the morning we put the kids in groups that passed through stations with crafts and games, and in the afternoon we did an activity with all 52 kids (i.e. presenting a skit with a Bible lesson and then playing kickball). We slept in a student's vacation house near the orphanage to keep the commute shorter, so in the evenings we shared devotional and worship times together, focusing on building Cross-centered community. When we returned from the trip we had a final day of school, then a teacher workday, and then a Saturday awards assembly. Saturday evening was the senior banquet, and Sunday afternoon was graduation. It was a busy week but provided good closure and transition time both for the graduates and underclassmen. The graduating class had 20 students who loved each other very much, and I know it is hard for many of them to say goodbye and move on to study or work in different parts of the world. I need to keep praying for them.

Last Tuesday morning I said goodbye to my roommate Katherine, who I had grown very close to in the past few months. I was sad to see her go (she's not returning next year), but I know we'll keep in touch, and God always provides for our relational needs. My other best friend here, Melody, is still around, and we have been spending a lot of time together because we are training for the Bogotá mini-marathon in August! It's fun to have more time for physical activity during the summer. And when I'm not running around the city, I've been studying for the MCAT. I'm feeling calm about it right now- I think while I'm on summer-relax mode God has opened my brain to understand some of the concepts better. I turned in my medical school applications last week (to matriculate in fall 2011), so I'm praying that the med schools look favorably on my application and that my MCAT goes well.

Overall, this has been a great year. I think I have improved as a teacher and mentor during the course of these 10 months, and I am constantly in awe of how wonderful God is that He provided this opportunity for me. I love the missionary community here and how they have challenged and encouraged me spiritually and professionally. And my students are some of the most spiritually mature, coolest kids I've ever met J Even in difficult or sad moments, God has blessed me with a lot of joy. I'm glad I'll be back next year.

Something I stumbled upon today: when King David is passing on the kingship to Solomon, he says "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? All that we have comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand." (1 Chronicles 29:14). This reminds me of using my parents' money to buy them gifts when I was a young child; it was okay that they provided the resources because I turned it into an expression of appreciation and love. This is the way everything is with God, and I admire that you give back to God some of your time in prayer, financial resources, and other talents as love offerings. And though ultimately all things come from God, I thank you for being the instruments through which God provided for me this year in many ways. And I hope to take what God has given me- joy, some understanding of science, love from you and for students- and use it to honor Him as I serve another year in Bogotá. Praise the Lord.