Greetings, one and all blog readers,
Happy 2017! It has been some time since I posted…and I am fairly certain my last post is from 2016. So, again, Happy New Year! I pray that the starts and ends and middle bits of your 2017 are filled with joy, laughter, funny stories and lots of growth. I have never truly been one to take note of transitions from year to year, but the close of 2016 and the start of 2017 seems tangibly (though indescribably) different. 2016 was an incredible rollercoaster, personally, and so many beautiful and so many hard things came from it. The end of 2016 feels like the end of a significant chapter in my life and the beginning of something brand new.
I feel that 2017 is already showing us that it is a year soaked up with promises, potential, hardships, struggles, good things, bad things—both personally and globally. I am eager and anxious to watch it unfold. I am eager and anxious to actively participate with you all in this unfolding. Hopefully and prayerfully we can all transform into better instruments of hope and peace, each day becoming more and more committed to the cause of Love. I pray that our actions this year be bold, new, and radical for the betterment of ourselves, our communities, and the world at large.
Anywhoooo! I am ushering the new year with some big news, people! Notorious B.I.G. big news, people! I have decided to extend my stay in India at least an additional 6 months! (I have known this for some time, but today is the day I share it in a public forum.) I feel so fortunate to be able to continue working with my perfect students and I am eager to see what God has in store for my 2017 with them.
Please pray for this extension; pray for my students as always, always, always.
If you would like to partner with me in this new chapter of my life, you can click on the link below! I am raising $1,930 to stay these additional six months, which will cover my housing, food, water and wifi.
I have more exciting news! The dear sweet heart that is Taylor Cahoon is in India! I have served with Taylor in Jamaica for so many years, and I feel so truly blessed to serve with her again at Sarah's Covenant Homes. Her presence here is a reminder of so many wonderful things.
Enjoy these embarrassing pictures of me next to the beautiful Taylor in Jamaica!
Most significantly, her presence here is reminding me of a very simple truth: Jamaica forever, duh. Taylor's company in India has reminded me of my own personal journey to this place. Most of that journey—the life-transformative stuffs—came through my time in Jamaica. Jamaica is the precious, gentle, hard, loud way God called me into serving abroad, but much more than that, it is the way He called me into being His child.
So, again, I say, JAMAICA FOREVER.
I am unsure what else I should say in this post. Life here is always changing, always so full, that I think that a general life update would be far too much to process. It would be far too much to unpack currently.
Instead I will share something that has become a bit louder in my life, in my thoughts, in my day-to-day observances. Lately, I am reminded of the immensity of a fight my students have before them for equality. Equality in all aspects of their lives, especially in their education and in their treatment. This is true of so many individuals with visual impairments, but this is especially true of this population living in India.
This has been on my mind as Nikki and Merissa (the foster moms of my students) have been on the hunt for schools that would be willing to enroll the pre-school age girls. (I wrote a blog about them a while back, you can check it out here.) The hours of research and the number of visits to schools have required so much energy, though it has resulted in rejection and uncertainty about their educational futures, alongside some strong, strong hope. Please pray that these girls will receive the quality education and equal treatment they deserve, which will rather be historic for our city.
I feel very honored to be a member of the brigade fighting for their education and equality, which is led by the fiercest, most dedicated and loving mamas in the world. I know I often go on and on about how much I admire Nikki and Merissa, but I cannot over-exaggerate how their love in action is truly transforming the possibilities their children have before them. These moms are working to push against stigma, misunderstanding, discrimination, and inequality in order to expand the horizon of opportunities children with visual impairments in have here.
If you would like to read their blogs, click on the links below. Also, if you would like to learn more about Anjali School for the Blind (ASB), an additional link is provided!
I would consider this a relatively short blog post, purposed to extend happy New Year wishes and to announce that I get to stay in India a full year! Next time I'll hit y'all with something longer, hopefully getting back on track to describe each of my wonderful students as well as my day-to-day life here in India.
Once again, I will ask for prayers! Especially for my students, their mamas, this organization, India. I ask for prayers for my extension and all the little things that come with it (often building up my anxiety): finances, travel, time spent away from family, etc.
As always, I would love to hear from you all! Let me know what you would like to read in my blog, questions I may be able to answer, how I can pray for you, etc. I am praying for you, for your 2017, and so much more.
Thank you for reading! I am so appreciative of all the support and encouragement I continue to receive.
Over & out, dear friends!