Hello, faithful friends and family! I’m sorry for neglecting to post an update sooner, but I’m grateful for the rest and time to acclimate to my new home. It’s only been a bit over a week since I left, but it feels much longer, having had so much packed into my week already. I was picked up at the airport by my friends Cori and Jup, who both work at The Well. They’ve been a great encouragement, making me feel so at home in the volunteer house we all share. My first full day was spent eating a Thai breakfast (sticky rice, papaya salad, fish), recovering from jet lag, and going to the movies (The Tourist, ironically).
My emotions this week went from, “Whew, I’m so tired I can’t make up my mind about how I feel…” to “Dear Lord what have I done…” to “Oh my gosh, this is GREAT!!” The happy shift occurred during my first day of class. After a whirlwind of crazy traffic, new food, smells, sounds, and many unknowns, I was completely affirmed in God’s leading me here.
My class consists of six creative, responsive, and inspiring women. We haven’t yet received all of our supplies, so I was unable to set up the “studio” before delving into lessons. However, God used that to narrow my focus and provide a great week of overview. I shared my testimony through some of the jewelry I made, showed them pictures of jewelry that sells well in America, and did a few simple demonstrations of soldering and other jewelry techniques. They got so excited! It’s beautiful to see the strengths of these women: some will be great technical designers, some have a natural sense for metalwork, and some will excel in sharing their personal stories through design.
After discussing design challenges with some of their past work, looking at pictures of popular American jewelry, and talking about what appeals to western culture, I had them to sketch out 10 designs of their own, writing down the description of colors, sizes, materials, etc… Here are a few examples:
The top one I liked because it’s beautifully drawn, better than I could have ever done without drawing classes! The middle one, gosh. That student designs simple and classic pieces. Can’t wait to see what she turns in! The last design is a heart with a window into it. The window opens and closes, like a locket.
I’m hoping to orchestrate the class in such a way that the students will naturally feel free to design meaningful, personal work, as well as making stuff that’s simply appealing to the eye. I want to see the giving and taking of advice and careful criticism. I hope to equip them with skills that they will be able to use for practical and therapeutic purposes. I pray that my heart will be accepting of all results, even if they don’t meet my expectations.
I guess I’m just hoping to effect change that I can see. I don’t want to JUST teach a couple of classes and go back home. I want to know that what I’ve begun will last. I want my students to become teachers. I want them to get good jobs. I want to see the results of my labor. But don’t we all? This purpose-driven mentality is a beautiful thing – it drives us toward goals. Fuels our fire. Gives incentive to keep going. But I’m aware that it comes with a tinge of selfishness, and I don’t want to find my validation in the results of MY labor. I want to find validation in belonging to my Jesus. Then whatever He does through me will be fire in my heart.