This past month has been great! The kids are back in the school routine, and we are busy every evening with a number of activities. My fall project is to rejuvenate our library and get the kids in there to check out and read more books. I haven't been working on this project alone, and as a team, we have made significant progress! After cleaning our collection and doing some organizing, a group of Methodist Nomads came to do some projects on campus, including painting our library. The hunter green walls got a brighter upgrade to a light yellow, and we received new couches, chairs, and a conference table. There are a few pictures below of the shelves I have organized and the ones I haven't finished yet.
Complete Fiction Section
Incomplete Nonfiction Section
While the physical appearance and organization is necessary, we also needed a technological update and some increased usage. In the past month, the kids have had an opportunity each week to come visit the library and check out books. This is definitely one asset that we had not been taking advantage of, and I'm so glad it was such an easy problem to solve. The computer system has been upgraded with the current residents' names and next week begins our inventory! :O We had an entire cart of books that have been recently donated but had not been tagged. This took more work than I realized, but here is the final result.
Newly tagged books!
Of course, I couldn't spend my spare time with books and not let all those literary analogies influence the rest of my life. So, this week our bible study had a bookworm twist. We talked about the dark times in our lives, and on a roll of toilet paper, marked the years in which some negative events had occurred. Then, we rolled out the paper to represent the average years we have to live. We compared the first 8-16 years that we've experienced to the first chapter of a book. Sometimes, the first chapter doesn't get us excited. Maybe there's a lot of information that we're learning but we're a little bored. I asked the kids what happens if they keep reading, and most said the books get better. Some, however, said they tended to stop reading if they didn't like the beginning. We decided that we all have that choice. We've seen the first chapter, but we have no idea what the rest of life holds. We have to keep living life to find out how our story continues.
I took this quote from a book that I've been reading: "Your life will not be defined by this dark night of the soul. Never does a single chapter of any book tell the whole story.”
We then stepped back and looked at the marks, the pain, in our pasts. And, we talked about what God does with our own failures, and mistakes we have made. We tore that part off and looked at a white slate. We recognized that we are still going to have marks, times of pain, and times of disobedience towards God, but if we believe and have faith like Abraham, God will see us through the fire.
One year into my service, I still have so much to learn, and I'm grateful for the experiences God gives me every day. Life is a beautiful adventure; go get it!