Friday, September 6, 2013

Khodaye Man Khoobeh: Part 1--Livin on a Prayer

When I was little, my mom wrote me a song.  It went like this: 

Jesus loves Amy so much, so much, so much
Jesus loves Amy so much, so, so much.

And I love that song because the lyrics are so accurate. Ripped from the headlines, if you will. Jesus does, in fact, love me so much, and my happiness about that fact is matched only by my awe at its absurdity.  Because let's face it, I'm not that cool. 

His love has been clear to me in a zillion ways this last month (man, has it really been a month? That's my bad, y'all), so the next few posts will be dedicated to trying to articulate how good the Lord has been to me.  Khodaye Man Khoobeh, by the way, is phonetic Farsi for "my God is good."  He is.

When I last posted, we had just finished our picnic and our first volunteer team had come, conquered, and gone home.  After those experiences, my bosses left for a trip to see their children in South Asia and the Middle East. They were gone for three weeks.  And since I was living with them at the time, I got the whole house to myself for three weeks.  So the first few days of their absence looked a lot like this:





And other professional things. 
Actually, I focused a lot of my time on settling into a schedule.  I took notes on my schedule one Tuesday in my little notebook that I carry everywhere.  So, should you ever wish to replicate my Tuesday, I present to you...

How to Replicate Ames's Schedule in Twenty-Eight Easy Steps!

Step One:  Intend to get up at 6:30.

Step Two: Actually get up at 8:30.

Step Three: Ask Jesus for better discipline.

Step Four: Spend time with Jesus.  This looks a little different for everyone, but for me it involves studying and meditating on Scripture.  Studying involves reading, researching, and memorizing Scripture, and meditation means praying about what I've read and asking God to help me know Him better through it. After that, I spend a lot of time journalling. So, I search Scripture to find more clues as to who God is, and then I write all my findings in my handy-dandy notebook.  In that way, spending time with Jesus looks a lot like this:

Step Five: Stretch. Because you don't want back problems when you're older.

Step Six: Water Joan's flowers.  Attempt to make conversation with elderly Sikh neighbor.  Realize, once again, that he knows only "Good morning! No rain!" in English, and you know absolutely nothing in Punjabi.  Smile anyway.

Step Seven: Take the C7 bus to the Skytrain Station, and then the 106 to Middlegate Bakery. Our friend Reza runs this bakery, and generously donates free bread for us to give away at the Centre.

Step Eight: Notice that Reza is selling Zulbia today.  This is Zulbia:

It is a Persian pastry made of fried dough, dipped in a honey/rose water/saffron sauce.  It tastes like sugar and Jesus.

Step Nine: Buy a kilo of zulbia.

Step Ten: Recall that a kilo is more than twice the size of a pound.  Regret this decision.*

*Note: you will make the same mistake a week later.

Step Eleven: Go to the library to browse Easy Readers for this week's reading day. Read through each and make a glossary of words that are hard to explain. (Sidenote:  Can someone please tell me how to explain the word "adventure" to a newcomer? Anyone? Please?)

Step Twelve:  Take the 106 back to the station and the 112 to Life Community Centre (Again, notice the flagrant role-reversal of the "r" and the "e." Canada: pushing boundaries since 1867.)

Step Thirteen: Immediately make tea.

Step Fourteen: Tidy classroom and put lesson materials and newly-checked-out Easy Readers in order. Pray for class.

Step Fifteen: Shahnaz arrives to teach Farsi vocabulary.  Offer her some of your mountain of Zulbia. Try to explain why you don't know what a kilo is.

Step Sixteen: 1 hour of Farsi class with Shahnaz. Make the "I'm sorry, I'm American" face a lot.

Step Seventeen:  ESL class.  In these hour-and-a-half classes, we work mostly on conversation.  During these last three weeks, we worked on how to describe common ailments ("I have a backache, I have a cold, I am dizzy, etc"), how to talk on the telephone (which makes me nervous even in my first language), and how to set up a doctor's appointment by phone.

Step Eighteen: Tea break.

Step Nineteen: Finish class and talk with Mohammad/Ghasem/anyone that has stayed after class.  This is English practice for them and Farsi practice for you.  Ask a lot of questions about Iran.  Make the "I'm sorry, I'm American" some more.

Step Twenty: Return to the house via the 112 and the C7.

Step Twenty-One: Intend to exercise a lot.

Step Twenty-Two: Exercise a little.

Step Twenty-Three: Select Songs for church this week, and practice them on the guitar.

Step Twenty-Four: Visit with Fernanda, who is your neighbor.  Drink coffee, get to know each other. Thank the Lord for your new friends.

Step Twenty-Five: Dinner! Sometimes with Fernanda and Nasser, sometimes making pizza and eating the whole thing yourself BECAUSE YOU ARE A GROWN WOMAN, DANGIT.

Step Twenty-Six: Read. Lately,  I've been on a huge Mother Teresa kick.  I'm just saying, if you haven't read No Greater Love, maybe you should.

Step Twenty-Seven: Try to be brave and go to bed without the light off.

Step Twenty-Eight: Turn the light on, just in case.

So this is my schedule, and I'm in love with it.  It is getting steadily busier as I meet new people, add more classes to the Centre and plan more activities, but this is its foundation.  And at every turn, on every bus ride, during every class, I cannot escape the reality of how good God is to me.  I feel like I don't deserve to be this blessed.  And yes, I'm probably still in the honeymoon stage. But shoot, honeymoons are fun.

Details about my new house and schedule will be coming very soon (way sooner than this post did; sorry it took me so long).

Again, if you can find it in your heart or pocketbook to donate, I appreciate it now more than ever (The rent! It's hideous!) Just click here!

Blessings to you all! God made you special, and He loves you very much.