Thursday, March 6, 2014

{Throw Back Thursday} Island Style

I found this letter to family and friends in my files and thought I would share on my blog. Remember while reading this that I was only 20-something, I was living on Guam, and it was pre-Facebook!

If I get a chance, I'll scan some pictures.


December ‘99

Dear Friends and Family,      

Hafa Adai! My second Christmas on Guam—I can hardly believe it!  Things at the office are winding down for a much-needed break.  The school kids are extremely eager to get on with their Christmas Holiday.   The teachers and staff are also ready for them to be well on their way!

God’s Blessings Year Round

January—Guam brought in ’99 with a big bang!  The fireworks I saw—I should say felt—at Tumon Bay were very exciting!  We had front row seats, right on the beach.  The grand finale' was enough to give a not so hearty person a mild heart attack!  People had said the fireworks were quite a show, but you had to feel it first hand to know what they meant.  I also went with my good friends Patty, Brenda, and Cristin to a church family’s home for a Filipino New Year Celebration before the fireworks.  The food was pretty normal, I guess, but maybe I'm just getting used to eating lumpia and pancit. 

February—Jennifer came for a short visit towards the end of the month.  We had a great time.  I was able to show her around the island, and we also went parasailing, an exciting adventure we’d never tried before.

March—I had some work to catch up on because I took the afternoons off while Jen was here.  Report cards came out and I was busy entering grades into the computer—with 550 kids in grades 3-8, each student taking 7+ different subjects, that’s almost 4,000 grades I had to enter in a few short days!

April—Spring break came and went with not much excitement—a few days at the beach here and there.  Our church choir and drama put on a semi-big production for our Easter cantata. The church platform was given a face-lift and a huge platform with steps leading up to the baptismal was added to reenact the Easter story.

May—Does the school year ever end?  This was a question we often asked ourselves during the month.  The kids are eager to be gone and the staff definitely felt the same!  I spent most of my time working on final exam schedules, signs for graduation, book inserts for a gift that the principal was working on, field day ribbons, student awards, entering more grades, etc.

June—On my own?  June 6th my roommate, Christa, left me to spend some family time at home before she got married on July 10th.  I did come to enjoy the quietness that I had to adjust to, but I don’t think it’s a life-long calling.  June was also a slow time at work.  With teachers and students gone, there’s not much to do exept work on the files.


July
—Stateside visit at last!  After a very, very long flight from Guam to Honolulu to Houston to Chicago, I spent my first week of vacation in Wisconsin and Illinois.  Jennifer picked me up at O’Hare and the next day I headed to Illinois, for my roommate’s big day.  We got them married off and headed to Puerto Rico.  That Monday, Jen, Jess, Anna, and I started our trek to our new house in McPherson, KS.  I enjoyed the Flaming Family Reunion that weekend and also had a nice time just being at home.

August—Back in the saddle again.  August brought me a new roommate and Harvest also gained a few new teachers and staff members.  My new roommate is Missi Evans, a fourth grade teacher here at Harvest for over 6 years.

September—School is in session once again and I spent a lot of time getting to know the kids’ names.  I give the students frequent flyer miles when I know their first and last name and who their teacher is—that means they've been tardy way too many times!

October—I think everyone here got one kind of virus or another, anything from the flu to the chicken pox.  Thankfully, I got by with only a sinus infection.  A typical week for me was usually quite full.
Monday and Wednesday after school I tutored a Korean ESL student.  Monday night was also Bible Study or “Family Night” at Danna and Abe’s (married friends of mine) with Cristin, Brenda, Patty, Scott and Kendra.  Tuesday and Thursday after school I worked in Extended Care—for the leftover kids whose parents didn’t pick them up until 5:00pm.  Wednesday night was AWANA.  And Friday Brenda and Cristin usually have something planned—babysitting a church family or some other outreach kind of activity.  Saturday night they usually have something planned as well—One weekend we had a Mexican Night at their house.  Sunday, of course, was church.

November—I had a great Thanksgiving at some new friends, the Webbers.  We enjoyed an outstanding time of fellowship, food, and fun.

December—I just got back from a lovely four-day vacation in Rota, a small island north of Guam.  I enjoyed our quiet, relaxing time at many different beaches with my good friends, Cristin and Brenda.  We also enjoyed visiting their small zoo and a trip around the small island—interestingly one road takes you around the entire island, unfortunately, only one side of the island has the road paved. I also tried my hand at poetry…

Another year is goes out the door. I can’t believe I’m twenty-four! 
On December 18th, the big day arrives!  I thank the Lord that I’m alive!

January 2000—Happy New Year!  I’m not sure what the Lord may bring, but I’m looking forward to a great year serving Him.  This month our church will be bringing out the second pastoral candidate since last December when our previous pastor resigned.  We’re all praying this candidate is a keeper. 

I trust everyone had an enjoyable holiday with friends or family.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!  I’ll be thinking and praying for you in this new millenium!

Love,
Bek
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