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Final 50 days of the year

As of Sunday, US time, I will have 50 days left of my first school year.  I cannot believe it's been over 8 months since arriving!  There is so much to be done before the end of the school year, but 50 days suddenly doesn't sound like so long anymore.

This week has been one of the more difficult weeks to observe.  Monday morning within 2 minutes of arriving at school and opening my computer, my dad was Skype calling me to tell me about the Boston bombing.  It was surreal to watch Diane Sawyer live form 10,000 miles away via Skype.  Same story went for Wednesday when the huge explosion in Texas happened.  We have several people on staff at Faith who are from Texas so we were getting updates as soon as they were available online.  And now last night and this morning again in Boston...  It's so strange to be this far away and so reliant on internet sources.  I've learned a lot this week about which news sites are fastest and most credible but it's really strange to not be able to just flick on the TV and catch a newscast of the latest.  Many of the Filipinos have no idea what's happened in the US this week.  I'm shocked, but I shouldn't be.

It's gotten me thinking about how much is going on in other parts of the world that the US general population knows nothing about.  When 3 Americans die in a bombing every news station in the country is scrambling to get the latest updates, the best pictures, and the most interviews.  But when the same thing happens in the middle east, in so many parts of war-torn African nations, or in SE Asia where millions of young women are trafficked into slavery, the publicity is minimal or non-existant.  It's been a sobering reminder that I'm still a minority in this country; the things I think are so important just aren't a priority here sometimes.  So many times this week I've wondered, "Why aren't the papers more updated with what's going on in the States?  Why do they just keep writing about North Korea?"  Probably because Koreans have almost an equal presence here and the impact an attack from N. Korea would have would far outweigh anything in the US.

As I head into these final 50 days, I'm asking that you take a minute to pray for all of us at Faith Academy.  The end of the school year is always hard, but at any MK school, the closing of a school year means transitioning for SO many students, staff, and families.  This upcoming Wednesday, I will have the opportunity to speak in Chapel for about 40 minutes on the topic of comfort.  I'll be pushing the students to honestly answer the question, "Where is your comfort?  Who do you run to for support or encouragement?"  It's a question many of the students have their "Sunday school answer" for, but as we pair this idea with the words of Isaiah 40, they'll figure out that just saying, "Jesus is my comfort," isn't always enough because life is hard and people are sinful.  As a school, we could also use prayer for God's providence in bringing more staff here for next year.  The gaps are filling, but many remain and putting together things like contracts and job descriptions for current staff is sometimes hard to do without other "key players" in place.  I've not gotten my contract yet and I've been told my job description is changing just about every day in HR, so you can pray about that too!

One last thing: I would LOVE to connect with you and your churches and communities while I'm home in June and July.  If I could come speak at your church, please send me an email at jacqueo711@gmail.com.  I am also hoping to bring home and sell South China sea pearls for really decent prices -- like can't-find-that-price-anywhere-but-a-pawn-shop-and-they're-not-fake prices.  If there's something specific I could bring for you, let me know also via email.  I'm beginning to plan my very short time in the US so the sooner I know the better.

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