This past week was packed with things to do. That, combined with my post-Russia fatigue, made for a crazy week. And yet, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, even if I did want to fall asleep all the time. Today marks my 79th day away from home…meaning I only have 46 days until I’m home again. The time has gone so much faster than I ever thought it would. For this journal entry, I am going to give a synopsis of my week within the descriptions of a few things that have become some of my favorite things this semester…
My Journals: As one of my roommates puts it, I spend “an absurd amount of time writing.” What can I say? I love expressing myself through creative formations of words. I have one journal that is already full of memories from the first part of this semester. Another is a handmade book that I bought here and just started filling it in place of the one that’s full. Then there is the one in which I write everything I am learning about God and faith. I also have this – my electronic journal – which allows me to compile the writings I do by hand in a form that I can share with all of you. Not to mention the one that holds all of the little visuals that go along with what I write, like ticket stubs and currencies. Writing is so much fun when it’s not in the form of a research paper! So, I spent a lot of this week writing, as I do every week, but I had so much writing to do this week that I still fell behind. I still have some catching up to do. Thus, I am thankful for my other little journal…the Notes app on my phone. It holds all the bullet points of things that I still need to write about in detail in my journal. I guess you could say I live in a world of words.
The Lithuanian Language: This language has become beautiful to my ears. I surprised myself by how thrilled I was to hear Lithuanian again on the train back from Russia. It felt so familiar after a week of being completely immersed in Russian. I wish that I could say I am closer to being fluent at this point in the semester, but I am still so far from conversational. Still, I love learning each new word and phrase. On Thursday, I went through some of the food chart with a couple of the boys at the orphanage. It was exciting to be able to work on a bit of vocabulary with them.
My Camera: “A picture is worth one thousand words.” Even with as much as I write, I think there are still times when this statement is true. My memory isn’t always the best, and, honestly, I have a small fear of forgetting things. I like taking pictures because it feels like I have captured a moment in time so I can return to it later and share it with others. I spent quite a bit of time this week going through photos from Russia and other parts of the semester, editing and choosing which ones to share.
My Bus Pass: At the beginning of the semester, I made a goal to go the entire semester without a bus pass because I enjoyed walking everywhere and appreciated the built-in exercise. However, that was before I knew how far away the Baby House was from campus. This is why my bus pass has become one of my favorite things…because it gets me to my Little Snails three times a week. This week at the orphanage was tough and wonderful at the same time. First, we had some changes in my room. Karolis, the little trouble maker of the group, graduated up to another room. Two of the other little boys were also gone. One of them, Andruis, was very young and full of cuddles. The other, Martynis, had a brace on his leg and was bursting with smiles. I had grown quite fond of both of them, so I was sad to see they were gone. No one told me where they went, but I am hoping this means they were adopted. Now we have two new boys who look like they could be twins. They are around two years old but don’t seem as disconnected as the other children were when I first came. I have not learned their names yet, but I hope to do that tomorrow. Finally, there is my little Domantas. (I realized that I had the spelling of his name incorrect when I last wrote about him.) He continues to make strides and is blossoming into a loving, outgoing, and independent little guy. On Thursday, he called me “mama.” This may sound dramatic, but it’s true…it took my breath away when he said it. This is mainly because it made me sad. In six weeks, I will be boarding a plane to fly thousands of miles away from him…and thinks of me as his mom. I have come to love this little man. It breaks my heart to think about leaving him. I am praying for him…that God provides him with a loving, Christian family who will teach him to grow into the man God made him to be. I would be more than happy to be his “mama” if I could. Legally speaking, I could adopt him. Logically speaking, I am in no place to be a mom right now…God would have to do some crazy orchestration to make that work.
Package Slips: These are what the post office sends to campus when they have a package for an LCC student. Then, we can go pick up our mail. It is so nice getting these boxes of love from home! I received one this week…and it was a complete surprise! As soon as the man handed me the box, I looked for the return address and smiled a giant grin when I saw that it came from a family that I love so dearly. Inside was a beautiful reminder to continue looking to God and to soar on His strength.
Set Free: This bracelet has gained more meaning this semester. For those of you who don’t know, I have worn this bracelet nearly every day since the beginning of my sophomore year at IWU. My mom hid it in my jewelry box with a note explaining that it is to serve as a reminder of the fact that nothing can take away the freedom that I have in the love of Jesus Christ. He set me free and nothing can change that. Well, this has become even more significant… First of all, I am now one of two people at LCC wearing this bracelet. Laura, my friend that I mentioned in the “Impressed With God” entry, now wears one, too. We are sisters in Christ and remember this fact with the same phrase…”set free”. Second, this week was rEVOLution Week – a week focused on anti-human trafficking. The campus group, Roots of Justice, hosted an event every day to raise awareness. I participated in or attended almost all of them. The final event was the one that had the most impact on me. On Friday morning, I posed as a human statue in the center of our academic building as everyone switched classes. These vignettes were staged during every class change throughout the day, depicting different types of sex trafficking. For fifteen minutes, I was frozen as a girl sold into prostitution, being exploited by a man who was previously my friend. In that time, I allowed my mind to think about what it would feel like if this scenario were real, as it is for thousands of girls around the world. When those few minutes were past, I was me again and Edvardas was back to being my friend, but the effect that I felt while frozen remained. And I realized something…the wrist holding my “set free” bracelet was the one that faced everyone walking by as I hid my face in my arm. My reality is that I am free of this kind of imprisonment. How cool would it be to set other girls free? Sex trafficking happens all over the world in many different forms. I want to help put an end to it. To bring attention to the issue, I am including a link to the website of an anti-human trafficking organization with which I’ve become involved. Please check it out, even if for no other reason than to gain information on how to pray about the issue. (www.TheA21Campaign.org)
So there you have it...just a few of my favorite things and how they each played into this week. :)
And, in keeping with the theme, here is the Lithuanian word for one of my favorite foods: morkos. (carrot)
Hi, I'm Katie... just a girl, living this adventure for the glory of God. Thanks for reading!