The sun here is nothing but a fuzzy ball in the sky for most of the day, and it's bright red before 8am and after 5pm.  The reason?  Santa Cruz is enveloped in smoke.  We currently rank as one of the world's most polluted cities due to the burning of sugar cane fields around the area.  I've never seen anything like the smog, country girl that I am, and I'm ready for it to go away.

I have to confess that my heart has felt a little like this city the last few days.  The light is only partially penetrating the fog that my heart is wrapped up in.  I feel like I'm striving to see it, striving to get past the worry that my students will never behave, that they won't learn a thing, that I will cry a lot while I'm here.  Striving to see past the heaviness of my heart to the truth.  God has called me here, and "When I pass through the waters, He will be with me."  I don't know how many times that verse from Isaiah 43 has been my rock of refuge in the last two weeks.

Today I had an especially hard talk with the father of one of my students, and as he left my classroom I sat down at my desk, pulled out the many notes that the team left for me to read, and found Psalm 116.  "I love the Lord, for He heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy... The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, He saved me.  Be at rest once more, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you."  What more sustenance do I need?

I want to write more later about the funny stories, the cute things my students do, and the amazing fellowship I'm finding here, but I needed to write my heart today.

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