patience

6 Dec

Patience. I used to truly believe that I was a patient person. Patience is capacity of waiting: the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties. I thought that God had blessed me with the quality of patience. Mikal don’t laugh, I really did.

Then I started hanging out with middle schoolers. Middle school students are wonderful, crazy, bundles of energy. I absolutely love hanging out with middle schoolers. My relationships with students give me so much joy. After years of working with middle schoolers I decided that now I really had patience. A lot of it. Let me tell you my patience ego was huge.

Then a wonderful, insightful middle school teacher saw into my heart. She saw my passion for middle schoolers AND special education. She hooked me up with the special education department within the middle school where I spend my Friday mornings. Before those two parts of my heart had been separate, combining them was life-changing.

Ha. I thought I was gifted with patience. Whatta joke. Middle schoolers are full of energy already, now imagine a middle schooler with special needs, physically or mentally. Imagine a student who can’t communicate, walk, act, or learn the way you and I do.  I was so humbled to watch parents and teachers who consistently show up, encourage, work hard, wait with unbelievable patience.

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I realized God keeps pushing me back into situations where I get to hang out with beautiful people with special needs // special Olympics in Washington with my main man Mikah James and now here in Minnesota // Next Generation volunteer projects with Gabby // at my internship at the men’s homeless shelter. Now I have the opportunity to travel across the world to work with disabled youth and adults in Ghana, Africa.

My roommate Margaret and I are going with my church on an intergenerational mission trip designed to bring Christ’s message of reconciliation to churches in Ghana. In Ghana, we will be working with a local pastor, who serves Ghana’s deaf and disabled population, a community alienated by distrust and superstition.

Our ten-day trip will be packed with teaching AWANA programs to the children of deaf parents, visitation to the homes of the deaf and disabled, an outreach to one of the poorest neighborhoods, and working in a local orphanage. Most importantly, the church we are working with has organized a two-day retreat/conference for local pastors and Christian leaders with the intent of encouraging reconciliation between the church and the disabled community. Which is interesting considering that I am a social work/ anthropology major where I am learning so much about reconciliation, cultures, communities, peoples, and so much more that I can’t wrap my heart around.  In partnership with our leaders, we will be teaching lessons to small groups of women, children, and students, some with disabilities.

It will be interesting to see how much more patience I will learn after my experiences with the beautiful people of Ghana. Have you ever heard of Africa time, where everything and everyone runs late, hours late? Oh dear I despise being late, so this will be rough lesson in patience. Can you imagine being alienated from your family and community? Because of an uncontrollable disability? That takes an amazing amount of patience and strength.

All and all, I’m pretty sure I’m getting my special education certificate just to let you know Momma.

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2 Responses to “patience”

  1. Betty-Lou Olson December 6, 2012 at 5:17 am #

    Wow! Lauren I love your sharing about what you are learning and doing! It is truly a witness of your love for Christ! And I love what you are doing and learning and the way you are reaching out to others! May God bless you and guide you and continue to use you in a mighty way!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. my africa story | laurenolson - June 19, 2013

    […] Emily was too anxious and left that summer for Mozambique. I am obviously the patient one NOT. As details of our trip to Ghana finalized, I found out that our trip was dedicated to hanging out […]

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