Thursday, January 15, 2009

Think Backwards

“Think Backwards!” At first glance it probably makes you think of someone that “beats to a different drum” or has a strange way of thinking. Though that may be true and I may have a “backwards” way of thinking, I’m speaking more in literal terms, more like the saying “hindsight is 20/20.”

As I continue to travel down memory lane and reflect upon our time in Romania I find myself discovering something about this experience, and life in general. Life is comprised of multiple parts (experiences); taken individually they may be meaningless; taken as a whole (our life) and they have a completely different meaning. For example, if you were to read my journal you would probably think our year in Romania had a lot of ups and downs. However, as I reflect upon individual experiences with the knowledge of our entire experience I realize how fulfilling that year was. I would not change a thing about that year and in many ways miss our time in Romania (I have my days where I want to be there)! I guess hindsight is 20/20!

One experience that jumped out at me today was our first day of class on October 1. Kacee and I took a giant leap of faith moving to Romania. We didn’t have a place to live, I didn’t know exactly what classes I would teach, and we didn’t even have a ticket home! Being the “western thinker” that I am, on top of my teaching experience, I had hoped to know my classes, know my students names, and know where I would teach the class weeks in advance. Unfortunately, October 1 arrived and I new nothing. I didn’t even have an office. So much for being prepared! My translator and contact at the university told me not to worry because the students usually did not arrive for the first few weeks of the semester anyhow!

Finally, after several days I discovered what classes I would teach and where they would be held. I even received my own office (a great story for another day). I spent several days working on my material, mostly at the internet café down the road. When the first day of class arrived I was prepared; somewhat.

What I had lost sight of was my true reason for being in Romania. Yes it was to teach agriculture. That was a huge priority. However, job number one was to build relationships with my students. I guess God figured the best way to do this was to take all of my plans and “file 13” (trash) them.

Looking back now I realize that the students that did attend (not mandatory) my class attended much for the same reason I moved to Romania; to get to know me. Consequently our classes took an entirely different approach. We spent as much time talking about America and Romania as we did agriculture. Now I know all of you have had that teacher or professor that you can just push one or two buttons and they will go off chasing rabbits for the entire allotted class time. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint, that was me. Granted I had a responsibility to the university to teach my agriculture class, and I did teach. My hope is that all of my students would admit that they learned a lot about agriculture, education, and leadership. However, I hope many of them will admit they learned a lot about life, me, and for a handful, Jesus.

This is the great thing about God. All the planning in the world is worthless if it is not His plan. I guess I can see that now. At the time, Kacee would tell you I was a bit frustrated. Thank you God for always knowing the right plans.

Trust Him with your plans. Looking back you will be glad you did. Aspire to new heights.

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