Archive for the ‘Kazakhstan’ Category

4th week of teaching

October 22, 2008

— Written by a Teacher in Kazakhstan —

On Thursday before class I was standing in front of my classroom door with some of the other teachers. None of my students were in the classroom, and usually about half the class arrives at least 15 minutes before class starts. Then, we looked and saw a herd of people coming at us down the hallway. This mob was most of our students from our 4:30 classes, and they came bearing gifts. Saturday or Sunday is teacher day here in Kazakhstan, so the students surprised with some small gifts. It was a wonderful surprise. And like good students, each class gave us an apple – and some chocolate along with some other things!

Also, in my class we had a small celebration at the end of class time to celebrate Ait, or Eid which is a three day celebration at the end of Ramadan. It is traditionally a time to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fast where families will cook big meals and dine with relatives and neighbors. In class I brought some sweats and one of my students, a business woman, brought in 3 different kinds of traditional bread with yogurt to share with the class. It was awesome and delicious! We had a good time enjoying each others company, and I loved being able to celebrate a traditional holiday with my students.

The weather here in Karaganda has been absolutely beautiful the last few days. It’s been in the high 50s to mid 60s during the day and the skies have been a peaceful shade of blue. Many of the trees are turning or have turned and fall seems to definitely be in fall swing. I hear that by the end of the month it could start to get pretty cold. I’m excited about experiencing some intense cold. However, I’m sure I’ll be singing a much different tune in the midst of lifeless winter when I have to wait 20 minutes outside for the bus. But regardless it will be fun to “endure” winter in another part of our glorious world.

And I do truly believe that this world is glorious. And I believe that our Father wants us to believe this and act like it. Heaven – a far away by-and-by in the sky – as some people define it, is not and will never be my home. The Prince of Peace prayed to his Father that his kingdom (the kingdom of heaven) would be on earth as it is in heaven. Heaven’s kingdom was inaugurated by a descending dove when our Lord was baptized in the Jordan River by John the Baptist. Heaven has come, it is coming, and it will continue to come. Heaven is here and now, and it will continue on into the eternal future. And as believers it is our divine commission to aid in this process; shining the light of heaven’s glorious possibilities and transformation into situations of deep and saturating darkness.

Just as heaven is here and now, so is hell. There are places in this world that are suffering hellish oppression, injustice, torture, slavery, persecution, genocide, poverty, malnutrition, etc. And as citizens of one of the richest, fattest, most polluted, biggest resource consuming nations on the planet we must consider that we, each of us, could be partially responsible for this hell that over a third of the world is burning in. Hell isn’t always run by demons and devils; sometimes they have help from us who are indifferent, gluttonous, greedy, and squanders of God’s good creation.

Which kingdom are we helping to establish? Is it one of gated mansions, infinite wardrobes, manicured gardens, oil rigs, mega-buildings – things that appear to be heaven for some, but most definitely mean hell for most others. Or are we establishing an entirely different kingdom, which at its very heart beats the rhythm of heaven and pumps the blood of heaven – blood that was shed to save us from ourselves and save the world from the sins of greed, pride, violence, lust, and gluttony which bestow their hellish wages to everyone?

May it be said of me that I denied power and glory to the powers of hell and that instead, I took part in the holy communion of heaven.

May our Father have mercy on us for we are all sinners.

May Mercy make right

The things that we have made wrong

May It look into our hearts and minds

And find Itself not too far gone