Monday, December 20, 2010

Serving Others

Last Friday morning it was really warm (-8 Celsius), Kiel went to school for only half a day to celebrate New Years with his classmates. Teresa went with Kiel as usual to help (TA in 8 classes, not Kiel's) other teachers as she does every Friday. Esme & I went to My Mongolian language school's New Years party. In preparation for the party Teresa made her amazing Christmas sweets & I made my famous Ukrainian cabbage rolls.

Just before we left our apartment & looked out the window & took a picture. Here is what I took:

As Esme & I walked down the street we talked, laughed, & told stories. When we crossed the street to walk down the hill to a main street to flag down a taxi (everyone is a taxi here) I took this picture:

Many of you may think this is fog, but it isn't. It's coal smog. The smog/smoke comes from the ger stoves as Mongolians use coal to heat & cook mainly in the evenings. The Ger districts surround the inner parts of the city & are still growing. Because it is not as cold (-8 to 30 Celsius) as it was last year (-25 to -49 Celsius) the freezing Siberian winds have not come to blow away Ulaanbaatar's coal smog thus leaving a blanket over the city usually from 5pm to 11am the next morning.

Lately I have heard many new foreigners complaining about many things over the past couple of months & the smog has been part of it. But as Esme & I were walking together last Friday I was thinking. I was thinking because in my mind serving others requires discomfort. Seemly many have come not willing to sacrifice or be in a place of personal discomfort. If they are personally comfortable then they are in a place to enjoy & gain experiences while being here. When I think about some of the challenging things we have faced living here I am amazed because they have all resulted in the most amazing experiences. God does help us through our struggles/discomfort & does amazing things with them.

I was also reminded when I was 13 years old & cut a short phrase out of a devotional I once had. It said, "Serving someone when it is convenient is not serving, it's helping. Serving is helping someone when it's not convenient." Please do not forget during this time of year that God served us & that we should serve others in response to his service.