State of the Jennifer

Hi guys,
It's been almost two months since I last wrote. A lot has happened. I:
  • Finished my time in Canada, enjoying several lovely goodbye parties and enduring many heartwrenching goodbyes
  • Spent Christmas with my lovely family and delighted in being with my sister-in-law
  • Did research, shopped around, and negotiated buying my first ever new car (it's beautiful)
  • Drove to Florida and saw my mom's family for the first time in years, and loved being with them
  • Joined my dad's church again and started volunteering with the youth on Wednesday nights
  • Went to Youth Retreat at Mount Eagle Retreat Center in Arkansas
  • Drove to south Mississippi to see a friend and ended up visiting New Orleans
  • Started applying for jobs and have spent a few days volunteering at Catholic Charities in Memphis
As you can guess, I've had a lot of transition. Now that I'm here in Memphis, I'm dealing with a few things:
  • My own expectations and insecurities--who am I, now that I'm not a paid missionary anymore? What do I tell people when they ask me if I'm going into ministry again? How do I answer if they ask me if I want to teach ESL and volunteer with all kinds of ministry stuff?
  • Other people's assumptions--that I'm really spiritual, that I should be pumped about everything and excited about everything all the time.
  • Culture shock--people in the South gossip a lot, y'all. It's like having my heart dipped in acid. It's so discouraging. 
  • Isolation--I feel incredibly far away from friends and community.
  • Waiting and uncertainty--where do I go next? What should I be passionate about? What's wrong with me, that I'm not passionate about doing something? Why am I so tired?
But there are other things that I've seen:
  • The day before I left Vancouver, my supervisor's wife came over to pick up the stuff I had moved out of my apartment, and my friend Alysia and I ended up just going ahead and putting all my suitcases into the van with that stuff. The next morning, when I was supposed to get a ride to the airport, it snowed like crazy, and my supervisor's wife was stuck in Burnaby. I had to get a ride to the SkyTrain with my landlord, so I could SkyTrain it to Burnaby to catch a ride. If I had had to negotiate the SkyTrain with three huge suitcases, a large bag and a guitar, I don't know that I would have made it. Also, all my friends who came to see me off (I have the most incredible friends) were able to make it to the airport in time to hang out a little, pray with me, and stay with me until I went into security. Jesus knew the future with the snow. He knew I'd be stuck, had us pack those bags in advance to take care of me and give me time with my landlord. He knew exactly when to have my friends get to the airport so we could say goodbye to each other.
  • Jesus provided for a car. I was able to come back from Vancouver and buy a car with cash, no debt whatsoever. And when I was going through all the drama of trying to figure out what to get, from where, He ran me into exactly the right dealer, a sweet lady who I ended up being able to pray with. Along the way, I was frustrated and trying to sort out how to make my decision, and my dad gave me advice from a story from his own dad--when his dad was going to buy a car, he asked God for specifically how much he should spend, and God gave him a number. He went to the dealer and told him the number, and the dealer laughed and said that God would have to give him that number too. Long story short, my granddad got the car for exactly that price. So I asked God to give me a number, and He did. I had such peace being able to talk to dealers and ask them if they could drop down to that number, and being able to walk out and say, sincerely, "Then this isn't the car for me." When I finally called the dealer for the car I have now, I asked if they could meet a price that was $200 below what I had initially wanted to ask, and they said yes. When they went to sell me all the extra stuff, I asked the numbers guy to add up the two parts of the package I was interested in with the price of the car, and to tell me the total cost. It came to $20 less than the number God had given me. Confirmation. Very cool.
  • My parents have been trying to sell their house. There's a whole story that goes with this, but we've seen God's hand all over the situation, including the person from whom they're buying and the other property she's been trying to sell for two years, that just sold Saturday morning. God's been providing.
  • Dad gave my name to a guy who teaches at Victory University, and he contacted me about teaching a class, starting in March. I went to the school to apply, and it turns out that the woman who's handling my application is a friend from Mid-America. 
  • The guy at Catholic Charities who has been letting me volunteer knows probably half the people I know, and I've had connections with people he was looking to connect with.
So God is at work, I just don't know what's next. I would appreciate prayer. Several of the questions I am asking are:
  • Do I pursue further schooling, and if so, where?
  • Do I continue volunteering at Catholic Charities?
  • Do I pursue ministry or something secular?
  • Do I stay in America, or should I look into something else?
  • If I go to school, what should I study?
  • Is it possible to find a place to meet other people my age who are passionate for Jesus and okay with being my friends?
  • What should I be doing about work as my parents are moving in a month to Mississippi?
So, yeah, that's what's going on with me. I don't have any particularly deep thoughts, but I would appreciate prayer for direction and for not becoming discouraged and living by sight instead of faith.

Thank you for praying for me!

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