Who won best supporting actress at the Oscars last year? I live 5,000 miles away from the United States and Oscars Night was not on my to-do list.
El Oasis is less than two weeks away from wrapping up for summer break. Yep, they’re selling patio furniture and above-ground pools next to the Christmas trees at the hardware stores, we’re upside-down down here. Yet, so many of the Christmas decorations accompany fake ceramic snow and Santa’s that are fully dressed in winter gear making me wonder how they don’t think he’ll suffer from heat stroke dressed like that on Christmas Eve.
With very little time left of the semester, it only makes sense that student issues culminate like a giant festering pimple on the whole of the community, only waiting to collectively explode at the most (un)opportune moment.
El Oasis staff are like teachers to some students, the cool ‘upper-classmen’ to others, and possibly even considered peers by anyone else. It is so hard to play the role of teacher-friend-peer-mentor-guidance counselor. And it’s easy (for me) to see why it’s so hard, because it’s one of the reasons I decided not to continue working there. It was mentally exhausting for me. And I realized that in order to support Andrés better, it was smarter for me to support him from the outside. His future at the ministry was more obvious and palpable than mine. But my future with him as his wife was certain, and I wanted to make sure that I could take on the role of ‘best supporting’ under the most opportune circumstances.
Andrés has been the team leader nearly 3 years, and has served with Globalscope for 8 total years. He’s one of the Globalscope missionaries that has served the longest. So by the end of each semester, I can see that he is tired. He doesn’t feel well physically and he’s completely drained emotionally. He’s been trying to encourage the Christian students to grow a pair and invite their university friends instead of seeing them arrive week after week not interested in challenging themselves or their faith. This month he’s dealt with the student who is harassing female students on Facebook. He’s spoken with him once, then twice a week ago when it happened again and two girls approached Andrés telling them they felt uncomfortable. He told him he cannot come back to EO until he comes back with a plan about what he will change. Then the student decided it was best to garner sympathy votes publicizing on Facebook that he has chosen not come back to El Oasis because Andrés told him he couldn’t. Then there’s the student that was baptized last year and is now telling everyone at El Oasis they can “go to hell” in an obvious-but-still-not-obvious facebook status update, then proceeding to delete his facebook friendships with all but a handful of students.
Yeah, I’d be tired too. And the problem is is that these situations represent maybe 5% of what’s going on with El Oasis. The remaining 95% are happy, wonderful, positive stories of new friendships, baptisms, Bible studies, mission trips and really awesome events that the staff work their a$$e$ off to put together. But, as they told me in grade school, you don’t get sent to the principal’s office for doing something right. I see how much Andrés loves those kids, but as with any kind of parental relationship, he get’s pegged as the bad guy because he has to be tough with them and open their eyes when they are out of line. And honestly, it makes me sad when I see a story like the kid who told everyone to go to hell, because in no way have I ever seen staff members shut anyone out of the community like he is saying they are shutting him out and spreading rumors about him. They are missionaries for heavens sake. Kids at EO tell stories of their churches telling them that they are not welcome because they are gay. While this makes me pissed at their church for being so un-Christlike, I am happy that they have found El Oasis because I know they won’t be turned away. Everyone is a child of God.
“The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” – Romans 8:16
I am an active participant in my husband’s life, and these things that have happened with students recently make me want to grab them by their shoulders, shake them and yell “grow up and deal with this like an adult”. That’s just what I want to do, I know that the staff and Andrés will handle it with a little more grace. But I have discovered that it is my job to make sure that our home is a safe haven, a place where my job is to play Best Supporting Actress when he’s had a sh**ty day, when he’s tired at the end of a long semester, or when something spectacular happened and he wants to celebrate it. And this month, I definitely feel the need to turn up my game.
Oh, and Anne Hathaway won last year, if you were still wondering.