well.... month 1 away from Wears Valley Ranch has come and gone.... it has been such a fast month and 4 days!! and an even faster month and 3 days that I've been working at Eagle Ranch!

it's been over a year since I've been in school... man, I said when I graduated from Mercer I would never go back to school.... but here I am..... I said I'd never live in Gainesville again after I graduated from high school... and here I am.... but......... the Lord said, "give me your future..." and I said, "it's yours..." so this is where He brought me... living in Gainesville, GA and teacher's aiding at Eagle Ranch school.... and this is where He's gonna use me... what an adventure! it's very exciting to step out in faith, forget your "I will never's" and fully surrender you life to God's will...

the first couple of weeks a this job were so hard for me.... I have never in my life been homesick, until I left East Tennessee and Wears Valley Ranch.... and the comfortable life of never having to drive my car, never buying food, amazing kids who I loved and will always love with all my heart, the incredible respect they showed me 100% of the time, and how loved they made me feel.... the comfort of 2 church homes, who invited me into their families, made me feel so welcome, and just taught me so much about the love of God and His righteousness... the ease of finding time in the day to spend with the Lord, because the whole day was a time of devotion spent with Him, from the time I woke up in the morning and went to devotions, prayed without ceasing all through the day, to the time I had devotions at night and went to sleep... that life was so hard and tiring for me for the first couple weeks, until I fell in love with those kids, and figured out that I was right where the Lord wanted me... and that life became so comfortable to me.... Wow, I miss it, so much...

a wise woman once told me that God will sometimes take us out of our comfort zone so we will continue to grow in our dependance on Him... my second day of work here, it was a monday.... 5 days after I got the call wednesday that I had to leave wvr thursday, and start a new job friday... I had cried everyday up to then, and would continue to cry everyday for the next week or so, but I came into work that day and my boss asked if I could meet with him after school... he wanted to sit down with me and discuss some reasons why he hired me, and some of my strengths and weaknesses... we had a great meeting, and at the end of it all he said, "You know, Anna Kathryn, another reason I hired you, really the main reason, is because, after a lot of prayer, I just really feel like you were called here, and that Lord has called you into this ministry...." Wow! the Lord knew that is exactly what i needed to hear at that very moment, and He put those words into Wade's mouth! i have thought about that sentence, and praised God that I'm here every day since then... being back in gainesville is a completely different world for me.... being back at Eagle Ranch is an even more different world... and working at the Honda dealership.... well.... that's another e-mail..... but all these three things have distanced me so far off from my comfort zone, and i find myself in a constant battle against discouragement and sadness, but the Lord brought me here, and I pray constantly that the Lord will use me here... these new kids are super.... for the most part they all treat me with great respect, and they're such fun to be around... i'm gonna ask y'all to pray for them, as like 22 of the 34 kids in the middle school are all still in their first month here, and many are still having a pretty hard time with having to be here... I know some of you WVR kids can relate to that, so please try to remember these new kids I'm hanging out with in your prayers.... we've seen several outbursts of anger, a fight, and a lot of defiance and lies, but we've also seen the Lord's hand at work in these kids, and they have grown immensly since I first met them! The Lord is so sovereign, and faithful to His children!

Wow, we are so blessed to be part of His family, and so often we don't even realize it or give any thanks for the great blessngs He lavishes on us daily.... that's one thing we try to make these kids aware of, but it's something that all of us struggle with remembering, and we need to make ourselves aware of it as well... I rarely even begin to recognize the great things He's given me, or the comfort and relief He provides me with daily... but it's constant... I'm reminded when I see these kid's smiles, or get emails from or talk to my friends at Wears Valley Ranch... I would encourage you to find some great thing or multiple things in your life, something you think about or encouter often, and let it be a daily reminder of God's amazing grace and His great love for you... praise God and thank Him everytime you remember that thing or things, because He doesn't have to bless you, but He wants to, because He loves you that much....

anyways, let me briefly (whatever, nothing is briefly) explain my new life to you: 9-2:30 I'm at eagle ranch para-pro-ing in the middle school science class room.... I basically make copies, grade papers, and play vocab games with the kids.... Wednesday I have a jewelry making class with two of the girls, which is great fun for me... we have 27 boys and 5 girls in the middle school, and everything works so differently from WVR but I've learned that this place is great for these kids, and WVR is great for those kids... we're catering to two different types of kids, and all of them are truly blessed to be here and we are all truly blessed to know each of them... anyways, after I leave here, I drive around or visit people I know until 4ish, then I head to Milton Martin Honda to answer the phone and take money for service tickets... I expected to be miserable at that job, but I think I have just as much fun there as I do at school, and I pray daily that the Lord somehow uses me in that place as well... Saturdays i'm at the dealership all day as well, except this Saturday, and I'm going to WVR, which is so exciting for me!!!!! here's some more exciting news... in a little more than a week I'll be in a new car, and I wont be hesitant to drive long distances (hahaha, and short distances...) again for a long time!! anyways... thats just a side note....

I'm finished here... I know it's been a little, while, and it'll probably be longer until the next one, I just wanted to give y'all another update on how the Lord continues to work out His great plan for me and for the different kids and people He puts in my life... thanks for reading all these rambling emails... if you've taken the time to read this far, I know you've taken the time to pray for us as well.... I love y'all!!

Anna Kathryn

"I thank my God everytime I remember you;
in all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy!"
-Philippians 1:3-4

haha, oops, I was joking when I said I was finished, as you all well know, it doesn't end that quickly or easily.... here are some things that I have heard or read or done that have brought great comfort and joy and laughter to my heart:

"Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."
-2 Corinthians 5:1

"Miss Buffington's my favorite teacher..."
another time, the same kid: "Miss Buffington's my best friend..."

"Jewelry making is my favorite time of the week!"

I threw the football today during break..... just once, but it made me think of you girls at Pleasant Hill....

"The guys and I were talking today and we decided that we just love you..."
-Butch, VP at my Honda dealership...

from the back of the lunch room:
Jonathan: "Miss Bufington, are you really a ninja?"
what? no... haha
David: "Yeah, she knows all those government ninja moves..."
.....the conversation continued through the rest of lunch.... i heard things like:
"Miss Buffington hit me over the head with a hammer..."
"She gave me this scar..."
"Watch out, Mr. Milwood, she told me you're next..."
"Miss Buffington, Jonathan, Nick, Brandon and I decided that you can't wear dangly earrings anymore, cause we think you're going to choke us with them..."
obviously, haha, none of these accusations are true.... but it all made for a lot of laughs at lunch today....