Monday, January 31, 2011

Your Love: New Video

Thank God that I get to be a part of what he is doing through Zac and Kat and the other teachers at Nava.  Check it out!  And please pray that we can focus on what a blessing it is and that God does the work!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Encouragement, and Saying Goodbye

  Last week, our first week of school was a blast and crazy all at once.  It was great to be back at the school again, with my coworkers and the kids.  I was reminded all last week of how much I love my job.  On Thursday we got to take the students who had  high scores on the bimester test (state test given every two months) to McDonalds.  I realized again while we were there how lucky we are to get to be a part of the student's lives and show them love.  A man who works in one of the town hall buildings in Nava came with us so that we could use a government bus, and he was so touched by what God is doing through Zac and Kat and the teachers that he said that he and his office would back us up in anything we needed. His outside view provided a fresh understanding of the opportunity we have to simply be the love of Jesus and the way that he is using us. 
Gettin' some math done!

Family visit
 On Saturday Kat told me that the parents of two of my students had invited me over to their house for a party.  It was the father's birthday and they wanted to introduce me to their family.  The mother said that she wanted to introduce me to her family because they had seen such a great improvement in the character of their adopted daughter (actually their niece) Alicia and their son Yonathan.  What a blessing it was to know that God is using us to touch and change students' lives. 
 Things like this happen every day here.  It is really hard to teach at Nava School and study for my own school at Western at the same time.  Last week I remember being at the school thinking,"I 'm exhausted I can't keep doing so much stuff."  But almost everyday I receive encouragement and confirmation that Jesus is helping me grow as a teacher and showing students love through me and the other teachers.  When I recieve this encouragement, I am convinced to continue growing and letting God keep working in me.

Saying Goodbye
 Last week the teacher I work with, Bere, and the fourth grade teacher Sarai (to the right) both announced that they couldn't stay at Escuela de Nogal any longer.  They had other responsibilities with school and work.  It was sad for all of us at the school to see them go, but we trust that they are moving on to where they need to be, and that changes at Escuela de Nogal will be good in the long run.
Meanwhile I am experiencing some more responsibility in my classroom and I am learning how to do more planning ahead of time and continue to learn how to best meet the needs of the students.  This is a great growing area for me, but I'm learning a lot and I am enjoying what I'm learning and planning for the classroom.  Nevertheless, I could use your prayer in this area.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Well, Mexico...It's good to be back.

Hi friends and family,
 Gosh!  What a crazy two weeks it has been.  I want to start off by telling you all how at home I feel here.  When I got back two weeks ago today I just felt at home with Tex and Marissa and the family at the orphanage, our neighbors and at school.  I'm comfortable and so excited to be here with what feels like family.
 I know most of you already know that my goal this semester has been to slow down and focus more on the kids at Escuela de Nogal and on the people I'm surrounded with here and I appreciate your prayers for that.  Those prayers are being answered because in just these last two weeks I have felt more relaxed and have been able to let go and balance my time with planning for teaching and doing school work and also having some time for myself.  Don't say I told you so, but taking some time everyday just to be with God has been a big factor in this.  I pray for your continued prayers that I can balance my time and find rest, however I'm very encouraged with how things are going and how rested I'm feeling.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Prayer Requests

Hi everybody!
 I just returned to Mexico yesterday and I was amazed at how at home I've felt with Tex and Marissa and our friends.  Last night when we got to Piedras we got to spend some time with the family at Casa de Paz (House of Peace) which was full of conversation and laughter.  Already, today in my first day back Marissa and I went to babysit at Juan and Carolina's house.  They live behind us in the squatter community.  It was SOOOO fun to run around with the kids and just spend time with them. 
I just have some quick prayer requests as the New Year kicks off:
- Balancing time: So that I can value my friends and the students I teach with my time, while doing my best in school and planning for first grade at Nava School.  I need to let go of some of my tendencies to be a perfectionist so that I can be more present in Mexico and with these people.
- Focus: On the students I get to teach and their needs at the school both emotionally, physically and when it comes to education.  I need to recognize daily what an opportunity I have to spend time with the students and show them Christ's love.
-Wisdom: To know what and how to teach the students in ways that will best help them grow, and also for ways to include Jesus' and his love in our teaching and curriculum.
-Time with God: That I make time to be with God and get my value from Him, not what I do or through comparison to others.
Thanks again for your love and support, Happy New Year!

Party like we're teachers...ya.

Ok, so after La Posada (Christmas Party) for the students it was time for the teachers to party it up.  After school, Sarai and Bere (the two teachers I take to Nava every morning) and I went to Zac and Katherine's house to prepare for the party.  We worked together to make cheese crunchies (like crackers made from cheese), mini pigs in a blanket, brownies, cookies, chicken and dip.  We had fun just hanging out and enjoying Christmas time until the other teachers arrived.

Nava School Teachers at Christmas Party
 Around seven the other teachers arrived, and we ate dinner.  After dinner we got a little wild and laughed and talked like crazy. Normally we are busy working and don't get to hang out a lot, so it was fun to just hang out, be ourselves, and have some fun.

Party like it's Mexico!

Our last day of school here in Mexico was the 21st of January.  You know what we did?  We PARTIED!  I had just had an eye opening conversation with some friends the night before (more to come later), and I had a new focus at this party.  To BE with and love on the students.
 Oh man, was it fun.  We started the day stuffing bags with candy for the students.  While we were doing this, the students were running around with baloons and candy and toys, y'know acting like kids are supposed to on Christmas.
 We fed the students lunch, pizza and fritos (fried pig skin), cake, and soda.  I've never seen kids eat so much!!! Then they got to expend some of that pent up energy attacking a pinata.  We had a pinata for first through third grade and one for fourth and fifth.  I think the most surprising part for me was seeing the kids run for the candy when it fell...we had to drag kids out from under others kids because they were too squished to move...and they were getting beat up by the frantic elbows and knees of their peers.
 Just before the end of the
day, Isai, the music teacher led the kids in singing Christmas carols for their parents and teachers.  Each grade sang a song, and then the whole school sang a combination of Christmas carols. Before the kids left we got to, again, lavish them with candy and gifts.  Then we gave them quick hug and they left for Christmas break.
  Yep, it finished about as fast as it began, but I was glad to get to spend a day just being with the kids and take in time with them.