Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

He's reading!!

It happened awhile ago... he did it. He read a book! Not just recited it from memory while his eyes glazed over the words... he read. He said the sounds and then said the word fast and he pointed to each and every word as he did it. He READ! And he's still reading. Every single day Jose and I do his homework together and then we do as many more educational and reading activities as his little attention span will allow. And I'm seeing progress!!

Now the battle isn't so much the actual skill of reading, as it is the focus and the behavior and all the emotional stuff that clouds his ability and desire to sit down and do well... anything. I'd be lying if I led you to believe that he happily sits down with me everyday and we have a blissful hour of homework. It's a battle, a battle against a lot of things. But I'm continually praying for glory strength and refusing to give up. So I'm going to focus on the positive. The fact of the matter is JOSE CAN READ!! He may not be reading Shakespearean plays or even chapter books anytime soon. But...he's on his way.

And if you asked him, he would proudly tell you that he can read. And that really all that matters to me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hablo Espanol

I speak Spanish. That fact is still incredible to me and if you asked me, I'd probably still tell you no. But the fact really seemed to hit me this weekend. Maybe it was the thirty some letters I translated from Spanish to English to be sent from kids here to their sponsors in the states. Or maybe it was the almost three hours I spent last night watching my favorite Mexican television program, La Voz Mexico (the Mexican version of The Voice). But for whatever reason, the fact hit me this weekend. I actually speak Spanish.

Now by no means would I call myself fluent... I still have a loooooonnngg way to go. There are many moments where I clam up and can't think of a single word to say and many moments where I have absolutely nooo idea what that person just said.

But... I'm getting by. I am still much much much more confident talking to kids. However, I can maneuver my way through the language enough to read books and homework with kids, pray at bedtime and have genuine conversations with kids about Jesus. I'm even managing to tutor and teach kids to read... in Spanish. I can joke and scold and tease and comfort. Not perfectly, but like I said, I am getting by. And for that I am so incredibly thankful. I know that without the Lord's help none of that would be possible. I took French for seven years... I don't speak Spanish. But the Lord called me to Mexico and here and I am and he has provided in so many ways for me to be here including helping me learn the language. Isn't it great how he doesn't forget a single detail?

Ha ... I speak Spanish... re-reading this blog post literally makes me giggle... How on earth can this be true?? Only with the help of a God who is able to do immeasurabely more than all we ask or imagine.

Friday, December 2, 2011

This is my job.

Sometimes the things I do during the a days spent caring for 10 boys just seem silly, ridiculous or trivial. There are so many moments when I look around and say to myself... "I am actually getting paid to do this right now.

Monday I had 4 fourth graders that each had 5 homework assignments, plus one second grader and one fifth grader that had homework. In total it was 23 homework assignments, that for some reason included making 4 drums. But I love these boys and I'm all they've got for that day. So we did 23 homework assignments and even made some really fancy drums. It's just paper, ribbon and plates but I was very proud of our finished products.

Some days I have the incredibly difficult task of playing Nintendo 64 for hours on end. As I do so I randomly scream things in English because it's way to hard to speak Spanish and play at the same time. And ever so sweetly they yell at one another to try and let Sammy win just this once. Not too many people could say they get paid for playing video games.

There have been days where I've sang, danced (while they chanted and giggled about what an ugly dancer I was) and I read books in silly voices, I play soccer (not well might I add) and even eat strange Mexican candy that is kindly given to me by little hands. When I look back at my day sometimes I just laugh at the things I'm asked to do and have to say. For example, just last week I had the privilege of saying, "What were you playing in that has turned every inch of your body and clothing completely white?" ( it was powdered plaster).

But even though moments may seem silly or ridiculous, there is reason that task is in front of me. There is a reason I'm the one that's there in that moment. So I'll continue to be silly and ridiculous and try and fulfill every trivial task. I want to be over the top in my love for them. I pray everyday that the Lord would give me the energy to go the extra mile. Christ loves us and loves them in a way that is so incredibly exuberant and over the top and wildly crazy and I will strive everyday to mirror the tiniest bit of that. Even if it means looking a little ridiculous.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A first.

This past weekend something incredible happened in the dorm of 8-12 year old boys. It feels like such a miracle that it could only have been an act of God. This weekend....Miguel read a whole chapter book probably for the first time in his life... voluntarily... by his own choice!! We recently had donated the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series in Spanish and we decided to bring it last Friday for the boys to try. They seemed to kind of like it so we decided we'd let them borrow it for the week to do their daily 15 minutes of reading for school. Well to our extreme shock and surprise when we came back on Monday Miguel had finished the ENTIRE book! Luckily we had brought along the second one. Upon seeing it he squealed with glee grabbed it and immediately sat down to start reading. That night after dinner he grabbed the book and curled up on his bed to read INSTEAD OF PLAYING NINTENDO 64!! 

Don't you just love a good book? One that sucks you in and you just can't stop turning the pages. Miguel is 10 years old and had NEVER experienced that feeling. It was amazing to watch him get excited about reading. He even sat in the bathroom when all other boys were in bed so that he could use the light to just keep reading a few more minutes. There are 5 books in the series and he's half way through number 2. We told him if he finished all 5 we would have a giant party... but I really don't think he'll need to incentive. He's hooked :)