What does it look like to be a missionary? For some it is being a pastor, for others it is homeschooling so their husbands can put in long hours away from home, for others it’s running a feeding center, or building bridges. In my case it’s being a teacher. How is this any different from being a Christian anywhere else in the world? It’s not. You are a missionary. You are called to go out of your homes, your neighborhoods, your towns, your state, your countries and do what God has created you to do – bring Him glory. I sat with a 9th grade girl a couple weeks ago who told me if she could tell teenagers anything, it would be “You are worthy. You are God’s child.” This applies to all of us. You are worthy. You are worthy of the calling. You are God’ child. Regardless of proximity, you are to live your life worthy of that calling. You are to be a missionary to those in your life. Sometimes people see Shannon as “missionary” and me as “teacher,” separate from the missionary world. The reality is that our lives are no different than yours. I am a teacher like so many of you. I am a missionary like so many of you. My job… Your job… Our job, as Christians, is to live our life to glorify Him, to share that with my students and co-workers… to live my life worthy of the calling.
- I had a great experience with the baby because it represents to me a big responsibility.
- The baby was difficult, knowing it’s needs came before me.
- The difficult part was trying to discover what she wanted in the middle of the night. I tried everything.
- My family liked that I had the baby and they all laughed at me. My mom held it for 5 minutes then gave it back telling me, “that’s your work, son.”
- The worst time was when she wanted a bottle, because she eats for 15 minutes. I had to be awake too. I think I am not ready to be a mother because babies take a lot of your time. They eat a lot too.
- I am very patient and I know I will be able to take care of a real baby when I need to but I don’t want to now. It is like washing clothes. I can do it but I don’t want to.
- I was seven years old when my sister was born so I helped a lot. This was different because I didn’t have to sleep with my sister. Also I know how hard it has been for my parents to give me an education so it would be too bad if I got pregnant.
- I am not ready to be a mother because having the baby with me makes me realize that to be a mother requires a lot of time and effort from the mother. You have to stop what your doing because the baby might be hungry or have an illness and also you have to change it’s diaper not once, not twice but a lot of times.
- It showed me I am not ready to be a mother because I am not prepared emotionally.
- I have learned a lot and having the baby was a great experience. It was a big responsibility. I think the best way to prevent [having a baby] is by not having sex. We are not prepared to have babies.
- A baby is not a one day game and then your done. I learned that when you decide to have a baby, you have to give up on so many things that you like to do.
- At the beginning, I was very scared because I was frightened that when the baby cried, I wouldn’t know what to do. In the end, I wasn’t scared but tired.
- What I did not like is that she cried a lot and I was the only one who could make her stop. I’m not emotionally or economically prepared; I still depend on my parents.
- The baby taught me that I am not ready to be a father and that important role.
- To prevent all these problems [the baby makes], it is a good idea to abstain from sexual activity.
- I understood how hard it is when someone depends completely on you.
- I really want a daughter but not right now.
- I am certain that the easiest part of the the day was when I had to name her because everything else was hearing her crying and weeping and yelling. The quick laughter [she makes] became one of the greatest signs of relief in my week.
- I didn’t sleep that night. I thought if a fake baby requires this much special care, I don’t want to imagine the care that will be needed with a real baby. A babies needs are big so it is better that I keep my pants on so nothing can happen.
- I think every girl and boy should have this experience because this will help them to understand that having a baby is not an easy thing. In our country the girls of the public schools and of the villages are mostly single moms.
I come to you tonight asking for prayers for our community. We just inaugurated an airport in Gracias yesterday. As part of the ceremony people could pay to take a short flight around Gracias. Lots of people payed to do this and all of our students were distracted though out the day watching the low-flying planes. However early afternoon, one plane had engine trouble, crashing near our school. Many of our young students saw the plane go down but thankfully due to trees did not see the actually crash nor understand the extent of it. Quickly though, word got out who was on the plane and the fact that there were no survivors. Along with the young pilot there were three others from Gracias killed. One lady had 2 children who attend our school- 4th and 9th grade. Another mother and adult son were also in the plane. They and their family are originally from Gracias so they have many relatives- grandchildren, nieces, nephews and cousins all go to our school. These sudden and tragic deaths have rocked our little school and city. Please be in prayer for the families of these victims as well as the pilot, especially remember the young children who are now left without their mom. Pray for wisdom for Shannon and our teachers as they comfort the students and point them to God’s arms. Thank you for continually being willing to pray for those you do not know. We can always tell when we are covered in prayer.
“I once was blind but now I see” is a line from one of my favorite old hymns but what happens when blindness is a reality? When someone really is blind, or going blind, and there is no cure for it? Aldolfo is a freshman at our school and is in this scenario. He has a disorder that makes him have tunnel vision but only in the perimeter making text almost impossible to read. His condition has progressively become worse and there is nothing that doctors here or in the US can due to help nor has God chosen to heal Aldolfo.
God has though, placed several caring teachers in Aldolfo’s path that have helped him find ways to adapt. One teacher takes pictures of his text books then emails them to Aldolfo. Aldolfo goes to a restaurant to download the emails on an old iPad since he does not have wifi. This has been somewhat successful in that he now has access to his textbooks and can change the font so it is big enough for him to read. The downfall is that he is heavily reliant on teachers to remember to do this for him as well as the wifi working well when he is at the restaurant. A couple weeks ago, someone donated a iPad with a camera to Aldolfo giving him responsibility for his own learning. This may not seem like a big deal but to a young man it is huge.
He can now use the iPad to take pictures of anything he is needing to see. This also helps him learn to be responsible in his classes and eventually allowing him to use this in his adult life. This also has the added benefit of him being able to check out books electronically from a library in the US and adjust the text. Right now, while his classmates read he puts his head on his desk because he can’t see well enough to read any of the books in our library. Someone graciously is allowing him to use their electronic library card so that he now has access to books. He may not be “cured” but he is now able to see well enough to be successful in school. Aldolfo is great kid with a lot going for him. Thanks to all those who have given him the opportunity to be successful.
After a very long and hard year I am excited to say graduation is here!!!!
I had 35 kids in my class (at one point 37 kids); 20 boys and 15 girls. For those of you who don’t know, anytime you have 20 boys in one room, there is chaos. I am glad to say I have survived though and even learned some lessons through these kids. Here are a few…
Lesson #1 from Joseph
-It is no fun to be the one polishing the silver but when it begins to shine you realize it was worth it all.
Joseph has been in my class for a year and half which has been plenty of time to teach me many lessons. It was not fun to be the one to teach him to eat with silverware, or to chase him down when he ran away from school. It was not fun to teach him females could be his authority and that singing “sexy lady” to the girls in the class was not appropriate. It was not fun to teach him not to bite and lick me- oh wait, I am still trying to teach that to him. It was not fun to try to teach him to read and write when he would only sit in his chair for about 3 minutes. It was not fun to teach him how to walk in a line without plowing over everyone or to play with out hurting the other kids. However it has been fun to watch him shine. He went from being unable to write his name to being able to read and speak whole sentences in English. It is heart warming to see him run and hug me and pick me up (yes, he is that big). He has brought me to tears many times because of his caring and loving heart and the way he helps his classmates. The first six months in my class he made me miserable BUT he is now one of my favorite students. You never know what is under all the dirt until you begin to polish but every child is worth the effort and Joseph has taught me that.
Lesson #2 from Maycol
-Osmosis is possible.
He has slept through the majority of his year and half in my class and through no effort on his part he has somehow managed to learn to read. This has restored my belief in osmosis.
Lesson #3 from Kevin
– Big personalities come from little people.
One of the smallest in my class, this child has alternately made me laugh and want to ring his little neck. He has the longest stories in the world and continues to talk even in his sleep. He can make himself throw-up on command if he doesn’t like the food being served. On the other hand, he has the brightest smile, says the funniest things and is very wise for such a little man. He told me all year that he couldn’t obey me because he didn’t understand English and then one day he got a funny look on his face and said, “Huh, I guess I understand English now.” I am still waiting for him to obey though.
Lesson #4 from Hellen (and every other 5 year old)
-The cutest kids are those with no teeth.
Such a cute age between babyhood and being a big kid. That time passes so quickly before they lose that innocent look and begin to mature. I love this age!
Lesson #5 and #6 from Cesar
– Patience in a virtue and I need practice in it.
– Yelling never works, bribing rarely does but that “mom” look is very powerful.
Some kids are by nature very compliant and others are not. I will let you guess where Cesar falls. I have learned that while I have always considered myself to be patient with children, one can never have too much practice in the area. He has also reinforced what I already knew but on occasion forgot- children do not like to obey when they are yelled at or spoken rudely to any more that we adults do. This is lesson I hope to never forget. Children are little people too and despite their short comings, they should be treated with respect and love.
Lesson #7 from Mario Jose
-Never underestimate the quite child.
Mario Jose is one of those children that is would be easy to overlook. He is usually in his seat, rarely talking when I am, never fights and in general is just a good kid. When I’m wrestling with a class full of children the quiet ones who need just a little extra help are often overlooked and are destined to fail. This child however wanted to learn and would ask for help when he didn’t understand something. He would wait patently for me to come to his chair and check his work because he wanted it to be correct. He has become quite the reader and is ready for first grade.
Lesson #8 from Sarah
-Parents are an extremely important part of a child’s life and education.
Despite the fact that I spend more waking hours with these children that their parents do, I will never have the influence that a parent has. When I had my first conference with Sarah’s mom, she was failing phonics. Her mother went home and worked with her and within weeks she was reading. She is one of my top students and the sweetest kid ever. This has taught me that while I am very thankful for the teachers that pour their time into my own children, I am and will always be one of the biggest influences in my children’s education and in their lives. It is my responsibility to insure success in my kids; to push them to succeed and encourage them and help them when they are failing.
Lesson #9 from Rosybeth
-Never give up.
Rosybeth has been in my class for a full two years. Last year she watched me intently but it just wasn’t clicking. She didn’t know one letter from another, couldn’t write her name and understood nothing that I said but she tried hard. She never complained even when making zeros on almost every paper. I kept her in from recess, gave extra tutoring and still she wasn’t learning. After two years of perseverance she can write well, speaks the best English in the class and can read!!! I am so proud of how hard she worked and never gave up trying to do everything I asked of her. In the US she would probably qualify for Special Education but we don’t have that here. All we have is a child who must work hard and continue to struggle through school but with perseverance she will be succeed. What she lacks in natural ability she makes up for in effort. Never give up. We can all learn, it just takes some of us longer. Or maybe it just takes some us having a class of 20 boys and 15 girls to learn some lessons.