We recently ended an amazing two weeks with a team from Indiana! Met new friends and loved “sharing” our students with some people who genuinely care about our little guys and gals.
It’s always fun watching people make connections with different kiddos. Most every team that visits has a story about certain students like adorable Alejandro, independent Yorjeni, or shy Yelin. Some boys and girls are naturally outgoing or absolutely gorgeous or incredibly smart – they just radiate their magnetic personalities and draw others to them.
Then there’s Estefani. Estefani doesn’t have lots of cute memories attached to her name. I can’t brag about her good grades. She’s often “out to lunch” when we’re reciting numbers or letters. It has been difficult for me to keep her engaged and learning.
I’ve recently been praying that God would do something in me and in Estefani – that He would give me extra opportunities to talk to her; that He would give me wisdom in disciplining her and in encouraging her in the classroom; that He would give Estefani the ability to see how much she is loved and valued.
Well, God didn’t take long in answering those prayers. I met Estefani’s sponsor family last week! What a joy to see them connect in spite of the language barrier. I loved watching them work together on their letters and numbers and shapes and colors. I heard about how she jumped and ran and played with them before school started in the mornings. I’m sure Estefani smiled more last week than she’s smiled all year.
There have already been some small but exciting changes in Estefani since this team left! This little girl has transformed behaviorally in the classroom even over the last few days. She stays focused longer. She sits with her legs crossed and her hands folded when listening on the mat; she stands straight as a soldier when lining up. Estefani’s improving academically as well. We’ve noticed she can now write all of the letters in her name in order and right-side-up! I’ll often ask the kids at the end of the day if they “went to the corner” (which is our discipline system in the classroom)… Estefani ran past me today yelling behind her, “I’m not going to go to the corner anymore!” It’s as if she’s purposed in her heart to make a change, and I’m super pumped to see this played out in her life. I’m hopeful that these differences are for the long-term.
There may still be difficult days ahead. While tiny changes are taking place every day, Estefani probably won’t be engaged in every moment. She may still go to the corner. But one thing I think she knows now is that she matters. Her sponsor family took some time to be Jesus to her last week, and I think that her life is being intercepted. A family has made the choice to be involved in her life and to pray for her little soul every single day. And that is exciting stuff.
God has a plan for Estefani. I’m praying that He would continue to show her how beautiful she is to Him.