A few snapshots from the summer. What a whirlwind of blessings!
Although this summer was difficult in many aspects, it was also extremely rewarding. I wish I could do it all over again – only better. Heh. One of my favorite parts was getting to know our kindergartners on a deeper level and already seeing some learning progress.
It was fun watching the kids recognize various sounds in English even though they don’t yet know the meaning of the words. One afternoon, a young lady from a visiting team read One Fish, Two Fish to the kids. She reached the section about Yinks who like to wink and drink pink ink. Listening to those rhyming words triggered a soft tittering in a few children until a contagious laughter overtook the entire group. I couldn’t stop giggling either – those sweet little faces had no idea how nonsensical Dr. Seuss’s words really were, yet they still found joy in hearing the funny sounds.
I loved spending some precious time with Anllelo before school. (This sweet little man recently lost his mother and is now living with an aunt.) Anllelo would sometimes come to watch the Freedom team set up the classroom. A couple of mornings, I told him to stay with us instead of shooing him out with the other kids. He loved “helping” put the name tags out on the desks. “Angela! This is Rosa’s name, right?” “No, buddy, that says ‘Estefani’ – let’s find a tag that starts with the letter R.” I felt like I spent most of my prep time walking through those silly name tags with him instead of preparing for the day. But what sweet moments. He’s so hungry for some attention and love.
Another surprising experience came when Bergica (right), our little ball of energy, stopped all wiggling as we discussed the story of Jesus’ crucifixion. She pointed up at the Roman soldiers nailing Jesus’ feet to the cross and angrily said, “Those men are bad!” We were able to talk about how Jesus willingly laid down his life for the sins of the world.
I loved seeing these sweet moments in the classroom this summer. There has been much progress. And much more growth remains. Gotta remember, it’s all part of the process.
What a whirlwind. We’re finishing up Week 5 of our water-themed, English-focused summer school. On a scale of “tired” to “bone-weary”, I’ve surpassed all normal exhaustion levels and moved into the “fatigue” arena. Most mornings, I wake up all fuzzy-brained and achy. I don’t feel like my Spanish (or my English) make any sense whatsoever. On top of that, my own little tornadoes (Noah and Leyton) need so much attention at this stage of life – I am constantly chasing them, attempting to keep them from demolishing everything they touch. Either that, or I’m feeling guilty for putting them to sleep in their cyclone of a room because I literally don’t have the strength to pick up every toy they own for the fifth time that day.
Sometimes I feel discouraged. Ok, scratch that. Most of the time, I feel discouraged. I get so drained from sending the same kids to the time-out corner in kindergarten. There are days that I am positive not one single word I belt out actually “sticks” in their brains. I hate that I don’t get to spend the amount of time I want to learning about each of their likes and dislikes and family life and social circles.
Frustration levels are through the roof. My computer just died a terrible death. We think we’ll be able to salvage the 2+ years of photos I never backed up. (Smart, Ang. Real smart.) If that file rescue doesn’t happen, I don’t want to think about the countless hours of lost research and planning and documents that I had prepared – for kindergarten alone. Today, the power company cut our lights because the last tenants didn’t pay a ginormous bill. Thankfully, we’re stealing internet from our missionary friends. We’ve dropped a power cord down from their third story apartment to keep our fridge running. Welcome to mornings with cold showers and nights without fans. In other news, our jeep is with the mechanic – again. C’mon now. Wasn’t it just in the shop last week? (We missionaries get all giddy inside when we go a month without a car repair.)
There is no good conclusion here. Scott and I – we’re just tired. And discouraged. And frustrated. And maybe we’re complaining a little bit. In our minds, we know that the physical and mental and emotional exhaustion is temporary. We understand that if we let Him, God can use these little hardships to grow us in our relationships with Him. We realize that we are so blessed to have our home churches and families and friends encouraging us through visits and financial support. But in the middle of the difficulties, it’s hard to see the trials for what they are – more opportunities to allow God be lifted up in our lives.
If you think of it, we could use a little extra prayer tonight. We don’t just want to “grin and bear it.” Somehow, we want our Savior to be glorified in the middle of the mess.
But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
(Update: more extension cords are now running through our house – we have airflow! Praise Jesus.)