Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Schools Out for the Summer!!!

8th Graders at Colegio Bilingue San Ramon

I know most of you reading this post are thinking SUMMER??? (It is currently 38 degrees in Des Moines, Iowa as I type this).

Yep, school is officially out for the summer here in Costa Rica!!! Though the public schools will continue for a few more weeks, I'm done.

Thursday, November 26 is our last day of class and appropriately it is titled "Fiesta de la Alegria" (translated: Party of Happiness).

No, it definitely isn't coincidence that our last day of school falls on the North American holiday of Thanksgiving. I'm so thankful for the Lord's provision of this job... and its conclusion.

I've learned so much during the last nine months of school, but one of the most important ones is that I know I'm not supposed to be a teacher. (At least in the traditional sense of the word).

Let me explain:

While Marillyn and I served in Mexico at Rancho Sordo Mudo as missionaries/teachers, I fell in love with the classroom. Sometimes athletes use the phrase "in the zone" when they are performing at their highest level - this is how I felt about teaching in the classroom. God has blessed me with a special gift to direct a group of young people and teach them. (Not many of you out there can honestly say you love to hang out with junior high kids, right!?!?)

Teaching has been a strong part of my background and family. My parents were both educators and while growing up when we sat down at the dinner - we all talked about school. (In fact, it wasn't until late elementary school that I understood that ONLY MY parents had the summer off! Kinda' like the white edge around all stop signs.)

A few years after graduating the university with a degree in English, I pursued a teaching certification. However, I stopped this process and entered into ministry as a youth pastor, then husband, then missionary in Mexico. After returning to the US for the birth of Naomi, I entered the classroom again as a substitute teacher, but had to move on because of the inconsistent hours.

When I was informed about the opportunity to have my own classroom here in Costa Rica, I jumped on it because I felt that the Lord brought it to my lap, it would help make ends meet, and provide an important tent-making opportunity before starting Rancho Oasis for Youth.

However, I was not prepared for the overwhelming amount of work and preparation that is involved with teaching. In the beginning, every hour in the classroom, was an hour of preparation at home. I trimmed my schedule from 8 to 5 classes after mid-terms, but it was just manageable.

The job was fun, but English isn't the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yes, of course, I had opportunities to share my faith and even use verses in the classroom, but it just isn't the same.

I'm grateful for the last nine months because it has shown me that teaching youth the Word of God and engaging in their lives (not correcting their punctuation and spelling mistakes) is where I will truly be in the zone!!!

You know, Rancho Oasis for Youth is like an experimental classroom. We won't have textbooks, pencils and papers, but the Bible, horses and the day-to-day life experience.

Now that school has come to a conclusion, I'm excited to give my energy (mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually) towards our goal to complete God's vision of RO4Y.

Thank you for your prayers and encouragement over the last nine months and beyond.

Please continue to pray for my former students at Colegio Bilingue San Ramon. Most are groomed for the university with parents as professionals, much like myself growing up in suburban Chicago. These rich kids need Jesus just as much as the down 'n out ones.

Quitting this job is also a big step of faith financially because it has covered roughly a third of our living expenses. Pray that God moves on the hearts of our supporters to become monthly givers and that we wouldn't doubt His provision.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and stay tuned for some exciting new developments with Rancho Oasis for Youth!!!

6th Graders reading to Naomi on the last day of classes

Parting Shots: "Fiesta de Alegria"

7th Graders: Left to Right, Top Row Tryve, Andrea, Paula, Susi, Sophia, Johan, Fio, Marisol, Pamela, Raquel, Nazaret, Elizabeth Left to Right, Bottom Row Joseph, Jonathan, Me, Andres

8th Graders: August, Alexis, Me and Samantha / 6th Graders watching their homemade in-class movie

10th Graders: Left to Right Cristian, Diego, Zenen, Zou, Me, Edgar (kneeling), Glori, Karina, Marcos, Paulina, Fermin, Natalia (Spanish-native Science teacher)

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