Saturday, October 30, 2010

So I went for a run this morning and took my camera--THIS is why I love running in the DR! Crazy crazy story though, when I was running today, this Dominican man on his motorcycle was yelling things at me (not unusual, but I just ignore it) and was turned around WHILE driving his motorcycle, and ran head on into another motorcycle! I totally caused a motorcycle accident! It was so scary--I stood there for a second, but I had to quick turn around and run another way, because if the police came and thought I had anything to do with it, I would be in big trouble and wouldnt really be able to do anything about it because I am American! SO REDICULOUS!!!!

Friday, October 22, 2010

"I love love!"

Each week, I jot down little notes throughout the week of things that I want to include in my blog. This week, each one had something to do with some sort of love, and I had written down in my journal on Monday this quote from Francis Chan “I love love”.

Monday: I love thunderstorms. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday we had lots of thunderstorms...and those thunderstorms brought MUCH cooler weather, which was a complete blessing! On Monday night (as I blogged before) I sat in our living room, freezing, while drinking hot chocolate! Who would have guessed that would happen in the DR? I was so tired of being hot ALL THE TIME, that it was honestly one of the most relaxing nights I have had in a while!

Tuesday: I LOVE campaigners. We had our second campaigners group this week, and had a great time! We did nails, made brownies, and just spent time talking! It was a great time of getting to know the girls a little better. Funny story-I overheard one of the girls in my class telling my roommate that she loved me as her teacher because I make her laugh and I hardly ever get mad, but then she added this: "She only got mad at us that one time...but that one time was enough to make me never want her to get mad at us again! It was scary!" I loved that comment...made me a little more confident in my "class discipline" skills:)

Wednesday: I LOVE journal time:) One of the girls in my class wrote a whole 2 page journal entry about how she is in love with this boy in seventh grade. I LOVE kid crushes:) It was so cute, she even wrote his name in code letters in case someone else saw her journal, and noted that she would tell me the real name after school!! She did, and then proceeded to spend a half hour talking to me about him and how she was so nervous to tell her mom about him, but she had do! So cute!
Wednesday was Claudil's mom’s birthday. Claudil made this WONDERFUL "I love you" book during writing time and had me check over it before she took it home to her. It was so cute I teared up reading it:) I LOVE the way little girls love their parents:)
Gill wrote a journal entry about all of the kids in our class. Now you have to understand something about Gill-she is the girl I talked about that came to campaigners, has a tough life, and usually acts like she doesn't care about anyone or anything. In her journal entry, she wrote something nice about EVERYONE in our class--she even said things like "Melanio likes to bother, but I know inside he is good." and "Josue is a friend of everyone, he has a very special heart." I was like oh my goodness, where is this coming from! Then she wrote a really nice one about me too, which made me happy:) So awesome to see kids growing!

Thursday: I LOVE silliness of 6th graders. Christian came to school on Wednesday, and the first thing he says to me is this: "LOOK Miss. Stanley, I have a MAN HAIR!" and you will never guess where this man hair was--a mole on his hand...HILARIOUS! Then, later that day, we were watching a science video and Christian asked to go to the bathroom, and I said in a couple minutes, and then he all of a sudden screams, "No, NOW!!!" and runs out of the classroom. The rest of us were like oh my goodness, what just happened! Then a couple minutes later he runs back in with his tooth in his hand, he had pulled it out during the movie! At the end of the day (Thursday was our last day of school this week, because Friday was a teacher work day) Melanio came up to me and got real close and said "Miss. Stanley, I have something to tell you...." and then proceeds to scream "TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" while jumping up and down with this huge grin on his face.
Also, Thursday was an "I love soccer practice" day:)

Such a funny week, all filled with small hints of love. God knew what I needed this week after my frustrating week last week!

"Nothing in this life will matter unless it is about loving God and loving the people He has made."

"True faith means holding nothing back, it bets everything on the hope of eternity."(Francis Chan)

Psalm 63 1-4 "O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because YOUR LOVE is better than LIFE, my lips glorify you! I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I lift up my hands."

God is SO GOOD. He is the “knower of my needs and the meeter of my needs” :)

LOVE from the DR!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This picture pretty much sums up the last 2 days....pure thunderstorms! Yesterday I sat in our living room freezing in a sweatshirt, drinking hot chocolate:) It was pretty awesome though!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Saturday, we went to a waterfall (Salto Biaguate) and Jess and I free climbed to the top, and once we got to the top we found climbing rods--which was SO sweet because we realized we were supposed to be climbing with ropes...but we totally did it without! sooo hardcore:) haha!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dia de la Raza

Christian won artist of the week! He was not happy about getting is picture taken:) He is one of my favorite students--he always has a hilarious insight on whatever we are doing. I taught the kids to play hangman while we waited for the program to start! The third graders dressed up as native Tainos.... Melanio practicing the drums... Freshman doing a Dominican dance Second graders 8th grade boys doing a "dance of today" :the jerk!! Hanging out waiting for their turn! Josue, Kaylee, Claudil, and Rosemary

Friday, October 15, 2010

This week was a FUN week at school! Tuesday we had a half day, because it was “Dia de la Raza”, a Dominican holiday celebrating the different races in the DR. There was an all-morning program where kids from all the grades did different ethnic dances, and also did dances from today--including Hannah Montana music and some 8th grade boys doing the jerk! It was awesome, I am posting videos on face book and I will try to put them on here too. Monday was complete craziness because kids were getting pulled out of class to practice for the program, so got nothing done that day, but it was fun!

We had a half day on Tuesday, so I went in to town to do some grocery shopping and pay some bills (side note--I went to pay the electrical bill, and there was no power at the bill place….ironic!). I had a very frustrating afternoon, because on my way to town some boys were walking behind me saying some really inappropriate things (they were like 12 years old!!), and I wanted to turn around and be like HELLO I can understand you!! But I couldn’t, there would have been no point because it probably would have made it worse…SO I just kept walking, and then in town the usual Dominican men were making comments, which I usually just ignore because I am so used to it, but Tuesday I had absolutely no patience and it really just made me mad! I was walking thinking OH my gosh why can’t I just be invisible so they will leave me alone! So frustrating, but I usually don’t let it get to me, but for some reason that day I did! So then I was really crabby…I had to give my talk at WL that night and was really nervous for that….so I went home, took a shower and sat in my room and read my Beth Moore book. SUCH A BLESSING because I started reading it and the verse at the beginning was Galatians 6:9 “and let us not lose heart and grow weary, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest, if we don’t give up” (AND that is our class memory verse this week) Beth Moore was challenging her readers to “Regain the territory the devil has stolen from you! Even one inch at a time, leaning on God’s grace, and not on your own ability! God needs you to go ALL the way with Him!” Isaiah 43 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you….for I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel-your Savior!” and then she said “It is easy to quit or be frustrated, it takes faith to get through something! God helps those who know they CAN’T help themselves, those who realize they are totally dependent on Him for deliverance!” I was like seriously God? Just what I needed to learn! So cool!

Tuesday night we had Wyld Life at a new location--one of the 7th grade boys offered his house for us to host WL at, and it was this amazing house with a huge porch, so we had club right on the porch! It was perfect! Such a blessing--plus he has amazing parents who want to support us, and they said we can continue to have club there until we can find a permanent place! I was in charge of the talk on Tuesday, and I swear, no matter how many times I give a talk, I always get SO nervous! One of my roommates was like Jess--you are a teacher, you are used to being up in front of people all the time, and I was like yeah but teaching is one thing, this is the BIBLE, if I mess it up, I can’t fix it later!! They thought that was ridiculous...but that is how I feel....maybe that is a bad thing? I don’t know! Anyways--it ended up going well, except club went way late, so by the time I gave my talk a bunch of the parents were there too!! Ahh talk about pressure! I wasn’t shaking too much though:)

Thursday we had soccer practice, and it went so well! I am always a little nervous, but we are having lots of fun! Some of the girls told me that Thursdays were their favorite day of the week because they love coming to soccer! That was definitely some much needed encouragement:)

I was reading this morning in Ephesians 3:18 “I pray that you may grasp how long, high and deep the love of Christ is…” and in my Bible commentary it said that Paul used these words because length continues forever, height-it takes you all the way to God’s presence, and depth-it meets you in even the lowest of places! I thought that was so cool, I had never thought of that before! God is good and is seriously giving me exactly what I need! I was reading the CMC newsletter yesterday, and a quote from one of the high school kids really said it all: “Well, I guess God really did know what He was doing!”

LOVE from the DR!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

adventures on the motorcycle!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Running with the bulls....

So this morning, Julie-Anne and I were doing an extra long run because she is running a half marathon in the states next weekend, and had the funniest thing happen! We were running our usual route through the river by the woods, and got to a part where there is a Y in the road. We were heading down the way we usually go, and all of a sudden there is this old man with no teeth yelling "MUEVETE" (MOVE!!!) so we stopped and looked around, and here comes a BULL running toward us, with a big rope dragging behind it, with one man running after it screaming, and another chasing it on a motorcycle!! FUNNIEST THING EVER! So, we stopped and watched them attempt to round up the bull, they got it to turn around and run the other way down the road, so we just kept on running! It was hilarious! After that, we saw the usual pig being skinned, and a few horses running along...oh runs in the DR are never boring:)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Interesting week this week! We had no Spanish or Sociales (Dominican history) classes this week because the Dominican staff had some training those days, so that meant that the rest of us had to cover their classes--not fun!! It was quite interesting, not to mention it was hard having my kids from 8:00-3:20 without a break from them….we were all tired and crabby by the end of the day!

But, after school Tuesday we had our first day of campaigners (small group!) and it went really well! I had 3 girls come, which was good because I wanted it to be small to start, and I don’t want to invite more girls until I know them a little better! We just spent the time talking and getting to know each other better. One of the girls that came was from my class--she is one of my more difficult students--and I learned a lot about why she is that way on Tuesday! She was the last one to get picked up, her ride came like a half hour late, which meant we had a lot of time to talk! As soon as the other girls left, she asked “When can we talk about God?” and I said whenever you want--I just wanted you to get comfortable today, and she was like well, I have some questions! And proceeded to ask a few questions, mostly about why life is so hard when God is supposed to love us, and how do we know He is real--and I was like WHOA--I never thought this girl even cared, during Bible class she hardly says a word, she is angry a lot, and honestly seems indifferent to most of the things I say. While we were discussing those questions, it came out that her parents are divorced, she has 4 sisters and 2 brothers over the age of 19 (she is 11), and she also has a bunch of siblings that she does not know because her dad had them with some random women. Her mom and dad both work all the time, she has a “driver” that brings her and picks her up from school, so basically she gets no attention from her family at home, and what she does get is people treating her like she should be a grown up when she isn’t. After finding all that out, I now realize WHY she acts the way she does, and why she has the attitude she does! She tries to be so tough and not feel anything all the time, because she does not get any love from anyone in her family, and she doesn’t get to see what real love should look like. It was so good for me to be able to look at her in a different light, and it made me so happy that she wants to come to small group! (SIDE NOTE--as I write this, I realize how much of a better week I had with her, I think spending more time with her outside of school has really changed the way she looks at me, which is so awesome!)

Tuesday night there also was a worship night up at Escuela Caribe, which is basically a reform school for Americans, but the missionaries who started that school started JCS, so we got invited up to their worship night! It was SUCH a blessing to be up there--they grilled hamburgers for dinner (YES!) we had a speaker, and then sang worship songs around a fire while we made smores!!! It was awesome! It felt like I was at camp, and it definitely did not feel like I was in the DR! It is always a blessing to have a night of “American-ness” in the midst of crazy Dominican life around here!

Thursday….soccer practice! Practice is going really well, I have 4th and 5th graders, and they are hilarious! There are 7 girls and 3 boys. One of the boys has a crush on one of the girls, so that is pretty funny to watch him try to impress her during practice! A couple of the girls on our team have NEVER had any experience with soccer whatsoever, so we started working on walking while sort of dribbling the ball--SO FUNNY! AND one of the girls has no idea even how to stretch! Quite the beginner team, but it makes for a very eventful and funny practice. I taught the kids the jumping jacks we used to do in soccer (the 1, 2, inside outside- outside inside ones) and they love them, but it took like a half a practice to teach them that! Haha!

My class has had some major trouble getting along this week….sooo sooo frustrating, but also a really good opportunity to talk about "walking the talk" :) (if you call yourself a Christian, you had better act like it because there are people watching you to see what is so different, especially here in Jarabacoa)! Definitely a good reminder for me, because I know that if I am telling them that, they are sure going to be watching me! We also started studying Ephesians, and I loved it because I did an intro to Ephesians and showed the kids all of my pictures from Ephesus! They LOVED it, and so did I--obviously!! It was cool to be able to share some of my experience with them! Really made me want to go back:)

I feel like I don’t even remember half of this week, it went by so fast! After my emotional craziness last week, it has been such a blessing!

One last funny thing! Last night I was sitting in the kitchen with my roommate, and a mouse ran through, but neither of us even flinched! The first 2 months we were here we ran around chasing mice with the broom, and now we just hope they don’t touch us…..I can’t decide if that is sad or not!

thanks for reading:) Love from the DR!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Finally have a couple pictures of my class!! We have been studying mysteries, so for Friday I had them create treasure maps and make riddles for a treasure hunt with a partner and the rest of the class had to find them! It was really fun, and at the end we had a party! Great way to end the week!

Friday we had no power since 10:30 AM, and our inverter at our house is officially unfixable, and would cost about $700 to fix, SO no more power here! We realized at 6:00 that we should probabily go to the store and buy some candles, so we did that, ordered dinner, and played cards! Sometimes not having power can be pretty fun:)

This morning, Julie-Anne and I went for a long run, found this sweet new street at the foot of the mountain to run down, and on our way back ran past a cow being slaughtered on the side of the road! What a way to begin my Saturday:) I am getting more and more used to it though! It is pretty funny to see a group of Dominican men all crowded around an animal watching a couple guys cut it up...never thought I'd say that!

So after my little sad-fest on Tuesday, I felt like I needed to explain/share a little more about the way life is here! I LOVE living here in the DR, it is awesome, I am learning so much, I have great students, friends, and God has really blessed me here! At the same time, living here is not even close to being easy! Julie-Anne worded it the best way this morning by quoting Charles Dickens "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times" and that is seriously how life is here! I hope maybe that can explain a little better how I feel. I would not change being here for the world, I LOVE it, it just is not easy! BUT no one ever told me it would be easy:) I know everything I am learning is so good for me.

This is definitely teaching me a LOT in my relationship with God/learning complete dependence on Him! 1 Thess 5:23 "May the God of peace sanctify you completely" and John 24:15 "Choose for yourselves today the one you will worship" have both been huge verses for me this week just in asking myself if I am depending on God, or if I am trying to take on life by myself! I have for sure learned that I can not even BEGIN to do it myself! God has called me to take up my cross DAILY and follow Him! Every day is a new day, a new chance to follow Christ better than the day before, and it is my choice whether I lean on Him through this or not. "I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord! Wait for the Lord! Be strong and take heart, God is with you! You will not fail! Taste and see that the Lord is good! Happy are those who take refuge in Him!" Psalm 27

YES life is hard, but is life following God meant to be easy? NO, that was never a promise, but I DO have an amazing God who loves me on my side, so I have no fear:)

LOVE from the DR:)

oh and here is a pic of me with my heart Michigan sticker...THANKS LAUREN!! haha! I love it:)