Sunday, February 27, 2011

I always knew relationships were important, but this week I learned just exactly how important they are. Through different events in my classroom this week, I had opportunities to talk to my kids more individually, and realized they just want to talk to someone who cares and actually have that person listen to them. I didn’t realize how many of my kids just don’t have anyone who listens to them! I grew up in a house where my mom wanted to talk to me after school, and I was the one trying to push her away so I could watch “Full House” or “Step by Step”!! (haha, sorry mom!!thanks for always wanting to talk to me) So I just think I assumed that my kids did too!

One situation this week especially got to me. I was going to cancel campaigners this week because only one girl could go, but when I told her I was maybe going to cancel it, she freaked out (like really, freaked out) and said (more like shouted) “I count on having this time, its not my fault all of the other girls can’t go, I just want to have this time to talk to you! My mom is at work and I don’t want to call her, so can we please just still have it?” I was seriously shocked. I couldn’t believe how much she wanted to have campaigners, when honestly most of the time I am wondering if this girl even likes me! (She is not exactly nice to me very often!!) So, we still had it. We ended up going for a walk and getting ice cream and just having a really good conversation. As soon as the bell rang, she was at my desk ready to go and just started talking. My heart broke for her as she explained how she was hurting at home without her mom ever there, feels like she has no one at school, and said she hopes her dad moves to the states so she doesn’t have to see him again! This girl just needs LOVE and somebody to LISTEN to her!

Still thinking about this, I ran across this blog post and it had some serious info I needed to be reminded of on relationships.

1. Love the person. Seriously. Don’t just say it! Do it. Love the person no matter what their label is. You might need help with that. So ask Jesus to increase your love for people. Love is the most important aspect.
2. Care about the person’s story. A person is not a frog to dissect as you did in 8th grade biology. A person is soul that is to be handled with care. Only ask questions you care about! Only ask questions if you care! (This is a hard one, I feel like as a teacher I am always being pulled in 20 different directions!)
3. Know their name. A person’s name is the first break into the unknown. So learn it and do your best to remember.
4. Think about a good novel. Every good story is full of what? People, places, things, a thesis, a storyline, a protagonist, an antagonist and more. Questions are a way to get to story. Take a minute, yes, right now, to write down five questions that would lead to knowing a story.
5. Ask questions without question marks. Tell me about growing up. Describe a typical day for you. Tell me about one of your passions. I’d love to hear more about that. I’m very interested in this, tell me more. Each of these questions lead to answers that tell SO much about a person, and can help you learn to love them more!
6. Pay attention when in conversation. Remember things. This may seem mundane, but if you remember and connect dots when listening a person is more likely to share and to trust. Listening is one way of showing you love, care and are interested in the person.
7. Know how you best listen. If you want to get to know someone and you know you’re easily distracted, if possible move to a location where you can best give the person in front of you your greatest attention. If you get distracted by comings and goings, put your back to the door and face the wall. If you are at a party and there are lots of interruptions, sit at table, by each other in the living room or even suggest, “i’d love to get to know more of your story, would you want to get coffee and then set a plan at that moment!”
8. Think about questions you’d like to be asked. What are the things you wish people knew about you, but never ask to find out? Take a minute. What are they? Form questions that you could ask yourself to get to these things. Then when in conversation with someone else ask questions that get to that stuff.
9. Don’t have an agenda outside getting to know the person.
10. Be willing to be known too. People are most of all human. That is the most common thing we share. It is intrinsic to us. It is who we were created to be. And the human experience is full of life and story. It takes time, but every human has a story worth knowing.

“Get to know the person, not the label of kid, teacher, student, boss, mom, etc!”

“Most of the time we treat people as though they are statues. We see their form, label them and then ask questions from there.”

“It takes work to get to the middle. It takes a desire to know what is on the inside. It takes an attitude that speaks to the value of what lives underneath, that what is inside has just as much, if not more value than the appearance.”

“In many ways we must unlearn our “get to know you” strategies. Instead of asking questions such as, what do you do? where do you work? where did you go to college? what did you study? how long have you been a mom? how long have you two been dating? and so on. Begin with questions that get to the good stuff. (the other stuff is easy to learn) Ask questions that get to know a human, not a thing or occupation. Ask questions like: Where do you live? What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood? What do you love about life right now? What do you enjoy about your job? What are you passionate about?”

Ask questions, CARE, and most of all, love. That is how we will bring the kingdom!

This week was spirit week at school, and today was the DR Independence Day! Interesting day--we had to march in a "parade" which meant walking about 4 blocks in lines to the Catholic church, attending mass, and then listening to the mayor and a few other leaders speak! It was an interesting experince....I think I heard "Viva La Republica Dominicana!" about a million times! Definitely different than how we spend our Independence Day!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Here is our Wyld Life camp video!!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Wyld Life camp went AMAZINGLY well! It was so crazy--we were just talking today about the fact that last February, we were trying to plan to get Wyld Life STARTED here in Jarabacoa, and we just had 62 go to camp this past weekend! God has blessed us SO much in getting this middle school ministry started here.

Bill Paige, who is VP of Young Life in the states came down to be our speaker! This was so awesome for so many reasons. First of all, he is from NYC which automatically gives him WAY more respect than anyone else because Dominicans are obsessed with NYC, second, he was an NYPD officer and then detective, so he is way hardcore and tells it to you straight, and third he talks about the Bible in an incredibly real and understandable way that they totally got and loved. We honestly could not have had a better person there to talk to our kids about the realness of Jesus!

I had my 6th grade girls in a small group for the weekend, and we had the best time together! This was (as it was for a lot of our kids) their first time EVER being away from home overnight, so this weekend was a huge deal right from the beginning! They totally related with tons of things Bill had to say, and came to every cabin time with lots of questions! So good! Saturday night we had the usual “sin talk” with 10 minutes of silence afterwards, and that really hit home with my girls. The first comment I got when we went to cabin time was “I thought I loved God before, but I didn’t really, but now I REALLY love God!” How cool is that? One of the girls, Claudill, went on and on about how good God is, and how much she loves Him! It was so incredibly cool to listen to her child-like faith and just complete love for God, and for the other girls to hear that. Some of my girls have gone through so much crap in their family lives that they really just don’t get what love is, and this weekend I think a lot of them got it.

Now, for the most AMAZING thing of the weekend! Two of the boys I had in my class last year, Anderson and Alex, decided to come to camp at the last minute. You have to understand these two boys: they were honestly the two worst behaved boys I have ever seen in my LIFE! To give you a quick idea, one tried to throw a chair at me last year, and ended up getting expelled, and the other had to be removed from the classroom halfway through the semester because he was just completely uncontrollable. These are two very hard, very broken and hurting boys. They both have experienced things in their life that no child should EVER EVER EVER have to experience, which definitely is why they act the way they do. Here is the amazing part: these two boys ACCEPTED JESUS this weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How incredibly cool is that!!!!! God is SO AMAZING. Also very cool is that these two have a guy leader whom they completely love and trust, that will definitely be a major part of helping guide them on this new walk. SO COOL!

Praise God!!!

Isaiah 44 “I am the FIRST and the LAST; apart from me there is no God. Who then is like me?”

Psalm 105
“Hallelujah! Thank God! Pray to him by name!
Tell everyone you meet what he has done!
Sing him songs, belt out hymns,
translate his wonders into music!
Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs,
you who seek God. Live a happy life!
Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;
be alert for signs of his presence.
Remember the world of wonders he has made,
his miracles, and the verdicts he's rendered—
O seed of Abraham, his servant,
O child of Jacob, his chosen.”

This morning Chris said to us leaders “Our job isn’t to make Christians, it is to make disciples” and I loved that!

2 Chronicles 31:20-21 “Hezekiah carried out this work and kept it up everywhere in Judah. He was the very best—good, right, and true before his God. Everything he took up, whether it had to do with worship in God's Temple or the carrying out of God's Law and Commandments, he did well in a spirit of prayerful worship. He was a great success.”

Thursday, February 10, 2011

WYLD LIFE CAMP THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!! Everyone is SO excited, I feel like I have been talking about it nonstop all week!

This week has been awesome--both in and out of the classroom! This is the first time I have honestly been able to say that in a while. Thank you, Lord!!

Some REALLY funny things have happened this week:
-We have our first classroom “love” happening….definitely has been hilarious to both watch it and hear about it (the girls want to talk about it ALL the time!)
-I saw one of my students outside of school three times this week (we were both riding our bikes!) and he hid from me each time, and today I asked him if he was embarrassed to see me outside of school, and he goes “YESSS, Miss. Stanley, leave me alone!!!” and turned bright red….hahhaha so funny! He is seriously so shy, but is one of my faves!
-Yesterday I was helping one of my girls with her math, I was in the middle of helping her with a problem and she goes “Oh my GOSH, have you been trying to cook again? You really should give that up or get some help!!!” ha! because I have burn marks on my arm from the oven! (They always make fun of me for burning myself)

AWESOME things that have happened this week:

-My WHOLE class is going to camp!
-Christian, who doesn’t want to do ANYTHING but play video games, even yesterday asked me if I thought he should go, and I of course said yes (and was like “WHAT you want to go!?!?!” because every other time I asked him he said no way, he wanted to play video games) and he said “Well yes, Miss, there are other things in life that are more fun than video games!” That coming out of his mouth is honestly a miracle! I think this weekend will be amazing for him.
-One of the girls in my class couldn’t afford to go to camp even with the scholarship, so another girl’s mom is paying for her!!
-Last night instead of Bible study, we had a worship night with a few other Bible studies! Que wonderful!
-Today one of the girls from my class and campaigners group came over after school because she just wanted to hang out with me, Laura and Natale (2 other teachers/WL leaders)! It was so good to just hang out with her,--we made cookies and beaded some earrings! Her mom is never around, so she is always just wanting someone older to talk to her.

I forgot how crazy things get at school around valentines day! All of the kids are super excited, parents are here planning activities, gifts/treats to buy, and kids are all stressed out about their “valentines”. My goodness, I am glad I am not a middle schooler anymore! This did lead to a good discussion about love, though! I read the other day that the words “unfailing love” are in the Bible 33 times, and are only used when talking about God’s love! It is definitely hard for kids to grasp that, but at least good for them to think about! I found this really cool quote: “I feel full with God, He fills the void. I have not one wish, one will, one desire but in Him!”

Back to camp! Prayers would be AWESOME. Please pray for my girls that are going: Claudill, Kaylee, Pamela, Gill and Rosemary, and the boys: Josue, Melanio and Christian. (These are the kids from my class)They have never been to a camp before, they have never really done anything like this in their life! I am so excited for them--I am really praying that they love it, that they really see God in the people they encounter at camp, and that they are going with open hearts! My kids know a lot about God, but I don’t honestly think they really get the relationship factor, so hopefully this weekend they will see that!
Here are some pictures of my kids that are going:
Gill, Kaylee and Claudill

Christian and Melanio

Rosemary, Claudill, Kaylee, Josue and Pamela

They are just the kids from 6th grade, though!
Here is everyone else!
Boys: Josue, Melanio, Moises, Christian,Mohan, Bolivar, Luis, Diego, Steven, Lenny,Allan
Girls: Rosemary,Melly,Gill,Kaylee,Claudil,Hellen,Alejandra C.,Nicole,Leidy,Genesis H.
Eliana,Cristal,Arlenis,Sara L.,Pamela,Gissel,Lois,Jadey,Darielys,Cristin,Emily,Genesis

Prayers Please!!!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This past weekend there was a women’s retreat for all of the missionary women in the DR, and it was so awesome! When we got there, we got assigned to random small groups, and my small group leader happened to be a pastor from a church in Michigan! It was so fun to have a Michigander around. The theme of the retreat was finding our identity completely in Christ. The weekend basically about evaluating how you identify in Christ and what your identity in Christ should mean in your life. SO COOL!

One passage we had to read/evaluate was Isaiah 49:13-16 “Shout for joy, O Heavens, rejoice O Earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has born? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; you are ever before me!” The idea was to put yourself in the verse as Zion. We talked about how God doesn’t just tell us He loves us, He gives us incredibly crazy examples of just how much He loves us! I laugh thinking about it, because I totally pictured God saying “Girl, you think I could forget about you? No way, I didn’t just write your name on my hand, I ENGRAVED it! Do you think a mother could ever forget her child? You can’t even begin to fathom how much I love you!”

Tuesday was Wyld Life! Fun as always--the theme this week was animal club, so we played all animal games. At club, one of my students said to me: “Miss. Stanley, I know you are my teacher, but I hope you are my friend too!” It made me so happy! Those are the little moments I definitely need to keep me going when my kids are driving me crazy! I feel like I am already out of patience…..and it is only February 3! AH!

WYLD LIFE CAMP next weekend!! I am so excited! We did our scholarship workdays and some other kids are doing some random work to help earn money for camp, so hopefully lots will be able to come! Definitely keep praying for kids to come, and if you want to help support any kids in going to camp, let me know! Thanks for all your prayers and support!