Friday, May 27, 2011

This year, I have often found myself getting very discouraged and wondering if the kids at Wyld Life, and at school, listen or care about what we have been sharing (or attempting to!) with them all year! BUT, every time I begin to feel like that, God has seriously shown me some way in which the things I am doing ARE for a purpose! Then, I am always like “okay, this is seriously embarrassing….how many times does God have to prove to me that He is more powerful than I can ever imagine….when am I going to get it?” I was reminded yesterday that as long as I am living my absolute best out of love for God, He will use it! After all, nothing I am going to do or say is going to be perfect anyways! My job is to be all out for Him. That’s the best I can do, I just have to let Him take control, because with HIS intervention is the only way my human attempts to do the right thing can ever be successful!

We had our second to last Wyld Life on Tuesday night--the “final talk” ( we had general “Who is Jesus” talks all year, then the last three weeks were sin talk, cross talk, and then this week was the “Jesus did this for YOU and LOVES YOU” talk! Rachel spoke and did a GREAT job--the kids were really into it! At the end, she gave the kids the opportunity to write a note to Jesus if they wanted to, and throw it into a basket. These are a few of the responses…..

-We do so many sins and you keep on forgiving us! Thank you!
-I love you too, I want to feed your sheep, help me Jesus!
-I love Jesus back with all my heart, soul and mind
-Lord, I just want you to forgive me and love me! I love you and you know!
-Dear Jesus: I love you and I want to go your way. I want to be accepted like a daughter! Show me how to go in your way.
-Jesus, I just want to tell you I love you back. Thanks for everything. I really appreciate that you gave me life!
-Jesus, I love you back and I know I am not perfect and I fall sometimes, but doesn’t matter what happens, know I love you!
-God, I am going through some hard things in my life, but I know you are there for me and watching over me!
-Jesus, I love you and I want to follow you and want YOU to take control of my life."

Seriously, God has been working in these kids' lives! I think the most important thing I have learned this year is this: Ezekiel 2 “Your job is to speak to them. Whether they listen is not your concern. Tell them-This is the Message of God! Speak your piece, whether they listen or not!”

God can do anything, my job is to say the words, and He will take it from there!

I read some sweet things in 1 Timothy this morning….

“The whole point of what we’re urging is simply LOVE-love uncontaminated by self-interest and counterfeit faith, a life open to God.”

“The first thing I want you to do is pray. Pray every way you know how, for everyone you know. Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray-not shaking angry fists at enemies, but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God! Not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions, but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it!”


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Every week, my kids have to write a story to go with their spelling words… is the best one this week:

I acknowledged my ambition to meet Taylor Lautner. Some people exaggerate when they see him. I, on the other hand, will scream or faint! He is so magnificent, good thing he discarded his girlfriend! He was soo cute when Bella trembled and he helped her. Robert Pattinson is so repulsive compared to Taylor Lautner. I deliberately hate him because he thinks he is so hot. He is very conceited. I will have vigorous revenge on Bella if I ever meet her!

Love it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friday my kids had book reports due, and one of my students (Claudill) read a book about a girl changing herself for a boy, and this is what she put at the end of her book report:

That is one thing I have drilled into their minds this year...they for sure needed it! If that is one of the only things that they remember from having me as a teacher, I would totally be happy with that!

On Sunday, we had our annual Kermes fundraiser, which is a carnival the school puts on! It was a lot of work, but so much fun! field games
Josue and Melanio shooting paintball guns
Nicole, Claudill, and Claudill's friend

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We had a birthday themed Wyld Life club last night!

We even had birthday cake!!

Melisa and I are a Dominican wannabe version of Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift for program.....

Just after the talk ended, a transformer blew up and a fire started!! Crazy! The fire department was called.....and never showed! At least before we left to go home! It was raining and the kids said usually they think the rain will put it out, haha!

Overall it was a GREAT club!!! Only 2 more to go before the year is over!
I had such a good teaching day today! We are reading the book "Sounder" and in it the boy's life is changed because a teacher was willing to help him, so the kids did a writing assignment about a teacher or someone who has impacted their life....and some of them wrote about me:) I was feeling really frustrated with teaching this week after all that went down last week, so this was definitely a blessing!!

Rosemary wrote:
My favorite teacher Miss Stanley! You changed my life because you always make me laugh and I feel safe telling you my deepest secret! I don't say because you want me to, I say it because it is true and I mean it! I know sometimes you get mad at me and I get upset, but you will always be my fave teacher:)

Josue (my boy who was involved in the fight last week)
Well, YOU showed me how to behave and listen to what I like and that I don't need to pay attention to what other people think!

I have teachers that change my life. They are Jessica Stanley and Laura Stanley (her 5th grade teacher). They show me how incredible God is. They show me good things about God. I need to say thanks God for giving me these wonderful teachers!
--afterwards she came up to me and asked me if I read it yet, and she said "its so true! before I had you two as teachers, I thought that God was just something big, not that He was like my dad and He loved me!!!" SO AWESOME!!!!!

Yes, definitely the motivation for the attitude adjustment I needed!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

On Thursday, there was a big fight at school involving one of my boys and some of the older boys. It happened to be my boy who is super sensitive and gets made fun of a lot. I am really not sure how much more verbal abuse he can handle from his fellow classmates! It is heartbreaking to see how the constant, outright meanness from other kids is affecting him. I honestly don’t understand how kids can be SO mean! He came up to my classroom a complete mess, kids were punished as a result, but that doesn’t change the affect their words have had on him! It is so sad to watch kids treat each other this way and not feel bad about it, and I feel kind of helpless in this situation! How do you make kids understand the affect of their words?

Friday morning in my class, we focused on just having a time talking about words, and how people are always going to say things, but God will never reject us the way people will. We read Isaiah 43

“ But now, God's Message, the God who made you in the first place, Jacob,
the One who got you started, Israel:
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you.
I've called your name. You're mine.
When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you.
When you're in rough waters, you will not go down.
When you're between a rock and a hard place,
it won't be a dead end—
Because I am God, your personal God,
The Holy of Israel, your Savior.
I paid a huge price for you:
all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in!
That's how much you mean to me!
That's how much I love you!
I'd sell off the whole world to get you back,
trade the creation just for you.

So don't be afraid: I'm with you.
I'll round up all your scattered children,
pull them in from east and west.
I'll send orders north and south:
'Send them back.
Return my sons from distant lands,
my daughters from faraway places.
I want them back, every last one who bears my name,
every man, woman, and child
Whom I created for my glory,
yes, personally formed and made each one.'"
Get the blind and deaf out here and ready—
the blind (though there's nothing wrong with their eyes)
and the deaf (though there's nothing wrong with their ears).
Then get the other nations out here and ready.
Let's see what they have to say about this,
how they account for what's happened.
Let them present their expert witnesses
and make their case;
let them try to convince us what they say is true.
"But you are my witnesses." God's Decree.
"You're my handpicked servant
So that you'll come to know and trust me,
understand both that I am and who I am.
Previous to me there was no such thing as a god,
nor will there be after me.
I, yes I, am God.
I'm the only Savior there is.
I spoke, I saved, I told you what existed
long before these upstart gods appeared on the scene.
And you know it, you're my witnesses,
you're the evidence." God's Decree.
"Yes, I am God.
I've always been God
and I always will be God.
No one can take anything from me.
I make; who can unmake it?"

And listened to JJ Heller “What Love Really Means”

He cries in the corner where nobody sees

He’s the kid with the story no one would believe

He prays every night “Dear God won’t you please...

Could you send someone here who will love me?”

Who will love me for me?

Not for what I have done or what I will become

Who will love me for me?

‘Cause nobody has shown me what love

What love really means, what love really means

Her office is shrinking a little each day

She’s the woman whose husband has run away

She’ll go to the gym after working today

Maybe if she was thinner then he would’ve stayed

And she says…

Who'll love me for me?

Not for what I have done or what I will become

Who will love me for me?

‘Cause nobody has shown me what love

What love really means what love really means

He’s waiting to die as he sits all alone

He’s a man in a cell who regrets what he’s done

He utters a cry from the depths of his soul

“Oh Lord, forgive me. I want to go home”

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside

And it said “I know you’ve murdered

And I know you’ve lied

And I've watched you suffer all of your life

And now that you’re listening I’ll, I'll tell you that I...”

I will love you for you

Not for what you have done or what you will become

I will love you for you

I will give you the love, the love that you never knew

We had SUCH an awesome discussion, there were lots of tears, and I really felt like God was working in that time…it was SO cool! Afterwards, I gave them each a piece of paper and had them write three good things about each person, then later that day I typed up a little note with all of them in it for each person, and gave it to them at the end of the day. It was seriously so cool. They were all shocked at what their fellow classmates had written about them, and were all running around the room saying “Who wrote this!” and “I never knew that”! I have never seen them so happy! It was such a cool time, but I couldn’t help thinking “This is great, but what will happen on Monday….” Life is hard! Being in middle school is hard! It is even hard for me, and I am just the teacher!!

Bible study this week we talked about Shalom, and how it means complete presence of joy, total flourishing in every dimension! If we want to bring shalom, we have to go into the messed up parts of this world, the brokenness needs to be renewed! This is what it means in Isaiah 58 to really seek God--to break every yoke and to set the oppressed free! We have been saved by someone who owes us nothing but rejection, and we need to turn and show that same grace and mercy to others!

What if complete flourishing described the body of Christ here on Earth? This morning at church, we sang "Eres todo mi Dios" (You are My All in All), and I really liked the Spanish translation of that title (it may be just my translation, but thats okay:)) To me, it means You are my everything, God! Good reminder that until God becomes my EVERYTHING, will I be able to experience and bring complete shalom!
Ephesians 5:14
"Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!"

I won't ever be able to bring Shalom unless I am loving the Lord my God with ALL of my heart, ALL of my soul, and All of my strength. Then can I serve others by living for them, loving them, and leading them!

Monday, May 2, 2011

I just had an AMAZING weekend! I went hiking with my friends Leslie and Deanna to Pico Duarte, which is the highest peak in the Caribbean and east of the Mississippi River! It was SUCH a fun weekend just being out in the middle of nowhere, enjoying the mountains, and actually having complete silence for once!

On Friday we drove to the town of La Ciénaga (1,110m) which is at the base of the mountain. Leslie has a friend who is working in this town with the Peace Corps, so he got us all settled with passes and our guide (you are not allowed to hike the mountain without hiring a guide and a mule), and we hung out at his house and got dinner! We stayed the night at base camp, but we got there at like 10pm (too late apparently) and had to stay in this really old building….definitely NOT a good night sleep! It was really gross and dirty, and I woke up constantly throughout the night because we could hear rats running around. Leslie even woke up once because she felt something drop from the ceiling onto her sleeping bag! It was not fun, and we were definitely ready to get out of there!! (This picture is me at Peter's house with some of the homemade weights he made with some boys in his town!! haha!)

Saturday morning we woke up super early to get ready to begin our hike. We hiked 18.1K to La Compartición (2,450m) which is the main camp. It took us about 7 hours, and we were so exhausted by the time we got there! There was a main building where everyone slept, basically just a big room with cement floor, so we quickly claimed some good spots along the wall before we got stuck in the middle! Food preparation was probably the most hilarious thing at Comparticion--we had to cook our food on a fogón, which is just a big pot over the fire. We brought Quinoa and vegetables for dinner, and were getting ready to cook it while all the Dominican guides were in there cooking their dinner as well--and they were so freaked out by what we were cooking! We tried to explain to them how good it is, but they just said it was some weird American food and refused to try it! Finally, we got our guide, Abolito, to try it, and he LOVED it! He even got all the other guides to try some, and they were very impressed! After dinner we made s’mores (substituting Nutella for hersheys chocolate), and forced Abolito to try one of those, and he proceeded to eat 3! Needless to say, he could not make fun of our food any more! We also met these really nice Germans who are a part of the German version of the Peace Corps here, and decided to hike the next morning with them! After dinner, we were SO tired, so we got ready for bed, but when we looked at our watches we realized it was only 7:30!! We went to bed anyways, because we were planning to get up at 3 the next morning to hike to the peak before sunrise!

Sunday morning, we got up in the FREEZING cold (I had on as many layers as possible!) and began our 3:30am hike to the peak. We made it to the top just in time for a beautiful sunrise (totally worth it!) and hiked down as fast as we could to go make a breakfast of oatmeal and coffee over the fire! After our breakfast break we left at 9:40 to hike back down the mountain. Overall, on Sunday we hiked for 12 hours, and covered 18 miles!

The hike to Pico Duarte is usually supposed to be a 3 day hike, but we decided to do it in 2 so that we could have Monday as a rest day, because we have no school on Monday for Dominican Labor Day! Overall the hike was 28.7 miles. We were pretty proud of ourselves, and our guide was definitely impressed!