Saturday, May 21, 2016
Yesterday was crazy! But also amazing! I went to the bilingual school to meet all of the students that I will be helping with English. The school is small but the course work is definitely challenging and these students are very intelligent! I basically shadowed Aline around for most of the day.
First we went to the secondary students. The school system is much much different here so the grades are not the same. But these students were in ninth grade; their final year in school. Aline had to go talk with another teacher so she left me in charge of her class. Honestly I had no idea what to do with all these students and internally I was hardcore panicking. So I had them get out their books and read to me. Their ability to read in English is phenomenal. It’s a true testament to how hard they work and how much work the teachers invest in these students. After they read they asked me all sorts of questions and couldn’t believe I am actually 21. They proceeded to tell me all the food I have to eat while I am here. So then they got into groups to work on English projects about grammar. As I walked around the groups answering questions, unfortunately some of the students realized that I know little to no Spanish. They would be talking and one of them would look at me and ask, “Do you know what we just said?” I only responded with, “Miss Aline said to only speak in English.” But honestly I had no idea what they were saying and just hoped it wasn’t bad, or about me, or both.
Once Aline’s class with them was over we went to third grade. The second we stepped in the door they all flipped out. It was, “A new teacher!” “Are you from America?” “What’s your name?” being shouted in a mix of Spanish and English. And sitting down to their height was a mistake. Have you ever had 20+ kids surrounding you, poking you to get your attention, all the while shouting in English and in Spanish? Probably not. But I did on two separate occasions yesterday and this was the first. I wish I had it on video so I could have seen my face. By the time I could process what one student was saying another one would already be in my face. A bunch of them kept randomly hugging me and that was adorable. But then Aline left me alone with them too! While she was gone they were conducting science experiments for me. They all wanted my attention at the same time and I don’t think my brain has ever felt more scattered and overwhelmed. I was also fascinated by these kids. And slightly jealous at their ability to switch back and forth between Spanish and English. But I almost think they were as fascinated by me as I was them. They all had so much energy and were so excited to learn and especially to learn from someone new and very different from them. Once Aline returned I went on to the Preschool class.
Preschool consisted of 5 and 6 year olds. This would be where the second wave of kids surrounding me, shouting at me, and poking me occurred. The only problem here was that none of the kids were speaking English so all the rapid-fire questions were in Spanish and my mind couldn’t translate fast enough. If I could focus on just one student long enough to hear their question I would answer in English and most of the time they understood what I was saying but occasionally I would have to figure out how to respond in Spanish. There were a few kids who walked away disappointed because I simply had no idea what they were saying. But that didn’t stop them from coming right back up with another question ten seconds later. It was a whirlwind of madness and awesomeness all at once.
I’m not sure exactly what it was about those little kids but being around them was really something special. They were so full of joy and happiness and it was contagious. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to work with them this Summer. I know they will likely be more of a blessing to me than I am to them. Either way, I and those kids can both learn a lot from each other.
Last night we went to a prayer meeting where, again, everything was in Spanish. However, I was able to have a successful, simple conversation with one woman who was also part of the ladies meeting earlier this week, Rosa. Still yet everyone there was extremely kind and welcoming to me and I feel so loved by these people. They are a perfect example of how the love of God knows no boundaries or barriers.
This morning Mark and Serena were hosting the Theological Education class so they told me that I could sleep in. I was so pumped! But I woke up at 7:30. So like anyone I stayed in bed for another hour to take full advantage of “sleeping in.” When I finally ventured downstairs they had breakfast waiting on the table for me.
I think it’s time that I take a moment to say how phenomenal Mark and Serena Dunbar have been. They have taken me in as their daughter for the summer. They have done everything they possibly can to make me feel comfortable and at home. They are so giving and kind and I could not have asked for anyone better to spend my time in Saltillo with!
During the class Serena and I made lunch for everyone. Yeah we cook a lot. And the class ended at 4:00pm. Aline Vargas is in the class and she wanted to hear me play a song on the keyboard that she gave me. So I excitedly ran upstairs to bring it down. Now normally I am hesitant to play in front of people, let alone sing as well. But for some reason I began playing “It is Well” by Bethel Music and sang along without giving it a second thought. When I got to the chorus Aline, who had been standing right next to me the entire time, began to sing along with me. In English nonetheless. So there we were, two people who struggled to communicate half the time, worshipping God together in the same way. In that very moment I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit more powerfully and more prevalent that I have this whole week. It’s moments like those that are truly something beautiful. It’s moments like those that God provides affirmation that I am in His will. It’s moments like those that God reminds me that He gave me the gift of music to use for Him. It’s moments like those that make all of the nerves and anxiety and months of fundraising worth it. Ant it’s moments like those that represent how good and faithful God is to His children and how rewarding work for God actually is.