Adventures in Vietnam

December 1, 2009

— Written by a Teacher in Vietnam —

Aside from having four people throwing up all around me on the bus to and from fellowship yesterday, my month has started off well. I have started a new class, ridden on the back of a motorbike (which was a long time due) and I have received an encouraging email from a student.

Although I still deeply miss my level 9 class, my new level 6 class definitely has potential to take away my sadness. I don’t know if they could ever replace them because each class has it’s unique personality but these new students are very sweet, quiet, but sweet. I don’t know if they don’t understand my instruction sometimes but they have the “stare at your book when a teacher asks a question”, down pat. And I hated when my teachers did this but I have resorted to calling out names. Turns out…they usually know the answer or can read the passage well! They just need some confidence instilled in them and that is my plan for these next few months. Please lift me up. I know with His help I can transform this class and get them out of their quiet bubbles.

Sorry mom and dad, I know you don’t like the motorbikes but really it was the only option. On Wednesday Carolyn and I discovered one of our staff members was a soccer coach and that he had a game the following day. After sending our friend Andrea to the airport, we came back to the apartment and planned to head out the door when we were stopped by a foreign woman in or building who wanted to do laundry….unfortunately we don’t have a quick cycle. To make up for lost time Carolyn and I hopped on motorbikes and headed towards the stadium. Luckily for me, I was the first to arrive at the random stadium, in a random district, without cell minutes. Fortunately, Carolyn called me 15 minutes later and she had been dropped off right up the street from me! She had met up with a girl from or school who had invited us to coffee with the team. After coffee, which had been the pre-party, we all took a ride into our district to get lunch. As we were leaving the coffee shop, I figured I would ride with the girl who I rode there with….now I have to admit, she wasn’t the most confident driver but I trusted that she could get us there. I don’t know if she felt this way too or if she was trying to set me up with a guy from the team, but I ended up riding on the back of a random guy’s motorbike. Whenever we would pull up to another teammate they would always look at me, say something and laugh. I really wish I knew Vietnamese to know if I had just made him the most popular guy on the team or the joke.

When we got to lunch the real celebration began and beer flowed around us everywhere. Assuming that we are like every other American, they poured us half a beer and stuck it in front of us. One girl saw that I wasn’t drinking mine and ordered me another drink. Being the only foreigners and blond foreigners at that, we are constantly reminded that people are always watching us. Showing them that multiple bottles of Sting (a syrupy caffeinated drink) and half a beer was sufficient proves that we are not like the Americans they see on TV. They, on the other hand, consumed more beer than I have ever seen in my life.

The next day was Teacher’s Day! A day that we had heard about, at least a month before. This day is not like Teacher Appreciation week in the states. Yes students bring in presents for their teachers but instead of the school putting a potluck together, all of VATC put a production together. Night classes were canceled so teachers could attend the celebration in District 1. I was a little surprised by the whole night. They had singers and dancers which were fun but everything was in Vietnamese! Yes, I know what country I am in but I assumed that at least some of it would be in English since they were celebrating the teachers working at Vietnamese AMERICAN Training College where we teach the students to speak English. It sounds like I am bitter and I am really not. It was a nice event, it was just tough to follow. Luckily Carolyn had the bright idea to ditch out cushioned teacher’s seats to sit back with the rest of our staff. This made it more entertaining and easier to follow since one of the guys was translating everything for me.

The pink is made up of greeting cards “from our students”. Some students must have written a lot because out of two they were supposed to write, my students maybe filled out one.

Teacher’s Day for me didn’t come with presents from the students but I did get a ceremony and a nice letter from one of my students. Remember how I gave out my email address to my precious level 9 class? Well one of my students had taken down my email and written me a sweet note for Teacher’s Day. She also sent me her blog link that she has written in English! I was so excited to read it but as I was reading it began to tear me up. This girl is such a beautiful and kind girl who always had a sweet smile. I just figured she was a quiet but happy girl. Her blog however, showed that she was having a tough time in high school with friends. If her blog didn’t make me cry then her response to my email definitely did. I wanted to let her know I took the time to read her blog so I wrote to her, trying to send her some encouragement. When she wrote back she told me that I was unlike any teacher she had had before. She said that usually teachers keep their distance from students but that I was different, that I was “special”. As I write it now I am starting to cry. That is why we are here. To show everyone we are different because of the transformation He has made in us.

Days before I had received this email I had cried out to Him, asking Him to change hearts and to open my eyes to His will. If her email doesn’t confirm why I am over here, I don’t know what will. Right now we are writing to each other every day but hopefully that can turn into hanging to as well. Please lift our relationship up. All I want her to see is Him working in me!

The weekend ended with fellowship and an amazing Thanksgiving lunch!

Advertisements

A Day of Service

December 1, 2009

— Written by a Teacher in Vietnam —

Villagers Waiting For Instructions
Today we were invited help some friends who work with Orphan Voice (www.orphanvoice.org) to distribute goods to an area that was hard hit by the recent typhoon. They delivered two truckloads of rice, noodles and blankets to the Quang Ngai District- about 105 Kilometers south of Da Nang.

Getting ready and unloading the trucks.
We started at 6:00am this morning to load 2-tons of rice along with with many many boxes of noodles and blankets. There were many helping hands, so the loading when pretty fast. Around 7:00am, began our three hour van drive to the distribution location.
This woman was so sweet.  She just came up and held Kristen’s hand.
A few weeks ago, Orphan Voice sent a few people down to the area to work with the peoples committee and the local government to develop a criteria for who would receive assistance. Tickets were then distributed to the people in need that would allow them to come and receive a gift on the distribution date. Each household received a 10kg bag of rice, 2 bottles of fish sauce, two blankets, a mosquito net and a box of noodles.
This is what much of the drive looked like.

We arrived at the distribution location in a very rural part of the country. The people were already gathered and waiting. The donations were intended to be a short term response to the damage that the typhoon cause to their village. There was major flooding that destroyed many crops and it will be another 4-months or so before they can begin harvesting again. Also, many of their homes were flooded and all of their belongings washed away.

We were greeted with many different faces. Some looked inquisitive, some sad, some confused, some smiled and some just watched from a distance. All of them were beautiful. A few elderly ladies just walked up and held our hands. Their faces looked so gentle yet so worn.
The children came to see what all the excitement was about.
The distribution process began. Tickets were collected and people received their items. All went quite smoothly. A couple of children discovered the empty boxes from the fish sauce and began collecting them to play with. Every looked pretty happy. We wished we were able to talk with the people.
Boxes make great toys!
It was hard going into an area like that just for a short period of time and delivering goods. It is difficult for me to make sense of the imbalances in the world. They hardly have any belongings or enough food to satisfy their stomachs, yet I am able to write this letter on my computer and in just a few minutes we will meet some friends for dinner where we will be able to eat whatever we want.
I think it made me want to give more of myself. It is great to give a gift – and the people there definitely needed the items they received, but I just longed for a relationship to go along with the giving. Sometimes I think I am afraid that they will only see us as rich, gift-bearing, westerners.  But, I guess there is only so much you can do.  I was thankful for the opportunity to help out.
During the distribution, this lady put the little boy inside of a box.  It was cute.

Entering the Holiday Season

December 1, 2009

— Written by a Teacher in N. Africa —

This Saturday, I was up early and decided to head to our “walmart” to pick up a few random items. I was in no rush, and began wandering around the home section. The first thing I noticed, was about 4 shelves worth of Christmas decorations! I was so excited! There were Christmas lights, tinsel, red and silver balls, and some star like items. I must admit though, my favorite were the “Christmas-like-[N. African]”items. What I mean by that, are things that have nothing to do with Christmas, but are gaudy and shiney enough [N. African] decorations that they can completely pass in the Christmas section. Huge gold dangley seashells, flowers with a big ruby jewels in the middle, and outdoor patio lights that could almost be Christmas lights. But hey, they are trying, right? The next highlight of the Marjan trip, was the appliance section. This year, the big holiday Aid Khabir, is the weekend after Thanksgiving. This is the holiday where [N. African] families purchase a live sheep, and slaughter them, just like Abraham did in the Old Testament. It is a sign of faithfulness and repentence.

In order to properly kill and eat the sheep, you need lots of tools, right? So, now…and this whole week….its your lucky day. On sale, are all sheep killing and eating tools. Knives, bbq grills, skewers, and a whole aisle of rope and saws. Yes, ropes and saws. Above the aisle are huge signs with a picture of a sheep looking over the top of the charcoal grill. Poor sheep doesn’t know whats coming. You know how after Thanksgiving Thursday, Christmas tree shops are popping up on random street corners and gas stations? Well picture the same thing here, only with live sheep. Families go pick it out, bring it home, and take care of it til its time to slaughter it. The bigger the sheep the better. Ahh, nothing says Happy Holiday’s like a little sheep blood and some good ol’ skewer sales.

The Student Becomes the Teacher

November 11, 2009
— Written by a Teacher in Czech Republic —

Ahoj from Prague! I’m now nearly three months into my time here in the Czech Republic, and I feel like I’m changing even more dramatically than the leaves, which paint the landscape in fiery reds and yellows and make the Prague Autumn so stunning.

My work here keeps me very busy. On Mondays and Tuesdays I teach all day at a high school (pictured in the last photo above), and for the rest of the week I tutor individuals in their homes and teach smaller classes all over the city. I also help organize and run English conversation events outside of school, giving my students a chance to come and discuss any topic they like with their “fun” American teachers. It’s a great opportunity to show interest in them personally and get to know them better. I’ve also had the privilege to help some of my students in a practical way with letters of recommendation and by proofreading essays.

 

I’ve gained an overwhelming admiration for teachers these past months. While some cultural adjustments have been more difficult than others (trying to learn a bit of Czech has been no cakewalk), teaching has been my biggest challenge by far. I never imagined the amount of preparation and creativity required for every good lesson. I confess I’m learning far more than I’m teaching.

 

However, it’s been such a delight to get to know my students. The unique individuality of each one makes me so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives. I regularly assign journal entries in order to get the students to think critically, to imagine, and explore new ideas (qualities that aren’t highly valued in this education system). One of my recent topics was “What is your dream job?”, and I was shocked to discover their skepticism about the plausibility of their dreams becoming reality. If nothing else, I want to be the one person to uplift them and encourage them to strive for what they are passionate about. Another topic I used was, “One day to live.” The students had to describe how they would spend their final day on earth, the idea being to get them to think about what is most important to them. In their responses, I could see a yearning for deeper meaning and purpose in life.

 

I’ve found a wonderful church community out here (mainly expats), which has blessed me immeasurably and helped sustain me during hard times. They’ve even given me the opportunity to be involved in praise and worship. We meet in a train station, and our little room is more crowded every week.

 

Pray for us this weekend, we are hosting a Thanksgiving feast for over 30 teachers from the program here at our flat on Saturday. I’m not even sure how we’ll fit them all in here, but it promises to be a great time of fellowship.

The Student Becomes the Teacher

Ahoj from Prague! I hope this long-overdue update finds all of you well.  I’m now nearly three months into my time here in the Czech Republic, and I feel like I’m changing even more dramatically than the leaves, which paint the landscape in fiery reds and yellows and make the Prague Autumn so stunning.

My work here keeps me very busy. On Mondays and Tuesdays I teach all day at a high school (pictured in the last photo above), and for the rest of the week I tutor individuals in their homes and teach smaller classes all over the city. I also help organize and run English conversation events outside of school, giving my students a chance to come and discuss any topic they like with their “fun” American teachers. It’s a great opportunity to show interest in them personally and get to know them better. I’ve also had the privilege to help some of my students in a practical way with letters of recommendation and by proofreading essays.

 

I’ve gained an overwhelming admiration for teachers these past months. While some cultural adjustments have been more difficult than others (trying to learn a bit of Czech has been no cakewalk), teaching has been my biggest challenge by far. I never imagined the amount of preparation and creativity required for every good lesson. I confess I’m learning far more than I’m teaching.

 

However, it’s been such a delight to get to know my students. The unique individuality of each one makes me so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives. I regularly assign journal entries in order to get the students to think critically, to imagine, and explore new ideas (qualities that aren’t highly valued in this education system). One of my recent topics was “What is your dream job?”, and I was shocked to discover their skepticism about the plausibility of their dreams becoming reality. If nothing else, I want to be the one person to uplift them and encourage them to strive for what they are passionate about. Another topic I used was, “One day to live.” The students had to describe how they would spend their final day on earth, the idea being to get them to think about what is most important to them. In their responses, I could see a yearning for deeper meaning and purpose in life.

 

I’ve found a wonderful church community out here (mainly expats), which has blessed me immeasurably and helped sustain me during hard times. They’ve even given me the opportunity to be involved in praise and worship. We meet in a train station, and our little room is more crowded every week.

 

Pray for us this weekend, we are hosting a Thanksgiving feast for over 30 teachers from the program here at our flat on Saturday. I’m not even sure how we’ll fit them all in here, but it promises to be a great time of fellowship.

 

I do apologize for how long it has been since I’ve written. A little over a month ago, my computer completely stopped working, and for the time that I didn’t have one I felt completely disconnected from the world. I know that God was using the experience to remind me of His presence. I now have a brilliant new laptop and you will be hearing from me more often! As always, I can’t express how thankful I am to all of you for your incredibly generous support. Please feel free to write or leave a comment.

 

In Christ,

 

Richard

The Student Becomes the Teacher

Ahoj from Prague! I hope this long-overdue update finds all of you well.  I’m now nearly three months into my time here in the Czech Republic, and I feel like I’m changing even more dramatically than the leaves, which paint the landscape in fiery reds and yellows and make the Prague Autumn so stunning.

My work here keeps me very busy. On Mondays and Tuesdays I teach all day at a high school (pictured in the last photo above), and for the rest of the week I tutor individuals in their homes and teach smaller classes all over the city. I also help organize and run English conversation events outside of school, giving my students a chance to come and discuss any topic they like with their “fun” American teachers. It’s a great opportunity to show interest in them personally and get to know them better. I’ve also had the privilege to help some of my students in a practical way with letters of recommendation and by proofreading essays.

 

I’ve gained an overwhelming admiration for teachers these past months. While some cultural adjustments have been more difficult than others (trying to learn a bit of Czech has been no cakewalk), teaching has been my biggest challenge by far. I never imagined the amount of preparation and creativity required for every good lesson. I confess I’m learning far more than I’m teaching.

 

However, it’s been such a delight to get to know my students. The unique individuality of each one makes me so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives. I regularly assign journal entries in order to get the students to think critically, to imagine, and explore new ideas (qualities that aren’t highly valued in this education system). One of my recent topics was “What is your dream job?”, and I was shocked to discover their skepticism about the plausibility of their dreams becoming reality. If nothing else, I want to be the one person to uplift them and encourage them to strive for what they are passionate about. Another topic I used was, “One day to live.” The students had to describe how they would spend their final day on earth, the idea being to get them to think about what is most important to them. In their responses, I could see a yearning for deeper meaning and purpose in life.

 

I’ve found a wonderful church community out here (mainly expats), which has blessed me immeasurably and helped sustain me during hard times. They’ve even given me the opportunity to be involved in praise and worship. We meet in a train station, and our little room is more crowded every week.

 

Pray for us this weekend, we are hosting a Thanksgiving feast for over 30 teachers from the program here at our flat on Saturday. I’m not even sure how we’ll fit them all in here, but it promises to be a great time of fellowship.

 

I do apologize for how long it has been since I’ve written. A little over a month ago, my computer completely stopped working, and for the time that I didn’t have one I felt completely disconnected from the world. I know that God was using the experience to remind me of His presence. I now have a brilliant new laptop and you will be hearing from me more often! As always, I can’t express how thankful I am to all of you for your incredibly generous support. Please feel free to write or leave a comment.

 

In Christ,

 

Richard

A View from the Top

November 4, 2009

— Written by a Teacher in Russia —

Since coming to Russia, I have found myself hooked to the television show, “Criminal Minds.” We have all four seasons on DVD and it has become a nightly routine to make dinner and watch a couple episodes. I highly recommend this show, but let me warn you…it goes to your head. I have had several dreams where I am tracking down bad guys or caught in a crossfire. One night we were walking to the guys’ flat and we saw a laser pointer shining on the wall in front of us and I was sure it was a sniper. My heart literally started beating faster and I prayed that God would protect us. Just on Monday there was a man working on the roof of the building across from us, and I thought I should get a good look at his face so I could describe him to the police in case he was actually planting bombs up there. Ridiculous.

But the other night I made a startling realization. As I was sitting in my green chair, enjoying the show, a bit of dread started to creep up on me as I thought of the long day of teaching that awaited me in the morning. So I told myself, “Don’t worry. You just need to make it through the day and by this time tomorrow you will be back in this chair.” Whoa. That is a scary way of thinking. Snap out of it, girlfriend.

Here is the problem. I didn’t move to Russia to sit in a green chair and watch American television.
I’ve been here a month and only now am I really starting to experience moments of homesickness. And this homesickness… it’s not even a feeling of wanting to return home, it’s just a feeling of wanting things to feel comfortable and normal. I so admire people who thrive in the face of change, adventure, and the unknown. I am not one of these people. I can continue on, but I am aware of the effort it takes to advance each step of the journey. Unfortunately, transitions and change are not easy roads for me.

Currently, I am missing fall in the northwest. I miss changing leaves, scarves, friends, family, and coffee shop chats. I find I am craving all things cozy. More than that, I am craving things that seem familiar, comfortable, and safe. I want to be in a place where I can understand and be understood…the first time. I long to not worry about getting lost, or doing the wrong thing, or making a fool of myself. Truth is, I don’t consciously worry about these things but I feel my mind and soul relax the moment I walk through the door of my flat and I can stop trying so hard. Perhaps that is why my green chair and “Criminal Minds” have become my place of refuge. It’s on days like these when things seem too difficult, I find myself longing for home; for time spent with family and friends, perhaps over a cup of coffee in familiar surroundings. I long for such things not because they seem better, but sometimes when you’re tired, and cold, and a little bit lonely, they just seem easier.

I guess such obstacles are to be expected and hear me out-I’m not complaining. What good is an easy adventure? Where are the lessons, sense of accomplishment, and growth in walking a paved, flat, clearly marked trail? I’m not asking for easy. Give me a mountain and let me climb. Let me work, and try, and sweat, and cry, just so long as I know there is purpose in the pain and effort. And I know there is. I suspect the view from the top will be the most beautiful I’ve witnessed so far. So thank you, God for this mountain. Give me strength to continue to climb when all I want is a break from the trying. And when I fall, help me to fall back on you.

I’m a Teacher!

October 21, 2009

—Written by a teacher in Czech Republic—

I made it through the first two weeks of teaching!
This picture is of the “House Sorting Ceremony.” It’s just like Harry Potter for little kids! (Ok… maybe not just like Harry Potter–there’s no sorting hat.)

I’m really enjoying my students and the school. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to teach little kids, but I kind of fell into it (God knows the course of our lives so much better than we do, huh?) I can’t even describe how much of a blessing it’s been to work where I am!

God’s been teaching me so much about His heart lately. He’s woken me up in the middle of the night almost every night for the past two weeks with new aspects of His character. Tonight He woke me up teaching me about truly praising and worshiping Him. Then I had a dream of Him pointing me to Matthew 12. So, I got up and read it. I came across the same verse I had been pondering on all day, except it was in a different place in the Bible! G-d is so good!
“I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices”
Matthew 12:7; Hosea 6:6
I don’t need to feel guilty because I’m not “doing enough” for God’s kingdom here. My job is not to “save the world.” (These quotes are my own thoughts of inadequacy) I’m just to honor God, obey Him, and love Him. He’ll lead me to the people that need to hear His word and the places where I should go. I need to be less worried about the sacrifices and the works, and more focused on seeking after Him first.

Things are definitely starting to pick up and I’m meeting new people-Czech, American, Hungarian, etc.! I know I’ve been here over a month, but it feels like just a blink of an eye!
Winter’s around the corner, so keep me in your prayers! I’m just a Georgia Peach!

Christmas Miracles

December 19, 2008

— Written by a Teacher in Hungary —

My 10D English class

So… continues my journey here. Between all the people I’m meeting here, and new relationships, I’ve been a bit distracted by all the fun, trips and parties, especially at Christmastime, from what I came over here to do. And, I continue to ask God daily, if He’ll work through me inspite of myself, and my lack of focus. And this is what He is doing:
I have a class of all girls, that I truly believe to be a handpicked group from God. These girls go CRAZY when they see me, and class always ends up being photo with Miss Teacher time. I have no idea what I did to get them to like me so much, but they do. So, a few weeks ago, these two twins did not show up. And when I asked their friends where they were, they said, “oh, at home, bad family.” Come to learn, their mom is an alcoholic and there’s a lot going on there. So, I wrote them a little card, my friend translated it, telling them I was praying for them and their family, reminding them that God loved them. And when they came back they had their own card, thanking me for the prayers, as “this all feels good to us and helps us in our faith”. Wow. Then, the girls of the class ended up giving me a pillowcase with a huge blown up picture of me and the girls, saying, “Love 4ever” That was the bomb.
Then there’s Briggi. Briggi came to me for extra help in English, and I agreed to tutor her. As we were talking about the holidays, I came to found out that she was struggling with some issues that I had a lot of experience dealing with. I told her if she ever wanted to talk, that I would listen, cause I really do understand. And she said, thanks, and Merry Christmas, and I went on my way. A few minutes later, she stopped by the teacher room, and asked if we could go to lunch after we get back from the break.
God is great. He is moving, and calling His people back to Him. He is just pouring girls into my lap, and I am asking for your prayers, that I would be able to be Jesus to them. I am praying, that God, inspite of my problems and lack of discipline, can still use me. And if not, that He would use somebody. I think it’s so great, how He sets up ministry appointments in the times that are the least likely. I know that that’s how God works, but I am surprised everytime.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

December 19, 2008

— Written by a Teacher in Czech Republic —

I have to say it really is shocking to me how Christmas suddenly snuck up on me. For some reason it seems to have arrived really quickly. I thought I was doing okay for time, and then realized that it was already too late for me to send packages that would arrive to the states before the actual holiday. Now we’re down to one week to the Christmas party, and then the holiday will be upon me.
The snow showed up out of nowhere too. Yesterday on my way in to work there were a few random flakes falling and by the time I got to work they were absolutely huge. It snowed on and off yesterday, leaving us with a fluffy glaze all over everything. I didn’t get pictures of it, but the manger scene is looking very festive with it’s covering of snow. Here’s a shot of it pre-snow last week.

I’m really quite impressed that they have real sheep, but must confess I feel really bad for them as they’re just sleeping in that little house all night long. It can’t be more than 4′ square if even that. They don’t seem overly perturbed, but I don’t think I’d be too thrilled by those dimensions.
The little market in Cheb continues to run in front of the sheep pen. There are about a dozen little huts set up, and they rotate their goods on a daily basis. I keep walking through to check things out, but have managed not to spend much money there. It’s just nice to have around. Makes everything feel a bit more festive.
So this entry isn’t really going to be about a whole lot. It’s the end of another week, and I just felt like I should post something as Christmas is so rapidly approaching. Laura has been sick all week. I feel really bad for her. Fortunately she works at a well staffed school, and was therefore able to stay home and get the rest she needs to get healthy.
I’m going to close this tonight with some pictures I took on my walk back from work this evening. Cheb really can be pretty spectacular every now and again. Good to remember that.

Nine weeks in…

November 3, 2008

— Written by a Teacher in Russia —

It has been NINE WEEKS since I arrived in St. Petersburg.  This milestone has special meaning to me.  It marks the longest time that I have been outside the USA.  The last time I was out of the country for more than a couple of weeks was the summer of 1986.  I spent seven weeks in Amsterdam and one week in Frankfurt during a college summer missions trip.

A lot has changed in nine weeks.  Today, dawn was at 8:15 AM with darkness by 7:00 PM.  In eight more weeks it will be dawn at 9:15 AM and dusk or dark no later than 4:50 PM.  Think Alaska!

Sunshine is scarce and it rains a lot.  It is also humid/damp here with humidity always above 80%, usually above 90%.  Think Seattle or Portland, but in a few weeks it will be MUCH colder.

A couple of weeks ago, six girls from one of my management classes took me to the Russian Museum.  The paintings and sculpture are spectacular!  I plan on a minimum of one monthly trip  to the Hermitage beginning in November as well as going on other museum adventures.  There are so many to visit.

I am still settling in.  Teaching is becoming enjoyable and I am looking forward to many more opportunities to spend time with my students outside of the classroom.

The Internet is FINALLY available consistently and I am keeping up with all of the US election and economic news.  The silver lining for me is that the dollar is substantially stronger against the Ruble and the Euro than when I arrived.

The Salt Lake Tribune, NPR, CNN and FOX are never far away.  I am also keeping up with college football.  Go UTES!

God working through Teachers

November 3, 2008

— Written by a Teacher in Hungary —

So, just for the record, this past week has been really great. Lots of affirming people have come my way, as well as those from the States…. it’s actually been quite fun! I met some new people, and am getting to know them… it’s been great! yesterday, I was off, and enjoyed sleeping in, and cleaning my room!

Well, today, i got to school, and was quite tired… However, I went through the motions in my first few classes, especially after being told I was getting more classes ( I don’t mind at all, it’s just the fact that I was simply being stuck in made up teaching slots, with more beginners… as well as a few made classes, simply to put on paper that I’m teaching enough… Hungary…)

Anywho, I went to my last class of the day, a rather advanced class… We were going over an article on women’s roles, etc., and one of the vocab words that came up was “residential”. I explained what residential meant, and explained that my neighborhood is residential. This, for some reason, sparked a question from a student, who asked, “How is it living here?” I vaguely answered, “it’s good”. To which he asked, “is it true that teachers in America make 10 times as much as teachers here in Hungary?” I told him that I was paid less than a teacher at my last job, and I was paid 7 times as much in the states than I am in Hungary. They all were like “Whoa! Why did you come here?!”

I paused. I almost gave the blanket answer “cause money is not important to me.” and I got really nervous, cause I knew that they might not understand what I was gonna say, but that I came all the way over here for an opportunity like this…

So I told them. “First off, I’m a Christian. And being a Christian means that my life is about God. Whatever He wants.” And I proceeded to tell them that I prayed, and felt God telling me to move over here… I explained that it’s not about money, and that as a Christian, I felt called to go where others didn’t want to go, and to help those who needed it, not always those who could afford it. I mean, I didn’t get into the Roman Road or anything… there was no altar call at the end to “just as I am”, nor did I draw on the board a stick figure of me, across a chasm from God, with JESUS as the bridge…. but it was awesome that I got to tell them just Who I belong to and why I do the things I do. I thank God, that these things do come up…it’s all Him, and it’s all an answer to prayer. Please pray for that class, 12A, that God will use today to plant a seed, a seed of curiosity or hope, and will continue to water that seed to fruition…. Pray for [my students], that what they heard today is the beginning of something new in their lives. This class, actually, I’ve gotten papers back from them, on themselves and their family, and learned that most of them do not believe in God, if any. So, I thank God that this came up in this class….

pray that this continues to come up in this class, as well as other classes. Pray for teachable moments, and seeds to be planted and watered…. God is Good!!! In the midst of a school that frustrates me with their insane policies, God is working. PTL.