House of Hope
English, Encouragement, Empathy
Woah, it's crazy to think that I am back in Panama writing to y'all about all the things that happened in Indonesia. I can't thank you enough for your prayers and partnership during this missions trip. It truly was a wonderful 3 ½ weeks. I could see the Lord moving and working. There were three important things that happened on this trip. First, on the outside, God had me invest in them through English. It is a wonderful thing to help them learn a language that is greatly coveted in that part of the world. The English language opens up many opportunities that we westerners don't really have to seek out. The second is encouragement. These kids have a very short list of people who believe in them, who genuinely want to see them grow, and who care about their spiritual well-being. Mix this with empathy, the third important thing, and you have the perfect recipe to meet a person at a heart level. They have some tragic stories, ones that will cause you to cry along with them, but you can also rise with them in their hope and in whom it is. Sometimes we are seed planters and my hope is that some planting happened. From my angle, there was a lot of watering. The ground in some was very dry. It was a humbling experience to pour out Christ. I had to seek Him earnestly in this trip to be able to pour out, but He was more than willing to be there at every moment. He was faithful to do all that He's told me in scripture that He would.
English, English, and More English!
I had the privilege to work with 10 conversation groups in English each week. I was able to meet up with a few groups twice a week, but mostly just once a week for an hour to an hour and a half. I also had one Spanish conversation group, and oddly enough one group that wanted to learn Mandarin. While I felt awkward "teaching" Mandarin, (I'm very much a beginner myself) I was happy to share the bits that I knew. The whole purpose was to boost confidence in their speaking, iron out any grammar mistakes that we could, and kindle a passion for language learning. So 12 language groups total! It was a great time:) To the right you will see one group of my kiddos. They are holding up little monsters they drew. To practice our listening skills, numbers, and parts of the body in an interactive way; I had them draw a monster I described. They were very proud of themselves in this picture!
In addition to the small groups, I also went to the Christian school they have there and worked with the English teachers. We went through an ESL workshop. This workshop was to bolster the teachers effectiveness in teaching English in class. We discussed a wide variety of topics like classroom management, language learning challenges, making the learning process more fun, lesson planning, and how to continue sharpening our own English. It was a very productive time!
I could really see God's timing in this trip. The school is in a remote part of the island of Kupang. If a teacher can't teach for some reason, then either another teacher from that school will have to cover that class, or there simply isn't a teacher. It's hard enough to find English teachers, but you can't just "bring in" a substitute for the day. While I was there one of the English teachers, Gibson, got married:). I was able to help cover a few of his classes. Later on during my stay another English teacher, Yuges, was unfortunately in a motorcycle accident. I was able to cover a couple of her classes before my departure. I'm happy to say that Yuges is doing much better and able to be back in school. This is just a portion of all that I witnessed God doing during my time in Kupang. His detail amazes me!
Daily Chores and Weekly Outreach
You might be wondering what I did when I wasn't teaching English, great question:). When in Rome...or Indonesia in this case, do as the Indonesians do! I worked with them in their garden, helped from time to time in the kitchen (pic on the left), participated with them in their outreach food program (pic below), went to their small group meetings, hung out with them in their free time, played soccer with them..simply listen to them share their stories. There was always something to do!
There are many stories that happened along the way that are difficult to fit into one newsletter. I hope during my next visit to the States to get to sit down and share with you the many neat things that the Lord is doing in Indonesia. Thank you so much for your continued partnership and making what I do possible! I hope to make a picture video soon, to share a bit more of what life was like there.
I ask for your continued prayers as I am now back in Panama, but leaving once more this Friday to translate for a missions team in Guatemala. I will be there Nov 1st -9th. Gracias nuevamente!