Sunday, October 21, 2012


We have survived another week here in Guatemala! Rainy season is ending and I didn't think it was possible to have even more beautiful weather. We only saw rain once or twice this week. We have brisk, chilly mornings and evenings and then warm gorgeous afternoons. I miss the coming of fall and for the first time I'm grateful that Texas has even small seasonal changes, because here there are none. I'm missing pumpkins and the fall colors taking over the city. It's really weird seeing Christmas trees and decorations in stores already. I forget that time is passing while I'm here and life is going on at home without me. I left during 100+ degree summer and will be returning to cold Austin ready to go to Christmas Eve is very strange. Although there are so many things I miss and can't wait to do again when I return to Texas,  I wouldn't trade my life here right now for anything.

God is moving in huge ways in my school and even more specifically in my class. This week we started having prayer time as a class for about ten minutes at the end of the day. The kids love it (of course, they're not doing work) and it has really created a loving, compassion-filled environment. I enjoy just stopping at school and focusing on what God is doing during the day while I'm at work with my kiddos. We have been praying for each other and we've been learning how to honor God before asking for blessings. This is such an incredible moment--hearing eight years olds thank God for being mighty to save and being so thankful that Jesus died for their sins. I thank God for these times and pray that we will all benefit from it continually for the rest of the year.

Third grade representin at Chapel.
My class is such a blessing to me. On those days that life is really difficult or they are driving crazy, I have the privilege of turning on some worship music and listening to my kids worship our Savior while they work. I am so grateful to be at a Christian school where we can shamelessly worship a huge God. It's so cool that Americans, Guatemalans, and children from so many backgrounds can come to the same classroom and sing together while they're learning.

My class did a fantastic job of leading Chapel again this week. They are very confident and brilliant singers. They love spending that time to worship and I just love hearing their voices every week.

My students leading elementary Chapel.
Last night, my friends and I participated in a very Latin American cultural event. We attended our first soccer game. We rooted for our local soccer team, Los Superchivos (Super goats)! This was a very interesting, yet hilarious experience. I went to Texas A&M so I know enthusiasm in sports, but this was comically different--people throwing trash on the field, men urinating on the wall ten feet from our seats, fireworks being exploded a little too close for comfort, learning all kinds of Spanish vocabulary that we probably wouldn't learn anywhere else. We had a lot of fun in our new jerseys as the white people represented the Supergoats.

Kendra, Liz, and I in our Superchivos jerseys.
This would be the equivalent of the student section=craziness.
I am very grateful for some relaxing time the next couple weekends. We are heading to Tapachula, Mexico next weekend for a completely paid trip to get our passports stamped. We will be doing some shopping, going to the beach, and enjoying some shorts weather. Then we head to El Salvador for a four-day getaway the next weekend. Definitely looking forward to some much needed relaxing time. Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for my kids and my relationship with them. That I would model love and patience with them. Love you all and see you Austinites in two months from yesterday!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fall in Xela

Hello everyone! I miss you all and I miss the traditions that fall bring. Mostly Texas A&M football, especially since we're doing so well! Who knew...

This week was so great. I find myself saying at the beginning of every week, "If I can just get through this week, it'll be less busy next week." Lies--that has yet to happen. Each week brings new craziness and joys. I would not trade any of it though. I am daily reminded of how huge our God is and that He is my source of life, energy, and joy.

 This last Wednesday the school's student council put on an event called Silly Skit Night. This was a fundraiser for our Spiritual Emphasis Week that we will be having next semester. I had the honor of being the elementary school judge representative. We saw skits from first grade all the way up to the teachers. We had a great time with students, parents, and colleagues. It's so great to be in a school community where we can be silly and laugh together. Even where the teachers can put on skits dressed as a boy band or an 80s work out video and still have the respect of their students and their parents.

The judges. Ready to judge.

The sweet 1st graders doing their skit.

Second grade girls. Girls just wanna have fun!

The winners! The 9th graders. So painfully awkward--hilarious.

Girl teachers.

Boy teachers.

This week unfortunately ended with me being sick. Thank you Lord that it didn't seem to be anything food-related. It seemed to be just a yuck fever, flu-thing. Please pray for continued healing and that being sick will have taught me to REST. It was difficult missing the last day of the quarter and I feel very behind. Please also pray that I would prioritize well and realize that I am responsible for taking care of myself. Pray that I would put my need for perfectionism at the feet of Jesus and leave it there.

I woke up to an earthquake this morning! That was kinda crazy. Definitely not in Texas any more...

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. This week marks almost exactly halfway til Christmas. I can't believe how fast it's going. I am looking forward to spending the holidays with my family and eating some MEXICAN FOOD! Hugs :)


Sunday, October 7, 2012

I am blessed is an understatement

Hello everyone! I AM in fact still alive and well. I'm sorry it has been so long. It's been a crazy few weeks. Life is so good! We are finishing up the first quarter of school! The first round of report cards and parent teacher conferences are this crazy how far into the year we are. We're almost halfway to coming home for Christmas break! So much has happened these last few weeks that I'm gonna do bulleted-style blog this week.

1. These last few weeks have been really spiritually heavy in the classroom with my students. I prayed for deeper connections with my students at Bible study on a Monday night, and the very next morning a student came in and sobbed on my shoulder for five minutes. I have a student going through such a hard time and he is carrying such heavy burdens on his little shoulders. I cried and prayed with him. As heartbreaking as that moment was, I was so grateful for that moment and the reminder of why I'm here.

2. Last week, we had a bit of a dramatic occurrence in third grade. My students come from difficult homes where life is not always easy. We have an issue with getting along and loving each other, but who doesn't? It reached a point that I broke down in the office, not knowing what to do. I returned to my classroom and cried in front of my students for a while telling them how frustrated I am that they are so hurtful to each other. Needless to say, I made all of them cry. There were tissues everywhere and sniffling students. They wrote me apology notes and we are all going to work on loving each other better. Please pray for me to be an excellent role model of servanthood and love in my classroom. Pray that I would have time and energy to spend time teaching them what it looks like to love and to incorporate it well with God's Word.

Had a huge stack of these.

3. My students like to do something called "hug attacks." This is exactly what it sounds like. They run at full speed to hug me and the goal is to knock me over. They are very dangerous, but I'm always laughing too hard for me to tell them to stop. I secretly love hug attacks.

They are so weird.
4. It has been my students' #1 goal to guess my age this year. This is the most hysterical thing ever. I've gotten everything from 15-40 years old. I told them I was 100 and although they don't believe me, one of my students pointed out that I was born the year the Titanic sunk! Another student concluded that I'm a vampire because I won't be honest about my age. They also say I'm a sinner because I won't tell the truth.

5. My craziest student likes to do something called a Waffle dance. Everybody knows about it but me. He has informed me that he'll show me the dance when I tell him how old I am.

There have been many a recess trying to build a pyramid.
6. I have been so blessed by the Bible studies I have been attending! The women staff Bible study has been so great and encouraging. It's wonderful going through the same things in life with a solid group of girls. It's also really fun to get to spend time with some high school students.

7. Last week, it was my turn to do Chapel for the elementary students. We had a blast. We talked about the Sermon on the Mount and more specifically the Beatitudes. We also talked about being the light of the world and shining brightly in a dark world. The kiddos sang Kari Jobe's "We Are" so loud. Such beautiful voices :)

8. Last weekend, my friends and I visited the city of Totonicapan. We had a great time and we fit a lot into our day trip. We climbed a mountain and hung at the most beautiful waterfall. Toto was a bit crazy because of their local fair, so it was absolute madness in most of the city. Some of the highlights were getting squeezed into a crowd at the fair by small indigenous women, being on a bus with 130+ people and a drunk teenager being dragged on by his friends through the already packed aisle. The best part was getting to hang out with this wonderful family who lived in a little village in the city. We spent time playing intense hide and seek in corn fields. My heart was filled by this time so much. It felt like my trips to the Dominican Republic in high school, and we all decided we will be making monthly trips to Toto to visit these kids :)

The gang at the beautiful water fall.
9. Monday October 1 was International Children's Day. I was invited to my class' party after school. There were pinatas and games and face painting--it was crazy. It was really fun getting to hang out with my students outside of school and hearing them speak Spanish with their parents and siblings. The weirdest part was actually sitting with the moms and talking with them. It was so great but I am not quite used to being an adult just yet. I wanted to go play with the kids! The kids bought me flowers and all signed a card for me for this event as well. They were very grateful that I moved here and am teaching them. I am blessed is an understatement.

Waiting in line for the pinata.

Showing off their pinata prizes.

Thank you for your prayers and for reading. I am missing my family and friends greatly, but I am so blessed to be serving here. Please pray that I will serve and love well and will not grow wearing doing so. ALSO, my kiddos have started a class blog please please please read it and comment on it. They are super excited to tell you about their class, their school, and their culture. They are writing it all by themselves. Another post will be up tomorrow. Here's the link IAS Third Grade