Sunday, September 6, 2009

6 Weeks In

It is hard to believe that we are starting our 6th week of school this week. It had been both challenging and rewarding. The classes have been going well. I feel that most of the kids have been really responsive to me, but I definitely have a few more to win over with each grade being a bit different. There are also a few kids that I feel like I am really getting through to and starting to establish a relationship with. Ones that I can talk with for a bit when I have a chance and get to know what is going on in their life. It is great when you get to have those breakthrough conversations for the first time and you see a genuine smile.

I am realizing that a lot of teenagers just need someone to expect more out of them. I read a book called "Do Hard Things" that was written by teenagers for teenagers. I would recommend it for anybody that deals with that age or parents. The idea is that the concept of teenagers is a relatively new thing and that our expectations of teenagers are so low in comparison to history. We talk about "kids these days" but we have allowed this time of childhood to go on for two long even though they have the mental and physical capacity of adults. Today they are "a good kid" if they are staying out of trouble and go to church. We don't expect anything proactive as far as taking on responsibilities or working to better the community. It all goes to the fact that we all want to be tested and found worthy and capable. We just need to give teenagers more opportunities, so they can see what they can accomplish and come along side them when they fail to dissect what went wrong for the next time. These are the opportunities that I am praying for.

The other day I was going around to the basketball players that had low grades to talk to them. Some of them had this look of astonishment that I knew what their grade was and was telling them to get it up. I told them they had to take responsibility on themselves to go talk to the teacher and see what they need to do. I hope it will help be the kick in the pants that they need, or at least that someone outside of their house and the teacher cares about the work that they are putting forth. We will see this week if it pays off as Friday is grade check time for eligibility.

We had a basketball parent's meeting a couple weeks ago in which about 10% of the parents showed up. It went well for the ones that were there. I was disappointed with the turnout even though that was about what I figured in the days leading up to it. I reminded myself that I just have to keep telling the same message and that eventually they would catch on. Clare reminded me that if I could get it to where I wanted to be in the first year, that there would be no reason to stay. I have to keep focus on doing the right thing and not focus on what is not changing.

I have the privilege to coach the Sub 12 boys basketball team that ranges from 3rd graders to 7th graders. It takes me a bit to slow down and see that these kids have never really played basketball or been on any organized team. They do not understand the concept of focus, hustle, and hard work. I am growing in patience and losing even more hair. We are improving, but I found out last year they lost a game 52-6 and we lost most of our players, so I am not clearing any spots out on the trophy stand just yet. Most of the other teams look to be competitive so that will be fun.

It is hard to capture some of the busyness we have been the last few weeks,as I know many of you are super busy yourselves. I will give you a glimpse of a couple days last week.

Wake up feeling sick
Go to work to then need to get a sub as I was sick.
Go to the Dr to end up getting two antibiotics and 4 doses of shots for Clare to administer
Find out that we will need to unload our crate as there are no muchachos.
Go to recruit a new friend to help move.
Unload the crate in the rain.

Go back to school, still sick
Cover the elementary PE teacher's classes that fainted the day before playing dodgeball with my classes.
So I am outside straight from 8 to 2:30 with classes of K4 that speak very little english all the way to apathetic seniors. I tried to do something structured with the little kids but gave up after 15 minutes and just gave the m some balls to just run around and play with.
Have basketball practice from 3- 5 with 17 kids while it is raining, so I get wet and the floor is wet.
Wait around for an hour for a student to get picked up.
Rush home to change clothes and eat a bite before playing in a game where some adults scrimmaged the varsity boys team. Sadly for the adults I was one of the leading players. My head was pounding, but it was fun. It was my first refereed bball game since 5th grade and thankfully I played better than I did back then.
All of this while waiting to hear and talk to my sister who had my 4th niece, Sarah Paige Forrester. All went well, but I had a tough time of feeling like I was missing out. I wanted to be in the hospital to greet her and be with family. Can't wait for my kids to meet their new cousin.

We are so thankful for your prayers. We feel lifted up, because despite the craziness we are making it and feel like we are seeing some fruit in why we are here. When we went to the Dr we saw a parent of a CCA student that I have. We were asking him about what he did. He is a brick runner. He takes cement blocks to remote villages to help them build better places to meet and live. And through that he is able to minister to the tribes. It is a rough trip for him to get there that involves boats, trucks, and sometimes horses. He is a a modern tent maker. He told us what a blessing CCA was to them with their ministry and being at a place where there daughter was at a good school. Clare and I looked at each other and said this is why we are here. It was good to hear as we needed the encouragement in fighting of the sickness throughout the family and working to get into out apartment so we can get settled.

Psalm 86:6-7

Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble i will call to you, for you will answer me.


  1. Thinking of you guys often and love hearing these updates. Keep them coming so we can continually know how to pray. How is your spanish? Fluent yet? :) love you- Margie

  2. Keep up the good work!!! You are AWESOME
    Love, Jill

  3. talk about doing the hard thing...I think you are setting the pace!! Surely you have amazed yourself as you rise to the challenge each day. Keep at it. I am confident that lives are being shaped and changed because of you. Denise