The first part of last week was much like my first week here, so I don't have a lot to report on those days.
On Saturday, I taught my first English class! This was the part of my ministry that I was most concerned about because I feel the least prepared for it. So, of course, this would be the first thing that God wants me to tackle because I have to completely depend on Him to get me through it!
To back up a little bit...Most of this past week, I spent time on the internet looking at TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) websites. (FYI - to demonstrate how unprepared I am for this...I just had to google AGAIN what exactly TESOL stands for - and my first guess was wrong! :) ) As I was looking through websites and trying to find ideas of how to incorporate the Gospel with teaching English, God gave me an idea of what my "curriculum" should look like. I just started writing idea after idea for over a half an hour! It was completely unrelated to what I was looking at at the time, so I know it was from Him. I'm SO excited to get started on this!
Back to Saturday...I had 7 kids attend my first class! There were two 4 year olds, a 7 year old, 9 year old, 10 year old, and two 11 year olds - quite the range in age! Some of the older kids already knew the ABC's, but the younger kids didn't. So, the majority of our 2 hours was spent on the alphabet. I had made worksheets to go through and also printed out the alphabet in lower case & upper case letters to color. The coloring sheets worked much better than the worksheets I made! We also went over greetings and acted that out many times. After 2 hours, I could tell the kids weren't going to learn anything else & I was at a loss for anything else to try, so we had a snack :) (Thanks to Becky, Stephen & Mary's daughter, for helping me translate!)
Here are some pictures from class:
After class, one of the mom's found out that I'm a Christian. She was very worried that the only thing I'm teaching is the Gospel & that we would be "forcing" the kids to learn it. Nuan, who also lives here with Stephen & Mary and helps around the house (she also wasn't a Christian when she first came here, but has since come to know Jesus & been baptized!), reassured this mom that although we are Christians, we don't "force" it on anyone, but will answer questions and talk about it when you are ready to. This satisfied the mom.
This was my first real encounter of opposition to what I'm here for - and I wasn't even there! I just heard the story after the fact. I have to ashamedly admit - I failed this one. My first thought was "Well, now what am I going to do? I can't start teaching Bible stories because no one will let their kids come back!" That was exactly what Satan wanted me to think. Thankfully, I recognized that for what it was immediately & am now even more committed to finding the way God would have me reach these kids for Him. As I was teaching them the ABC's, my heart was breaking for them and I had this overwhelming feeling of compassion for them. All I could think was how much these kids need to learn & to know Him - their eternity depends on it!
(I forgot to mention the first time I posted this that in God's perfect timing, I'm doing a Bible study on Ezra & Haggai - one thing I've learned so far is that God's people stopped building the temple because they were frightened & discouraged! I will not be frightened or discouraged from teaching these kids His love!)
Another part of God that became so real to me this week is His omnipresence - that He is everywhere! As I was sitting praying for my family one morning, it became so real to me that the God who is here in Thailand with me every moment of every day is the same God who is in America with my family every moment of their every day in every trial that they are facing. That truth is SO comforting!
I hope you've all had a great week! I start language school to learn Thai this week - I'm SO excited! Thank you SO much for your continued prayers & support!