Friday, April 30, 2010

Culture Day

Due to some scheduling confusion at my school I realized a couple of weeks ago that I had planned to give my quarter exam to my students a week before the equivalent of “finals week” here, and was left with an open class. So I said to myself, “why don’t you plan to always give your students their exam a week early and then you can take advantage of the extra weeks and give a cultural lesson instead”. So that is just what I did. I decided for my first “Culture Day” I would teach my students a bit of the country-western culture of the US and teach them a basic country line dance. I began by explaining genre of country, going over music, movies, fashion and food, and ultimately ending up with dance. After a 15 min lecture, we moved the tables and chairs to the sides of the classroom and I began teaching the students a simple country line dance. To the older kids I taught the Country Waltz because it is a partner dance and I thought they would be able to handle dancing with one another. I was wrong. The girls ran to one side of the room and the boys to the other and it was like pulling teeth to get them to dance with each other! Oh the days of middle school :) Well, finally I got them going and they picked it up pretty quickly. For my younger classes I taught the most basic Line Dance that I know, and it was hilarious to see them hopping around to upbeat country songs! Overall it was a success, although I decided for my next culture day I will be bringing Meredith with me to help maintain order! I’m not sure where to go from here – so if you all have any “Culture Day” ideas, let me know!
I’ve posted a few videos below of my classes presenting the dances they learned – hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Pastor's Conference

Last night the ADIEL Tarma Team hosted it’s very own Pastor’s Conference with the help of a few friends from the US. Pastor Steve Troxel is a man who pastured Wayside Bible Church in San Antonio, TX for years and years and in his retirement has begun a ministry encouraging pastors all over the world. Pastor Troxel, his wife and another couple involved in his ministry came to Peru last week to host conferences for the ADIEL pastors and leadership teams. They spent a week in Lima and were able to come to Tarma for a day to present to the pastors here as well. So last night we hosted 40 people at the nicest hotel in town for a dinner conference. We invited all of the pastors and their wives to attend this seminar and we had a wonderful turnout. Pastor Troxel shared quite a bit from his own personal life and pasturing experience as well as his struggles in life. He was transparent and I believe this spoke well to the pastors of Tarma who would never admit their failures. Pastor Troxel also spoke on the importance of teaching the Bible verse by verse from Genesis to Revelation, something that nobody is doing here in Tarma. He then went on to explain how the entire Bible proclaims Jesus and walked the Tarma pastors through the OT proclamations and prophesies that Jesus then fulfilled. It was a wonderful evening and it opened a lot of doors for us as a team to work with Tarma pastors and congregations in the future.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Right now I will confess that I’m feeling restless. I can’t give you a reason why, especially since it has been a good day filled with school/business devotionals, a good workout, a good lunch and a fairly mild to-do list. But I’ve hit that point in the afternoon where I can’t seem to get started on any of the things on my list. Do you ever have those days? I feel like starring at the wall for a while, or just spend a few hours daydreaming. So strange because I really enjoy doing most of the things that are on my list for today. I just can’t seem to get myself going. Anyone up for giving me a kick in the pants to get me started?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saved by the Bell

Today was my first day back at Stephen Hawking High School teaching English classes. I had a mountain of homework assignments and quizzes to grade over the last few days, and now I understand more of what my high school teachers had to do to prepare for class each day! At the start of the quarter I had prepared 8 weeks of lesson plans and written the mid-quarter quiz and the end-of-quarter exam. I was so proud of myself to have had everything prepared, but of course like most things in Peru, my lesson plans didn’t go according to plan. Another new understanding and appreciation of my own high school teachers, I am now appreciating the frustration of that dreaded cycle of “falling behind”. After the first three weeks of class I was already recognizing that we would not complete the material I had laid out for the quarter, and my being gone from Tarma for three weeks didn’t help much. Meredith was wonderful and substituted for me for two of the three weeks, but due to no English teacher for that third week, classes were simply canceled. This then put me and my classes two weeks behind schedule, and I was realizing this morning, that next week will be the end-of-quarter exam! Oops. There went my last few lesson plans. Instead we spent the class reviewing the quiz the students took two weeks ago, as well as all of the material we have learned up to this point. I gave them a review sheet to take home for homework, and hopefully the kids will be diligent enough to study.
Being a teacher has been a very fascinating experience. First, like I’ve mentioned a few times already, I am gaining a new appreciation for my own past teachers who had to put up with the antics and immaturity of middle and high schoolers. I’m appreciating all of the “behind-the-scenes” work that they have to do in order to have classes ready. I’m appreciating the discipline and the reason so many of my teachers insisted on seating charts. Another interesting thing I’ve been reflecting on during these weeks of being a “real” teacher is that in being my age (24) and teaching kids that are 10 years younger than me, it is really hard for me to remember what it was really like to be in their shoes. It has been so frustrating to me to watch my kids not study and not do their homework, and try every trick in the book to get out the door during class. And my first thought is, “I was never so undisciplined”, and my second thought is, “I must have been just like these kids when I was their age”. I look back and remember how much I hated studying my Spanish vocabulary lists, and thinking how much it sucked to have lists every week. And now here I am 10 years later giving my own students weekly vocabulary lists and insisting that studying vocabulary is key to learning a language. It is somewhat laughable the process we go through in reaching adulthood, how perspective and priority changes, how focus and discipline can become easier and how remembering and relating to kids can become harder.
Anyway, I was just reflecting on the fascinating experience of being a high school teacher in Peru. I wonder how different it would be to be a high school teacher in the States. Maybe one day I’ll find out.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Welcome home to Tarma, The land of things that don’t work well!

Last night Meredith and I arrived “home” to Tarma, and I spent the evening unpacking and organizing my room as well as catching up on some emails and budgeting things. I was exhausted by the travels and the stress of getting luggage to and fro, that I konked out at 9:30 last night. Oh how joyous to be tired and able to go to bed ridiculously early! I slept so well, and woke up fully rested and awake this morning at 8:00, thrilled to have all morning to get things done. About five minutes after I woke up I realized that Tarma gave me my first “welcome back” gift - - - of no electricity. Yes, I do live in the land of things that don’t work well. The power goes out on average once every two weeks or so, but it goes out without warning or advanced notice, and is usually out for at least 8 hours. Bummer, there went part of my morning plans of getting work things done. But really, the day has turned out well. I spent the afternoon catching up on my “teacher duties” for my English classes at Stephen Hawking High School. Meredith was my substitute teacher for two weeks, so I have two weeks of homework assignments and a quiz to grade. Lots to catch up on, but I think I will have everything ready for my classes tomorrow and Thursday. I had my first team meeting since being back with Meredith and Julio – Elsa is taking a few vacation days in Lima this week and won’t be back until Thursday. The meeting went well, and we are now starting to prepare our next round of bible studies on: “How to study the Bible”.
In addition to new Bible studies, God has opened the door for us to do weekly devotionals on the Bible and on ethics/values at several of the schools we did sports camps at with the TBarM team that came last month. This morning I was able to go with Meredith to the all girls school to lead a lesson on “What are the most important things in life”, and the girls responded very positively to it. It’s looking to be a busy few months for us, but an exciting few months at that. I’m thankful for the doors God is opening and the opportunities we will have to continue spreading his truths in and throughout Tarma.

The Pastors and Missionaries Retreat

This weekend was the annual pastors and missionaries retreat held for the pastors of the ADIEL and the ReachGlobal missionaries in Peru along with their families. It was a wonderful and relaxing weekend at a beach about 2 hours outside of Lima. We rented a giant beach house that held all 50 of us, and we spend the weekend enjoying each other’s company and humor. It was fun for me to spend some concentrated time with the families that I rarely have the opportunity to see. I loved watching the pastors and the missionaries interact on such a personal basis, and seeing them joke around and make fun of each other. There were volleyball and soccer games and tennis for those who knew how to play. We went hiking through the shallow parts of the ocean to get to some of the rock islands that scattered the coast. It was a good weekend for me as well in that it was nice to have a few days to get used to being back in Peru before resuming my responsibilities in Tarma. Yay for work retreats!

Friday, April 9, 2010

And I'm back in the Game

After a more than wonderful two-week vacation in the States, I have arrived for the second time in Peru, this time to finish up my term with ReachGlobal. I wanted thank all of you for your understanding and giving me the freedom to be selfish with my time and reserve it for my family and Jason. I did so enjoy seeing many of you at church during those Sundays I was able to attend, and I do look forward to seeing many of you on an individual basis when I get home next year. Starting in May I am down to just about 10 months left in my term and I do hope to make the most of that time. This weekend is the annual Pastors and Missionaries Retreat so I will be spending the next couple of days with all of the national pastors and their families along with the ReachGlobal families that are working in Peru. This is a time to celebrate the ministry together and rest from the day-to-day. I am thankful for a few days to adjust to being back in Peru before heading back to Tarma and my responsibilities. Meredith and I will be going back Monday morning and Elsa will be staying in Lima for a few extra days of rest since my team worked through Easter week.
I am thankful for all of your prayers in the weeks that I was home and in the process of transitioning back into life here. Leaving home a second time was hard, but God has been faithful and now that I’ve arrived I am very content to be back and to finish well the work that God has asked me to do here. Team meetings and English classes will start right back up for me next week as well as some planning for our next round of Bible studies that we will begin in May. Life will be getting busy again fast, yet you all know how I prefer to be busy rather than have too much free time here. As I get back into the swing of things I will try to keep you all posted as much as I can through the blog with pictures and maybe even some more videos. Thank you for your faithfulness to keep up with me over the last year and a half. Be praying for the 10 months that remain, that the Lord will do a good work in me and in Tarma, even if I will not be around to see the results. I look forward to sharing these months with you. God Bless.