Monday, November 7, 2016

3rd Time's a Charm

Year three at ECA is well underway! Students are here, classrooms are set-up, learning is happening, and teachers are laying it all on the line. Day in and day out I have the incredible opportunity to serve God by teaching, leading, and using my God-given gifts. This year I am being stretched and challenged to serve in new ways at El Camino Academy.

I am being stretched and challenged with my 22 students each and every day. My students love to learn! They ask lots of questions and are usually very excited about whatever topic we are exploring that day. It’s always encouraging when you announce that it’s time for social studies and your hear a few kids mutter, “Yessss!” under their breath. Yay learning! However, my students definitely struggle with showing love and kindness towards each other. I am constantly scouring Pinterest for ideas, asking my co-workers and supervisor for advice, and ultimately, looking to our loving Father for help. Although some days I feel completely drained by the lack of gentleness and self-control among my 4th graders, God is challenging me to continue to exercise patience with my kids, model compassion in every situation, and not give up reminding them of God’s truths.




For this 2016-17 school year I’m also being stretched by serving as the advisor for the High School Student Council! The Student Council is responsible for planning and organizing the school-wide Spirit Week, high school retreats and lock-ins, and many other fun events. It has been such a blessing to work alongside these 10 wonderfully talented high school students and help teach leadership skills to them. 

(They're not all in the picture obviously)

I am also part of ECA’s Academic Council this year, which is composed of different teachers who represent the various school subjects (math, science, Bible, etc.). The group meets once a month to discuss how to improve El Camino’s curriculum, organize online resources, and check that our curriculum is representative of the school’s mission and vision.  

One thing I am learning as a missionary is that there is a lot of change and turnover at a school like ECA. Last year many teachers said goodbye to ECA and this year our community was blessed with many new faces. Although I miss the people who left in June like crazy, God is challenging me to form new relationships with the teachers here this year and trust Him in that. 


So….lots of growing, learning, and stretching here. But then there is also just the pure joy and fun that’s happened this quarter! Like… 

     1.) My best friend visiting in October and traveling to the coast with her to enjoy some much needed days on the beach.


2.) Getting out of the classroom and visiting the beautiful Laguna de Guatavita on a field trip with my kiddos



    3.) Spending time laughing and sharing with my new roommates, Amy Harris & Wendy Woehr.
     4.) Oh and of course…watching the Chicago Cubs win the World Series (even if it was from afar…) 

Prayer Requests:
  • Please pray that my students would work on treating each other with Christlike love and that the Lord would guide us in helping them with that 
  • Please pray that I would continue to grow in my Spanish skills 
  • Please pray that I wouldn't experience so much homesickness 
  • Please pray for me as I consider what to do next year as I seek to serve Jesus- stay at ECA or return to the U.S.

As always, thank you for reading and keeping me in your prayers! 

Sunday, February 21, 2016

He is GOOD

At the beginning of the school year my goal was to write a blog post every two months. Well that hasn't happened to say the I am sorry dear readers! On the plus side, I have SO much to update you all on: my family's visit, my time in the U.S. during Christmas break, and the beginning of 2nd semester back at ECA. 

This past November, I had the privilege of hosting my family here in Bogotá! It was so exciting to finally be able to truly share my life here in Colombia with them. Now when I tell them (as I do on a regular basis) that "I'm going over to the Santafé mall to drink coffee," they actually know where that is and what it's like. 

Day 1: I took them to Monserrate, a famous lookout where one is able to see the entire city of Bogotá.

Day 2: My family came to ECA, met my students, and had the opportunity to help on our Service Trip to Hogar de Paz, a half-day daycare. 

Day 2: We spent the day at El Camino Academy helping with our Pilgrims & Indians field day celebration in honor of Thanksgiving.

My students absolutely LOVED my family!! It was so fun to see them all interact.

Day 4: My family and I ventured out to La Laguna de Guatavita, home to the Legend of El Dorado with Beth Afanador. 

Day 5: On my final day with my family, we went to one of my favorite spots in Bogotá: La Mazorca, a restaurant up in the mountains. We also were able to go horseback riding (a personal favorite activity)!

Overall, it was a huge blessing to share El Camino Academy, my endearing students, Colombian fruits and snacks, the craziness of Bogotá trancón (traffic), my favorite spots, the beautiful sights of Bogotá, and my experience with my family!

On that same note of traveling and time with family, I was able to spend several weeks at home during Christmas Break. It was so refreshing to be able to be home with my loved ones, visit Target (too many times), drive my car, eat lots of American deliciousness, see friends, and spend time time in Dubuque seeing people from college. It was an excellent time to stop and reflect on the semester. This year has been very challeneging thus far; however God really renewed my energies and reminded me that He has called me to serve in Colombia and love these students as He loves them. Although at times I most definitely fall short and struggle, the Lord has been teaching me that no matter how frustrated I am, how drained I feel, how unhappy I may be, HE IS STILL GOOD... and in that I find my joy! 

As for life at ECA, this semester is in full swing! We have learned about light, fractions, the American Revolution, the eye, what compassion is, writing complete sentences and paragraphs, and name a few. Please continue to pray for my students as this semester we are really working on RESPONSIBILITY in order to prepare for Middle School next year and it is quite a challenge. 



Thank you all for your continued love and support. And thank you for reading my post! Hopefully my next one won't be too far off... :) 

P.s.: I'll be in Chicago March 18th-25th. I'd love to see some of you!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

4th Grade Happenings

Hi everyone!
Well, a lot has been going on here in 4th grade! We've been learning, exploring, serving, and growing. I wanted to share just a few things we've been doing this semester.

In math, we learned how to collect and graph data. We graphed data about how many people are in our families, how many eggs we eat in a week, and the sizes of our heads.  Then, we discussed mode, median, and other "landmarks."

In Social Studies, we learned about Japanese history and the roles of the daimyo & samurai. 
Students had to act out this relationship by bargaining with cake and chocolate coins. 

We LOVE reading at ECA! We had the opportunity to go on a field trip to the Bogota Public Library. We learned about the different sections in the library, saw the Alice & Wonderland theme in the children's section, and got to learn about how we can protect our environment.  


During our plant unit in Science, we dissected different fruits to examine the seeds and learn more about them. 

My students earned a party because they "beat the teacher" in a grammar game! 
They chose a PJ party, so we ate popcorn and watched a personal favorite: Ratatouille. 
Even their teacher wore PJs all day! No objections on my part!

We just finished our unit on Simple Machines in Science. Students made a catapult at home and we launched marshmallows with them (and maybe ate a marshmallow or two). We also explored wheels and axles and inclined planes. 

Well, those are just a few updates from 4th grade here in Bogota, Colombia. 
Stay tuned for my update all about my family's visit here this week!!!
Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and support.