This week has been fairly unproductive.
Monday I woke up very very sick. It was miserable. Everyone was very helpful though and brought me gatoraides, saltines, and medicine. A group from church even came and prayed for a speedy recovery. Tuesday I was better, but still had to take it easy. I was very dehydrated and exhausted. No classes Monday or Tuesday of this week.
Today, I have my first classes of the week. So far so good, Im still trying to rest in between classes and drink lots of fluids.
Also, apparently, whatever I had, my computer caught because it is not working. At all. Thankfully, theres an extra computer I can use till I figure out what my game plan is.
Today is Normas 25th birthday! We are throwing her a surprise party in her house complete with friends and cake. As of right now, she assumes we have all forgotten her birthday! I cant wait for it and will hopefully be able to post pictures soon! But no guarantee since I do not have a personal computer.
Love to you all

Coke in a Bag

A serious picture with me teaching, and a not so serious picture with me drinking soda out of a bag. Or as my preacher back home likes to call it, "coke in a bag."

I have been very busy this week. Last week I had 80 students. This week I have more than 90. This week was definitely tiring, but good. Sometimes I really miss home. Everything about home. OK, mostly the people and the food. But then I have an amazing day here or something small happens that just reminds me that I'm where I want to be and I love it.
For example, in my class this morning we had only two people come today. The other students had other obligations today. Since it was a small class, I thought we'd try something different and fun. I taught them the song, "Here I am to worship." I love this song. Its really great to teach them too because its repetitive and slow. We worked on the lyrics and sang it a few times. (With the help of itunes.) Other students came and joined the class or stood at the door just to hear the song. They asked if we could learn this song in their next class too. It's so exciting to watch them learn and to see them get excited about what they are learning. Most of my classes last about 45 minutes. This one lasted 90 minutes. It was great.
The Other Americans
The other Americans are here! They have arrived safely and are trying to get settled into their new environment. I know it was very hard for me to back up all of my things and figure out what to take and what to leave. Putting it all in a few suitcases was difficult, I can't even imagine the preparation they have had to do to bring a whole family. I'm excited to get to know them better and work with them over the next several months.
Thats all for today, Much love to all of you and a special birthday shout out to my brother! Happy Birthday Tim, You will be home sooner than you know it! :)

Prayer Request and Updates

Prayer Request:

This week has been a tough one. Its hard to hear that your friends and familiy are going through a really difficult time and you can't be there for them. It breaks my heart. Please remember to pray for the families of fallen soliders and thank them for their sacrifice. Also, pray for the families that have lost a child. That is a heartache that no mother should have to experience.
I've been thinking a lot this week about Crowe, Holmes, and baby Elliot.


As for the English classes, this was the first full week. I had almost 80 students this week, not including the students from the La Palma Christian School. Out of those 80, 46 of them were on Saturday. I'm really excited about the classes and hope that the students stay with it. I will be starting another class this week also. The women that work in the Hotel La Palma want to have an English class but because of their work, they cant go. Therefore, twice a week, I will be going to the Hotel to teach a class there. These women are such hardworkers and are always so welcoming when we have teams staying at the Hotel. I know they are eager to learn.

Also, I'm waiting to hear back about a possible Let Start Talking team coming to La Palma. I think that this is just what the church needs to get things going.

The church in La Palma is hosting a Ladies Day on December 4th. We are super excited as this is the first activity like this that we have done. I have volunteered to cook for about 60 people. They have obviously laughed at the notion of me cooking. I told them I CAN cook for that many people, as long as we are having hamburgers. Alas, I think they will sign me a different job.

My Spanish is getting much better! But I wish it was even better. I can say a lot more than I could before, but I still struggle with comprehending. If they speak slowly and use simpler words, I can follow along pretty well. I know that as time goes on, it will get easier.

That is my update for this Sunday afternoon. Love you and I will talk to you soon.

Sad day

Today is a sad day for me for many reasons. All of which I find too personal to post on a blog. Today was my first day of teaching classes to the grade school children by myself. The professor before me outlined which lessons should come next. Only problem is he told me to teach lessons they learned weeks ago, thus making me look incomptent and having to improv all of my classes today. I'm giving this man the benefit of a doubt and hoping it was an accident or miscommunication and not some intentional retaliation to my teaching. That added with the personal sadness? Not the best day for me.
My favorite new comfort items: Rapiditas: pre-made tortillas, chips, and my St. Louis Cardinals hoodie.
I'll write more soon.
God Bless.

No Power

Yesterday, we didn't have power for about four hours. This can be quite common in La Palma, but something that will take me a long time to get used to. I opened all the windows in my room to let in as much of the remaining daylight as possible. Including the two windows that are about 10 feet above the ground. (Chair, kitchen counter, im six feet tall, wasn't that difficult). When the lights finally did come back on, they were so bright and my first reaction was to shut them off. My second reaction was to start charging all of my electronics.
I think it will be to my advantage to buy a few extra flash lights at the store today. Just in case.

Con Dios

This picture is of Norma and I. Norma is married to Jose, the preacher in La Palma. She is very quickly becoming one of my best friends here. Now, I just need her to teach me Spanish and for me to teach her English so we can talk more.
Yesterday, I had my first two classes open to the puplic. It's a little intimidating to teach a class with various age groups and skill levels. I was warned to not teach anything too advance as it may discourage some of the students. Both of the classes I had Monday were full of intermediate to advanced students. This was a welcome surprise, so we only did a small review. Hopefully I will be able to teach something more appropriate for where they are at on Wednesday (most of the classes meet twice a week). So far today, I have only had one class. This class was actually at a beginners level so we worked a lot on pronunciation. Some of the students knew the words, but didnt know how to say them. For example, they could see the word in English and tell me what it was in Spanish, but didn't know how to say or spell it in English.
Also, I mentioned the other day that we went up the mountain to visit with a sister in Christ. Her husband almost never comes to church and when he does, the family doesnt sit together. After our visit, he came to church service the next day and the whole family sat together. The whole church is meeting at their house on Wednesday for songs and devotional. Its a very long track up the mountain, but its our way of acknowledging the sacrifice they make every week.
Also after church on Sunday, there was a man who is not a memeber of the church and he was very upset. I didn't quite understand what was going on, but I was later informed that he was drunk and mad about something and warned the people that were there that he had a gun. Not really upset that I didn't understand that while it was happening. That would have frightened me, but once again, God provides. Please continue praying for the work here.

Friday and Saturday

These are some of the kids at the school. They are so cute. Today was the day that the sponser children get their support. They get a bag of food for their family to use. After that, Jose announced my upcoming English classes. Lots of people were interested and I will be teaching 13 classes next week (including the ones at the school). I'm about to become one busy lady. Today when I walked outside of the gate, there was at least 10 people waiting on me for an English class. I apologized for the confusion and said that class doesnt start till next week.
Jose, Norma, and I then took a public bus to go see a sister in Christ that lives VERY far away. I was a little nervous because I have heard some stories about how dangerous the buses here are. I keep reminding myself whenever I'm unsure about my surroundings that God is right beside me. I'm on a very crowded bus, sitting next to someone I've never seen before. I asked where he was going. He said that he'd taken at least an hour bus ride for my English class to learn that it doesn't start till next week. So now he is taking an hour bus ride home. He said he knows one of the preachers from the congregation. How about that? I'm sitting on a bus, asking God to watch over me, and that's the guy sitting next to me, one of my students. What are the chances? I also felt soo bad that he had come all that way and paid the money for nothing. I hope he isnt too discouraged to the point that he doesn't come back next week.

First Day in the Classroom

Today was my first day in the classroom. Samuel, the other English teacher, taught today while I observed and got to know the students and see where they are at in their studies. I absolutely loved it. The kids are adoreable. I am a little concerned that my lack of confidence in my Spanish will let the kids think they can walk all over me. Samuel left me in charge for about five minutes during one class. Before he left, one by one, students were coming to the board to write the answer to a question. After he left, two students asked to go to the bathroom, and the rest of the students were at the board. I somehow managed to get them all back in their seats before he returned so it at least appeared that both the students and I could handle ourselves. I'm sure it'll be a work in progress and I will learn all of the teacher tricks along the way.

In the mountains

I will post later. But check out this clear view of the mountains.

English Classes

Yesterday, I was sick and spent the majority of the day in bed resting. The parts of the day that I actually braved outside of my room were productive. Jose and I worked on a class schedule. I will be teaching English at the Christian School on Thursdays and holding open English classes twice a day the rest of the week. I´m excited to get to work and figure out a curriculum that will be helpful. I´m also trying to incorporate a way that we can teach the Bible and English at the same time. Maybe in January we could have an LST group come down. Any volunteers? (still figuring out the spanish keyboard, took me a long time to find the right side up question mark!)

So far we have lost power at least once each day. It doesnt stay out for long, but I have given up on resetting my alarm clock.

Some of you have asked for this information again, if you want to send a monetary donation, please send it to the Monett Church of Christ, po box 172 monett mo 65708
As always, your prayers are needed.

La Palma

I have made it to La Palma! I'm mostly unpacked and getting accustomed to my new surroundings. I've also learned where to buy towels. I bought a bath towel for 20 dollars (eeks!!) and later learned I could in fact get one for less than 3. Lesson learned.
The first day I was here, I attended a ladies class and a teens class. It was a great opportunity to meet a lot of people. I understood parts of the ladies class, but I understood almost all of the teens class! There is hope for my spanish speaking abilities yet!
I was able to talk to my family today. That was such a blessing! Even if I did cry when I talked to my niece Kayli. She's 3 and kept telling me how much she loves and misses me.
SO FAR, I have not gotten sick!! I know its only been two days, but after two days on my last trip, I was already sick. Hopefully, I will stay parasite free for a while.
The picture is of my friend Joel. He met me in San Salvador before I left to go to La Palma.
Tomorrow we will have church and I look forward to a great time of fellowship with my new friends.
Not sure when I will be able to write next, so this blog is full of lots of random information! Hope you all have a wonderful Independence Day! Celebrate our country and pray for those serving it.

San Salvador

I'm sitting in my hotel room in San Salvador. I safely arrived a few hours ago with all of my luggage. I was a bit concerned it would all make it for a couple of reasons. First, when I went to check my black and yellow totes, I was informed I couldn't take them. Apparently there is an embargo that only American Airlines enforces that says it had to be a suitcase. So Mom and Randy went with me to Wal-mart and helped me frantically buy suitcases and re-pack everything in the Wal-Mart parking lot. I kept saying that I felt like we were on "Amazing Race" and winning! We managed to keep our cool and make it back to the airport in plenty of time. After that, I had no real issues. When I went to baggage claim, I immediately saw my first bag. I waited for the second bag and never saw it. I started to get nervous but then looked and saw that someone had set it aside thinking it was theirs. Lots to be thankful for today. I'm here, I'm safe, and my luggage is too.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity preparing for my move here. When I finally got to board the plane headed to El Salvador, I had a huge grin on my face and was so excited to just get here! Tomorrow, I have plans to hang out with my primos and get settled in La Palma!!!

Thank you to everyone that has been so helpful through out this whole experience and thank you for the prayers today. I know thats why things went so well.