I am now officially living in Guatemala!
The principal from the school picked me and other teachers up from the airport to start our 4 hour drive to Xela. We stopped at Burger King for lunch that day. I arrived in Xela that night and stayed with a host family. Betty was very welcoming, like many Guatemalans here. I woke up the next day, ate breakfast, and went to meet the rest of the new teachers and administration for Day 1 of orientation. Betty also packed me a lunch to take that day.
The first day we got a tour of Xela and then we were shuttled to the school. . The rest of that week we would have workshops in the morning on various things like the history of IAS, cultural awareness, and of course how to turn in our lesson plans. In the afternoons we were given time to work in our classrooms. Ohhhhhh booyyyyyy…. was my classroom a mess when I first saw it. New high school classes were added and my room (the science lab) was re-modeled. With that being said, everything in the room last year was taken out and put in boxes. Once the floor was redone, walls painted, and new science tables brought in, those boxes were then returned to the room….and they were waiting for me.
I went through all the boxes and organized the new science lab. My cabinets and storage areas are probably more organized here than they ever were at BCA, since I had to put everything away. (Shout out to Jessica Manning for cleaning out my cabinets from last year :) Once the lab was organized, I added some personal touches with posters and little decorations. I of course added my “Carol Never Wore Her Safety Goggles” poster.
|The prison bars on the window are in now way a reflection of the atmosphere of my classroom..... despite what some students may think or say.|
My first weekend here, a group of us went to hike a mountain called “La Muela”…. the molar. It was a fun climb and very beautiful!
|This is how teachers get ready for the first day of school in Guatemala.|
School started on Tuesday, August 14th. There was a school-wide assembly to welcome families back, introduce new teachers, and to begin the school year off with prayer. After the assembly, my bunch…the high schoolers, went to a room to sign up for electives. Once electives were chosen, first period began.
First and second period were short that day, so my time was limited with the freshmen and sophomores the first day. I had a planning period, then the seniors and juniors. I had a fabulous first day, even if the majority of it was just reading over syllabi. The students, thus far, are very respectful and polite. When entering, every students greets me with "Good Morning, Miss" or "How are you, Miss." Upon leaving, "Have a good day Miss!" or if it's the period for lunch "Have a nice lunch, Miss.!" I have really enjoyed these high schoolers. I'm excited to get to know them even more during this school year.
My elective class on Women of the Bible has also been off to a great start! There are 8 girls in my class, 7 of which are freshmen. The other young lady is a senior. I’ve really enjoyed my time with these girls already. On the first day we read the genealogy of Jesus. (Exciting I know). I asked the girls if they noticed anything after I attempted to read the genealogy aloud, using correct pronunciation on all the words. They noticed right away that the 5 women I had just said we would be studying, were in the lineage of Christ. We are studying Tamar first. We have used the Bible to learn her “family tree” better, and the girls have just finished reading Chapter 1 of Francine Rivers book. The girls are already hooked.
Last weekend Devin, Chris, Megan, and I went to church in Toto. Chris and Megan are married, and live in the same apartment building as Jess & I. Chris teaches at the IAS, and Megan is here serving as a nurse in outside regions of Xela. It was so great seeing our friends in Toto, and knowing we will see them on a weekly basis. Lucia and her family were also at church. (Lucia and her daughter are the two ladies that got saved while we were here in June.)
I moved into my apartment with my roommate Jess, my second day here in Xela. It is very nice! We’ve really enjoyed it. We think we have the best apartment in the building!
Prayer Requests & Praises1. Thank you to those who have been praying for me. My departure from the States didn't quite happen how I had imagined, and I don't necessarily have all the answers to why things happened the way they did...but I'm not suppose to. I do however know that God has been, was, and is with me. I know He has, is, and will continue to carry me through.
2. Last blog, I requested prayer for my transition from teaching elementary to high school. That was something I was pretty nervous about, but God took away my fears and worries about it. I know I've only been teaching high schoolers 6 days now, and I am no way saying that "I have arrived." But I am saying that I laid those worries before God, many times, and asked others to pray about this as well. And God has worked in my heart and taken away that anxiety. He was using this situation to prove that to me to depend on Him for everything. "The removal" actually happened about 5 days before the first day of school. Pray that I would continue to go to God about every frustration or worry, and that He would be the one that equips me. Pray that he would not only equip me to teach high school science, but more importantly, in the process of teaching minister to these students. May all I do be because of Him, not of me.
3. Community among the teachers. Please pray that all the teachers at IAS, especially us new ones, would find community. It would be very hard for someone to come here after being involved in small group, accountability, etc.. and then be here and not have that. Luckily, with modern technology, we can still stay connected to those we had at home… but pray that we would find it here amongst each other. We, the female teachers, are in the works of beginning a weekly Bible study.
4. High School Students. I ask that you pray for the school in it’s entirety from board members to students, but because I know the high school students better… I ask that you pray specifically for them. They are a talented, warm-hearted group of students. Pray that they not only grow academically, but spiritually. Pray that they not only know Christ in their minds, but they come to know Him in their hearts. Pray for their relationships to grow in Christ. Pray for the juniors and seniors as they are thinking of “next steps” after high school. Pray that they seek God’s plan, and not try to just fit God in their plan. Pray that God would use them to do great things for His glory in Guatemala or other places in the world.
Thanks for reading!
|Just a little eruption I saw on the way to school one day.|