Tuesday, February 1, 2011

a little over a week ago i gave my english final to my 3rd and 4th graders as we wrapped up our first semester. i created about half of the exam for both grades and the homeroom teacher for each of the classes created the other half. as can be imagined with so many students, i had quite the amount of grading at the conclusion of the day. thankfully, the TU team offered to help me grade all 380 or so of them  what would have taken me hours to do on my own only took like 45 minutes as a team—major blessing!! after they had all been graded, i took the liberty of looking through each test, desiring to know the results. i couldn´t help but tear up and feel completely inadequate and unsuccessful as i saw the scores in front of me. yes, there were those few students in each class that did exceptionally well, but for the most part, a majority of the students struggled. now i know that there are many things to take into consideration, such as: the test was longer than their normal tests (20 questions for grade 3, 30 questions for grade 4), it was in a different format than what theyre used to (they actually received a test of their own on paper and had to circle or fill in the appropriate answer), they had to read the test solely on their own, and some of the teachers included questions that i had never gone over with them. with all of this accounted for, zondra encouraged and reminded me not to get down on myself, but i struggle accepting this. it makes me wonder what sort of an impact i´m having on my students, as well as what they are in fact learning and retaining. i ask for prayer in this area, that i may not be too disheartened in my teaching and continue to strive and do my best to bring God glory. may i continue to be stretched and strengthened, better knowing how to educate, encourage, and love my 380 students.

i thoroughly enjoyed my last few days with the TU team as we hiked to fanna falls, had an afternoon full of sports competitions (ethiopians versus americans in soccer, basketball, and volleyball; we americans won 2 out of the 3 games…i´ll let you guess which one we lost haha), danced the cha cha slide with the house kids as we celebrated one of the girl´s birthdays, and were simply able to unwind and reflect in addis for a bit. i am truly grateful for the time i was able to share with each of them, and i praise Jesus for the many ways in which they included, supported, and simply loved me. it was definitely a refreshing month and has helped prepare me for my final 3 ½ months!

i have been in addis since january 23rd , spending my time with an incredible Godly, loving, and hospitable norwegian family and their dear friend kristin. i´m pretty sure that i have mentioned them before, as they were the ones who hosted me my first night in the country way back in august. i have LOVED the time i´ve been able to share with them as they have so willingly welcomed me into their home and made me feel a part of their family. the amazing parents, lars and tone, are a true joy to be around and i was so grateful for the couple days i had with them (they left on jan 28 for the u.s. to attend the national prayer breakfast and kristin is here staying with the boys). the three guys—josva (age 12), lars (age 10) and paul (age 8)—are hilarious and full of energy and zest for life. take for instance a couple memories i will cherish from my time here—before we begin eating, we pray together as a family in song, yes, they have a bunch of prayers that they sing; i love that about them. another memory—i was in the bathroom doing my hair when lars and paul burst in carrying 3 roosters; you can imagine my shock and curiosity as to why in the world 3 roosters where in the bathroom—their response as they stood on the scale with the animals, “we just wanted to know how much they weigh all together”. hahahaha. it´s like a zoo here—they have 20 pigeons, about 30 lovebirds, two kittens, 4 roosters, and a dog. never a dull moment to say the least.

a few more highlights from my time in addis:
- cereal and COLD MILK everyday for breakfast. seriously a little slice of heaven.
- fresh strawberries, pineapple, apples and plums—can you say yummmm
- a day lounging at the pool soaking up the rays and being challenged to swimming races by both the boys and fellow ethiopians haha (i beat the ethiopian guy who challenged me and earned a coke as a result…woooo ha!)
- going to field day at the boys christian international school called bingham academy and cheering them on as well as getting to interact with other believers who happen to be english speakers as well!
- families from bingham coming up to me and speaking swedish or norwegian as they thought i was scandinavian (guess it´s the blonde hair, blue eyes thing ha)
- working out at a fitness center (and reveling in the amazing water pressure during my shower…oh the simple things haha)
- attending church IN ENGLISH…the first time in 4 months (extremely refreshing)
- getting pampered for a morning—facial, haircut, manicure and pedicure at an amazing spa…such a delight
- rocking out to taio cruz with josva, lars and paul
- going to the cinema and enjoying a new american flick and small bag of popcorn (and treating getu, a friend of the family, to his first movie theatre experience!)

all in all, i´ve enjoyed my time away from yetebon, experiencing both family and city life for a week  next on the agenda—a week excursion (beginning tomorrow, feb 2) to northern ethiopia with zondra as we take in historical and scenic sites that we will then implement into our second semester teaching (2nd semester begins feb 13!)! definitely looking forward to seeing more of this incredible country, but i also am getting eager to see all of the house kids, as well as my students!

so not only am i really bummed that i´ve missed this entire nfl season, but i´m even more bummed that i will miss watching my green bay packers in the super bowl!!! i´m stoaked that they´ve had such a great season and will be anxious to hear the results! GO PACK GO

on a side note, my family found out some difficult news this past week and i wanted to briefly share it with you. the company that my dad works for is closing down in a few months, meaning that almost all of the current employees will be unemployed. this came as pure shock to me when my dad called me with this news, and i couldn´t help but feel so badly for all of those affected. thankfully, my dad is being transferred to another company, delta faucet, located in indianapolis, indiana. this means that my family will be moving back to indy in about a year and a half, once my brother sam graduates from high school. this will be a difficult transition for our family as we have to move away from so many that we have grown to love in the adrian area. however, we are grateful to the Lord for bringing us back to a familiar city, a place full of people we love, including my dear aunt, uncle and cousins. if you see any of my family, please give them big hugs for me as they begin this transition and please lift them up in prayers, as well as all of those who will be looking for job opportunities. may we cling to the fact that God is in fact in control and will provide and take care of us!

please pray…

- for the TU team as the acclimate themselves back into the u.s. and the busyness of college
- for safety as zondra and i fly to different parts of the country
- for marta and deme and their continued work here
- for my future plans when i come home in a few months—may i seek God´s continued guidance and direction in all areas of my life

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