Monday, February 6, 2012

Wow, how time flies!

Wow, how time flies! I can’t believe it’s February already! Today began my 2nd month of teaching and last Tuesday marked 1 month of me being here in Costa Rica! It all still seems so surreal! I am living out my absolute dream, and each of you have made it possible! For that I am forever grateful! You truly have no idea what it means to me to be able to live out my lifelong dream knowing that I have such amazing people supporting me through constant prayer as well as financially every step of the way! Thank you all SO MUCH! You will never know how much it means to me that you have chosen to partner with me in ministry as I continue to share His love with the beautiful people of Costa Rica! 

The past month here in Costa Rica has been so incredibly amazing! My first month of teaching was beyond wonderful! I could not have asked for a more precious group of students! They are each so smart and have such an eagerness to learn. Every morning I walk into my classroom having to remind myself that it truly is reality and not just a dream anymore… that continues to blow me away! I absolutely love every second of it! My precious students and I have successfully conquered our first set of tests of the year together, and I have managed to survive all the grading, lesson planning, and everything else that comes with teaching! Way down, deep inside I really do enjoy all of the grading and planning! :)

Alongside teaching 6th grade I also teach EFL (English as a Foreign Language) during 5th period to three Costa Rican students. I love being able to actually use my TESOL certification (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and help these precious kids learn English. I began 4 weeks ago teaching them basic words and phrases, and we have now moved on to learning all of the states. When I say these are smart students, I mean it! I began teaching them the states last Monday, and by last Wednesday they were able to recognize and read each state and say it correctly as well as locate it on the map. I’m beyond proud of my precious EFL students as well as my precious 6th graders!

So, what does a day in Miss Elmore’s classroom look like? Well, here’s a glimpse at our schedule. I arrive at 6:45 and my students arrive between 7:15 and 7:25. They immediately begin working on their seatwork and journal entries. At 7:45 we get started with our day…
**Mondays from 7:30-8:30 we have our weekly morning assembly**
7:45-8:10 —Spelling
8:10-9:00 —Math
9:00-9:15 —English
9:15-9:30 —Snack
9:30-10:20 —MEP/ESL
(MEP = required courses for my CR students)
(ESL = Spanish course for my North American students)
10:20-11:00 —Reading
11:00-11:30 —History
11:30-12:05 —Science
12:05-12:45 —Lunch
12:45-1:35 —MEP/ESL *This is when I have my EFL class*
1:35-2:30 —Electives (Mon.-PE, Tues.-Bible, Wed.-Chapel, Thurs.-Bible, Fri,-Study Hall)

If you noticed, on Mondays we have our weekly morning assembly and on Wednesdays we have our weekly chapel service. Can I just say, I LOVE Mondays and Wednesdays! All because of our assemblies and chapel services! On Mondays the entire school (PreK-12th grade) gathers in the gym and we begin the morning with prayer, followed by our weekly Acto Cívicos (pledge to the Costa Rica flag and also to the Bible, singing of the Costa Rica national anthem, and a brief discussion of a specific virtue). After our Acto Cívico we all worship our sweet Jesus together through a precious time of praise and worship led by the music teacher, Señora Neomi, then one of us teachers gives a brief devotion expounding upon the day’s virtue. I so enjoy every moment of our Monday morning assemblies. It’s such a sweet, refreshing way to begin the week—all of us together, worshipping our sweet Jesus!

I also love our chapel services on Wednesdays! We have chapel during the last period of the day, and it’s such a perfect ending to the day. All of the secondary classes (6th-12th grade) gather together in the chapel and we begin every service in worship led by some of the secondary students here at Sojourn. It’s just a sweet time of worship. I love to just sit back at times and watch the students as they worship… so pure and hungry for worship. It’s so beautiful to see. After our time of worship either one of us teachers or a guest speaker gives a devotion. Each chapel so far has been absolutely wonderful!  Again, I love to sit back at times and watch how the kids engage during the time of digging into the Word together. It’s so precious to me to see.

I have truly loved every single second here at Sojourn, and I continue to fall more in love with this place and my precious students every day! It’s as if my students are my own little children... they truly are SO precious! I feel like a mommy to 18 sweet babies! I love it!

Outside of teaching I have had some of the most amazing adventures with some incredibly precious people! I had the wonderful opportunity of spending all day one Saturday in Atenas with my precious discipulado (Bible study) group. We spent the day as one big happy family enjoying each other’s fellowship. We played board games and sat around talking about life with each other while we enjoyed the gorgeous weather. The guys so kindly cooked lunch for all of us, and I must say it was quite yummy!

Three weekends ago, myself along with all of the young adults from church came together, and we went to a local park and shared Jesus with the people there. It was amazing to see my precious brothers and sisters share Christ and His love and message with those all around us! To see the Body come together and truly be Jesus to those all around us was so beautiful! My heart was definitely overjoyed!

Two weekends ago we had our first Saturday night college service of the year at church. It was absolutely amazing, as always! The presence of our precious Jesus was there in such a beautifully sweet way! It continues to be so surreal to me, knowing that I am finally able to worship my sweet Jesus here in Costa Rica side by side with those that I love!

Sundays continue to be incredibly amazing! I could not have asked for a more amazing church family! Walking through the church doors after being gone for 5 months, it felt as though I had never left. My church family continues to love me and take care of me as if I had been here all of my life! They are all so incredibly precious and they each mean the absolute world to me!

Again, thank you so much for your continued support during this amazing time in my life! I am forever grateful for each of you, and I will never be able to thank my sweet Jesus enough for each of you! You each mean the world to me, and I pray that our precious Jesus blesses each of you in such a beautifully amazing way!

**Attached is a link to photos of my sweet students.**
**To view the photos click the link below and enter the password: sojourn** 
**In the group photo—FROM LEFT TO RIGHT STARTING IN THE BACK: 1st ROW—Janae, Gabe, Joshua, Gabriel, Sungsil, Ariana, Amanda / 2nd ROW—John, Gerald, Coleman, Abby, Camila, Mariana B. / 3rd ROW—Michelle, Mariana G., Melissa / 4th ROW—Betsy, Katie 

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