I like my job. I like my life. I’m not sure I say that often enough. I like where we’re at and what we’re doing. I like going to bed tired, knowing that I have done something worthwhile with my day. I like having busy weekends and full summers and plans to last a lifetime. I’m content. I no longer sit around going, “Man, I should be doing something!” or “I wonder if next year I’ll feel fulfilled?”

I also love who I work with. Misunderstandings will always be a fact of life; there’s no way around that. But, the fact that we can feel free to express when we’ve been misunderstood or to voice concerns about things we’ve been told – that’s really amazing. Too often you read horror stories about how missionary’s leaders don’t listen to them or don’t acknowledge their concerns. We don’t have that problem.

We also trust our leadership. We don’t need to know all the intricate details about what’s going on around us or the inner workings of our ministry in order to know we can trust our leadership to lead us where they feel God is taking us as a body. It’s nice to rest in their Godly leadership and not be concerned with how things are going behind closed doors.

I have seen visible evidence of my work being profitable this year in the kids that I teach every day. When I began the school year, my third grader had never had more than two hours of school per day, four days a week. She was supposed to be bilingual, but her “teacher” had translated all her work into Spanish for two full years, so she was nowhere near bilingual. I had to toss all my plans and preconceived notions about her year and start literally from scratch. We worked solely on learning English for the first solid two months and then some.

Now, she speaks almost exclusively to me in English. I rarely need to explain her assignments to her. I hardly ever translate when I speak to her. She’s reading with no accent and writing page-long reports on books with minimal mistakes. I’m so proud of her. She did two full years of schoolwork in eight months and will be entering fourth grade in April – right on time.

My seventh grader learned English three years ago and had the same problem – two hours of school per day, four days a week. He hasn’t had the same teacher for more than two years at a time and he was so used to teachers coming and going that for the first three months, he kept repeating, “I can’t believe you’re staying! Please don’t leave anytime soon!” His grammar and writing and English comprehension was horrendous. He’d never had to study, never read an entire book, never written a report or essay, and never been challenged in his homework.

This year, he’s read three entire books. One of which was “The Hiding Place” – which he has successfully read in two weeks, understood, AND enjoyed. He’s written a slew of reports and has improved with every one. He no longer writes everything in present tense and he’s no longer mixing up his pronouns. His reading comprehension has improved by leaps and bounds. He was failing every test and every quiz and just this week, he got a 96% on a test – all on his own. Even his parents can’t believe the improvement he’s made this year.

I’m so proud of “my” kids. I’m so excited about School 2010 because I think it’s going to be SO fun. Three Kindergartners and three Preschoolers are joining us. We’re changing curriculums, adding walls to form a second classroom area, redecorating, adding in music and art, planning field trips… so fun!! My goal this year was to make school a place they looked forward to coming, not something they dreaded. I want to impact these MK’s lives so that not only are they ready for university and a career, but so that they make Jesus Christ their OWN. That they will be solidified in their faith so that nothing will shake them when they leave the bubble of IBYM. I want to make sure they are well-rounded and aren’t shocked when they enter “the real world.” Most of all, I want to love them and help them succeed and be all that God has planned for their lives. They’re so full of potential it’s almost unbelievable.

Meet my kids:

dana1jeremy1jaredenglishclass1

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