Monday, June 2, 2008

So it ends...

My empty classroom
I have almost finished report cards and will soon carry all the plants from the classroom to the apartment for Janelle to take care of while I'm in the U.S. Friday was the final day of the 2007-08 school year. The kids packed up piles of paper, books, random stuff, and Father's Day gifts, and hurried out the door at noon. Thus ended the school year.
We had three parties in two days. At 2 p.m. Friday most of the staff and many of the students and their families met at a home near here for the despedida of the only staff person not returning next year. Judy worked at PCS for five years after retiring from teaching in the U.S. Now she is leaving Mexico in answer to God's calling back to Arizona.

In the evening, many of the same people who had been at Judy's despedida gathered again to celebrate the first anniversary of Pete Gross' 39th birthday. He was a part-time teacher at PCS, and one of his sons was my student. The Grosses will be in the States next year on home assignment.

If two parties weren't enough, well that was okay, because Saturday morning we had the board-staff end of the year breakfast. We ate buffet at the California Kitchen - those of you from California wouldn't recognize most of the food as being particularly Californian, but oh well - and then Jenna and Joe gave a gift to each teacher and to the departing board members.

It was a week of celebration but also of good-byes. We said good-bye to students and to each other. Far more profoundly, it was a week of another good-bye for the family of Dios es Amor. Janelle told me Tuesday morning that the 18-year-old sister of Omar, a teenager in the youth group, had been shot in the abdomen and was not expected to live. She survived through Wednesday morning, and then she died.

Wednesday evening, after OANSA, about 50 people from the church caravaned over for the wake at Omar's grandparents' house in Tlaxcala, a neighboring state. Omar's other sister and brother had just arrived from New York, and his mother was on her way as well. Omar, his sisters, his brother, and his mother are all Christians, but his grandparents are devoutly Catholic. The pastor of Dios es Amor spoke a message of hope and resurrection that night, stressing that Brenda is now with her Savior, but the Catholic burial service the following morning emphasized grief and sorrow, praying and wailing for Brenda's soul in purgatory.

God has been using this tragedy for Omar and his family to share their faith and also He has used this to bring the family back together, since Omar and Brenda had been living in Mexico while the rest of the family lived in the States. Nonetheless, the grief is real. Please pray for their comfort, strength, and wisdom.

...and so it begins as well. On Thursday I'll be flying out of Mexico City to LAX to begin the summer. One of my credential classes has already started, and I've emailed in some homework assignments for it, although I'll have to catch up on some things I missed in the first week. The other class begins 6/9 in Ontario. What a drive! I'll be working part time at Newport Mesa Church in addition to taking classes. It won't exactly be a summer of vacation, but it will be good to see friends and family again. Keep tabs on the blog, because I'll continue updating weekly.

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