Monday, December 3, 2012

Game Day

Extreme jenga - one lap around table,5 secs to move a piece

 On Saturday we had a game day at our house.  Two of the children showed up at 10 for their reading class, and the rest arrived at around 11 to begin the games.  The games were simple ones that Abraham had invented, some that he invented on the spot.  The kids were divided into two teams for the various competitions. 
Knock over the blocks with syringes of water

Pictionary with Christmas words
What fun they had!  They entered enthusiastically in games of which team could build the tallest tower using a mix of puzzle pieces, duplos, and blocks, who could keep the balloon in the air longest using only one hand, team Jenga, and more.  After two and a half hours of play, we served popcorn and Tang, and sent the kids home.  We will have another game day this coming Saturday.

In part we had planned to hold a rehearsal for the Christmas drama that will be this coming Sunday.  However, only three of the actors arrived Saturday, so we postponed practice.  The drama is simple, and the parts do not need to be memorized, so one or two practices will be sufficient.

There has been an interesting development this last month with one of the families that we have known the longest.  Over a year ago, two of the children entered into catechism classes and were told by the teacher that they should no longer attend our kids´ club on Sunday afternoons.  They continued attending, because the older girl said, "You teach the same thing."

This family is one that we visit almost every Friday.  I usually take a book to read aloud to the younger kids and I play or talk with them.  Abraham talks with the parents and the older daughter, and most Fridays tells a story out of the Bible.

The end of September is when Huejotzingo holds a huge festival to the patron, San Miguel.  During the festival, there are altars with figures of the angel, and people pray and bring flowers to the statue.  There are parades where children are dressed as the angel, and a statue of San Miguel is carried or driven around on a platform.  The family invited us to attend their celebration, but we decided not to.

Ever since that time, the children have not attended the Sunday afternoon kids´ club.  We still go to their house to visit, and they still listen to the Bible story.  A couple Fridays ago, the youngest girl finished reading a book with me, and then solemnly explained that they will no longer attend on Sundays because we teach something different from what they believe.

This last Sunday, however, four of them did come.  Three of them left as soon as Abraham began the Bible story part of the afternoon activities, but the older boy stayed.  The boy who stayed is the one who almost never came on Sunday afternoons and usually is not around on Friday evenings when we visit either.  The few times he did come on Sunday afternoons, he usually did not participate in any activities, but stayed aloof.  This Sunday was no different in that respect, but the fact remains that he did stay, and he did hear the Bible story. 

So, there is progress even though the kids no longer attend.  At least now they acknowledge that what we teach and believe is different from their traditions, and we are still welcome at their house.  We do not know why the boy chose to stay on Sunday, but he was there and did hear the message.  Please pray for their hearts to be opened so that they can accept the message of the Gospel.  Pray that our Friday visits can be of great benefit to them, and pray also that the parents will allow their children to attend the school that we plan to start in January.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Blessings and Thanksgiving

We have had a busy few weeks, especially on the weekends.  This past weekend, we traveled five hours by three different buses to a distant town for the wedding of one of Abraham´s cousins.  We arrived there Friday night, and the wedding was Saturday afternoon.  Many relatives had gathered as well, so both Abishael and I met several for the first time.  Abishael took the whole trip in his stride, only getting really fussy mid-reception when it was time for him to eat and sleep.  Thankfully, we found a couch a bit removed from the general activity where I could feed him and let him sleep.

Abraham, Abishael, and I left early Sunday morning in order to be back home in time for the kids´ club in the afternoon.  In addition to the normal Bible story - this time about Moses - and the story´s activity, the kids also made cards.  A pastor from the East Coast who has visited Dios es Amor several times is currently working with relief teams among people devastated by Hurricane Sandy.  Abraham asked the pastor how we could help, and he said we could pray and also send cards made by children.

On Sunday afternoon, we showed some pictures of the storm´s effects to the children and also explained what the pastor had told us about several people who had lost virtually everything.  The children worked in pairs to make bright, sticker-covered cards, willing to be a blessing to people they had never met.  The cards will go to the States with a  Puebla Christian School teacher who is going for Thanksgiving, and from there she will mail them to the pastor.

The previous weekend, Abraham, Abishael, and I enjoyed a Saturday outing with several Puebla Christian School teachers to Chignahuapan for the first day of the Christmas bulb fair.  We stopped first to see a lovely waterfall and eat lunch and then continued on to the downtown area.  The streets were bursting with people and store after store of an unimaginable variety of spheres, all hand-blown and individually painted.  It was difficult to choose among so many beautiful designs, but we all found what we wanted, and after several hours looking around, we headed home.  It was a lovely day and a pleasant way to spend time with friends.  I especially felt the blessing of being able to be with people that I no longer see very often, now that I am not involved with Puebla Christian School anymore.  At times being in Huejotzingo can be lonely, but I am thankful for the continued opportunities to be with friends.

This coming Saturday is another such opportunity.  Because Abraham is the PE teacher at Puebla Christian School, we can go to the staff Thanksgiving potluck.  I know from past Thankgiving gatherings that there will be more than enough to eat and plenty of laughter and fun.  On the actual day of Thanksgiving, we are hosting several Mexican friends in our home.  Some of these friends joined us last year for their first Thanksgiving meal, and they were happy to continue the tradition this year.

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to thank especially those who support and pray for us.  You are a blessing!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

It´s Not Numbers and Government Paperwork

The amount of children that come to our home moves in tides.  Sometimes we have large numbers and are almost overwhelmed with the comings and goings and noise of the children.  Sometimes we have low numbers, and we wonder where the children have gone.  This is one of those times of quiet.  After Sundays with 20-some children attending the kids´ club and 11 or 12 children arriving in the afternoons for their reading classes and play, suddenly the number dropped.  Huejotzingo celebrated three weeks of masses, a fair with rides and game booths, and other activities for the patron saint, San Miguel.  The day after the biggest celebration, the day of San Miguel, only three children attended the Sunday afternoon kids´ club.

And yet, it´s not about numbers.  Certainly we miss the children who didn´t come, and we wonder how they are doing, and we hope to see them again.  However, there is also an advantage with only three children.  One of the three is a young teen who has been attending on Sunday afternoons, on and off, for a long time.  Because there were only three children, she had the opportunity to talk for a long time with Abraham about her struggles in school and at home.  After she had shared her troubles and Abraham counseled her, he prayed with her and assured her of our love and support.

As she talked, the other two girls happily ran in and out of the house, taking pictures and playing with Six and I.  The two girls enjoyed the extra amount of attention we were able to give to them, and they had a fun afternoon.

Aside from continuing with the kids´ activities and taking care of our steadily growing son, we have been embroiled in paperwork.  First, we applied for an appointment to register Abishael as an American citizen and get his American passport.  After applying twice because the first time I had entered one date wrong, we received a confirmation email from the American embassy in Mexico City with an appointment for Oct. 15.  Next, we applied for Abraham and Abishael´s Mexican passports.  We couldn´t get Abishael´s however, because I didn´t have my FM2 visa renewal yet, although we had turned in the paperwork for that in August.

Abraham was able to get his passport, so he applied for an appointment in the U.S. embassy for an interview to see if he would be granted a visa to visit the U.S.  To our surprise, he was able to secure an appointment for the very same week.  He had to go in twice, once for fingerprinting and a photo, and the second time for the interview.  He was granted the visa, and that same day, my dad used miles to buy tickets for us to visit the U.S. in December.

My visa was finally processed, and Abraham scheduled an appointment for us to get Abi´s Mexican passport.  Once we go to Mexico City to register Abi and get his U.S. passport, we will finally be done with paperwork for awhile.

Thank you for your prayers.  We know that Abraham´s visa and the other various government processes went smoothly because of those prayers.  Please continue to pray for the neighborhood kids, that they and their parents would see Christ through us.  Pray as we finish paperwork and prepare for our first visit to the U.S. as a family.  There are many of you that we are looking forward to seeing in December!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rocking chair connections

It´s interesting what a rocking chair can lead to.  My husband´s grandmother used to be a midwife, and we persuaded her to attend me during Abishael´s birth.  While she was at our house the day he was born, she enjoyed our rocking chair, and we decided to give her one.  We told her we´d visit her home a month after Abishael was born, but that month extended into four.

Finally, we chose a day to go visit, taking the rocking chair with us to give it to Abuelita Esperanza.  Normally we travel by bus to San Martin where she lives, but taking a rocking chair on the bus would have been difficult, so we called a taxi instead.

It took a long time for the taxi to arrive, because the driver got lost.  Although he only lives about a mile from us, he misunderstood Abraham´s directions, in part because of extreme tiredness.  Just as we pulled out into traffic, he admitted to us that he had been working all that night and morning.  Now that afternoon had arrived, he was still at work. 

With the rocking chair sticking halfway out of the trunk, tied in by a shoelace that the driver had pulled out of a pair of work boots in his trunk, we began the drive to San Martin.  As we travelled, Six and Abraham began to talk with the driver, Alfonso.  Alfonso told us that he never takes a day off.  Any time of night or day that he receives a call, he goes to work.  He talked about his three sons, the youngest of which was born with heart problems that require expensive medicine.

As he continued to talk, Alfonso said that he considers himself a Catholic but that he also doesn´t like the way of life they lead.  "We drink and smoke and carouse," he said, "We are some of the most difficult people there are."  He went on to say that he sometimes attends a universal church, a Brazilian cult church, in Puebla.

We arrived in San Martin, and Alfonso asked Six to bless him.  She prayed for him, and he bowed and kissed her hand.  Abraham invited him to visit us if he wanted to discuss the Bible and faith in God.  He also offered the option that we could go to Alfonso´s house instead, if he preferred.

Alfonso asked us to visit him, describing where he lived.  The following Wednesday, we went.  There was a lot going on at the house with his sons running in and out and hurrying to get ready for school which they attend in the afternoon, and with other relatives also entering and exiting.  We stayed for awhile, and Abraham explained how the Bible came to be in the form that it is now.  Alfonso told us more about his home situation which is difficult and declared that he plans to go to the United States at the end of the month.  He said it was better for him to visit our home for further talks, but so far he hasn´t come. 

Please pray for this new relationship and for Alfonso and his family.  Pray for his 1 1/2 year old son who suffers from heart problems.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reading classes

Materials for reading class
Today seven different girls came for individual reading class.  In the morning, Dulce returned after having not come for several weeks.  She still remembered the words and letter sounds that she had learned before.  Her reading is quite laborious, but she has a good memory and also really wants to learn.

In the afternoon, the first student showed up at 1:40 for her class.  Gabi is in fifth grade, but she hardly knows how to read.  If she really concentrates, she can do pretty well, but the reading is slow and painstaking.  I suspect she may have slight dyslexia, but it´s hard to tell for sure.  She also is not very motivated and comes to class more because her parents send her than because she wants to learn.

The girl who followed, Guadalupe, reads slowly, but it seems that her only problem is lack of practice.  When she is in class one-on-one, she has very few difficulties.  She knows how to sound out words well, and in Spanish, sounding out words is quite possible.

Her younger sister, Iyari, is an impatient reader.  She is most like how my mom says I was when Mom was teaching me to read.  She will look at part of a word and randomly guess what it says, or she will look at the pictures and begin guessing the word without ever looking at the actual word.  Thus we have in Spanish "river? cloud? boat? water?" and so on, when the word is "sea."  Iyari probably will learn reading just fine once she gets the idea that she really does have to look at the letters to see what the word says. 

Ashlee arrived next.  She is the one who struggles most of my current students.  She has no concept of the sound-symbol relationships with letters.  She will look at a syllable that I just pronounced for her and have no idea what it says.  Today I wrote the vowels on our small whiteboard for her, and she could pronounce them, but when I added just one consonant in front of the vowel, she had no idea what the syllable said.  I have decided to stop using the Mas Luz curriculum with her and just to focus on syllables.

Sandra has been my most consistent student.  She is now halfway through the second book and is therefore reading summarized Bible stories.  She balks at first when she sees a page with five or six complete paragraphs for her to read, but then she plows on.  Her reading is still slow, and she has to sound out words often, but she has definitely improved.

The last student is my newest.  She just began school, but her mom taught her some reading, and it seems she has a pretty good grasp of the idea that letters have individual sounds and therefore words can be sounded out (at least in Spanish).  She is proud of herself when she finishes a lesson.

Usually siblings arrive with the students, and so there are often children playing in the room while class is in session.  Perhaps it´s not the ideal environment for the reading, since the room can get quite noisy, but I´m glad that the children feel comfortable coming to our house and that their parents trust us.  It is one more way to build bridges in this community.  We recently attended two different parties given by our neighbors, because the children asked their parents to invite us.  At those parties we have the opportunity to talk with the adults and meet other neighbors.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Jesús transforma vidas

Abraham and I just finished the second VBS of our summer.  My sister Joy was visiting during the first VBS which was at the church Dios es Amor.  She and I helped Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the babies´ room, and Abraham helped every day with the games.  The theme for that VBS was El Soldado de Dios (God´s soldier), and it was planned for and prepared by a team at the church.

The second VBS was the one at our home in Huejotzingo.  Several months before, Abraham found a curriculum at, a site dedicated to training people to tell Bible stories verbally so that others can learn the stories and tell them to friends and family.  

We decided to try the VBS curriculum with the theme Jesus Transforms Lives.  Each day featured a different person who had contact with Jesus:  the Samaritan woman, the man who had been Legion, Zaccheus, the Samaritan leper, and Peter.  The Bible stories had been edited to make them into personal testimonies, and five different people memorized and presented the monologues to the children.
Preparing for the VBS took considerable work, even though the curriculum was already online.  We had to print out pages, edit some material, make copies, buy supplies, draw and color posters, choose and learn songs, and plan games.  We decided to include the daily verses in all of the games and activities, with the result that the children thoroughly memorized five verses by the end of the week.
One of the verses in a game
 It was an exhausting but rewarding week.  A large group of teens and adults came to our home from Dios es Amor each day to help with the activities.  They pitched in with preparation in the morning, added finishing touches to the games, helped serve snack and guided the children in verse practice during snack time, sang enthusiastically, explained the hand-crafts and papers that reenforced the day´s stories, and cleaned up after the children returned to their homes.  Four of the helpers memorized the Bible stories and presented them in monologues during meeting time.  Five families from the church donated snacks for the kids.

Throughout the week, our son Abishael accepted the complete disruption of his schedule with relative calm.  He was carried by different people during the VBS hours, and he sometimes slept almost the entire time the kids were at our house.  It was only toward the end of the VBS hours when he began to fuss, and when I took him to our room and let him play quietly on the bed, he recovered his cheer.
Quite a few children missed the closure on Sunday, but the ones who came enjoyed the time.  The older group of children recited all five Bible verses of the week, the last two verses with sign language as well as speaking.  The younger group said one verse all by themselves and sang a song.  Three mothers joined their children at the closure, which was the first time that any parents had attended a VBS closure.

Please pray for the children who attended.  Several of them told us that they repeated the stories at home in the afternoons.  Pray for the families as well, that the stories of transformation would touch their hearts.  Pray also for Abraham and I as we return our home to its normal state, rather than have piles of stuff all over.  Pray too as we plan to visit the families of the children who came to VBS, that relationships could be established and lives changed.

Monday, July 2, 2012

s´mores and love

Mini-s'mores, a treat not known in Mexico
A few weeks ago, Abraham and I started a special class for the preteens and teens on Sunday afternoon, a class that we teach before the general Bible class.  I teach the girls, and Abraham teaches the boys.  We are discussing love, dating, and marriage with them.  The youngest in the group is 9 years old, which may seem young for thinking of those topics, but many marry or begin dating very young here.  One of the teens who comes quite faithfully on Sunday afternoons became pregnant when she was 14 and now has an almost-three-year-old son, and she talks often about love and marriage.

Considering the home situations of many of the children and the negative influences that surround them, we pray that Biblical teaching about real love can help steer the young people to healthy, wise choices.  This last Sunday we wanted to focus on agape - Godly love.  As an illustration, we made mini-s'mores.  We were going to tell one of the teens to give another teen a s'more at the beginning of the class without giving out the s'mores first.  We were planning to use this illustration to show that we cannot give what we have not received, and also use an unfamiliar treat to show that God's love is unique and special.

We postponed the class and illustration, because only six children attended the kids' club last Sunday afternoon, due to an event in the downtown square.  On other Sunday afternoons, we have had a growing number of children attending, including some recent additions that have visited after being in reading class during the week.

Two of the reading students have now finished the first book in the curriculum Mas Luz and are beginning the second one.  The younger girl asked me, "How many books are there?"  I told her there are only two and said, "When you finish the second book..." Very excited she interrupted, "When I finish the second one, I'll be able to read!"  This girl also struggles with a speach impediment where she pronounces 'l' for 'r' and also has difficulties pronouncing 'bl'.  Since two of my mother-in-law's sons also had that problem, she taught me some exercises to help the girl pronounce words correctly.  We began the exercises last week.

Abishael is growing in leaps and bounds.  We recently took him for a well-baby check-up, and the doctor said he is doing very well.  Abishael loves to "talk" to us, earnestly trying to communicate his opinions and ideas with coos and squeals.  He is a joy.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

More than a Month

As of June 6, Abishael is now a month old.  He is growing rapidly, and we enjoy him very much.  His Mexican grandmother loves to hold him when she comes to Huejotzingo every Sunday and stays through Monday.  His American grandparents and other relatives there have not been able to meet him, but they have seen him through his photos on facebook and through skype video.  We are working on either getting a visa for Abraham (a difficult undertaking) so that we can visit the States or on finding a way that my parents can come to Mexico to meet their grandson.  

We also will have to travel to Mexico City and fill out lots of paperwork in order to register Abishael as an American citizen.  He is already registered as a Mexican.  At the United States embassy, we will need to have proof that Abishael is our son, including photos of me pregnant, medical receipts, and ultrasounds.

A week after Abishael was born, we started reading classes again.  I have a varying number of students, but several of them have attended faithfully, and one girl is almost finished with the first book, lacking only one lesson to end.  We will give her a certificate of completion once she finishes.

The Sunday afternoon kids' club continues.  Before Abishael was born, Six and I began teaching the kids how to embroider.  Actually, we taught some of the kids and helped others practice what they already knew, since most of the kids have done embroidery or sewing at home.  Six hemmed the edges of muslin cloth rectangles, and couple of weeks after Abishael's birth, the kids chose patterns and transferred them onto the prepared cloth.  They will be working on the embroidery until December, and they can use the finished work as a Christmas gift.

We appreciate your prayers and support.  Please pray that we can get a visa for Abraham without any problems.  Before he and I met, he applied for a visa to study in the United States and was denied twice.  We have not tried for a visa in the three years we've been married, but we know it is a difficult process.  Pray also that we can register Abishael without complications.  Please continue to pray for the families in Huejotzingo and for us as we share the love of Christ with them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Beloved Abishael

On May 6, 2012, Abishael Lechuga Greenlee came out into the world.  We had planned for a home birth, with Abraham's grandmother - an experienced midwife - in attendance.  Labor started at about 11:30 p.m. May 5th and continued throughout the night, not intensifying but also not subsiding enough to let me sleep hardly at all.

The contractions really intensified at 5:30 on Sunday afternoon.  My mother-in-law, Abraham, and his grandmother all encouraged, exhorted, and instructed me through three hours of heavy labor, but finally Grandmother Esperanza said that we should go to the hospital.  Abraham called the Red Cross ambulance, and we were soon on our way.

At the first hospital where the ambulance stopped, the same hospital where Abraham had his emergency appendix operation almost a year ago, we couldn't enter, because there was a party in process.  The ambulance continued down the street to the hospital where we had gotten Abishael's second ultrasound.

The doctor checked where Abishael's head was and also listened to his heart.  Signs showed that the baby was still fine, so we went ahead with natural birth.  They put in an epidural to relax tense muscles to give me relief and to allow the baby to exit.  We knew about the cord wrapped around his neck, but another complication had arisen in that Abishael had slightly turned his head.  With medical help, he was able to come out very soon after our arrival, at 10:30 p.m.

All his vital signs were normal, so soon we were transferred to our room.  The following day in the afternoon, we checked out of the hospital and returned home.  My mother-in-law stayed with us until Wednesday, helping us adjust to having our newborn.  I still had swollen feet and hands and of course was still recovering from the extremely long labor.  It took several days to return to almost normal.

Please pray for us as we learn to be parents.  Pray that we raise our boy in the way the God calls us to.  Please pray also that we can arrange for some way for my parents to meet Abishael.  Travel is difficult for my mother, but getting a visa for Abraham to go to the United States so that we can meet there is also very difficult.

Friday, April 27, 2012


When my parents visited in September, we asked them to bring some Bibles.  They brought down 50 copies of the Bible Dios Habla Hoy, a version accepted by the Catholic church.

Our goal is to give them all away.  One of the ways that the kids who come on Sunday afternoons can earn a Bible is by scripture memorization. 

These Bibles aren't for keeping
At the end of December, we told the kids they could win one by memorizing 1 Corinthians 13 before Valentine´s Day.  Two girls began to regularly visit our home during the week so that we could help them memorize.  We didn´t just focus on them learning the verses, we also spent time discussing their meaning.  After a short time, one of the girls gave up memorizing, although she still continued to come.

On Valentine´s Day, Zalma successfully recited the chapter, and she won her Bible along with some other small gifts.  We took her picture and posted it in the room so that other kids could see that memorization is possible, although it requires work.

The next passages that we selected were Isaiah 42:1-9 and Jeremiah 31:31-34.  We told the kids they had until Easter to memorize.  Again, the same two girls came to our home, and we helped them memorize and understand the verses.  This time neither girl gave up.  They both practiced extensively.  Abraham suggested that Six, Ken, he, and I also commit the verses to memory during the assigned time, and I didn't have to work very hard at it, because I was the one who was with the girls most often.

Zalma and Nati recited the verses on Easter Sunday, Nati glowing from the success of having stuck with the work and seen the results of her persistance.  She was very pleased to receive her Bible, and we gave Zalma a different gift, since she had previously won a Bible.

The next passage is John 1:1-14, and the kids have until the end of May to work on those verses.  One of our neighbor girls, who frequently comes to our home during the week (along with her sisters, niece and nephews who come for reading class) already knows all the verses by heart.  She only has to continue reviewing so that she doesn't forget them before the end of May.

We hope and pray that other children will be encouraged to memorize and that the verses won't just be in their minds but will also affect their hearts.  Neither Zalma nor Nati have accepted Jesus into their hearts, and their home situation is worse than any soap opera, but they now both have Bibles, which we emphasized are for using, and they both have some scripture in their minds.

Please pray specifically for those two girls and their families.  They very recently moved to another town, where they live in dangerous and unwholesome conditions.  Other children have told us that they continue to come to Huejotzingo, but only for their catechism class.  We have not seen them since they moved.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Full term

Most of these don't tell me much...
The report with the ultrasound
Abraham and I went for our baby's second ultrasound last night.  The doctor showed us several different views of our little one, and said that as far as he can tell, Baby is doing well.  The only problem is that the umbilical cord is still wrapped once around Baby's neck, just as it was when we went for the ultrasound two months ago.  The doctor told us that when the cord has been wrapped around the baby's neck since early on, chances are that there is less problem - the cord is longer - than if the baby manages to wrap the cord late in the pregnancy.

Since we hope that Baby can be born at home with Abraham's grandmother as midwife, it is encouraging to see the continued health and growth.  We will be visiting a doctor in Cholula for a check-up tomorrow.
A basket of baby goodies

A small sampling of the clothing
The church Dios es Amor arranged a baby shower a few weeks ago, and we received a supply of diapers, wipes, creams, and other useful items from the church ladies.  A few weeks later, the mothers and teachers of Puebla Christian School organized a second shower.  They provided more of the consumable items, along with some toys, clothes, a highchair, and other such baby paraphernalia.  

We found this rocking chair cheaply at a flea market
People ask us, "Are you ready for the baby to be born?"  How to respond?  Yes and no.  Can anyone really be ready for a tiny, completely dependent child to come into their lives?  Who can predict how many sleepless nights, how many scrapes and bruises, how many temper tantrums, how much change will come into their lives?  Yet, of course, we are looking forward to seeing our baby's face, to cuddling, hugging, and kissing, to loving and training and learning how to be the parents God wants us to be.

Please pray for us that the remaining time with Baby inside will go well, and that he or she can be born without complications.  Pray also that we will be the parents God plans for us to be.  This is a life-long prayer.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Ten Commandments?

The 10 Commandments in the children's catechism book:

1. I am the Lord your God:  you shall not have strange Gods before me.

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
4. Honor your father and your mother.

5. You shall not kill.

6. You shall not commit adultery.

7. You shall not steal.

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife. 

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's goods.

The 10 Commandments from Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5 (including in the Catholic Bibles):

1. I am the Lord your God.  You shall have no other gods before Me. 

2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. 

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 

5. Honor your father and your mother. 

6. You shall not murder.

7. You shall not commit adultery. 

8. You shall not steal.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. 

10. You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.

Visiting various churches, cathedrals, and homes, the reason for the change in the commandments is obvious.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Reading classes

When we moved to Huejotzingo almost a year ago, Abraham and I put up notices advertising that we would teach classes in our home.  We offered English, drawing, and general tutoring.  Six and Ken contributed with classes in sewing, guitar, and piano.  At first, several people came for English classes.  They came for about a month, and then they disappeared.  Now I only have one student for English class, and she doesn't come very regularly.  I help her with her English homework.

Ken has two piano students, and Six has one sewing student.  The piano and sewing students are in the same family, and their son comes for drawing class with me.

Within the last three weeks, a new set of students began to come to our home.

A large family lives on the corner of our street, and the girls come regularly to the Sunday afternoon kids' club, often bringing one or two of their toddler nieces and nephews.  None of the kids in that family attend school, although some of them used to.  One of the girls knows how to read very well, but her next younger and next older sister do not know how to.

Practicing writing
We offered to teach them to read, and that Tuesday morning, they came.  Using a curriculum called Mas Luz, I began teaching them simple syllables, sending home note cards with the same syllables so that the girls can keep reviewing.  While I work with each girl individually, the other one practices writing.  Their sister who knows how to read uses our desktop computer to learn typing.  She also works math problems with Abraham.
Reviewing syllables

The girls come three mornings a week, often with a niece or nephew (or two) in tow.  They work on their lessons, and then they stay to play and talk until we send them back home.

Last weekend, a lady knocked at our door, asking about reading lessons for her 6-year-old daughter.  The girl attends school and her mother works on reading at home too, but still the girl doesn't now how to read.  She started class with me on Tuesday afternoon.  Her second class will be Saturday morning, and we will probably add another class on Wednesdays.

Two other students have had a couple of reading lessons with me, but they haven't yet had more.  Abraham and I visit their house every Friday afternoon, and while Abraham does a Bible study with two of the adults, I had reading class with a third adult and her daughter.  The girl has never attended school, and she is completely unaccustomed to sitting down to do any sort of studying, so working with her is very challenging.  Next time we go, I will start out by reading a story and try to help her see the connection between being able to read the story and the lessons.

Abraham and I visit another family every Friday night.  None of their children attend school, although some of them did for awhile, but not long enough to be proficient readers.  I take a different picture book with me every time we go, and 6-year-old Lupe's first question is always, "Where is the book?"  I read aloud to her, and her younger nephew and brother always crowd close, wanting to hear too.  After reading to Lupe, I pass the book to her next older brother, and then usually her oldest sister also wants to read it, too.  Lupe also wants to be read to on Sunday afternoons, and soon I plan to start teaching her sound-symbol relationships so that she will be able to read to herself some day.

Please pray that these classes will continue.  They are a way for us to reach out to people in our neighborhood and offer them a skill that will be useful throughout their lives.  Pray also that these classes will be more than just academic help - that they would be a way for us to be Jesus' hands and feet.