Friday, December 21, 2012

A Final Goodbye...

This week we gave our final ESL classes.  Jake taught his last Sunday school lesson on Sunday morning, and then on Wednesday we had our beginner and intermediate class.  

I tried to plan a fun, Christmas-inspired lesson for the beginners.  I had them learn John 3:16, and from there I talked about how we can have joy at Christmas time, because God loves us, and sent His Son to die for our sins.  We listened to Chris Tomlin's "Joy to the World" and they had to fill in the blanks.  We had a little party in between the two classes, and I was brought to tears by a cake that a student brought.  It said, "Congratulations", and was in the shape of Brazil.  Although that class was the hardest one for me to teach, it was more difficult to say goodbye than I thought. The students kept saying that they wished we could have more classes together in the new year. 

I was encouraged by a conversation with one student, Lillian.  Before she attended our classes, she thought she didn't even like English.  Now, due to an appreciation that grew out of taking classes with us, she's going to study at an English school next year.

Towards the end of our time, we were having less and less students come out, due to various commitments and end of the year graduations and parties. At times it was discouraging to see only 7 students in the class, compared to the 30 we started out with.  However, comments like Lillian's make every difficult and challenging moment worth it.  You start to realize that the ones who lasted to the end are the ones who needed it, and benefited the most. 

Yesterday I had a chance to evaluate the parts that worked well and not so well. I found it helpful to think about what we can do differently or change for next time.

Thank you for all your prayers regarding our classes.  Although our main focus was to teach English, God taught us so much in other areas and experiences we had while here as well!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Church in Brasil

Ola friends. I wrote a short reflection on trends in the church here in Brasil in contrast with the church in Canada. You can check it out on my personal blog site Rivers in Reverse. Enjoy!

Jake Rivers