Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to the U.S., Back to the Classroom, and Orphan Stories

Becky's back.  All right!

Any fellow Backstreet Boys fans out there?

I was/am a die hard fan and proud of it.

Anyways, I am back in the U.S. again after a crazy awesome adventure in the Netherlands with my best bud Arielle.  We had a wonderful time exploring museums, churches, and shops; biking around the busy streets; and taking pictures of epic windmills.

Highlights included a visit to the Ten Boom Museum, the former home of Corrie Ten Boom and her family.  For those of you who may not know, Corrie Ten Boom and her family were Christians who worked for the Dutch Resistance and hid 6 Jews in a secret hiding place in their home.  When the Germans came to their house, the entire Ten Boom family was arrested and set to concentration camps.  The Jews were still hidden in the wall and were able to escape two days later.  The Ten Boom family was not so fortunate.  Only Corrie survived the war.  Once liberated from Ravensbruck camp, she returned home and then began to tour the world telling her story.  Her most famous book, The Hiding Place, is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read.
The hiding place.
This wall was broken open to show the space,
 the actual entrance is a trap door in a linen closet.
 We also tried the local cuisine.  Poffertjes are AMAZING.  Raw herring...not so much.

Poffertjes (tiny pancakes) loaded up with strawberries,
whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, and chocolate shavings.

 And what kind of teacher would I be if I didn't find a children's bookstore?

Overall, it was a fabulous vacation!

Now, however, vacation is over.  It's time to go back to the classroom and get to work!  School starts in 2 weeks and I have a lot to do.

Today was my first day back in the room.  I went in with an ambitious agenda and was actually able to get most of it done.  I don't want to reveal everything yet, but I'll share my first bulletin board now and something else tomorrow.

Ready to Fly in First Grade
All it took was some cute Boho Birds, two coordinated borders, and a homemade sign to match to create this board.  I love how colorful it is.  I have the sign here for you to grab for free.  Unfortunately I can't include the Boho Birds because I don't want to get into legal trouble, but these ones from are also super cute.  Click the picture to download the freebie sign.

Well, that's it for now.  I hope to be back tomorrow to share more exciting things in my classroom.

Now, I know it's been awhile, but I still want to share another edition of...

Left My Heart in Hyderabad

Day Six: NTR Nagar
        This morning I slept until 8:00, which was nice since I had been so tired yesterday.  As I was getting dressed, I could not decide whether or not to wear my Punjabi outfit or not.  My roommates were wearing theirs and looked so pretty.  I was afraid to get mine dirty.  In the end, I decided to wear my colorful dress-like one. 

          All day long I felt comfy, cultured, and cool.  Many of the other girls on our team wore their outfits too, so it was fun seeing the nationals confused looks when they saw white people dressed as Indians.  Breakfast was mostly carbs again.  I am craving fresh veggies and fruits other than bananas.  However, J warned us to be careful transitioning back to U.S. food since our bodies won’t be used to it when we get back. 
          On the drive to NTR Nagar, we saw 3 huge cows laying on the cement median.  It’s moments like that that confirm I really am in India!
          When we arrived, the kids greeted us enthusiastically again and it was not long before we were all singing “Baby Shark,” “Allelu,” “The Banana Song,” and “Joy, Joy, Joy.”  The kids also taught us “Watermelon, watermelon.  Pineapple, pineapple.  Banananananana.  Fruits in one!”  When they sing, I can barely understand them due to their strong accents.  It cracks me up.  We also sang a song during which we had to be very aerobic (running, jumping, bowing, walking, praying etc.)  So fun.
          During the Jonah craft, I helped Naveem.  He was a very slow and distracted worker.  The bus driver kept talking to and teasing him.  As I worked with the kids, I kept asking Paul how to say things in Telegu.  He taught me kanu-eye, kallu-eyes, and akali- hungry.  He and the bus driver cracked up when I called out “akali chepa!,” which means “hungry fish.”
          Rather than go outside to play ball, I stayed and talked to Shrivanya and Jakil with B.  I tried some Telegu and used lots of hand motions.  I learned that Shrivanya is the pastor’s sister.  She is in university and wants to be a police officer.  Jakil is in college, wants to be a teacher, and is apparently always hungry (according to Shrivanya).  It was really neat to talk with some young adults as a break from the crazy kiddos.
          After a yummy lunch of eggs, chapatti bread, cauliflower curry, bananas, and NO RICE (yay!), we listened to the kids’ stories.

Sushil (15) and Sony (7)- Their mother died when they were both very young.  Their father re-married, but his new wife died too.  Their father did not work or do anything to care for them, so Sushil had to seel everything in the house in order to buy food.  Finally, a pastor from where they lived brought them to the Bethel home.  When they arrived, they did not know how to eat properly or how to bathe.  Sony was 2 ½, but still drinking milk.  Now, they are growing and learning.  Sushil plays keyboard and wants to be a music director.  Sony wants to be a police officer.

Naveem (11)- His father died from drinking and using tobacco.  His mother did not and can  not care for him, so Naveem never used to go to school and would get into trouble.  Now, that he is at Bethel, he plays drums, goes to school, and wants to be a software engineer.  His sister still stays with their mother.

Srikanth (14)- His father is an alcoholic.  His mother is in the hospital and is very sick with heart disease.  He used to use tobacco, but came to Bethel and overcame his bad habits.  He is now happy, but asks for prayer for his mother.  His two older sisters live elsewhere.  One is married, the other works in a hostel.

Devendhar (7)- His father is an alcoholic who beats Devendhar’s mother every day.  Now that Devendhar is at Bethel, he is happy and wants to be a police officer.

            Compared to the stories of the kids at the last sight, these ones are filled with more pain and darkness.  I was surprised to learn how many of the orphans were only partial orphans or social orphans because one or more of their parents cannot care for them.  The life experiences these children have had is heart-breaking.  I can’t imagine having to sell everything my family owns just to get food or being addicted to tobacco as a young child or watching my mom getting beaten every day.  I feel very burdened to pray, not only for these children, but for their parents who are trapped in darkness.
To break the heavy mood, the kids danced for use before we left.  It was hard to say goodbye, but now as hard as when we left the first place.  I feel like I did not connect with these kids as well until tonight as I thought back over their stories.  Now, it’s too late to really love on them.  Still, I will pray for them fervently.  That is all I can do. 
            After leaving, we shopped at a handicrafts market.  On the way in, I hit my leg on the turnstile and got a HUGE, swollen bruise.  Ouch.  The outdoor market was full of stalls selling bright colored scarves, shiny bangles, various kinds of elephants, tiny chai cups, and much more.  Though the shopping was long and tiring, I was happy to get lots of souvenirs for people.  Sarah and Paul helped us get the “Indian Price,” not the “Foreigner Price” by bartering.  The shopkeepers went crazy trying to get our attention and our money.  While shopping, we joked about W being the cashmere expert when he examined E's scarf.  He majored in lighting and minored in cashmere.  Hehe.
          I am thankful for the team’s sense of humor.  Laughing so hard helps ease the weight of the hardships we are seeing and hearing about.  Of course, I don’t want to ignore or forget about the suffering, but the balance of fun helps a lot.  That’s why it’s good to have fun with the kids.  They need joy and humor too. 

Speaking of the children needing positive experiences, I want to remind you all that fundraising is still going on for the orphan camp coming up this October.  For those of you who didn't catch my earlier post, here is what is going on.

This coming October, World Orphans planned to sponsor a team of Americans to go to India to host a camp for the orphan children.  God, however, had other plans and as a result, the team has been canceled.  The exciting thing is that God is equipping local believers to run the camp!  So cool.

In order for 200 orphan children to attend this amazing camp, it will cost $35/child ($7000 total).  That cost covers transportation, lodging, food, supplies etc.  Right now, only $630 have been raised.  There is still a long way to go.

Would you be willing to sponsor a child or two so that they can attend this camp?

Would you at least give up one Starbucks, so you can help make this camp happen?

Every little bit helps.  

Click the below to donate.  The faces you see in the picture below are actual orphans that I met and now hold in my heart.  They are some of the many beautiful children who would be blessed by this camp.

Donate Now

Have a great night!

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