Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The End....?

Many of you know that I arrived back home Sunday night so I really have no excuse (jet lag???) for why I didn't post anything sooner. So my apologies!

The second of week of camp we helped put on was not at Striki but another school in a nearby town called Blidene. This year was the second year the camp was done there so the traditions and organization was very different from Striki. Which I guess is good. It keeps you from getting too comfortable and thinking you're an expert now. We had a total of 20 kids at Blidene (compared to the 80 at Striki), which meant instead of having seven classes we only had three. That left two people on our team without classes to teach. They spent most of the day in prayer over the camp/kids and just helped the rest of us out during the day. This extra prayer was much needed because, despite having a quarter of the kids we had at Striki, discipline was much looser at Blidene. That's not to say the kids weren't good kids but they were much more eager to test boundaries with the teachers and with each other.

But, all discipline problems aside, it was a good week. The group of kids Katharine and I ended up co-teaching were all very sweet, and did their best to try to learn some new English and participate in class. We did have a pair of troublemakers, though, who liked to test our patience and resist every time we asked them to speak in English or do anything in English. However, I think God used these kids to teach me better patience and how to keep my calm during frustrating situations. Often times at home I get easily frustrated with my family so while teaching in Latvia I realized that I need to work on keeping my cool and just rolling with the punches. This leads me to the second lesson I learned, which is I need to become more flexible. I had prepared lesson plans for the camp ahead of time and printed out hundreds of sheets of paper. When I first got to Latvia I thought I was going to be able to do everything I had planned down to the very last detail. And with the first English session I taught this was clearly not the case. So for both of weeks of camp I tried to work on adjusting to the situation and being okay when I had to make concessions to my original plan.

One of the biggest things I noticed while in Latvia is the people's generosity. For many years these people had next to nothing yet they still give as much as they can (and often more). Our culture stresses giving only as much as we can handle, yet their culture teaches them to give abundantly despite whatever financial struggles they're going through. It's made me realize I need to give more freely and without remorse.

Overall going to Latvia and being immersed in their culture for two and a half weeks has really opened my eyes to a world outside of the United States. We may have many different cultures and ethnicities here in the US, but going to a new country is more enriching than I ever could have imaged.

But it wasn't only the people in Latvia who made my experience memorable, but also everyone else on the EEMN team. We did have our little conflicts but for the most part we all worked together very well. I'm so glad I got the opportunity to meet and live with these people for half a month. It really made the whole experience ten times better.

I hope to go back to Latvia in the near future but who knows what will be in store for me in the next few months. What I do know is that the lessons I learned their will stick with me for the rest of my life. Hopefully, with God's help, I'll be able to implement them in my daily life and grow from this experience.

Thank you all for your support!

Much love,


ps. For more in depth stories, things I learned or pictures contact me in person (whether by text, email, calling, Facebook or just meeting face to face) and I'll be happy to share :)

1 comment:

  1. Really good writing! I'm glad I got to share that trip with you. You added so much to our team. Pr. Mark