Sunday, November 27, 2011

Preparing the ESL lessons

This past week we have spent some time to prepare the lessons and games we need to take along with us to Medellin. We  have five lessons, one each for five days, each with a number of games and tasks that will help the ESL students in Colombia learn a little more English. We are expecting around 200 students in each of the two weeks we are to be there. Many of the learning games revolve around card games, and we had to make enough copies of everything and then cut out all the cards and sort them into the right numbers and packs. All of this will then travel with us to Colombia in a suitcase. Who would have thought that cutting out paper can still be fun and help with team building!

The team looking seriously at work

Eleanor, Gerald and Sonya looks busy
Eleanor and Christine

Dries handling the finger cutter, sorry, the paper cutter
Jen's back is sore from all the sitting. Barb and Brenda still enjoying themselves   

We need prayer this week for the following:
  1. Pray that the team in Colombia will be able to find and secure a suitable location for the ESL. We may still go to the same center we had last January, but the complex is being sold to new owners and so there is some uncertainty.
  2. Also pray that the Colombian team will be able to find all the volunteers they need to help with translation. We will likely need around 15 to 20 persons. They are also looking for families that will host us for the two weeks.
  3. Pray for our team members who are preparing there testimonies. It looks possible that we will be talking about our faith and give our testimonies in front of the large ESL groups. We hope and pray that this will lead to good discussion in the smaller groups at the tables. The aim is to help the people talk and use English, the purpose is to open doors for individuals to talk about God and faith. The latter discussion will not happen at the tables, but we are hoping for individuals to come forward and talk to us during other times in the day.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Preparations for our January 2012 mission trip to Medellin, Colombia

As the year draws to an end the team is hard at work making our preparations physically and spiritually. We have been meeting to plan and pray once a week now for months already. We also had a wonderful retreat weekend (at Pastor Rick's house!) during which we focused more on our spiritual readiness, but also could do some of the preparation for our ESL (English Second Language) classes.

There is still quite a bit to do! Becky, Rick and Barb's daughter, who is a trained ESL teacher has been working really hard to write and design new lessons that we will be using when we go in January. She joined her father to go there in August, and gained wonderful insight in how these lessons will work the best. On our side we have been going through each individual lesson to see how it works and to make any necessary changes as we try out the games that comes with it. The whole concept is based on playing games that will allow the students to use specific target language, while making the learning fun. At the same time it gives the students opportunity to get to know each other and the teaching team. This has shown over the last two outreaches to lead to unique opportunities to have personal meetings that may open the door for spiritual discussions. We depend upon God to make this happen, as we do our best to present a quality program.

Please pray for us as we prepare ourselves. Pray that God's mercy and grace will keep guard over us and our families, and that everything will work together to allow us to go to Colombia in January.

Pray for open hearts and open doors in Colombia. Pray that the people will be receptive to the Gospel.

Also pray for the new church that is being planted in Sabaneta. Pray that our Father will bless and protect the leaders, Diego and Claudia,  Jairo and Jennifer.

Mealtime during our retreat weekend
Rick explaining to our families how well our retreat is going...