Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sometimes you hear something...

...and you NEED to share.

I have heard speakers from many different organizations.  I have supported ministries near and far.  I have sponsored children.  I have several friends serving in the mission field near and far.  I say that I have a heart for the work that God is doing.  And I hold my head up, almost proud of myself for being so "aware" of the world and supportive of God's work.

Tonight I had a MAJOR reality check.  I had heard about this organization, but tonight I learned about Destiny Rescue (click to learn more).  David Grant, a friend of mine, recently began working for Destiny Rescue.  He was speaking tonight at "That Thing" at Epworth Forest.  He shared a story...a story about a family who sells their daughter to a man who promises help and money and a job for her.  And it was a lie!  What the man did was bought the daughter and put her to work in a brothel.  I cried, sobbed the entire time that David was speaking and we were seeing video clips about the sex trafficking that is taking place.  I heard an astounding statistic - "EVERY 26 SECONDS another child is trafficked, most sold into sexual slavery."  I did the math, that is about 138 children PER HOUR!  It makes my stomach churn.

My heart is heavy.  As I watched those videos and listened to David speak I couldn't help but think, "those girls remind me of my students, or so-and-so's child."  It hit me in a personal spot...children.  I love children so much.  I cannot imagine what these children, innocent children, are going through.  And it happens to another every 26 seconds.

I can honestly say that this cause is important.  I have friends who have been to these countries and volunteered with organizations that are fighting sex trafficking.  And I will admit, until tonight, that I had NO IDEA how little me could help.

I am praying.  Praying for God's direction in how I can help.  I would encourage you to check out this organization.  There are MANY WAYS that you can help.  I would ask that you start by praying.  Pray for God to move.  Pray for people to take a stand against sex trafficking.  Pray for a heart that breaks for these girls and boys.  Pray for a way to help.

In the time that it took me to write this, 40 children were trafficked.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The End is Near

I have 4 weeks, a month break, and one semester to go in grad school!  I am so excited and anxious to be done.  It is hard to be a student at the age of 32.  It is hard to say no to fun things.  It is hard to stare at a computer screen 3-6 hours each day.  It is hard to read articles and textbooks that I don't always understand.  It is hard to know exactly how each professor wants you to post, write, and reply.  It is hard to keep everything straight in my brain.  It is hard NOT to procrastinate.

But, I am honestly loving this season of learning.  For those of you who may not know I have big plans professionally....I want to be a college professor and teach future teachers.  In order to do that I must go back and refine my learning and teaching.  I keep this in mind when I don't want to work, when I would rather read a good novel or play with my friends, or lay in the sun ALL DAY.  I have already tried many new things in my classroom and hope to do even more this next school year.  My students loved helping me with college work!  They were always excited when the FlipCamera came out, when I would interview them, or when I would show them my online "classroom".

Did I mention that it has been hard?  It really has.

I am grateful though.  I am grateful that I have the ability to learn.  I am grateful for students and parents that have shared some personal things with me for grad work.  I am grateful for a summer that allows me to get 4 classes done.  I am grateful for friends and family that have been a phenomenal support group: encouraging me to press on, listening when I need to gripe, reminding me to step away from work for fun, and showing a genuine interest in what I am learning.

One of my goals this year is to finish grad school with a 4.0.  I am still on track :)  I am not going to be upset if I don't, as long as I know that I put my best work out there.  And I know that this is an attainable goal.

But (the point of this entire post) I really got to thinking about this goal today during church.  A segment of the sermon was performance living vs. promise living.  It made me think, "Why am I aiming so high for grad school?  Is it for me?  for God?  Do I expect something in return?"  I don't really have an answer, but it is definitely making me think.  I like to push myself, I like a challenge.  This is me pushing myself.  I don't want to settle and know that I didn't do my best at anything. 

This is not the only area that I need to evaluate my motivation.  I challenge you to ask yourself the same question, "Are you performance living or promise living?"  God's promises are good!  I need to let this resonate in my soul.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Why I Teach

I had a moment this morning.  I was dropping off my car insurance payment to State Farm.  I was pleasantly greeted, as always, and the following conversation took place:

 Me: Hi Heather!
Heather: Hi Dina. Are you enjoying your summer break?
Me:  100%!
Heather: That's the best part of teaching, right?
Me: hahaha

Then I left.  And I had a pit in my stomach.  Why?  It's  not the best part of teaching!  I didn't share that though...

Many people think that summer break is the "best part of teaching" but that is SO NOT TRUE for me.  Summer break is nice...I get to reflect on my previous school year, begin preparing for the next year, and enjoy the summer.  But it is not the best part of teaching.  I usually spend the first few weeks worrying about my students that I know don't look forward to a break from school.  For too many kids, summer is not enjoyable because they have tough lives, they aren't cared for, and they don't get to see their friends.  School is the fun place.  It is safe, secure, there is someone who is ALWAYS glad to see them, it is consistent.  After I learn to let go of my students the anticipation of the next group hits me.  What will they be like?  Who will impact me the most?  What great memories will we have in Room 410?  Will I do a better job this year? 

Nope, I don't teach for the summer break.  

I teach because that is what God has called me to do.  He has placed a burning passion for kids in my heart.  I teach because learning is important.  I teach because I can make a difference.  I teach because I love it!

So if you ever assume that summer is the best part of teaching, ask a teacher.  I bet they will tell you differently.  I know this one will.