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CLICK HERE to watch a video about one part of our trip! (sorry, not iOS compatible)
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Another school year is nearing its end and our Bible verse recital and drawing competition is also in its last week before the summer vacation. From spring we continued on with the Bible Heroes theme. The kids listened to stories, drew pictures about them and got extra points if they recited any of the relevant verses. Here are a few of the proud winners with their prizes.
This was the third year that we helped to run the 11th year of the Annual Cypress Street Soccer Tournament. This is a real big deal for the neighborhood! The streets are cleaned, lines are painted and the windows are covered with baseboards. Early Memorial Day Monday the street gets closed, the City of Placentia police department stands by as the opening ceremony unfolds. Kids from the neighborhood carry a line of flags of many nations – for the last three years including Hungary’s.
After the national anthem and prayer the music starts blasting with hot rhythm and the soccer ball finally is on its way. It is street soccer. Black pavement, hot asphalt, high curbs as sidelines, and hockey goals. Food stands with spicy Mexican choices and raffle tickets, all to benefit LOT318, a Christian organization that we also serve this area with. A colorful crowd cheers on as the battle goes on for hours between neighborhood rivals for the ultimate prize beyond glory and bragging rights – the cash prize.
This year was a special one for me. A group of high school age guys with whom I play pick up soccer in a nearby park finally put together a team by themselves and entered to this event. Our prayers have been answered and they did pretty well advancing to the quarterfinals. It was a great event for a great cause!
More or less diligently … every week our students complete their HW packets from Monday through Thursday. Around here schools slam several pages of HW on the kids on Monday and the completed work is due on Friday. Having spent a little over two full school years in our HW Club, I believe that this method of teaching is not the most conducive to learning – especially not for our kids in the barrio.
The truth is that each of these children would need an individual tutor if they wanted to learn the material to a satisfactory level and neither we nor their families can provide that help for them. We help them with a few other volunteers around the always noisy tables, as 3-4 kids constantly talking over each other asking questions from us while we are explaining something to the fifth one.
It is an extreme feat of brain work from our part trying to concentrate on a second grader’s math problem while helping a fourth grader with a social studies question, telling two others to wait for their turn and making sure another kid’s little sister doesn’t swallow an eraser. The need is enormous… We help as much as we can but it often seems so little. Yet, it is all worth it when we see the small improvements, the consistency, the motivation for wanting to become better, the joy of completion of a task or achievement of something they thought they could never do. Some of their mothers who don’t speak any English, they sit there every day and look at us with such thankful expression in their eyes, … and some are never around. But the kids are always here. And even though they don’t like homework, somehow they know that we are here for them. – We are so glad that we can be here.
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37 NIV)
Please, pray with us and for us to have the continuous zeal to tackle, ease, and solve this problem!
When kids don’t just memorize the verses but draw pictures about them and retell the story they understand and retain them better. Here are a few of the cutest pictures:
These ten kids pictured above are the current Bible Champions of their community. Through heartfelt reading, reciting and drawing pictures of our Bible Heroes (such as Noah, Abraham, Joseph and a few others), these kids collected the most points in a wide-spread contest. This is our second year going and while in the first year their instant weekly rewards were healthy snacks and food certificates, we made a change. During the first half of the second year, which has spanned from early October till the end of January of 2017, they collected points as their rewards. They then redeemed those points for art supplies of their choice.