Thursday, August 19, 2010

"You say Goodbye, and I say Hello..."

"...I don't know why you say good bye, I say Hello." Words have no worth for how much these children, staff, church, youth group, and inmates mean to us. How do you say goodbye to people who make you laugh, wish you a Merry Christmas in August, and support you as you make a fool out of yourself for being in another country?
I now know what past teams have gone through. To say goodbye to people we have grown to love and yet go back home and see our family is bitter sweet. There is a solution to this heartache: the whole town of Menomonie can just move to the Philippines. This would mean no more goodbye's and allow us Wisconsin people to give away our winter jackets. Problem solved.

In the second photo, they are not waving goodbye, they are doing the LAMA. If you don't know what this means, ask Brandon H. or Jeni H.

Another thing that will be missed is the vista. Waking up in the morning to a 360 degree, breathtaking sky. Valleys below with mountaintops and clouds across. Sometimes, that is the most counsel one can get from God, looking at His beautiful creation.

This photo is for a certain goat lover. The goats will be missed, along with Justin mocking them out the window as we drive by, "Baaaaaaaaaa". Please pray for us and for safe travel, we are packing up today and heading home tomorrow. Thanks for all the support, prayers, comments, and interest throughout this entire mission. They were not forgotten.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

This Weekend in Pictures

Here we are hanging out with the youth.

May I be the first to introduce you to Shofar's newest building, otherwise known as "The Little House". We worked hard on Saturday to get everything painted.
More playground pics...

We are almost finished with the playground, we only need to attach a connecting rope bridge between the two structures.

Tigger, the Salas family dog, awaiting Lechon Manok scraps last Friday during our hangout with the youth.

Junrey making the final cut with the boiled rice...yes that's rice cooked in those weaved together banana leaves. Guess what's in the bag??

And last but not least, since no photo upload is complete without a picture of the boys, here they are hard at work once again....

Please keep us in prayer this week as we prepare to close down Shofar and say our goodbyes....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One of the things I've appreciated being a part of this summer is to see how God uses our focused planning for His work. As we've continued to plan, plan, and plan more, we've been forced to confront problems head-on and be aware of both what lies behind us and ahead of us. This has had the effect of making us continually aware of how precious our time is. It keeps us asking for God's wisdom, direction and power, and also keeps us all in communication with each other as we serve the Kingdom of God.

This has played into a lot of the work we've down with Shofar Learning... As we and the teachers continue to learn what is best for the students, we've been on a road of intentional improvement. We've recently streamlined and tweaked the daily schedule. We've also been able to add some new web resources for the teachers which they will be using to better attack some of the individual student needs. We recently set up the grading and attendence software, so everything is now easily maintained on the computer. Technology has been a big part of Shofar Learning, and all of us on the team have taken our part in teaching one aspect or another and sometimes it can be pretty fun... Over the past couple weeks we've been having meetings with the teachers over the internet. Even though we're in the same building, we each log on to different computers practice "long-range" communication.

On another note, we visited the local cemetary near Cantabaco. With Avegail and Erline as our guides, we walked through a complex maze of cement, brick, and tiled tombs. There were new graves assembled on tops of older graves, and no doubt many graves that were no longer visible. It was nice to spend some time seeing another aspect of local life... er...

Saturday, August 07, 2010

This week at Shofar

So this past week has been one of trying to wrap up projects and working with the school.  As far as the school goes this past week we setup a grading program for the teachers to record all of the students grades from each subject.  We have also setup student record keeping, a calendar, and other teaching resources for the staff here to use at the school.  Andy, if you're interested, they have started using some of the Art lessons that you sent over as well. There has been a lot of behind the scenes work like this that we have been working on throughout the summer for the school.  It has been great to see it all get to a place where it can be an asset to the staff here.  With all of that in mind we also had a training day for the staff here this past Friday to make sure they all know how to make use of the resources that are here at Shofar.  They have been learning a lot and really started to make use of all of these things.

Also this week we made our last trip down to Cebu to pick up a few items for Shofar that can only be found there and of course visited a coffee shop for a nice double shot of espresso.(at least for me) I believe Sasha picked up some of the merchandise that will be available at Yeshuapolooza next month.

It's hard to believe but this past Friday was two weeks before we will be leaving Shofar.  As always we ask that you continue to pray for the work going on here and for us.  It is very encouraging to know that people are praying for us. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Saved by the Bell!

Well it’s another week here at Shofar Learning! This past Monday was the start to a new schedule of classes. We have added some creative writing, reading, English comprehension, home ec, and speech classes. They also now get a study hall time to review class notes and to complete assignments. The other new change to the schedules included changing the Rosetta Stone classes to beginner and advanced and also best of all they get a longer lunch! The response to the new schedule was overwhelming….. the kids love it! During their creative writing time they got to write a story about their first day of school, what they were feeling, what they thought of their new school, etc. It was cute to read some of the stories- they all really love Shofar and are very thankful that they get to go to school here. I speak for all six of us when I say that it’s been a very awesome blessing to see the kids (and the staff) every day and get to see them grow and learn.

In other news… we are still working on the playground. The “little house” as we like to call it has a roof and a floor; right now they are working on framing up the walls to put the ammocian in this weekend. The guys have been out in the sun working hard every chance they get to get the playground finished before we leave. This week we will be going to Cebu City for some final supplies and to do some light sightseeing (just kidding), but we are all looking forward to another adventure to the “big city”.

We can use prayer for finishing well, we have only but a few short weeks left before we leave the beautiful island of Cebu. We can always use prayer for discernment and for wisdom as far as the school goes, but also prayer for Shofar’s staff now and after we leave. Mag kita na lang ta ug amping (see you later and take care….see I am learning some Cebuano while I am here)!