Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Casual Sunday

Today for the first time in over a year, we did not attend church as a family.  We've been busy with packing to move this week, worn out from the intense heat and humidity and well, we were just plain tired.  So, we had a very casual morning and everyone woke up when they wanted to.   Noel was the first to come into our room.  Every morning he spends time with the dogs.   This morning he could spend more time with them because he was not in a hurry to rush off to school or in this case, to church.

Sunday mornings, breakfast is cereal; it's fast and easy.  Today was no different, except that each boy could eat whenever he awoke.  Nicaraguenses are not prone to sleep late.  I think I heard all of them awake by 8:00.   

As for Preston and myself, we had been up for hours sitting in bed reading.  Preston was typing fast on his computer as God was downloading to him some "good stuff" with regards to his  morning's bible reading.

After breakfast, Freddy came into our room with his Bible and journal.   He likes to be close to us.  Out of all the boys, he is the one who hangs around us the most.

I decided to look around the house to see what the other boys were up to.  They were sitting in a bedroom.  Israel was laying on his bed listening to "Hosanna" from his cell with his Bible in his lap.  Pablo was reading from his Bible and also Noel.

The fact that we did not have to remind the boys about using the morning for some quiet time of reading and reflection says a lot about the boys desire to learn more about God through His Word or their respect to adhere to the daily schedule that we have established for the boys.  Whatever the reason, I count it as a miracle either way; progress is showing in many areas of their lives.

After about hour, we all met in our room for a few minutes of discussion about "controlling our thoughts and renewing our minds".   We also talked about not allowing their own thoughts to condemn them for not being in church today, or the words of other people.    We've seen firsthand "well-meaning" people try to make another person feel guilty for not attending church on a given Sunday.  There is a lot of bad teachings that have taken place in the churches that causes many, many people to live under condemnation.  This condemnation usually results in a person to stop attending church altogether.  

Since the boys are back in school, we have not had a morning together that was casual and laid back.   We have missed our morning time of devotion and prayer.   We still meet with Pablo and Freddy in the mornings, but I miss the whole gathering of all of us.  This morning was very special and I'm sure that it pleased the Lord.

Monday, April 15, 2013

They Came Looking For Him

Last Thursday, I (Sandra) stopped by San Sebastian School to let Israel and Noel know that I was in town and to meet me after school. The school was empty except for the director, associate director and the boys' teacher.  The classes had been dismissed early. 

I chatted for a few minutes with the ladies.  They told me that they were so proud of the boys and the progress with their studies.  They said that the boys were extremely polite and well behaved.  It was a joy to have them in their school.

Well, as a proud "mama", I walked out of the school with my head high and spirits soaring.   I went on to do my errands and would catch up with the boys when I got home.

Later that evening, Preston spoke to me that Israel had told him he "did not want to go back to school".   I was reeling because this announcement was so unexpected after what I had been told earlier in the day by the teaching staff.   I went to Israel and asked him if something had happened at school with the kids to make him not want to continue with school.  He said no.  I had my doubts, but I told him that if he wanted to take the next day off from school, we would allow it and we would talk in the morning.

Israel was with us the next morning for devotions since he stayed home from school.   He was quiet, which is nothing unusual for him; but he was sad.  He is a very sensitive young man and gets his feelings hurt easily.  I asked him if the kids at school were being cruel to him, or if they had said something that hurt his feelings.  He would not admit to anything, but he did say that he did not like the kids.  This I knew was not true; and I also knew that I would not get the real answer from him.  

So, I tried to talk to him from another angle.  I spoke to him about how sometimes kids can say things that may not be kind or they may be jealous because a lot of attention had been shown him lately by the teachers.  We encouraged him to not let anyone rob him of the opportunity of completing school this year. We spoke to him of the importance of getting his promotion certificate so that we could pursue finding a school next year that would accept him in order for him to hopefully complete "high school".    We talked about all the roadblocks that would be put up to get him to quit, to not realize his dream of getting his diploma, and to not achieve the ability to be able to work at a job that would allow him to take care of himself and his future family.   The discussion ended by asking him to think over what we talked about and give us an answer in a couple of days.

During the mid morning, Noel came home from school early and he was accompanied by his teacher and 2 classmates.  The teacher wanted to talk to us and to Israel.  She was concerned about Israel not being in school.  Noel had told her about Israel's comment the night before.  She had talked with the class and was able to find out what had happened to prompt Israel's announcement.  The class received a reprimand about their behavior.  She was deeply concerned that Israel might not return to school.  

Thus, they came looking for him.   They, the teacher and 2 classmates, road the bus through town and out to our home.   They came to talk to Israel and ask him to come back to school.   She, too, encouraged him to NEVER give up.   It meant a lot to Israel that there are people in his life that care about him.  It meant a lot to Preston and I that the school cares so much about Israel that they would come to OUR home to talk. We were not asked to come to the school for a discussion, they came to us.

Israel went back to school today.  He came home excited because he had aced his exam. Exams are in full swing at school prior to the first report card.  This young man is in his first year of school, taking a combined 5th and 6th grade and he is almost 19 years old.  He is 5 years older than the next oldest student.  He is a young man of courage, struggling some days to keep up with his peers academically.  He deserves to be celebrated.