asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic

When God comes in the form of squirt guns and Barbie dolls

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Life in the DR has been quite busy for the past month or so.  We have had lots of friends, family, and pastors visiting.  It has been so nice to be able to show everyone WHY we moved here and how God has been using us in various ways.  There is so much that we want to share with everyone, and have felt blessed to have been given the opportunity.

We also have so much that we want to share on our blog.  It took me a bit to narrow down today’s post because I just want to share everything all at once but…”Ain’t nobody got time to read all that”…so I will start here…

Our wonderful sending church, New Vision Baptist Church, has been working with this community since 2007.  It is amazing the changes that have occurred in that short amount of time.  One of the biggies is the private school here that is run by Sonia, Pastor Thomas’ wife.  The name of the school is Fluir de Alegria.  Below is a painting of what the school looked like when our church first came to the community:IMG_5995

This is what the school looks like now:IMG_5997

The partnership between our church and the community has been so good for this school…and most importantly, its’ students.  As a former inner-city elementary public school teacher, I know how necessary these partnerships can be for the teachers.  In July of 2012, I sat with the teachers of the school and a few teachers from the states to discuss the needs of the teachers.  We did this again in March of this year.  Many of the teachers expressed concerns about the students’ behavior.

Sonia, the teachers, and I met a few more times to develop a discipline program that was both effective and positive.  First, the staff came up with 6 overall school rules.  These are the rules that every student is expected to follow, and they are now posted in every classroom and throughout the school.

IMG_5970Then we created a “card system” very similar to many classrooms in the US.  Basically, if you break one of the school rules, then you pull a card with consequences for each card.  I really enjoyed meeting with the teachers for a “workday” to create these boards for their classrooms. It gave me an opportunity to get to know the teachers better.  Here’s what it looks like:

IMG_5972

Now for the fun, positive part…

Students can earn tickets for:

1) Staying on their green card

2) Completing homework

3) Good behavior

4) Being on time to school

Then…

the students can use their tickets to buy prizes from the treasure box!

IMG_8548It has been so wonderful to see such a HUGE improvement in the students’ behavior.  They have been so proud of their tickets.  It is so sweet to see the kids hand over a stack of tickets that they have earned with their behavior!  It has also been wonderful to see smiles on the teachers faces!  They appear to be happier, less stressed, and are taking more pride in their classrooms and their lessons.

Mo and I have prayed many times and asked God to show us how we could help…asking Him to use us.  Sometimes we feel like we are not doing enough, and really want to be open to hear where He wants us to help.  Sometimes He asked us to use a gift that we neatly tucked away MANY years ago…and we reluctantly pull it out, blow off the dust, and say “Oh, this old thing…it can’t be of much use…”

Then God shows you in the form of smiles…IMG_8604 IMG_8541

…and Barbie dolls…IMG_8587

…and squirt guns…IMG_8592

That maybe…

…just maybe…

You are helping!

Sometimes God just needs you to do the little things…

…to show how BIG His love is!

Oh…and I wanted to add…

Mo has been wonderful about getting all of the NEW bulletin boards hung in the classroomsIMG_5973

And…helping with the treasure box…IMG_8603

2 thoughts on “When God comes in the form of squirt guns and Barbie dolls

  1. Kelly’s cousin praying for you from Milwaukee, WI.

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