Monday, March 08, 2010

New news

Since my last post here, a lot has happened. I'll just mention a few of the most recent or important things. Last summer, we taught our first group in the Course in English Teaching, as planned. There were only three students, but it's a start. As far as I know, all of them plan to come back, and we already have a few students who said they want to be part of our second group. This means, of course, that we'll need twice as many teachers this summer to give the classes, and this will increase again for each of the next two summers. Plus the teachers (from here or missionaries) for the diploma course. At the moment, we're not sure where the new teachers will come from. Administration has promised to help us find two, but that's not going to be enough. We'll just have to hope that God will provide.

I said "we" a lot in the above paragraph, but I should mention that I am not planning on being here for this summer. My wife and I are planning on moving to the US as soon as we can get her papers figured out. Right now, we're on the step in preparation for her immigrant visa appointment in Ciudad Juarez. One of the things we need is my tax returns for the last few years, which I'm trying to get done now. The IRS reserves the right to keep any that are not e-filed for up to 16 weeks before answering (and if there's a problem, of course, you don't know it until they answer, which means it could end up taking much longer). Only my 2009 return will be e-filed, so we may have to wait for a while, unfortunately. My wife has also told me that she'd prefer that I go to the US soon to find a job and all that, even if it slows the immigration process some, because she's afraid of us both going to the US after all that is over and me having trouble finding a job.

My wife's birthday was this last Sabbath, so we celebrated at some friends' house (our neighbors') and then the cafeteria staff also had a celebration in the evening. I got her flowers and made her a certificate of recognition for being an excellent wife (which she really liked). I would've gotten her something nicer if I'd had the chance to go to Villahermosa on Friday like I was supposed to, but I couldn't. Either way, creativity and making something myself was a good thing.

Recently, Maranatha has sent three groups of people to build churches, have evangelistic campaigns, hold medical clinics, etc. in different towns near the school. They asked us to provide interpreters for them in each one. This means that we've been trying to do this in addition to our classes we teach. Basically, two of us go to interpret one day while the other two teach everyone's classes. Then we switch. It is heavy and complicated, but fun, especially (for me) the interpreting. In fact, the second group was the first time I interpreted for any of them, and I helped with the VBS in the evenings of the second week. It was the highlight of my day. I think I may have found my calling. In any case, the third group just arrived on Friday night, so today I taught lots of classes. That goes for tomorrow and Thursday, too. Wednesday and Friday I'll be interpreting. But this week is even more interesting because it is Week of Prayer here, which means there are two services each day in the church and all the classes are shorter and moved (mostly up but in some cases down). So that makes it rather chaotic, especially since some people don't check to find out their schedule for this week, so they come late or at the regular times and miss class. The third thing (yep, there's one more) that makes this week, uh, special is that the Adventist Accrediting Association is making their visit from Wednesday to Friday. This is a visit they make only once every five years or so. Last time there were some observations on things to improve, so this time, besides the regular checkup, they'll be looking to see if we did what they recommended.

An ophthalmologist recently offered a big discount to the teachers here for glasses and even came out one day to check us, so my wife got glasses and I got new glasses and contacts. I haven't used the contacts yet (mostly force of habit, I'd guess), but I really like the glasses. They're anti-glare and Transitions, meaning they get darker when the sun is bright.

We recently changed the way our English lesson study works on Sabbath mornings. Previously, trying to get people more interested in English and all, we said that anyone could come and we did a lot of translating for people who don't know much/any English. But we discovered that many people, especially high school students, didn't come to actually study, but only to get out of the regular lesson study in the sanctuary. We also discovered that serious study couldn't happen very well in a situation like that and with all the translation. So we changed it and told everyone that the lesson study in English is now only for people who can actually participate. There have been fewer since then, but it is going a lot better in terms of study. We've also thrown around the idea of having an entire Sabbath School in English, but decided it would be more trouble and work than it's worth.

Well, that's most of the important or recent stuff. Have a good day, all.