After practically a month long vacation to the United States, I am back to the Dominican Republic and right back into the swing of things. A little time away and the opportunity to visit with family and friends was so wonderful. I genuinely enjoyed every second I had in the States, but it is good to be back here in my home away from home.
School started this past Tuesday, and I find it so surprising how quickly our students fell right back into their routine. They continue to surprise me every day with their behavior, good attitudes, and desire to be at and participate in what’s going on at school. I think after a month without us, they actually kind of started to miss us. Kind of. :)
Something I am really excited about for this coming semester is our renewed focus. I know I personally made a New Year’s Resolution to talk to each of my girls very directly and specifically about becoming a follower of Christ. I very quickly found out that my fellow disciplers had set similar goals for themselves. Audrey wants to use Bible stories to help her girls learn English while learning more about the Bible. I saw Evan practicing the books of the Bible with his disciples. Glenn is sitting down and studying the Bible with each of his boys. Jordan is encouraging the students to focus on making spiritual resolutions and goals for themselves. Chad is helping all of us get refocused by planning our curriculum and helping us take our kids to the next level spiritually.
This past week in discipling our focus was “Resolutions.” We talked to the students about setting goals or making resolutions for the coming semester. We helped them make very specific resolutions and also showed them ways they could measure their progress with the goals they had set. In addition, we made goals for our entire school that we can all work at together to achieve.
I decided to use this theme to open up the spiritual conversations with my girls. This past Thursday I had one-on-one time with Ibelca and Keren. My first 45 minutes was spent with Ibelca and we talked about one of the goals she had set for herself earlier in the week - to learn more about God. I wanted to help guide her in a direction that would help her be more specific and intentional about this. After some talking and brainstorming, we finally came up with a plan where she would start reading from the Bible every day. We chose a book she was interested in (John - because she likes the verse John 3:16) and we made a calendar to let her know what chapter she is supposed to read every day. Then in my time with Keren we focused on one of her goals. She had mentioned earlier in the week that she wanted to grow closer to God. Keren already has a very faithful prayer life and so we decided to expand that a little by keeping a prayer journal. Every day she is going to write down the things she is praying for and we are going to use that to look back and see how God has answered her prayers and how He is working in the things that she is bringing before Him.
I share all of this not to boast, but because I am so, so excited! I know this will sound silly to some of you, but to me this is the hardest part about discipling these girls. It’s easy to hang out and play and have fun and go to the beach, but when it comes to the most important thing you can ever talk to someone about, it gets hard and it’s not all fun and games anymore. I know the importance of talking to my girls about following Jesus and I so badly want them to come to know Him and have a relationship with Him, and that is why I am making that a priority this semester. I am so thankful for how God has already blessed my time with two of my disciples, and as I plan for the week to come, I pray he blesses my time with Rosmery and Elisa as I try to help them set some spiritual goals for themselves.
Please be praying for them - Ibelca, Keren, Rosmery, and Elisa - as well as all of our students and mentors as we strive to grow closer to God and learn more about His will for our lives. I can already tell that 2012 is going to be a great year!