Thursday, February 28, 2008

A short but busy month

Vila Andrade Camp
Carnavel stars the month of February off, and many churches go to camps out-of-town to escape all the madness. I was invited to join the Vila Andrade church at their camp about an 1 1/2 hours outside of Sao Paulo in the beautiful town of Atiabia for four days. Each day consisted of morning worship followed by personal quiet time, recreation, and following dinner was another time of worship. This was my first venture alone for such a long period of time without an interpreter, so I had a few challenges, but everyone was very helpful with me. At the end of the camp there was a communion service. We had a special time of praying for all the children there, and myself and the other adult in my dorm room prayed individually for each of the 24 girls there, which was very special.

Back to School time
Following Carnavel is back-to-school time here, and there is a school right next to my apartment buildings, so the noise level has grown a little louder since then. They also don't use a bell for classtime, they use a siren. I thought perhaps there was a fire somewhere close on the first day, but then kept hearing the siren, and figured out it was for the school! So no longer need an alarm clock, the siren goes off at 7 am each day!

English Classes Begin
I have finally begun teaching English classes at the orphanage! The first week there weren't as many kids, but as word spread, more students signed up. Now we are dealing with overflow classes and trying to fit them all in. But I have yet to have a consistent class of the same students at the same time. I am working out these issues with the staff. Discipline is also an issue with these students, and made worse by the fact that I only know a few portuguese phrases to try to get them to listen! But I do have a number of students who are very eager learners and taking notes of all the English words around the room.