Last week, Paul and I had parent-teacher meetings with Preston's teacher and Kati's teachers. We met with Preston's teacher, Professor Rose, first. Remember that this is Preston's first real experience in a school setting because he has been home schooled up until now. So, with that in mind, we prayed that he would do what he was supposed to do and wouldn't be a distraction to the class. Well, the teacher starts off talking about how wonderful Preston is. She said that he has completely embraced his classmates and wants to be just one of the kids. He does not want to be singled out in anyway and wants to be treated the same as the other kids. This is a challenge for the teacher because she knows that he doesn't understand the language the way the other kids do, but she said she is trying. She said it is obvious that he is picking up the language and he is not afraid to use it. She said that he uses as much Portuguese as he can while he is in class. She just went on and on about how he has taken to the kids so quickly. She asked when we would be leaving here to go to Porto Alegre and when we told her September, she teared up. She said that she would miss Preston tremendously. She said that he is a very special child and he has challenged her in many ways and stretched her beyond her comfort zone. She said that she talks about him to her family all the time and they even hope to get to meet Preston. Keep in mind all of this is being translated to us and Paul and I are sitting in our own little puddle of tears. We were blown away. We had an idea that he was doing well, but didn't know the whole story, so we were so very proud of him for doing so well. The next day we went to speak with the principal and she told us that Preston has become a Brazilian boy. He plays like a Brazilian boy, he jokes like a Brazilian boy, she said he has taken on the identity of a Brazilian child. She went on to say that this was a unique quality and one that shows his acceptance of a different culture. This too, was so wonderful for us to hear. Even though we know that God has sent us here, we have still prayed for our children as they make the cultural adjustments. Well, God has shown up in a mighty way for Preston and we are still praising Him for ALL of His goodness toward us.
Now, when we met with Kati's teachers, we were really not sure what we get. Kati has been struggling and we knew this but didn't know how the teachers were perceiving it. Well, we got to talk to the Science, History and Art teachers and they all said the same thing. They can tell that Kati is really trying to understand. She is paying attention and trying to keep up with where the class is. She has a great attitude and always has a smile on her face. Well, again Paul and I both cried. She had gotten to the point that she cried almost every night because it was so challenging and she didn't want to go to school. I asked her to commit to pray with us for 6 weeks just to see what would come of it. I told her that she would have to give it 100% and not slack off at school. No matter what she was going to have to try and try harder each day. We had no idea if she was doing it or not other than her telling us she was. Well, the teachers confirmed that she was doing exactly what we were asking her to do. I can't express in words how my heart felt at that moment. She continued to struggle and cry, but according to the teachers she was doing great and was a ray of sunshine for them. They said that she was trying to communicate with the kids even though they knew that she couldn't speak the language. When we told them that she was very frustrated, they were surprised because she didn't indicate any frustration to them. We spoke with them about our plan for an abbreviated school schedule for her along with some outside Portuguese instruction and they thought that was a great idea. They assured us that Kati is the kind of girl that will surpass all our expectations once she finds where she fits and gets into a routine that works for her. So, once again, we were so proud of our child who was so extremely frustrated, but kept plugging away and trying to do what we asked her to do. She didn't give up and we are certain that God will bless her perseverance.
So, this week she began her abbreviated schedule. She is going to school on Monday, Wednesday & Thursday for Science, History, PE and Art. This is all in the mornings and she doesn't do all subjects everyday. Then everyday in the afternoons, she goes to a language school for one on one tutoring in Portuguese. It has only been two days now and we can already see a huge difference in her. It is giving her a confidence that she hasn't had since we have been in Brazil. This is an answer to our prayers. A direct answer and we are so thankful.
I can't wait to report all the Lord does in the lives of these children. Please pray that we will all continue on the path that He has for us and we flourish because of it.
In His Hands,
Paul & Keri