Friday, September 30, 2011

Week 5 in Taiwan (Camp Week 3)

Saturday, October 01, 2011
Dear Praying Friends,
Wow! What a week we’ve had! On Monday, 23 students arrived at 9:00 ready for a week of camp. They are from this school, so they walk here from their classroom.  After orientation, we don’t have a class until the afternoon, so we worked in the office all morning and stopped every 40 minutes to play with the children at break time. Our first class declared to us that we had a long week ahead of us. Not only did we have a wide range of English knowledge. God had seen fit to entrust us with several difficult children. We had decided to do small group teaching this week, and God knew exactly which students would need what kind of teachers. It was amazing!

On Tuesday, we have four classes, but I only taught two and a half, as the other were large group classes. This is the get-to-know-you day, where we just try to break the ice with the kids. We also do a few pages in their books with their required lessons. The Tuesday night class is a blast- usually the review and games night. It ends with a video and questions on respect.

I didn’t want to get up on Wednesday. It felt like Friday. -And it wasn’t just me. These kids really took a lot of physical and emotional energy. Amazingly though, the more we gave, the more grace and strength God poured out on us. Wednesday is another four classes. Between preparation and prayer, we have English teacher meetings and break time with the kids. By this time in the week, we know how the kids will act here at camp, and usually are full swing into character-based praise and character-based correction. This is usually where I feel the language barrier the most. (Friday’s before the kids come, all the CEI teachers have a meeting and go over personality and health issues. However, many times, kids will act differently here at Character camp because of the different atmosphere.)

Thursday we usually teach three classes. I taught a lesson on “See a Need, Fill a Need.” The goal was to get them to see past themselves and plant a desire to help others. Although the English is advanced, with a translator, most of the children understood. In fact, one of the girls on my team did extremely well translating on her own. After the power-point, I asked the kids to write down three helpful things they could do when they go home. It was neat to see them really thinking through their decisions.

Friday, the kids have to be ready to leave by 1:00. About 10:30, we have the English presentation. The kids sing the songs they learned during the week for the Chinese teachers, and then the English teachers do a skit for the kids and show them a slide show of pictures from the week. The skit is our highlight. Four people have candles, shining their character in the world. Then, the “evil one” (me) comes and reminds each of the candles of their failures, telling them they can’t shine, so they should give up. However, the last candle tells of how they made mistakes, but then they made it right. They go and show the other candles that they always have a second chance. One character mistake does not mean that they have no value. Always try again. This is a very big deal here in Taiwan, for they are VERY achievement oriented.

After the kids received their certificates and left, the CEI teachers went out to eat. We had a giant goodbye party for the Chiayi team, which left Saturday morning. Many of us were crying. We are a family, and we will miss the Chiayi team very much. The Yunlin Chinese teachers had put together a slideshow of picture memories. What a month we have had together!

I am tired this weekend. It took so much energy to keep track of the kids and keep them listening that all of us are zapped this weekend. Next week we have 3 classes from 3 different schools coming, and it will be just the Yunlin team teaching. I am looking forward to meeting the 22 children.

Happy in the Service of the King,
Barbara

American Holocaust

The American Holocaust that people are allowing. This is a very sobering movie. It made me rethink the power of one person standing up for what is right. I'm NOT going to back down from what I believe. What are YOU going to do about it?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Some of our Children

 Listening and thinking


 "I know the answer"


 Writing in the book


Helping them understand

Learning "Twinkle Little Star"


 Duck-Duck-Goose

Week 4 in Taiwan

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

What a privilege to teach children! This week, I prepared, planned, and taught lessons along with my other new-English-teacher counterparts. It was a challenge to put together exciting lessons that would satisfy the needs of the different English levels in the same classroom. Some children spoke very good English while others spoke none. Also, we attempted to incorporate character into the lessons, which made the lessons challenging to put together. However, God blessed and every teacher did an AMAZING job!

During break times, four children learned to play violin. J In just the short week they were here, one of the girls could play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” I enjoyed teaching them.

It is so neat to see the change in the children throughout the week. CEI really has developed a whole new culture. The kids come in vying for attention with many struggles, some much bigger than 4th grade. Some of them don’t smile. Some are bullies. Some are afraid. Some are homesick. And then, as they listen to the character classes, and begin to apply the concepts, they become more cheerful, helpful children. By the time they leave, they are pleading to stay longer, full of love and hope as they go home.

Saturday afternoon, a couple of the kids from last week’s camp came to visit. They called from the courtyard: “Lao Su, Lao Su” (Teacher, Teacher). We took them to the park and played for a short time. They just soak up our love.

This weekend, Tina, (our director) and Corrie came to visit. We filled the weekend with shopping, fellowship, and laughter. It was so good to connect and to share struggles, prayer requests, and praises.

~Teacher Bob

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Funny TESOL Teachers

TESOL teachers are quite comical folks. Have you ever watched them teach a class? The Chinese teachers say our classes "are not school, but play time." Yeah. It's fun to act out words and terms to convey a message in a foreign language. -And we hope the kids enjoy learning too. As you can see, it gets kind of crazy. You never know what you will encounter when you go to English class!

Winter- It is snowing.

The Seasons (in costume)

The Body- Where is it?


Making Sandwiches- Someone strong to open the jar of jam.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Announcing a Year of Praises

That's right! A whole year of praising God with verse and song, as well as pictures that remind of God's faithfulness. I am getting ready to print the calendar and need to know how many I should print. (I know, I'm halfway across the world... it's okay.  I will get the calendars printed Stateside.) So, please let me know if you are interested, and let your friends and relatives know that my next calendar is available to order. If you have any comments or questions, comment on this post with your email; I will not publish the comment, and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
Following is the cover for A Year of Praises 2012 Calendar:

Week 3 in Taiwan

Sunday, September 18, 2011
Dear Praying Friends,

“Happy birthday to you…” This week was full of birthdays- three of them to be exact. What a joy to fellowship with our team and enjoy celebrating the life God has given us. This year, I fund myself looking back on the past year to see if it was profitable or not. What did I give my King? What did I refuse? How did I grow? Whom did I serve? These questions, and the answers to them, motivate me to give even more to my Lord this next year.

With no kids to service this week, our teams spent much of our time in the office. However, we did spend considerable time around town carrying out tasks and running errands. HTC foundation is different from the government jobs because it is run by a philanthropist. That being the case, HTC set us up with phones, bank accounts, office keys, and even a hot plate to cook on. We are feeling very loved and are starting to settle in.

The Lord is continuing to work. We stand amazed, praising Him for His love. This week, I had been a little behind and so I needed to read my Bible during the first hour at the office. Then, Susanna brought hers another day. One of the Taiwanese teachers asked Susanna about her Bible. Susanna happily explained that it is a good Book because God wrote it. She was able to loan one of her Bibles to this eager woman to read during next week. It is amazing to see the soft hearts seeking the Truth.

We would appreciate continued prayer for health. One girl on our team got tonsillitis. She seems to have recovered fairly quickly (praise the Lord!!!) but there are others battling colds and whatnot. Health is a BIG issue here, but the people, surprisingly enough, really don’t eat very well. Our team has decided to go for raw foods, little sugar, and whole grains. At first, this was taken by surprise, then awe. The Taiwanese teachers have decided we are “very healthy” people. Please pray that our diet changes will make a difference in our over-all health and we will be able to serve the people here in greater ways.
Thank you all for your continued love and prayers!
Joyfully serving my King,
Barbara J. Sutton:

Friday, September 9, 2011

Week 2 in Taiwan

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dear Praying Friends,

On Friday afternoon 13 boys and 13 girls received certificates of completion for the CEI’s first week of camp this year. What a precious group of kids! It was neat to see the changes that took place throughout the week as they began to apply the principles they were learning. Some went from being shy and sitting by themselves to being initiators at game time. A few of the kids learned how to respect each other and not get into fights. They learned how to have fun and accept differences in their classmates. By the end of the week, they helping and serving each other without prompting. They earned their certificates!

Although I did not get to teach this week, that did not mean I was bored. Oh no! Those of us who were “new” teachers were required to attend each class to take notes and then participate in a “reflections” meeting afterwards to explain what we learned. Teaching here is very camp-style, but still requires control of the classroom and discipline. I enjoyed watching, learning, and deciding which class I would like to teach next time.

During break time, we got to play games with the kids. Even now that the kids are gone I’m still hearing the little rhyme in my head that they say while playing a certain game. Because we do not have a playground, all the games we play have to be fairly stationary (no running allowed) and safe on cement. Anyway, my goal is to get some different games for them to play. If you have any ideas, please email me at barbarajsutton@gmail.com.

On Tuesday, the Chinese teachers were helping the kids introduce themselves to us. Delan struggled through pronouncing “Teacher Christi,” and turned to me. He took one look at my nametag beginning with the letter “B” and said “Hello Teacher Bob. My name is Delan.” After he left, the other teachers laughed, and now, my nickname is Teacher Bob.

After the campers left, all of us teachers gave each other “good job hugs.” They do that every week after a camp, and it IS very encouraging, as we are all very tired. Then, we had a meeting to discuss how the week went; what we could improve, what we were encouraged by, and how the kids responded to the training. I enjoy being here, as we are not just teachers and co-workers. We are family. When one teacher is down, the others try to encourage and help. It is such a blessing to serve with them here.

On another note. Outside from CEI, we do get out in the town occasionally. There are "regular" stores here, but the markets are cheaper and more personal. Here it is kind of courtesy to buy from the same stand each time. It is really quite a neat way to reach out, because we build a relationship with the vendor. Eventually, we refer to them as our friends; they teach us Chinese, we help them with English, and before long, we will know them well enough to witness. (You can pass out tracks here, but it is better to build relationships first.) This week, I learned the name of one of our fruit vendors... I'll be praying for them.

Please pray that I would be a blessing, that I would not complain but instead be a joy-giver. Pray for Penny. She bought a Bible and wants to pray with us. Also pray for the English teams here, that we would not allow small differences to alienate us to each other. We need to stay in one-accord loving God, the teachers and the kids. Pray for our relationships outside of the school, that we would be living witnesses of Christ, and that they would ask questions.

Thank you all for your prayers. I can feel them. Without your prayers, I am powerless. Thank you for enabling me to be on the front-lines of battle. God be with you!

Joyfully serving my King,
Barbara J. Sutton:
Proverbs 22:17-21

PS: I am the main photographer for our team, so I have lots of pictures, but not too many of me... so sorry all! But, stick with me-hopefully I'll have more in a couple of weeks when Teacher Leisl is the main photographer.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Raise Up A Standard

I am not the type to blindly follow standards without understanding the "why" behind them. There ought to be a reason behind the rules. As I was reading Jeremiah, the Lord expounded more on the subject for me. Now, I understand that not everyone uses the same version of the Bible as I do, but I found it interesting that the translators used the word "standard" for banner or flag.

H5127: a flag; also a sail; by implication a flagstaff; generally a signal; figuratively a token: - banner, pole, sail, (en-) sign, standard.
H1714: a flag: - banner, standard.

What is the purpose of a standard? Wherever I saw the word "standard" in the Bible, it seemed to be in preparation for battle. As a Believer, I am in a battle everyday against the flesh and against the workers of darkness. The Lord showed me these other parallels of Christian "standards" and battle "banners."

1. A standard shows that the township is active, whether in battle or defense.

2. A standard shows to whose kingdom the township belongs.

3. A standard encourages other townships to stay in the battle.

This knowledge plagued me with these questions to ponder:
1. Am I an active Christian?
2. What standard am I raising?
3. What does my standard "say?"
4. Does my standard show that I am in God's kingdom?
5. How does my standard encourage others?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Week 1 in Taiwan

Friday, September 3, 2011
Dear Praying Friends,
I have now officially completed week one in Douliou, Taiwan!
I am at a Character English Institute (camp), here in Douliou. Basically, 4th grade classes from all over Yulin and Chiayi Counties come for a week to learn about character and English. The elementary school here has allowed CEI to use 2 floors of their building, so the kids and teachers are able to eat, sleep, and live right here on campus.
This week was an office week with orientation, get-to-know-you games, and a lot of “free” time. On Sunday night, the Taiwanese teachers threw a big welcoming party for the 7 of us coming in. They like parties here. Any excuse will do. Then after settling in on Monday and Tuesday, we played the “states game” to get everyone’s English names down. Thursday, the teachers took us to lunch and gave us Chinese names. At first, they tried to make them sound like our English names; but when we explained name meanings to them, they gave us names to describe who we are to them. My name is “Su-yi-le” which means “sharing joy and happiness from Jehovah-Jireh.” Pretty special. Every year, they ask the new teachers to write down their goals and ambitions for the next year, so on Friday, the Taiwanese teachers had a special ceremony for that. Towards the end of the meeting, one of the teachers claps her hands and says “can I have three minutes?” She gave us gifts of a kindergarten grid-line notebook and pencil, with our names written inside. This way, we could practice our names and learn other Chinese words. This was so special, as each one of us English teachers on the team wanted to learn to speak Chinese competently.
Though we are here to teach the kids, our real ministry, it seems, is with the Taiwanese teachers. We see them every day and work with them for an entire year, whereas the kids come and go. Already, they are aware that we are Christians. I’ve been asked questions about Jesus and have been able to share why I Him as so important. Two of the thirteen teachers here are Believers. We are praying that at the end of this year, every teacher will know Jesus as their personal Savior. Assuredly, with this goal, we are expecting and, indeed, have already experience spiritual warfare. Please pray for peace, power, and protection for our team. God is working!
This month, the Chiayi team is in training, so there is a lot of staff here. The first week of camp, which starts tomorrow, will be almost 2 - 1 student to teacher ratio. However, that also makes the load very light for everyone. My job this week is to run around with a notebook and pen to take notes on everything they do so that I can do it next week.
Barbara J. Sutton: