i was a pre-school teacher before i became a missionary. i adore kids. i love them so much, that i must admit, they have influenced me a lot in my actions, words, mannerisms and a lot other. the kids and i have the same passion with singing, dancing, acting, art attacks, storytelling, princesses, puzzles, etc. even if they are pain in the neck at times (because of their stubborness and being bully, which i later on realized, that i have those traits also), i still love being with them.
so when it was time for me to resign from my previous job as a pre-school teacher, my heart broke. my kids were the highlight of my day. i know each one of them by heart, (who lost his teeth this week, who has a new pet, etc) and their hugs, besos and little notes for me brightened my day. but then, i have to go. i have to follow my calling. so i just entrusted to God the desire in my heart to teach kids again.
i know that my new vocation as a missionary will expose me to different people – from newborn to the next-person-whose-going-to-see-papa-God. =) for the past four months that i’ve been away from my family, friends and my country, and choosing to live and serve here in Latin America for the next 2 years, has been a great challenge for me (but that’s another story!) anyway, God has remembered still my desire to teach, so He gave me opportunities to have my “selfish desire” =).
when i first arrived here in Costa Rica, my only prayer is to grant me a good family with a kid whom i could teach. and true enough, God gave me a 4-year old little sister whom in return of me teaching her values, among others, she teaches me spanish! hehe God also gave me the first opportunity of my “teaching career” here when He allowed me to become a teaching aide in a pre-school of my friend. and when the titos and titas knew that i’m a pre-school teacher, they gave me this title “especialista para niños” (specialist for kids) that i feel pressure all the time they say it, because i have to live with it! and now, they are using me to invite couples or handmaids for the CLPs, assuring them that there is “someone, a specialist for kids, who will take care of your kids and bring them to Christ”. wow, big time!
anyway, when my “charisma for children” was first tested, God gave me a wonderful batch of children, all 23, from ages 10 months old to 14 years old! i don’t know how i handled it, but thanks to Anna Maria, my co-missionary here, for handling the 10 month old so i could concentrate with others. =)
so i think, the tios and tias saw that i was effective with kids, so when we had the next CLP (in the same place, which by the way, is a 5-hour drive from where we live), they asked me to be part of the service team and just focus on the kids. this time, i was the only one who’ll be in-charge with them (they said that i’ll have help so i was okay…). but when the first day of the CLP came, OH.MY.GOSH! i had 38 kids, from 3 months old to 17 years old all by myself!! as i was looking at them, while some of the kids are really naughty and fighting with each other, all i could whisper to God was “Lord, paano po ito?” (Lord, how will this be?) so God answered and asked the 17 year old and the 13 year old to take over. its difficult that time because, the only language that they understood and spoke was Spanish, and i’m not yet good at that, barok pa rin. =) so after the whole day and when we had the service meeting, well, what could you expect? i was the youngest, the only single there, and yes, i slept during the meeting! and all the tios and tias just said “pobrecitang khyme” (poor khyme). when they woke me up, the meeting was finished and all i could say to Tia Marissa (a missionary also, in-charge for HOLD Latin America) “Tia, i felt that i was raped by 38 people” and all she just said was, “why khyme, were you raped before?” (and later on, we just laughed because that was so… yeah, i haven’t experienced rape, so how will i know, right? hehe) anyway, the next day was a a lot better. i had help now, even the tias cannot make them relax. thanks to God’s little angels, they helped me throughout the day.
after the 2 days that i had, i would say that being a missionary and a teacher is a lot harder than the usual teacher job. its a lot harder for me because of the language barrier. but i felt more contented, that amidst the fact that i’m only getting stipend for all of this, the kids told me: “maestra, cuando usted venir aqui, para mas conocemos Jesus?” (teacher, when are you coming back here, so that we’ll know Jesus more?) and that relieved my tiredness and complaints. =)
oh, by the way, i taught them Glory, Glory Lord in four languages playing their own-made maraccas. and when they presented in front of their parents, some of them cried. and we had the children-parents singing together the song! (and my favorite part was when they said Pang-non instead of Panginoon!)