In the States or in the Dominican, summer is a busy time. This summer has been one of the busiest of my life, apart from moving here last summer.
Summer at the Caribbean Mountain Academy (CMA) is its busiest time of year. Teams come and go. Staff come and go. Students come and go. Interns come and go. Summer students join and see most of the country in the two months they are here. Is it good? Absolutely. Is it like living in a wave in the ocean? Yes, but thankfully, God created the moon, which helps regulate the ocean waves. The same is true for our campus. God is still here in the midst of what can seem like chaos.
One of the bright spots of our summer has been the last three weeks. I was privileged to be provided with the necessary funds to attend an intensive Spanish language class. After three weeks, I’m completely fluent in Spanish. Haha . . . Just kidding. I may not be fluent, but I learned as much Spanish in those three weeks than in both semesters of high school Spanish. Now, I will work to maintain the Spanish I know, practice it, and continue learning new things.
I enjoyed many aspects of these three weeks of Spanish language learning. The first two hours of class were spent reviewing homework and learning new parts of Spanish. Since our teachers don’t speak English, everything we learned was based on what we could understand in Spanish. Thankfully, as a class, we could understand a lot!
I found myself often surprised in class. I couldn’t believe how much Spanish I understood and how much I learned from day to day. At times, I felt like I was deciphering a code and actually understanding it! At other times, I thought I was tricking myself. It was as if I was just guessing or pretending to understand when I really couldn’t. Sometimes, I still think this, but I know that’s not truly the case. I really can understand a LOT more Spanish.
The last hour of class was spent reading a story and answering comprehension questions, listening to our teacher speak about something, or us telling our testimonies or talking about ourselves. Really this was just a time for us to hear Spanish, understand Spanish, and speak in Spanish. Do you know how hard it is to tell your testimony in a language you’re just starting to grasp? Hard . . . but not impossible.
The last half hour of our time was lunch. We would pick up lunch at the café at Doulos (the school Grady and Stella will attend in the fall) and head upstairs to sit at a table with one of the three teachers. During that time, we would eat amazingly delicious food and would only communicate with our teachers and one another in Spanish. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn more about our teachers and their backgrounds (two of our teachers were sisters from Columbia). It was also great practice! I’d leave still thinking, “How do I say that in Spanish?” with every phrase that went through my head.
During those three weeks, while I was slaving away at Spanish, Grady was playing his heart out at kid’s camp. Since I was paying to go to Spanish classes, Grady could attend kid’s camp for free, a double blessing given to us. It allowed him to meet some kids who will be in his class this year. It also gave him the ability to become comfortable with the school grounds before the fall.
The first week of camp was based on Jesus being living water. Friday of that week was water day. I came out at lunch time to see Grady and a few of the others in the younger group lying on a mat, being sprayed with a hose, and loving it! The second and third weeks consisted of learning about the armor of God. Each day the kids worked on different parts of the armor. During the third week, each kid put on armor and had a picture taken. On the very last Friday, the kids put on a show for us. They sang and danced. Did I tell you that one of the stations was a break dance station? It was fun to see the kids performing and singing in both Spanish and English.
Grady has already started asking when school will be starting. This from the boy who said multiple times, “I don’t want to go to school. I want to stay home with you.” He’s come a long way, and I’m so glad to see how much Grady has been growing. The mom in me is a little sad to see my little boy growing up so quickly, but I’m thankful for each moment. As I write this, Grady is wearing the armor he made at camp. He has the sword of the spirit, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation, the shield of faith, the shoes (or in this case shoe) of peace, and the belt of truth. He’s out fighting the “enemy.” It’s a great reminder for the rest of us to daily put on the armor of God so that we can take our stand against the devil. Of course, I may need to remind him that his sister isn’t the enemy.
*Side Note: The camp was only for kids between the ages of 4 and 12, which means that Stella missed out on camp. However, she and Tommy were able to bond more with each other and with Tia Mayra (the lady who cleans our apartment and helps watch the kids in the mornings).*
As a result of Grady, Stella, and Tommy doing so well these past three weeks, we decided it was the best timing to purchase Suki. The kids enjoy watching him (or her?) swim and eat. We’ve gone rock hunting, trying to find the perfect rock for him to climb up on, and we’ve gone bug hunting. Suki likes to eat bugs.
Until next time! Thanks for your continued encouragement, prayers, and financial support. As always, if you are interested in partnering with us in this ministry click here and scroll down until you find the Stuck family. Click on Donate and follow the instructions. If you are interested in sending a check, make it out to “Crosswinds” and send it here:
PO Box 80487
Ft. Wayne, IN 46898-0487
Add a separate note designating it for the “Stuck family.”