This past week I traveled to Villavicencio to work with the students at the Christian school we operate there. Gordon Clifford, who prints many of the teaching materials that we use, arrived for a two week visit. He wanted to see the missionary work that uses between thirty and sixty percent of all of the materials that he prints, depending on the genre. So after spending the weekend here in BogotÃ¡, where I was scheduled to preach at the Normandia church, we headed down over the mountains to Villavicencio. Immediately upon arriving I began working. They schedule appointments as soon as they know I will be getting into town.
For the entire week, I would get up at 4:30 and leave for the school about one hour later. School starts at 6A.M. and so I try to be there as the children arrive. This gives me a chance to greet each one individually as he or she arrives. We begin the day with formation as the kids line up in the patio. From there some of the kids will head to the sanctuary for devotions and other will head to class. We target the devotional to age groups except for one day when we have the entire student body together.
After devotions, I usually meet with individual students that have some sort of problem. I work with the child and then with the teacher to overcome the problem so that the student will be able to do well in school. Problems range from learning difficulties to behavioral problems. I attempt to tailor a program that will help the student improve. In the afternoons and evenings I have conferences with the parents of the students. Usually this lasts till late in the evenings as there are more parents who wish to speak with me than there are time slots available. I stay until I become too exhausted to continue then head to our old house for a nightâ€™s rest.
During the time I am working with the students, Gordon spent his time practicing English with them. He is over six foot tall and weighs in at around 250 pounds. He has a full white beard as well, so he was quite an attraction. So our traditionally small children would stare at him in awe. The little ones nearly all came up to him and asked if he was Santa Claus. The older kids all started calling him â€œel giganteâ€ or the giant. He enjoyed them as much as they enjoyed having him around. A grandpa with free time is a popular addition to any school.
Saturday morning, after one last round of meetings with parents, we headed back up over the mountain. There were a lot of heavy trucks on the road and with a seventeen year old four cylinder engine, passing was difficult on the very steep mountain road. My air conditioner is broken and parts are not available. So I drove with the window down and wound up with a bad sun burn, something I really try to avoid. But in the tropical heat and no air conditioner, we could not drive with the windows up. We arrived in BogotÃ¡ with just enough time to unload the car and head out to one of my Saturday Bible studies. By the time we got home it was time for some much needed rest.