August was a busy month. We finally got the English classes started. I am teaching five classes. Each class meets for one hour twice a week. We initially were going to have only three classes, but I was asked by two adults if they could take English classes. Both of them work at the church and cannot come to the adult beginners’ class that will meet on Saturdays. So, I added a morning class for the first student and an afternoon class for the second student, who started two weeks after the other students. At the beginning of this student’s second class, two people who work with her came to me and asked if they could take classes, too. Because of their different schedules, one of them will be coming to the Saturday classes and the other one is joining her co-worker’s class during the week.
After three weeks of classes, I have thirteen students who have been coming regularly. They have learned to greet others, to introduce themselves and others, to ask and answer questions about personal information, to identify classroom objects, and to ask and answer questions using “to be,” “this,” “that,” “these,” “those,” and “what.” They’ve also learned the first 40 of 220 Dolch sight words, as well as a variety of other miscellaneous words. The students are making good progress. Moises told me he’s heard them practicing with each other. That’s a great sign!
Last week, I gave each student, except those who started late, a bilingual New Testament. We read a short passage from Mark 10. We will continue working with this passage during this week’s classes. Some of the words are a little advanced for the students, but this should provide a good challenge for them. We will we work through the difficult words together, using bilingual dictionaries and the Spanish translation of the passage. Some of the students do not have access to a bilingual dictionary at home or at school. I have acquired six dictionaries we can use in class, but I am looking for an inexpensive dictionary we can provide to the students. Hopefully, one of the local bookstores or Walmart will have an inexpensive one.
I am currently working on a textbok for the students to use. I would like to finish it before this term ends in November, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen. However, I did receive permission to include some lessons from an English learning site for Spanish speakers. That will reduce the time it will take for me to develop the textbook.
The biggest problem I encountered occurred after I accidentally wrote on the whiteboard with a permanent black marker. After trying several things to try to remove the ink, I finally had success with Colgate Total toothpaste. This was recommended by an English teacher in another part of Honduras.
You may recall that I came here at the end of May on a 90-day tourist visa. I received a 30-day extension of that visa, pending approval of my application for a special residency visa for religious workers (also called a missionary residency visa). On August 31, I received the original document certifying that I have permission to remain in Honduras for five years. I also received a paper authorizing me to stay here for 30 days without my travel/ID documents. The residency ID card (carnet) is supposed to be issued within 30 days. That’s the last step in the process. I will need to pay a renewal fee each year, but the certification is valid for five years. Then, I need to go through the certification process again.
I am currently planning for a trip to Texas December 17-31. I need to find a place to stay and a car to drive during that time. I have a housing commitment for December 26-31, so I just need a place for the evening of December 17 until the morning of December 26. Please join me in asking God to provide for these needs.
Speaking of travel, I am thanking God for providing a place for me to stay during my entire trip in May to San Antonio and Minot. I wasn’t expecting this need to met quite so quickly, but I am very grateful!
September should prove to be interesting as we start the first adult beginner’s class on Saturdays. I’m looking forward to it, although I will lose some course preparation time that I normally have on Saturdays. Consequently, I will be making every effort to complete as much as possible of the remaining course materials and plans before September 22.
I am continuing to worship with my Spanish-speaking family of Iglesia Misionera de Cristo Sunday mornings and with my English-speaking family at CCI Fellowship on Sunday afternoons. My Spanish listening skills are not sufficient yet to enable me to get much from a sermon in Spanish, but I do enjoy singing with my friends. The keyboard player has been sending me the titles of the songs on Saturday evenings so I can look up the lyrics and print them out. It’s been wonderful to be able to sing along, rather than just listen or clap. Of course, at CCI Fellowship, I understand everything and that’s been great. I hope to be able to continue this wonderful practice of bilingual worship.
I look forward to hearing from you, either on this page, or through email or Facebook.Thank you all for your words of encouragement, financial support, and prayers. You are my partners in ministry here in Honduras and I thank God for each of you! I ask for your continued prayers on my behalf! I also ask that you pray for my students and all whom I come into contact with in Honduras.
If you would like to provide financial assistance in meeting my expenses in Honduras, you may make a tax-deductible contribution through The Foundation at www.tfofsp.org. The Foundation will pass on 100% of your contributions to me. Please enter “Star Ferdinand” in the Comments box.
Thank you all and may God bless each of you as you strive to do His will.