Well, I missed blogging here in November (by a few minutes only), but from my previous post you can see that I have been very busy in November. Here is a little of what I have been doing...
Besides trying to get some students to join in the fun and transport them along with all the AUC promotional paraphanalia, I have been bringing my family with me to the churches. Besides wanting them by my side, it always sends a message when a visiting speaker is accompanied by his own family. It says something about their unity, with which God is blessing our family more each day.
Needless to say, church visits are always very interesting. Here are some highlights...
Fitchburg SDA Spanish Church - November 1 We have a real friend and ally in Hermana Carmen, the sister who invited AUC. I hope to keep working with her in the future. In fact, we have a good prospect for next school year from that visit. Also, she has put me in contact with a Colombian couple that is trying to help me restart ELI.
I was joined by some students in my Spanish 111 class. They joined me in a Spanish hymn for special music. That is part of their grade. Also, Evelyn and her mother came along. Later that afternoon we had a bit of a scare when the front left tie rod on my van busted. Fortunately, we were going very slow at the time, but it was a shocker.
I also met one of my first ELI students, Yajaira. She speaks so well now, and her accent is so beautiful. Her English is strong and clear. I am proud of her because she has always had great pronunciation, but was terribly shy. The last few years have really polished her out. I believe anyone who gives it time, effort, and often a tear or two will eventually be greatly rewarded. I enjoyed embarrassing her and giving a professorial seal of approval from the pulpit that morning.
Worcester Central Spanish SDA - November 8 This was a wild one because I had a large group of students and only one van. The AUC van was already reserved. I tried to cajole a friend to assist with his empty minivan (family temporarily out of the country), but without a wife and children he was unable to arise in time... So, I had to leave my family at home.
(Did I mention we bought a new fleet of vehicles in November? One for my wife and one for me. Anyone interested in a used van, and an old vw convertible?)
Arriving was a whirlwind between finding the pastor, meeting the elders, getting the students in place, rehearsing a song with a student on guitar, getting the AUC materials out, and mentally preparing for my sermon...
(The sermon talks about the difference between a true Christian education and that of the secular world. One is based on the Ancient Hebrew model which fears God and seeks Him for wisdom. The other was passed down through the ages from the Ancient Greek philosophers that believed, "Man is the measure of all things." Their philosophy, practiced in most educational situations, exalts man and his knowledge over God.
While Hebrew education produces disciples who reflect the character and life of their master (Luke 6:40), Greek education mass produces students that know what their instructor knows and reproduce it absent the guiding moral law of heaven.
So, what we are talking about here is training for time and eternity versus training for the state. Quite a contrast, no?)
Atlantic Union College was so well represented that Sabbath by students, music, and message. We are on the list to return soon! I met the father of a recent AUC grad, both of whose sisters also studied in the English Language Institute. In fact, one was my student secretary for a year and a half! Any guesses? Anyway, that man has sacrificed to make sure his children received a Christian education, and he told me he is very happy with the results!
I also met don Felipe, a local Spanish radio host, who is planning to join ADP for the January seminar. I went with Professor Maria Roybal-Hazen, Ruben, and Evelyn back in June to be interviewed by don Felipe about AUC.
So, this was a very good Sabbath as well, particularly after the great lunch we all had courtesy of Pastor Sorto and Hermano Moises!
Taunton Portuguese Church - November 15 This was supposed to be an off-week to be with my family back at Athol SDA, but I received an invite during the week from a recent AUC grad, Andre Costa. The church is pastored by former AUC man, Erik Conceicao. I had never ever preached in Portuguese before!
Wife, kids, and mother-in-law joined in this one. It was our maiden voyage in our new minivan (new for us, I mean). I love having my kids go to Sabbath school, so we try to do it on the road, too. The church was small, but full of faith and life.
Here, I met Marlon, a Brazilian radio professional. He really knows media, how it works, and how we can reach the Brazilian community. He is helping us. We had a very good meeting after lunch at Andre's folks place. I tell you, the hospitality was wonderful! Andre has a real talent for working with people.
In the evening on the way home, we stopped at a mall. While my wife, M-I-L, and kids were shopping, I ran into a woman who had been in church earlier in the day and heard my sermon. She told me that she was doing everything she could to send her three children to Cedar Brook Adventist Elementary School in Taunton, but she didn't know how she could continue with the payments. She was newly divorced, and her husband had left his children and returned to Brazil.
This woman is basically all alone trying to make it in this world for her kids. My heart went out to her, and I was wondering how could I help her. I have told a few about her, and I hope somehow God will provide for her and her three little kids. If anyone can help, let me know.
Lynn Spanish SDA - November 22 This date was originally on the schedule and remained there until 7:48 a.m. the day of. I had been trying to communicate with Pastor Lopez (one sharp, sharp cookie for the Lord)for weeks before, but it just didn't pan out.
He called me from Pennsylvania early in the morning and told me he had made other plans for the church that week. What happened was I had a bogus email, but a good cell number. He never got my emails, and he never returned my phone calls.
But I forgive him. (Do you forgive me, pastor?) He is a charismatic, super intelligent leader, and I can't wait to work with him more. It was just as well that we didn't go. I was very thin on students, and we had a most blessed Sabbath together as a family at our beloved old church, Gardner SDA.
You know, if I didn't wait so long to blog, I wouldn't have to post these marathon entries. I think I have written enough for now...
November 24 - Greater New York Academy Chapel with Shion, Oscar, and Walix. The rental car was tiny and uncomfortable, but we did our job. We also got some New York Pizza for the ride home! Another student wants to come to AUC!
November 29 - Appeared on Boston's WUNR 1600 AM radio for an interview about the AUC alternative. Pastor Lopez interviewed me, and Hermano Joachim Bello ran the show most professionally. He also recorded me doing a one-minute AUC commercial to run weekly. God blessed immensely, and one of the radio participants has been wanting to come to South Lancaster with her son, a graduating senior! I have to work on that one...
November 30 - Appeared on POWER 1310 AM radio in Worcester to be interviewed about the AUC alternative and give the spiritual message for the morning. The elders from Worcester Central SDA ran the show with Pastor Sorto. 'Twas another radio success! They all now consider me, and AUC, a friend. Now that is good!
Finally, we are looking to expand our marketing presence in the Latino community in Worcester by purchasing radio spots on the Worcester station for the next 13 weeks. It has the largest reach in the area, and don Felipe is going to help us!
Sorry for the voluminous post, but it had all piled up. I feel better now!!!
If you are in my class, you can register at this website and take a diagnostic writing exam. The purpose of the diagnostic is self-explanatory. You will need to include my email, firstname.lastname@example.org, in order to take the test.
Once I see your results, I can focus in on the particular areas of weakness that you demonstrate.
Technology, in spite of the immense evil it can bring, does also bring blessings like this!
It has been over a month since I last blogged. Now my homework is really overdue! I hope that my professor will still pass me! LOL!
We are now in Student Orientation and Faculty/Staff Colloquium at Atlantic Union College. Besides final exam week, this is the most stressful period of the semester for everyone. However, it is so neat to meet new students and their families. Of course, there are uncountable details to see to. But very soon it is back to school. Classes begin next week, but it is not too late to make plans to come even for next semester.
I will have to catch you up on my July and August. Quickly, the last part of July was family visiting and traveling back to visit family. In August, I spent a great weekend in Virginia before returning to New England. The last three weeks have been at school calling and working with incoming students (no interesting photos yet).We are praying for a great school year!
That is the problem with blogs, just like diaries or journals. You often go days without writing. I don't like that. When I am writing, I feel fresher and more in touch with the world. Sound corny?
So, a quick rundown of the last week will follow with some photos...
This man with the bag pictured here with yours truly is former Atlantic Union College Business Professor Ebenezer Agboka. He is a fantastic individual with a tremendous sense of humor and people skills.
I have a testimonial I will share later from a former student of his that left a Madison Avenue high life corporate position to work for Dr. Agboka at the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in New York, where he is the Conference Treasurer... Hence, the bag!
At the afternoon meeting yesterday, Pastor Jose Cortes, Youth Director for the Greater New York Conference, presented a film about parent/youth relationships in the church and our failure as parents to hear them and model Christ to them.
The film was done by an Adventist fellow in conjunction with GNYC Youth Department. I commend Pastor Cortes on his vision and connection with the youth. Here is the link.
Following the sobering viewing, Jose spoke from the heart about being a parent and the love you have. He spoke about how love is spelled, T-I-M-E, TIME. He was emotional and eloquent. We were all moved and inspired to be better parents, adults, and youth mentors.
I am big on family building and making that our first mission field. I have known Jose Cortes for about 15 years going back to my Washington, D.C. days.
I hope we can bring this film to Atlantic Union College soon.
I traveled to the Greater New York Conference Camp Meeting yesterday to recruit students and do PR for the college. It was a gorgeous drive and I made it in record time - just about 2.5 hours from my house.
I took the backroads all the way through the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts and Western Connecticut. The scenery was classic New England with farms, barns, stone walls, old colonial homes, rivers, lakes and streams. I love nature, and the Lord granted me a rich blessing driving to Camp Berkshire.
This is a photo of Bull's Bridge, Kent, Connecticut. I am sure there is an interesting story behind the name! It connects Connecticut with New York.
Yours truly* at the Youth Tent.
As usual, we were treated with great respect. Mr. David Cadavero, Education Director for the Greater New England Conference and Atlantic Union College Board Member was his usual great self. He always helps us at AUC. Unfortunately, my camera batteries died at lunch snapping his photo!
Yours truly - Normally the ending form of a letter written to a close friend. In this case, it refers to myself without taking so much credit. Example: "This painting was done by yours truly." instead of "I did this painting."
In Korea, there are more than 40 Seventh-day Adventist Language Institutes with somewhere around 50,000 students learning mostly English, as well as Chinese and Japanese. They need a lot of English teachers there, and you can have a great experience if you go!
After the disaster of the Korean War (1950-1953), Korea has a modern economic and spiritual miracle. They send missionaries all over Asia and the world now. They are passionate about learning English, too!
I have visited the institutes twice, in 2002 and 2003. Pastor Ben is a friend I made that I hadn't seen in 6 years. He was at the Southern New England Conference Camp Meeting this year. Great guy!
Every summer, the Southern New England Conference holds Camp Meeting. It is always fun to hear great music, messages from the Word of God, as well as meet old and new friends. Last Sabbath we were blessed by tremendous messages from Pastor Alanzo Smith and music from the renowned Michael Card. (I chatted with him afterwards and got his autograph!)
On Sabbath it is always filled, and after the 11:00 Worship Service the people congregate in church, family, or friendship groups to have an outdoor potluck lunch and socialize. Lots of people bring a tent or camper and stay for the whole week. Many of us bring our guitars and banjos, too!
Since the Southern New England Conference covers an area that is very multilingual, they have meetings in English, Spanish, French/Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Korean, and now even Chinese. If you study at ELI, you will begin meeting a lot of these people, and they will help you adjust to your new life at college.
Today is Friday, so the excitement is building up for the last weekend of Camp Meeting. The speaker for today and tomorrow is Elder Bill Knott, the editor of Adventist Review. His father, Professor Emeritus David Knott, is an institution around Atlantic Union College. Elder Knott is also an AUC graduate.
Here is a schedule of English Campmeeting, June 20-28, 2008. I hope you can join in the fun and spiritual growth soon!
I need 17 English language learners for this coming semester. That gives me 60 days, more or less. Using sloppy math, I need one student every 3.5 days! That would be 2 students per week! Only God can do that!
For the last 8 years, my colleagues and I have been teaching English to students from many countries and of all ages. We love our newcomer friends and international students. We also love our college, Atlantic Union College. Maybe that is God's place for you!
The English Language Institute is a place where you can be part of our family and learn lots of English. Many have done it before you... Why not you?
So, I am hitting the road to find you! You can email me at email@example.com
American Idiom (to hit the road = to depart, to travel, not striking)