Friday, August 29, 2014

God's Placement...

We've had many question our reasoning in putting Mitike in a public school.  Some have been willing to listen to our answer-- others are just sure we are wrong--dead wrong.  
I believe though that she was placed in this school and in this classroom for a purpose.  Did you know that her teacher has a foster child with RAD and she is the first educator that has ever understood what we are going through?  I've tried not to be hurt as others tell me I'm not loving enough or "if you just try this..."  Mitike's teacher right from the beginning has been e-mailing what is going on at school and even offering to watch her so that we can have a break.  Did you also know that God placed her in a school where counselors, therapists, and psychologists work in the school?  This provides them opportunities to see the students in settings that most counselors never see.  All this documentation backs up what we have been saying all along.  It is a great help to us.  
Many Chinese proverbs hold a lot of wisdom.  Here's one of my favorites.
I'm so glad that God has placed me at Shepherd and allowed me to work with AMAZING people, but I'm touched that He also puts in our lives--NOT BY CHANCE--exactly who we need at just the right time.  Sometimes they are found in places we wouldn't normally look.  There are have been so many important people in our lives over the years in Singapore, China, and now the U.S.  Thanks be to God that He doesn't leave us high and dry.  People that we have met and loved will always be connected to us through His love.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Oaks

Tonight I took Ana to her back to school night at The Oaks Academy.  I felt at home right away.  I love the expectation of excellence with Christ at the core.  I know God has placed me at Shepherd for a reason, but I sometimes feel I'm a fish out of water.  BUT God doesn't call us to be comfortable.  He tells us to work hard WHEREVER He places us.

The meeting for Mitike went well.  This program provides us with options that wouldn't be available otherwise.  We are praying through some other options outside of this program as well.  God has already closed some doors.  We are grateful for His guidance.  Keep praying!  

PS I'm doing a devotional this Thursday on how your prayers and God's AMAZING FAITHFULNESS have sustained us!  THANK YOU!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Moving Forward and Our Continued Thanks!

As we look back on this past year since returning to the States from China, we see how your prayers/God's peace has carried us through so much.  When the policeman stationed at our house asked how I was "surviving" through all this, I said, "I have people around the world praying for me."  A one sentence testimony that says it all.  THANK YOU for your continued prayers!

Matt restarts therapy this week AND meets with his employment counselor.  Please pray for both of these. We also have not got clearance for speech and occupational therapy YET.  Please pray with us that it would move along.

We have our first meeting with Mitike's wrap around program on Tuesday.  This will involve social workers, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, etc. --it's very much a team effort.  Please pray for some change in her heart.  We are running low on HOPE.

PRAISES--I had opportunity to bake this weekend.  I'm so enjoying have a teensy bit of free time once again.
Ana starts school and is eager to go.  We're very thankful for neighbors that will take her!
My third grade makes me laugh.  I'm really enjoying being a part of their lives.
I've started playing with the worship team--it's been a blessing.  Matt has been asked to take a role in the church as well :)
Matt's dad went to South Africa and back (safely) in about a week!  We're glad to have him back.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Having kids in three different types of schools and myself teaching at another has really given me a good view of schooling options in Indianapolis.  China is going to a charter school.  Everything is state of the art, the classrooms are non traditional (last year's had easy chairs in it!!!), and everything (even breakfast and lunch) is free.  They are an environmental school and have windmills, goats, chickens, bees, and a big garden.  Interestingly they do not have a central library or a gym.  (They use a local community center's when necessary.)
Ana's new school is classically based.  They will learn Latin and do a lot of homework :)  They strongly emphasize a well rounded student and have strong art and music programs.  I'm super excited that Ana will be challenged in many ways.
Mitike is in the public school system.  This school is primarily African American.  The public schools have the best support system for behavioral/mental issues.  This school has two behavioral specialists as well as counselors, etc.  interestingly, there are no English Language Learner Teachers at this school, so Mitike is missing out because there are not enough students to justify bringing in a teacher.  This school also partners with a large local church for an after school program as well as having a privately funded after school program.  There are a lot of resources going into this little school!  90% of these children qualify for FREE lunch--so the incomes around here are very low.  The biggest blessing at this school is that Mitike's teacher has a foster child with similar issues as Mitike.  She has been very supportive and understands where we're coming from.
My school also mainly serves poorer children from around our area.  Our biggest issue is bringing their English up to par.  Although we do have some children with some special needs we are mainly just dealing with low academics and difficult home lives.  Shepherd pours a lot of love into these kids.

So, which is best?  Possibly Ana's school, BUT many can't afford it (tuition is based on your income.)  We
didn't feel like we could put China there because he would be so far behind in Latin--so we decided to leave him where he was.  I think it really depends on what your child needs and what the schools can offer.  Indy has a lot of options.  We're very thankful!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


In my little classroom there are families divided.  There are moms and dads who can't go back to their home country to visit dying mothers because they then couldn't return to the US.  There are parents with kids here in the States and kids in another country.  Today a student was telling me how long it takes to get to Mexico--"DAYS Mrs. Eiler!!  I said, "No, it only takes a few hours!"  Then it dawned on me that he was talking of DRIVING and I had assumed they would fly.
Another boy asked us to pray that his dad's roofing and gutter company would find more work.  These children are faced with problems that middle class American children never think about.  They carry such heavy burdens.
It reminds of the song lyrics, "Break my heart for what breaks yours."  A great reminder that God is deeply saddened by the injustices of this world.  He FEELS for us and these little ones.  I'm thankful that God has brought me to this place.  He's showing me what He's doing here.  This work won't change the world, BUT for these children the world changes as people pour HIS love into their lives.  And that is a GREAT WORK indeed!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

How to Measure Up!

I have fallen in love with this quote:

Measure thy life by loss instead of gain;
Not by the wine drunk but by the wine poured forth;
For love's strength standeth in love's sacrifice,
And whoso suffers most hath most to give.

Ugo Bassi
(a monk in the early 1800's)

It is easy to feel sometimes that these past couple of years in my life have been a complete and total waste.  But, in truth I think that God has been showing me a teeny, tiny piece of Himself.  We have sacrificed some things and persisted in what we feel God has called us to do.  Frankly speaking we have done a lot of "pouring forth."  When our pastor was waiting in the hospital with us after Mitike had been found I said, "I have nothing left to give--I'm out."  Perhaps God has brought us to this point so that the only choice we have is to rely on Him!

-still no more seizures!
-my classes are DONE!  I actually had some free time today!
-My 3rd grade class is going well.  Please pray for my boy with very limited English.  I am really feeling for him.  He's been putting forth a lot of effort but I am sure it is frustrating!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The End Is Near!

Not the end of the world of course---just the end of my classes!  It will relieve so much stress and time pressure not to have to work on these every day of the week!  I'm going to buy some ice cream to celebrate!  Officially I finish next Tuesday.  I hope to get done with my work this weekend.

I started teaching third grade today.  It was interesting!  I heard comments like, "You know Mrs. Eiler I can sound like a squirrel." We did some squiggle art (where you draw a squiggle on a paper and they turn it into a picture and story).  Some pictures were amazingly creative.  I had everything from ninjas to bunny rabbits.  The stories really leveled me.  Probably about half my class cannot write a sentence.  I've asked God why He chose to place me at this place--maybe it is to help these students learn to communicate.

I have a lot of very active boys.  Pray that I can keep them engaged and learning!  Even though they rarely stop moving they are really sweet kids.  One boy told me that his mom told him he cannot stand next to any other boy.  He obeyed her the whole day :)  (Astounding in this day and age!!)

Having lived a very middle class, well traveled life I was astounded by how few opportunities these children have had.  I asked them to write down things they like.  Some have never been on a vacation.  Some never travel outside of Indianapolis.  Some don't now what flavor of ice cream is their favorite because they have only had one kind.  Rather than feel sorry for them I feel challenged to expand their horizons as much as possible.

Pray with me that these 17 third graders will leave this year knowing more about God's world and what He can enable them to accomplish in it!

Monday, August 4, 2014


I have to say a big thank you to my mom for coming up to help this weekend.  Thanks for school shopping and watching the kids.  Thanks to Karla and Kensington for helping out with my classroom.  I wouldn't be ready without your help!  Thanks to many of you who continue to pray for us.  Many times I feel I'm "living" on the strength of prayers.

Mitike started school (in the public school) today and had another assessment.  China starts school tomorrow and I start on Wednesday.  We are now in four different schools which keeps life interesting!

Have a great day!  Valerie