English For Aningas

“Errrfah” she says slowly, her little face pouted in concentration.  It feels funny on her tongue so she tries again, “Earfeh.”
“Earth,” Stephanie says. Slower. “Ear-th.”
She laughs at the way it sounds and tries again. 
Tomorrow is the third English lesson Stephanie and I will have in the little village of Aningas. When we told the kids about the classes they were thrilled. There were eight older kids (14-16) in our first class and few younger ones. By the next lesson we had eighteen kids. We’ll see what tomorrow brings…
We plan the classes kind of like Sunday School lessons. We’re just as excited as the kids are that we can help them learn a few words in English, but more than that we want them to learn about a Savior who loved them enough to die for them. 
So far, we’ve read through the stories of Noah and Jonah. Stephanie (who is studying Portuguese at school) reads through the verses in Portuguese so we can be sure they understand the story. The kids applaud her valiant efforts at tackling their language every time she finishes. I draw little pictures to go along with words that we pull out of the text for them to learn. We say the words aloud in Portuguese and then in English.
Their pens move quickly along the lines of the makeshift notebooks we gave them as they take diligent notes. Nadine comes up to ask specific questions. “Why do you use “we” here and then “us” over here?”
Evanoel is a quick learner. He listens, leaning toward us in concentration as we say the words slowly in English and then repeats them back to us. “Hain-bow.”
RRainbow,” I say.
“Rainbow,” he says smiling and then laughing at his own mistake.
After going over the words we play a few games. The kids start off sitting in a circle around one of the big wooden tables in the sewing room of the Galpão. By the time we get to the games they’ve all moved closer, abandoning their chairs to get a better look at the tic-tac toe board.
“How many people were in the ark?”
Then they remember that Shem, Ham, and Japeth were married.  “Ooh ooh! Oito!” Maria blurts out, “Oito!”
“Eight. That’s right!.” Cheers erupt from the winning team.
To end the lesson we go over the verse of the day. Some of them recognize the scripture in Portuguese. They copy the words down to see if they can memorize it for the next class. They’re still struggling to remember the English words in the verses, but a lot of them can rattle off the Portuguese. As long as they’re remembering the verse we don’t really mind that it’s not in English. 🙂
Tomorrow we’ll be jumping in with David fighting the Philistine giant. We have pictures to go with words like “sword, “ “stones” “helmet,” and “valley” and prizes to hand out to the guys and girls that participate and really listen. We have about five more lessons to go and we’d appreciate your prayers that these kids will not only continue to enjoy learning, but that they will recognize the truth in the stories and verses that we read with them and accept Christ as their Savior. 
Above: Classroom front on our first day: rules of the class, the story board and the verse of the day.
Above: English words for the kids to learn.
Above: Some of the girls in class, left to right: Maria, Natalia, Lizandra.
Above: Manoelhio taking diligent notes.
Above: Copying the verse.
Above / Below: At the lake on Saturday. 
Above: Photo break during the 20 minute walk to the lake.

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