Tuesday, February 11

Them Migrants and the 1 Cent Challenge

The deep breath didn't last long. Calendaring and keeping up with our life took over as usual but it's happy and full for the most part!

Yesterday I began my German class for migrant women. Do you know how odd it is to identify with calling myself a migrant woman?!d And yet it fits as I was seated around a table with 12 women, a few children playing nearby on the floor supervised by a couple of the facilitators of this program.

I grew up in Eastern Washington where every spring and summer brought waves of Hispanic migrant workers into my neighborhood to work in the cherry, apple and peach orchards. They seemed to keep to themselves as far as I can recall. There were incidents of bikes being stolen from our yard, blamed on these migrant workers. For all I know, they could have just been easy scapegoats. As a camp counselor for the YMCA summer day camps in my teen years, I worked with some of the migrant workers' children. One family's mother would sometimes send the best breakfast burritos for her son to share with me. Yum! I had a hard time imagining what it must have been like to be a migrant worker, always feeling on the outside of the communities you moved through.

But here I am in Germany five years, not a true migrant although Ryan and I often like to dream that we will be able to live here for a very long time because we love it so much. I have come to a greater sense of kinship with families in various places I lived in the US who were migrants or immigrants. Most of them were from Central or South America. How could I have been more supportive to them? There had been a Spanish speaking congregation set up in our Leesburg ward for a couple years before we moved to Germany. I'd thought then how overwhelming it must have been for them to learn a language and navigate a new country! And now I've gotten to experience that for myself to an extent. I've been so spoiled here not having to fully immerse myself in learning and navigating in German because our ward, military base, and int'l school communities all speak English. Even my neighbors like to practice their English on us.

But it's time to learn a bit more than the random words and phrases I know here and there.

In my class, there are two instructors. One is from Poland, the other is German. Then there's my Italian friend from church/int'l school, two ladies from Japan, two ladies from Sri Lanka, one from the Ivory Coast, another from Serbia, and then three Americans including myself. All of them are mothers, ages ranging from 49 to 29. I know this because we had to line up according to our ages as one of the exercises. We had to introduce ourselves, the members of our families, where we were from, how long we've lived here, and what our hobbies and least favorite chores to do were. I liked the kinship I felt among them pretty quickly.

Please pray for my brain to absorb and retain what I learn and practice! I asked McKay what a certain word meant last night. He didn't understand me and said, "Mom, sometimes I can't help you because you don't say it right so I don't know what you're saying." True. Like the word for married - such a long word that trips me up every time. Verheritat. Oi!

Speaking of being married, I'm loving Ryan's new calling as early morning Seminary Teacher! He's doing such a great job thoughtfully preparing, making it meaningful and challenging for the kids, and having fun! I love him! And I love that it makes pulling a good FHE so much easier! Last night he gave a great lesson to the kids about prayer. He made up our Prayer Plan on the white board and issued the 1 Cent Challenge to the kids. As Morgan told us at breakfast she'd remembered to say her morning prayer and McKay reminded me to give the kids each their 1 cent for their shoe today, I was thanking my Heavenly Father giving me this great husband and father of my children! The 1 Cent Challenge was to put a 1 euro cent in their shoe to remind them to have at least one meaningful prayer today.

Other stuff on my mind and heart lately:
- Handbook 2: Administering the Church, Chapter 3 - Leadership in the Church of Jesus Christ. So inspiring in my calling right now!
- Randy Pausch's "The Last Lecture." Really great. After I finished listening to it, Ryan and I watched his lecture on youtube on Saturday.
- A conference "Women and the LDS Church: Historical and Contempory Perspectives." Interesting.
- Rootstech family history sessions! YAHOO!
- October 2013 General Conference - this week is Elder Bednar's "The Windows of Heaven." Just what I needed to hear, answered a hope I'd had going into Conference, and I loved being touched by his humility and love during the second half.
- On Netflix, I watched "Forks over Knives" and "Vegucation." Lots of food for thought! I've got some friends who have been going vegan for the past year for their own or family's health and I've been intrigued. Also some friends here are very knowledgeable about essential oils and hold classes so I've been dabbling a little in that.