The Life of Maestra Megan

Adventures in the life of a Costa Rican Missionary

On the outside looking in December 24, 2016

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Are you ready? February 6, 2016

It is one thing to follow God’s way of service if you are regarded as a hero, but quite another thing if the road marked out for you by God requires becoming a “doormat” under other people’s feet. God’s purpose may be to teach you to say, “I know how to be abased…” (Philippians 4:12). Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket— to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served?

my utmost  Gulp.  It feels like I am blindsided every time I open up this year’s devotional, My Utmost for His Highest.  Oswald Chambers, how could you know?  Especially since you died a hundred years ago.

 

I am a missionary, in my 10th year of working with many unwanted, unloved, and disadvantaged children and families in a slum outside San Jose, Costa Rica.  People look at me and tell me “you do amazing work” all the time.  It’s easy to let such comments go to my head.

 

I also struggle–as a single woman in a foreign land–with a sense of belonging.  Most of the time I feel like I definitely don’t fit in, or that others don’t allow a place for me in their world.  So, being noticed gives me a somewhat fleeting significance.

 

This is not what God wants for me.  He does not want me to turn heads, receive accolades, or to be remembered over a lifetime. He wants me to serve him… rejoicing even as I am entirely used up.  (Philippians 2:17)

 

I guarantee I am not going to get this right most days, but I am ready for a change this year.  Here’s my subsequent conversation with God….borrow it if you’d like.  I know He would like to hear from you.

 

 

“Father God, forgive me.  You know how self-centered I am, and how much I want to be noticed by others and told “well done.” Change me, Lord, from the inside out.  Teach me the way of your suffering servant.  Teach me to pour myself out to YOU, not to others around me.  Fill me with joy, whatever menial task I face, and most especially when no one takes notice of me.  Make me willing to be utterly forgettable, if it means that you receive the glory.”

 

February 10, 2015

A new year for all the students in our Sunday Bible school

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CFCI education building in Carpio, San Jose, Costa Rica

 

Costa Rica has the highest literacy rate in Central America, and tourist guides frequently boast of its free education for all…yet nothing here is truly free, and there are thousands of impoverished families who are at this moment choosing to educate or feed their children.

Free education for all—but you must send your children in approved uniform and footwear.  They will not be accepted otherwise.  Free education–but the list of supplies is staggering… It fills an entire page—from preschool on up, parents are required to provide the supplies, and generic brand items are often rejected.  Not only do children have to purchase notebooks, pencils, markers, scissors, etc., they are to bring to school toilet paper, toothpaste, whiteboard markers, masking tape, paper towels etc. for the classroom.  And 150 colones each week (= 25 cents) for photocopies.  Plus monthly fees.  And the initial registration fee (that schools are not supposed to charge but do).  The transportation costs are enormous ($20-$30 month) when you realize that many families in Carpio are living on a few dollars a month…so parents are forced to send their child to the overcrowded local Finca La Caja for 2.5 hours of schooling per day—no English, art, music, computers, physical education or any other extras.

This free education available to all….often costs $200 per child to start of the academic year.  Parents must choose: food, or school. Or, “with 5 children under 11 years old, which ones can we afford to send this year?” Some children take off their uniforms and shoes at noon and pass them to siblings who then get dressed to go their afternoon learning…

Christ For the City programs offer hope in the midst of such injustice.  Tutoring classes in reading, writing, math and English are held twice a week, to coach elementary school children in reading, writing and mathematics.  (The $1 monthly fee is waived if families are unable to pay.)   Kids clubs, sports programs and craft times are held at no cost.  The clinic offers medical attention to all for $4 a visit, including medications. A recent medical fair provided free health care for over 450 patients.  Adults are learning sewing, carpentry and baking skills to generate future income. Licensed psychologists offer free counseling.  Young men and women are studying to complete their high school diploma at Life Institute, more Bible studies are springing up, I could go on and on!

The Bible tells us that “those who delight in the law of the Lord are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. “  Praise the Lord, who continues to prosper the Christ For the City programs in La Carpio.  I also thank you for your continued prayers and support.

If you’d like to invest in this important ministry, you can donate online at https://christforthecityinternational.cloverdonations.com/missionary/ and look for my name,  or mail to the address below.  Feel free to contact me with any questions—I would love to share more about specific needs!

 

Please send your check written to “Christ For the City International” (make a note that it is for “Megan Crow”)
CFCI
PO Box 390395
Omaha, NE 68139 USA

 

 

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A little fun in the midst of a school day

 

 

 

Go into the world…….. December 31, 2014

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I just got a New Years greeting from missionaries in Papua New Guinea….soon they will be rolling in from friends in Russia, Egypt, Spain……..More than 500,000 people have left their own comfort zone in order to bring love, mercy and salvation to another country.  Please remember them in your prayers today and into the new year.  I also challenge you to show your support for these servants by giving financially to their project or mission.  

Full-time service implies great sacrifice.  These ordinary people have obeyed the call of an extraordinary God, and stepped out in faith to work where few have gone before, yet most missionaries only receive half of the funds they need to live on.   Think of someone you know overseas…maybe they are fighting for clean water, education, health care, job training, church planting, university outreach.  Won’t you step up and join them in that work?  Your $25–$50–$100 a month will surely extend their ministry by one more year. 

 

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WE LOVE ENGLISH! December 8, 2014

We hosted an English Night to end the school year and celebrate with the families.  50 students were present that night (out of 70 total), and the benches were packed with mothers, fathers, grandparents and siblings.    For most parents, it was the first time they were watching their children speak in English!

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I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart!  The kids sang this and many of their other favorite songs.  They did such a fantastic job, I am convinced they could’ve done it without the teachers and cue cards.

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Rachel is my quietest 2nd grader, but she was quick to offer to read her presentation in front of all the parents.

These 3rd graders memorized their presentation in English!

These 3rd graders memorized their presentation in English!

Arwing's pronunciation was perfect!

Arwing’s pronunciation was perfect!

Tayler and Edgar are top 6th grade students.  If they work hard, they will be bilingual in the future.

Tayler and Edgar are top 6th grade students. If they work hard, they will be bilingual in the future.

Can you feel the love tonight?  I asked the students to give me a hug before they left.  I meant they could come up one by one.  Instead, they all surrounded me at once!!

Even better, was when the parents lined up and each one took a moment to thank me personally for working with their son or daughter, and to assure me their student would be signed up next year.  I pray that these parent-teacher relationships continue to strengthen over time. IMG_3433

To ensure continued success with English in Carpio, we need investors like you!  Would you like to sponsor a promising young student?

Just $5 a month will open up the future for these kids! You can donate online at https://christforthecityinternational.cloverdonations.com/missionary/    (specify for Megan Crow)

 

ESL routines May 28, 2014

Classes are going very well, I am so pleased with the progress the children have made. 

Every morning we begin with our circle routine (calendar events, weather, songs), and every student takes a turn saying two simple sentences.  Some examples: My name is _________. I am a ________ (boy/girl). These are my ________ (feet/ears/knees).  I like the color ________ .  This is a red shirt.

 

I usually teach a general lesson–new vocabulary or review the material we have covered–in a large group.  My volunteers are good sports, since I often use them as props (Where is Teacher Daniel’s nose?  Teacher Natalia, do you have brothers?).  I am especially thankful for two graphic design majors from the Universidad de Costa Rica who have perked up our flipchart with amazing drawings. 

 

After we have learned the subject matter, I send them off to work in small groups…filling in the blanks, label the body parts, practice writing sentences, reading comprehension among other things.  I am so blessed with great volunteers, and praise God, I can send a volunteer teacher to work with a group of 3-7 children.  The children’s writing and speaking abilities have improved rapidly!

 

After worksheets, it’s game time!  And when we’ve spent most of our energy, we sit down on rugs to listen to the Bible story.  This year we are reading through the life of Jesus–in English only.  It’s always a challenge to tell the story in such a way for them to understand the deep truths of what Jesus did and taught, but I trust God to fill in the blanks in their young minds.  I see the kids truly are following the stories, for they can answer the questions (English only) and they also comment afterwards (in Spanish) about what they learned.

 

Then comes listening practice, dialogues, or interactive demonstrations such as big/small items hiding in a pillowcase, stations to practice the 5 senses, name the classroom objects…And class usually ends with a fun activity, such as puzzles, a simple craft, board games or reading books. 

 

Teacher Megan says “CLASS IS FINISHED,”  to dismiss the class after an hour and a half.  (I have two groups back to back)Sometimes I have to say it two or three times, as many of the students wish they could stay all day.  It is common for me to walk around the room, shooing them out the door! 

 

After several months, I no longer hear any student say “Adios”, but “Bye, Teacher!”  “Thank you.” “Goodbye.”  “See you later.” and “See you Monday.”    I am so proud.

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Carpio Camp December 9, 2013

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I’m not a mover and a shaker.  I don’t know people.  I don’t even hardly know people who DO know people.  I wish I did.  I wish I could move and shake to the tune of fifteen thousand dollars..that with just one Facebook post, in a few hours we would have raised the entire $15,000 needed to take 170 kids out of an unstable city slum to a camp in the countryside. 

 

Try to imagine what I see every day:

Dirt roads leading to concrete steps leading down into dark, narrow entryways past leaning doorposts, to one room homs inhabited by an entire family.

Students who can’t pay attention in English classes, because they haven’t eaten any breakfast.

Young ones not in school, but pushing wheelbarrows around, searching for scraps of metal to sell.

Kids who scavenge the floor for bits and pieces of craft paper they can take home. 

Eleven year olds wearing clothes three sizes too small, when that’s all they own.

 

We are less than a month away from Carpio camp, and the kids are counting down the days.  Many of them are going for the first time ever.  To my dismay, we have only raised $750 of the $15,000 needed and I can’t bear to tell the kids that camp won’t happen this year.

Giving $25 pays for one day of camp;  when you donate $100, you sponsor a camper for the full four days.  Come, be a part of Christ For the City’s Carpio camp–your investment will bring great joy into the lives of our youth!

Donate online at http://www.cfci.org

 

 
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