Adventures with Ms.V.

Contrary to the fact that Ms. V believes I am teaching her, I have found that, in fact, she is the teacher and I the student. I have found it is like any ministry you do for others. You go thinking you are going to change their world, and instead they change yours. The first time I picked Ms. V up for a lesson she told me that we would get along fine as long as I wasn’t mean. “If you talk bad to me, I won’t do anything for you.” It seems that what few memories she has of school were of teachers spanking her for not pronouncing the words right. Kids made fun of her speech impediment and she decided not to go back. I’m not sure what grade that was, but I do know that we are starting at the very beginning…naming letters and letter sounds. I also know that it is not easy for her, yet that does not stop her from trying. If I could bottle her motivation I would pour it into every student I have.
Each time we meet, she asks for more homework, more letters to learn, more words, and more books. Tonight she asked me for a suitcase with wheels to carry her books in because her book bag is getting too heavy. Each of us that teach her honors her request for more books, so multiply one or two books per lesson times 6 teachers. Soon she will have her own little library of beginner books. The very cool thing is that she takes them home and reads them with her grandchildren who are 2 and 4 years old. She said they run to her and ask her what books she got tonight. One of them wanted to come with her tonight to her lesson, but she quickly turned him away, saying it is HER time to learn. And though it is true the lessons are for her, the hunger to learn is contagious. She shares what she learns. She practices every day. And they are watching. I only wish I could pour the ability to put the sounds together into her head. I have often thought that if I ever got a wish granted me I would wish for learning to be easy for everyone. But alas, that is not the case and so we continue to work and encourage what ability she does have.
Tonight she was worried about her son’s upcoming surgery. I asked God to keep him safe and for her not to have anxiety. After my prayer with her, she said, “In the Bible it says that we live until we die. So if I die, I die. If he dies, he dies. It will be time. I have knowed a lot of people younger than me who died, but I am still here. Maybe the reason I am, is to learn to read. For this.” Did I mention she is teaching me? She is a neat lady and I am honored to teach her to read, but I am also blessed to be the recipient of her simple way of looking at life. God is so amazing the way he brings people into our lives to show us himself. I see his face in the wrinkled smile of Ms. V.

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