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March 5, 2012

A day of Hope

by carrollministry

Hey Everyone,

Its Monday night here in Rochester and the day is just winding down, we just finished our evening reflection and prayer and are getting ready to settle into an evening of games with these “crazy sisters” as they have been affectionately labelled.

I am serving this week at Hope Hall, a school where everybody has an auditory processing delay and more often than not it is coupled with some other health issue or learning obstacle. In addition to that, 87% of the students at this school live at or below the poverty line. I have been very blessed in being able to serve at Hope Hall for the last 2 years on this headlights trip as well. This being my third year at Hope Hall I had some sort of an idea of what to expect, but of course you can never know everything. This year I am working in the middle school’s social studies classroom (Hope Hall is grades 3-12) so I had 2 6th, 7th, and 8th grade classes. I had some experiences today that really impacted me in a way that I have never seen at Hope Hall. I worked one on one with a boy named Dustin that had just transferred to Hope Hall last week. He is a 7th grader, but at the public schools in Rochester he was locked in a room and served as an aid to severely handicapped kid, he has never really received an education of his own, so his reading level is that of maybe a 3rd or 4th grader. I worked with him on a worksheet to get him caught up with his class and on his homework. It was easy to see that he was discouraged by all that he didn’t know but I could also see that for the first time in a long time he had hope that he might be able to succeed. It was a huge blessing to be able to see that moment in his life. I definitely felt that God used him to show me just how blessed I was in the privileges i had growing up and still have today. 

The other moment today that truly touched me was when a girl I had worked with last year asked for my help on her homework because she remembered me, and as she told everybody she encountered when I was around today “she took a picture with me last year.” I cherish the pictures I take with my classes every year but I had no idea that they cherished those pictures, pictures that they never saw after I left the school last year, I had no idea the students remembered those pictures, or even the fact that I had been there before. I don’t know if she will remember me 5 or 10 years from now, but I know I will never forget her excitement or the joy I saw in her that had come from an interaction with me. I saw God in her face today, she found joy in the simple things, and she will never know how much her memory of a simple item such as a picture meant to me. 
Hope Hall is a place that has changed my life, it has given me hope, it has made me consider my circumstances, it has encouraged me to open my eyes to the lives of the people around me, it has shown me love, it has shown me joy. I will miss Hope Hall after I graduate this spring more than almost anything else I got to experience during my 4 years at Carroll.
Just while writing this, I was able to have a conversation with 3 girls on our trip that I would never have had if I hadn’t had these specific experiences at Hope Hall. Hope Hall has been a blessing in my life, and I hope that someday you all have a chance to visit a place as wonderful as there, and to know people as compassionate, loving, joyful, courageous, giving, and determined as the people there.
Thank you all for your prayers and support!
Love and Peace in Christ-
Andrea!

ps playing signs with the sisters is incredible!   

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