The past few years have not been so great for me with dealing with symptoms of autoimmune especially this summer. June was terrible. July was about trying to get going again. I have been through difficult times before but this summer got to me. Then the unexpected happened. A breakthrough came in a wonderful way that I could have never anticipated.
But first a little background.
In the summer of 2007 I went to a library on a Saturday afternoon. I walked by the ELL, English Language Learners, room and saw a woman from Vietnam who had been my student a few years before. She was in the room with three teenage boys from Vietnam helping them with English. I offered to come the next day to be the native speaker with the thought in mind that she would plan the lesson. They all agreed. I came the next day and the boys were there, but she wasn’t. In that moment I realized God wanted me to help them.
That day began a wonderful journey for me with several young people from Vietnam. We studied English, worked on preparing for tests like ACT and TOEFL, worked on reading skills, and conversational English. But it was more than class time together.
There were moments of helping their families with various things. It was my privilege to help them with scholarship applications and to be a reference for them whether applying to the university here or to graduate school.
I went to New Student Enrollment three summers in a row to be the parent for them because their parents do not speak much English. I will never forget one of them had a scared look in her eyes when the parents and new students were separated. The students went to register and have a separate tour of the university. At lunch I started to walk to her table to check on her and she waved me off. I walked away smiling knowing she was okay.
Those years helping all of them with English, mentoring them as they prepared for college, helping them with scholarship applications, helping their families with various things, and driving a few of them to Omaha for citizenship testing were some of the best years in my life.
My young friends went on to the University of Nebraska and Southeast Community College. They have become young professionals in careers such as Architecture, Business, IT, Nursing, Engineering, and some are in Pharmacy School and one is in Medical School. I feel blessed that I could be a part of their way up in life and knowing they are excelling makes me so proud of them.
It is awesome to know they are on their way up in life and that they are either already or soon will be more successful than me. It is a teacher’s dream, BUT my mind is trying to catch up with the fact that they are now young professionals in promising careers. I still have memories such as one time they asked me if we could have a party and not study because it was Christmas week. They told me they would bring the food. I agreed. The food they brought consisted of candy, chips, and soda. I could only smile to myself.
So on Sunday when two of them came to visit me bringing some food, I was overwhelmed with a surprise. I was given an envelope with a card inside.
I opened the card that has a message of:
” You had done so much for us. This is time for us to give back.”
In the card was a large check that will cover most of my expenses for August.
I had always thought of them as my children when we were meeting for studies and while I was helping them. That feeling doesn’t go away. On Sunday I was overwhelmed that they would remember me and that they have helped me. I came inside and sat down at my desk and broke down a bit. After the summer I had had before Sunday and what I went through the past few years, in that moment the negatives of my summer seemed to be swept away.
My post today is for my wonderful former students who are now my friends. My purpose in writing today is to say- THANK YOU or CAM ON RAT NHIEU!!!
Thank you doesn’t seem like enough, but THANK YOU for blessing me. I really don’t know how to express my feelings. Your generosity and love was the breakthrough that I really needed.
Thank you so so much and God Bless You 🙂