Learning by Living Here, But First Some Stories

I want to do a couple of things here, but first
I want to tell some stories.



I’ve collected a ton of stories I could share. I could tell you about our visit to Hadad’s Lake, watching a child from my swimming class use all the knowledge he’d been taught. I could tell you about the time several interns came over to my host family’s house and we had a dance party while playing MarioKart. I could tell you about the time I was driving three kids I thought wouldn’t respect me to an event, and we jammed to Christian rap all the way there.
I could tell you about when two of my fellow interns and
I hung out with two of our campers, made pancakes
and eggs, and had a great time. I could tell you of all
those things.


Instead I'm going to share a very simple story.
It's about a kid reading.

When I first began tutoring, which happens on Mondays in the summer, my supervisor told me the student I would be tutoring was not a strong reader, but not a weak one either. He had just finished the 3rd grade, and would be reading a little book called Freckle Juice. It was supposed to take him most of the eight weeks of summer tutoring
to finish.


When I met him, he seemed like a cool kid; he liked playing basketball like me, and the building where I tutored, the Lighthouse, had a hoop. That worked out well.

When we began tutoring time and he began reading, I was very surprised to find that while he had trouble taking pauses at periods, he was reading very well. He made it through about twenty of the roughly sixty-page book. And when we stopped for discussion, he remembered almost everything I could throw at him. I was pleasantly surprised.


He finished that book in three weeks. And today, as
I write this, he has finished two books this summer. 

The second, “Flat Stanley,” is an excellent book that brought back childhood memories. To me, this is what CHAT is about. Regardless of all the awesome other things that this organization does, I believe and hope that the tutoring is the biggest part.


The simple act of providing a space for a child to get a snack and time to read uninterrupted is powerful.



Now I’d like to talk about the internship as a whole. As an academic pursuit, this time has been enlightening. We’ve been learning all about what CHAT does and how the staff approach what they do.


The principles driving CHAT are fascinating to hear, but it’s always even greater to see them in action.

Likewise, the obstacles that Church Hill faces are myriad and real, and very powerful to see and experience.

For example, we had been told that children might not know where they’ll go to school in the upcoming school year because families often have to move unexpectedly. While hearing that might mean you learned it, it isn’t understood until the weekly tutoring bus shows up missing two students because they had to move.


On the flip side, it’s all well and good to read that Christian Community Development must be Church-Based, but understanding comes when the community church you are attending serves as the home church to nearly all the staff, plenty of past students, and even some current students in the CHAT program.


The immediacy of experiencing these lessons
is a real and powerful tool, and is leading to
knowledge I will not soon forget.

What I want this post to convey is that this internship has and will continue to amaze me. I want you, whoever you are, to know that God works through the men and women of CHAT, hopefully including me. I want you to understand that this time has taught me much, given me relationships, and challenged me in hard ways.


The best part is it’s not even over yet.