Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pre Graduation Breakfast - Billings 3 & 4 (Adopted by Gates)

On May 30, 2013 we graduated our first class of 20 students.  The name of the class was “Billings 3&4”.  They had been trained by Elder Billings for 3 months (level 1), meeting 4 hours a day.  Then they spent 3 months in the field doing an internship on a chapel for a contractor, working 8 hours a day.   After this, we arrived and Ed became their teacher, 8 hours a day for 3 months.  They have worked hard and we are very proud of them.  We call them our "adopted class". 

We had a big breakfast party, for all the students the day before graduation.  We bought a griddle on our first mission and had the mission president bring it from Pointe Noire to Kinshasa.  We were able to cook about 200 pancakes early in the morning at our home, and then took them to the chapel and kept them warm in the oven.
  We also had bacon and eggs and orange juice and milk.  We had peanut butter and 4-berry jam and maple syrup for toppings.  No-one took any syrup at first, so we had to teach them what syrup was and what it was used for.  Then they loved it!  It was fun to see them eat and eat until they were full and could eat no more.  This is our boy that was always late... and arrived after everyone else was finished.  Ed is trying to share with him. 

I was afraid they might get sick by eating so much sugar, when they aren’t used to it, but they all seemed fine and we had a great time. 

We took lots of pictures of the students throughout the 3 months.   I made 3 pages of collages of each of them with their individual photos (a total of 60 collages) and put them into acetate sheets in a cardstock 3 hole notebook cover.  I had a front page cover sheet with their name and a big group picture.  We gave them out before breakfast, and they poured over them for half an hour... passing them around and enjoying the other students’ folders almost as much as their own. 

Ed ended the event by giving a beautiful speech about how much he loves all of them… and most of us were choked up.  We talked about the opportunity they have had to take the class.   I talked to them about the fact that they had learned a trade, they can now pass on to their children, and children’s children.  They were very humble as they contemplated the fact that they were now the tool to alter the tradition of poverty in their families. The man by us in the front row is our area Seventy.  What a special morning and how we have learned to love these students! 


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