10/14/2010: My story as a teacher

10/14/2010: My story as a teacher

S: 8:13am

E: 8:33am

S: 9:35am

E: 11:08am

To start, writing this is difficult for me. I really wanted to do something else, like playing a little bit of computer games. I’m still struggling, but I am getting closer to freedom. This is a long, and I think happiest, chapter of my life. My spirit is telling me to worship God, to spend more time with Him, while my body is telling me to play games and enjoy myself. I may do both, knowing that I cannot worship both God and games. This discovery, or story, will be reedited and will have many add-ons as I remember my memories. Thus, it will take a while to get this published, or maybe I can just publish it and edit it if I have a newer version. In computers, this is called patching, in journal writing, maybe it’s called revising.

After my failure at nursing school at East LA college, I told my dad that I now wanted to be a teacher. I find that as I grow in God and experience new things, I learn and see more about myself. I grow more confident of my abilities, more aware of myself, and things I previously thought impossible is possible. Before, I thought being a social worker, although it is very appealing to me, as impossible. I can’t speak very well, I stutter, I’m not very conversational, I don’t have social skills, I don’t have friends, I don’t know enough of this world to help people or myself :(, etc. So, I crossed out “social worker” early in my life because I felt diffident about my abilities. Now, as I grow more in God and life, I grow more confident (Phil. 4:13), and decided that being a social worker would be more perfect for me. The more I know about myself and the more I trust in God, the closer I get to my dream job, my career bull’s-eye.

My dad believed it is always important to not only get the education for the career, but also to gain some practical experience, if only to look good when applying for a career-related job. Before I joined the nursing school, I volunteered at a local hospital, the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center. Then, I went to PCC and took the nursing assistant class so I can be certified as a CNA. As I wrote in my last story (my story as a nurse), I didn’t finish the class because I was too afraid. I didn’t have a solid enough relationship with God back then to carry me through life. Now, since I wanted to be a teacher, my parents encouraged me to find a teaching job so I can gain more experience and see if it really is a job for me.

This time, my mom helped me out. My mom noticed an education center just a block away from my house called “SINWA Education Institute.” Wow, my mom is a lot more aware of her surroundings than me. All this time I’ve been living here, I never knew an education center behind Papa John’s. We planned for a day to come in, impromptu and all, and the day came.

I remember my first feelings. I was afraid, nervous, and scared. I’m afraid that whoever the manager is would reject me outright. I’m glad I didn’t go in alone; what I feared might actually happen. One thing that comforted me and gave me courage is that my mom is going with me and I know she’s excellent with people. She calmed me down and told me to just trust in God. “God will take care of everything,” she said. I remember praying with her right before going in. Getting out of the car (my mom suggested walking, but I was too nervous to show myself to the world), ringing the doorbell, and getting inside the classroom is equivalent to the invasion of Normandy for me. The principal, Mrs. Wu, greeted us and my mom exchanged friendly greetings. I said “hello” and smiled. I can be very warm with people, but it takes time and at that time, I was afraid to show myself completely. I never been to an interview, the one at McDonalds doesn’t count because I had 100% confidence I could land the job, anyone can get into that job, right (that was how I thought back then)? Now, in this proper interview, I had no idea how to act, so I acted reserved but friendly. I think I remember being a little more relaxed after the prayer. I felt a new sense of confidence and assurance, but, I was still nervous.

My mom and Mrs. Wu connected almost immediately. They started talking about their lives, experiences, as well as my life and experiences. Then, they started talking in Taiwanese! I had no idea what they were saying. Are they talking bad about me, etc? I remember myself talking to Mrs. Wu, too, and telling her why I wanted this job. I forgot what I said though. I also met Mr. Wu, her husband and the assistant principal. From their first impressions, they were very nice and cordial to me. Mrs. Wu told me I should volunteer first to get some experience. I agreed immediately. I’m just so happy to get experience working with children! She told me she would have to conduct some background checks and other clearances before I can actually start my job as a tutor. I had to go through the same when working as a nurse, so I understood the concept. I think from her first impression, she saw me as a kind, although a bit nervous, trustworthy person. I am to start next Monday, so I have the rest of the week to prepare myself. When my mom and I walked out of the education center, I beamed a smile at her and told her thank you. I was so happy at the success and miracle. It was much better than my best expectations. God is such a wonderful, loving God, the God who gives me second chances.

The day as a tutor-intern came. I am to come at 2:45pm. As always, I was scared, shy, and nervous. What will the children think about me? How many will there be? Will I be able to get along and teach them effectively? I walked in the noisy classroom. Mrs. Wu was at the door and greeted me. I looked at the classroom and was surprised to see that there is no tutor. All the students were just doing their homework by themselves. Mrs. Wu’s office desk is at the south-west corner of the room, so there was some control at the noise. I see mostly elementary school level students. Some of them are doing their homework; others are talking with their classmates. When I first walked in, I was expecting an “all eyes on me” type entrance. However, I was relieved when only a few looked up at me. After a brief discourse, Mrs. Wu then announced to the class that I would be their new tutor. “Okay everybody [clap] [clap], here is your new tutor, Steven, and he will help you on your homework. If you have any questions, raise your hand and Steven will come and help you. Steven, would you like to introduce yourself to the class?” I was taken aback at her sudden introduction and wasn’t prepared to be discovered yet. While slowly walking to the front of the class, I smiled, waved my hands at everybody and said, “hello everyone. I’m Steven Yeh and I will be your new tutor. I am 19 years old and I finished high school.” Seriously, I didn’t know what to say and I stuttered a bit at first. I’m not used to having people, even children, stare at me. I became very shy, but nice and polite to everybody. I also, for the first few months, never stopped smiling. After a while, the kids told me why am I always smiling? A girl told me I was scaring her. I told them I am just very happy to be with you guys and help. Being with children always seems to make me very happy. There is something about the innocence and naturalness of children that I’m allured to. Maybe I have it too. I think if the whole world were like them (the good side), the world would be a much better place. The kids convinced me to stop smiling so much because I was scaring them, so I tried to look normal. However, throughout my job as a tutor, I would frequently go to a private place and just smile broadly because I can’t help it! I just feel so happy to be with children and to help them. I am just so happy to be with God’s people, my reference to children (Matt. 18:3, 19:14, 18:10).

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14

In the beginning, I just stood watching kids do their homework and waiting for a hand to come up. Then, I would ask the students who were talking to do their homework. They looked at me with fearful eyes and obeyed. Initially, they would be fearful of me, naturally, because I am a stranger to them, but after a week, the children start to warm up to me. They became less afraid. A few took a month, and I remember a girl, in third-grade, who never really trusted me. S (first initial of her name, to protect privacy) would always be silent to her peers and to me, quietly do her homework, and ignore everything else. Even if she made mistakes on her paper, or doesn’t know how to do something, she wouldn’t ask for help. She would just sit there, head down, looking at her paper. I have to make my rounds and observe that she needs help. And, when I explained the concept to her, she wouldn’t ask any questions! She would look at me with her fearful eyes, make a slight nod and get back to her work. I checked her work afterwards and many times, she actually understood what I was telling her. After a while, I wouldn’t go so near her if I wasn’t checking her work because she tenses up every time I was close. Personally, I believe she might be a victim of child abuse. I saw her dad (her parents divorced) and he looked scary, with a full beard, grey-white hair, wrinkled skin, and other complexion. It seems strange, but at that time, I didn’t take any action. I was afraid and what if I was wrong? Every time I talk to S, as with most of my students, I would kneel down to her eye-level, and talk gently and softly to her. She’s afraid of people, so I need to gain her trust first, but, I never did. I remember praying for her and asking Jesus to heal her. I don’t remember if I ever talk to her about Jesus or not. There was a few times when she actually talked to me and asked questions, but that was rare. And, lastly, I never remembered her laughing or even smiling.

After a few days of volunteering as a tutor, my boss, Mrs. Wu, told me I am spending too much time with the wrong students. She took a blank sheet of paper and wrote a list of children’s names starting with those that need the most help. She told me if I were to become a teacher, I need to have a plan. I need to identify who needs help and who doesn’t. She wrote about sixteen names and I used it as a guide. Later on, I used the list as a prayer list and added new names when new students come. My original plan was to use the list to pray for my students every day, but after awhile, I never sticked to the plan. I would start to pray for them and then I became lazy and stopped. I only prayed for my students from time to time, not daily, and it was a mistake I made. Had I prayed for my students daily, many of them would have gone closer to God.

Mrs. Wu told me that once I start teaching summer school (I started volunteering in May), I will get paid. To be honest, I was going to tell her that it’s fine, that I’ll do it for free. Teaching and helping children is so fun that I’m willing to do it for free. In fact, I may even consider paying to do this. I finally found a job where I’m not working, but playing.

I thought at first that teaching the kids would be one-way: they raise their hands, and I give them the knowledge. What I discovered later on was that the kids are teaching me too. In fact, it seems every day when I go to teach, they are teaching me more than what I’m teaching them. I may teach them math, English, science, etc, but they are teaching me life skills: how to get along with people, the experience of being and talking to people. Plus, when teaching them, I also learn some of these basic subjects, too. I remember opening up a student’s algebra book and reading the content and “reviewing” myself before actually teaching him. I just look at the examples and quickly remembered what to do. I don’t want to look dumb in front of my students, so I would just quickly go over the lesson and teach. If I still don’t know, I would tell the truth to him but tell him that I would get back to him on this tomorrow. Sometimes however, the truth is too hard because it makes me look like a dumbass so I would be mean to cover myself. It’s sad, and looking back, I should have just told the truth 100% of the time. I would also take pictures of the algebra book (I still have them!), page-by-page, and then look through it once I get home. That way, for his next math lesson, I would know what to do.

Back in that lonely time of my life, I had no friends. No friends in college (PCC), no friends in church (I mean no close friends), just, no close friends in my life. So, when I began working, and throughout my short career, they became my friends. I would joke with them, make them laugh, talk about my life when I was a child, etc, and they would tell me their stories, and their “secrets.” One girl, C, in first-grade, would always raise her hand just so she can talk to me. For the longest time, I though she really needed help, but then Mrs. Wu told me, “Can’t you see, she’s using you. She knows how to do her homework. You help someone else,” and she came up to C and scolded her about wasting my precious time. In truth, although she may pretend to not know how to do something (she seems she really doesn’t know), I still enjoyed teaching and talking to her. Often, she would gesture with her hands for me to come forward and then, making a cup with her hands and holding it to her mouth, she would whisper in my ear a “secret.” I would listen attentively and tell her I won’t tell anyone. I never did, and, now, I forgot all of her “secrets.”

As I continue teaching and tutoring, I began to grow afraid because I am becoming like them. I’m not sure if other elementary or middle-school teachers have this problem, but I feel myself reverting to a child again. If I were to go back in time, to fifth-grade, but with the same brain, I would more likely than not act like I was in fifth grade. If I took the pill Detective Conan took, I may actually act like a child. It would be hard for me to go against the flow and resist.

I feel, looking back, that me being with children and teaching them is a wonderful gift from God. My childhood has been altered and messed with due to my ADHD Ritalin pill. I don’t remember most of my childhood life. Now, at 19 and working at a tutoring center, I feel God is healing my childhood by giving me experiences with children that I never had. Their memories and experiences became part of my memories and experiences. For that, I am very grateful for the wonderful gift God has given me. It reminds me that He is faithful and does all things well.

————————————–

11/18/2010

S: 1:27am

E:

You know, from now on, I’m going to share my stories not chronologically, but individually, through each student. Every one of my students has a story to share.

Right now, I am on guard duty with Sgt. Rivera. Normally, I would feel tired, but I feel the Lord giving me some additional strength lately. Praise the Lord. Sgt. Rivera is currently taking child psychology and writing her final essay. Curiously, I decided to skim through her textbook. The book is filled with theories and viewpoints. Inside me, I already know a lot about children because the Bible teaches me about people. I feel the best theory, no, the truth, comes from the knowledge of God through His Word. With my Bible, I understand almost everything. I skimmed and saw one topic that interested me: “Morality, Altruism, and Aggression.” I looked through the chapter and especially Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. In it, I found that conscience comes from God, and those who learn God’s ways tend to be in the later stages. I immediately remembered my method of teaching children about morality during my tutoring years. It was then when I wanted to tell my story as a teacher through the stories each of my students gave me.

When I discipline my students (I call them my “children”) or teaching them right from wrong, I tried to invoke their God-given conscience. I believe that every child, deep inside, knows right from wrong. I have a seventh-grader at that time, named Brian, who always gets into trouble by hurting people. He’s very smart; he’s taking algebra at that time; but he also does evil things. He would cuss, make fun of, and insult at fellow students, especially students younger than him. He would throw stuff at them, or do evil pranks that make other students cry. For a time, I asked Mrs. Wu to remove him because he’s being such a troublemaker, however, probably due to money and her mother being involved in transporting students to our center, my boss resisted. This is sad. Every time he gets in trouble, which is, in my memory, everyday, I would always try to appeal to his conscience. I remember despite his evil, I am always still loving, kind, forgiving, but also just to him.

Every time he does evil, I always ask, “Brain, why are you doing this?”

“Because it’s fun,” Brain would reply.

“I know its fun. It’s fun for you, but it’s not fun for them” I said.

Sometimes, then, he would say that I’m wrong; that the other party also has fun when he’s doing things to them. To that, I ask questions. I want him to see that the other side is not having fun.

“How is he having fun?” I asked. “Look, he’s crying” or “See, he’s sad. He doesn’t want you to bother him.”

That usually is enough to stop his self-justification. Then, I would continue.

“Brain, you know hurting others is wrong. You need to do the right thing.”

And then he could complain, even try to dispute that he’s wrong, but I feel deep inside, he knows what’s right and wrong.

I try to teach my children stage 6 of Kohlberg’s theory of moral development. I dislike punishing them like giving them time-outs, being mean to them, withholding love, etc, because these methods don’t teach them the real reason to do good. They should do good because it is the right thing to do. And, I call them my “children” because God has entrusted me these kids for a period of time. They are my children from 2:30 to 5pm.

There’s a cartoon from my SOG’s (sergeant of the guard) textbook that I want to share with you:

Principle: [Sitting and angrily pointing his finger at kid] Ira, you will be punished if I ever catch you cheating again!

Kid: Yes, sir.

[Next scene]

Kid: [to teacher] Mr. Grimmis wants me to cheat more carefully.

Ha! Lol. I think it’s funny, but I think it also teaches an important lesson. If we don’t invoke their conscience, the real reason why to do the right thing, these kids will never learn it. They will learn not to do wrong things not because it’s wrong, but so they won’t get into trouble. Martin Luther King Jr. said in a sermon that our society is changing from a conscience-based society to a punish-based one:

“Midnight is the hour when men desperately seek to obey the eleventh commandment, ‘Thou shalt not get caught.’ According to the ethic of midnight the cardinal sin is to be caught and the cardinal virtue is to get by. It is all right to lie, but one must lie with real finesse. It is all right to steal, if one is so dignified that, if caught, the charge becomes embezzlement, not robbery. It is permissible even to hate, if one so dresses his hating in the garments of love that hating appears to be loving. The Darwinian concept of the survival of the fittest has been substituted by a philosophy of the survival of the slickest. This mentality has brought a tragic breakdown of moral standards, and the midnight of moral degeneration deepens.”

If we don’t teach kids right and wrong, the real reason why to do good and the real reason why not to do evil, then kids will eventually adopt the survival of the “slickest.” They can do evil as long as they don’t’ get caught.

For Brian, I wanted to change him to become a better person. Working hours is not enough time so I played tennis with him and gave him my number so he can call me in case he needs help on his homework. I want to be an example of love and kindness. I want to be a role-model to him.

I got some stories to tell. There are times when I talked to him on the phone for more than an hour helping him on his essay. I joked with him and talked nicely to him. I want to be a friend as well as his mentor. I remember going to my computer, helping him find information, going to my family’s encyclopedia collection, to alternating in the kitchen talking to him. After the conversation, my dad would often ask who called me. I told him I was helping one of my students. My dad, however, would rebuke me for wasting my time on others. I disagree, however. I want to spend my time to help others because it’s the right thing to do. My purpose in life is to help people.

And then there are the tennis games. Sometimes we would play at Washington School, other times at Garvy Park (by Hellman Ave.). Although I played better than him, I still suck too. I remember seeing his disappointment when I kept hitting the net when serving or taking my first or second shot. I remember waiting for a long time, with my bicycle and tennis racket waiting for him to show up. Once, he never did, but that didn’t stop me from trying to connect with him.

Brian’s mom, as I said before, helped to transport some of my students to the center. I told her many times about her son’s bad behavior but, in the end, she told me she tried to do everything to help him but failed. She asked me to help her by helping him. I realized their family is divorced. Brian doesn’t have a father and I was told that might be a cause of his aggression. Well, then, I will be a male role-model for him. Slowly, towards the end of my tutoring tenure, I sensed Brian is becoming a better person.

Unfortunately, I joined the Army before I can fully change him. The last, or second to last day in LA, I invited Brian to play tennis. He brought some of his friends along. It was there when I told him I’m joining the Army and I said good-bye. I tried to contact him once during my Christmas leave, but he didn’t answer. I hope he becomes a better person and I hope he becomes closer to God.

Work in progress….

9/12/2010: My story as a nurse

9/12/2010: My story as a nurse

S: 6:00pm

E: 8:02pm

A lot of things have happened today, thanks because I had night roaming guard duty. I have many things to write about. I write only things that I feel have spiritual importance.

Today is not a good day for me. I slept most of the day (due to guard) and woke up to play Counter-Strike because I really wanted to play it. I try not to be addicted to it and I feel I am only partially successful. I don’t play CS or any other games for countless hours now but for only about an hour. I just play it just to satisfy my need for potential and then I’m done.

Of the many things I want to write about today, there is one thing I want to write first and it’s not about what happened when I was on guard. I tried to think about starting it, but the temptation of games got me.

My dad sent me an e-mail and I decided to quickly open it. He would typically send me e-mails but I would seldom write back, preferring the phone call. I quickly skimmed it but at the very end of the e-mail I remember reading, “You almost succeed as a nurse. Would you like to try again?” I didn’t know what to say or respond to that. For me, now that I am closer to God, what I really want to do is to give Him glory. I heard from my church that it doesn’t matter what I chose to become, as long as I give God glory. I need to serve God in what I do. I told people before that my first major was Christian Ministries, thanks to Mid-America and then my second major would be what I want to do with my life. God helped me so much, the least I can do is to put Him first.

See, I’m kind of confused. Does serving God completely mean serving God full-time with a godly profession? Jesus’ disciples were fisherman. They had a worldly job that supports them. Saul (before he became Paul), also had a job. David had a job as a shepherd. Is it pleasing to God for me to chose a worldly career and also serve God at the same time? I know I can also serve God in my job, but would I have done better if I chose a spiritual-related occupation? Can I spend my entire working life just working for God? I can tell others about God’s law on the streets, spreading and teaching God’s Word. I’ll just have to spend, initially, nine parts of time in prayer and only one in evangelism. Later, the ratio would be better. But how would I make a living? Can I just save the money I have in the three (plus one due to training) and just live in my dad’s house? My dad would disagree with me and I might be kicked out. A 100% Christian life is a hard life. It is a life of Paul.

I just came back from dinner and it really gave me some time to think about what I’m writing. When I was a LVN student, I was a very slacking student. I was addicted (enslaved would be a better word) to computer games. I would hardly read the course material and only listen attentively in class. I could pass the written examinations with no problem (to me, it’s just common sense), while others do. What I failed in, was the practical, the hands-on part. Since I didn’t really study or read my expensive nursing book, and I have very little experience with my hands, I struggled. I had trouble doing basic nursing skills such as giving the patient (a mannequin) a bath, emptying their bowels, etc. I would just blank out and not know what to do. I would watch my peers do it and I tried to memorize the steps, but when it came to my turn, I mess up. My nurse instructor had to give me hints and tell me what to do. And then, I would do it again and barely pass. She tells me that she’s nervous about me and that I need to be more confident. Problem is, I felt I was as confident as I can. If I lie about my skills and abilities and pretend to be confident, I may make mistakes and hurt people. When it came time to memorize the different classes of medications, my lack of studying finally caught up with me. I quit the nursing class. Out of 400 applicants, only 30 were accepted. I was so happy to know that I made it, and I felt so bad to disappoint them. The main reason why I failed, I felt, was because I did not give God full control of my life. I sang, I prayed, but I also spent every free minute under a computer screen. Many times, I knew what I was doing is wrong, but I couldn’t help myself. I would force myself to kneel on my bed and pray and ask God to help me. I know what to do. I know how to get healed. The Bible tells me so, but, I just stood no chance resisting my urge to play. Had I gave God 100% and suffered the agony of not playing games; I would have passed my nursing class.

Even though I lacked hands-on skill, I found what I did excel in was in loving people. Yes, loving people. I was shy and introverted, but the times when I’m with patients, I wasn’t afraid to love. At a nursing home (this was when I took nursing assistant at PCC), there was a difficult elderly woman named Geraldine. She had Alzheimer’s and would be very easily forgetful. She was also very cranky maybe due to her condition. All the nursing staff told us that she is one of the most difficult resident in this facility. At times, she would throw things, bite, spit, and do crazy things at you, especially during meal times (there are obviously more stuff she could use against you). Because of what the staff said, nobody wanted her. However, I was naïve back then, and praise God for that, I just felt that if I love her with the love that comes from God, she wouldn’t be difficult. I first few days were the hardest. I find a few things that I couldn’t explain that the nurses were doing. Sometimes, they treat their patients without love, as if they were a burden. When the elderly misbehave (and I think because they know they are mistreated) and do something, the nurses, and at one time, a doctor would laugh at him/her and walk away. All in front of the resident who was fully aware what was happening. It’s really sad. I can feel their pain. My nursing instructor at PCC told us many times, they would be angry, upset, mean, etc, because they are depressed at their condition. These are people who used to lead productive lives, but due to a condition, and aging, they couldn’t do it anymore, but they still know at one point in time, how they were strong. So I can see, feel, and understand their pain and frustration. I told the staff if you were more loving and nice, they probably won’t be so mean, but they said it’s the same, and I think they said the stress makes it hard to love. Anyways, as I said, the first few days with her were the hardest. I chose her because I felt sorry for her condition and how the caregivers just take care of her body but not her heart. I wanted to love her.

I would always talk to her and comfort her. She always says to me, looking at me with big eyes, “are you going to kill me?” I would always kneel down at her, shake my head gently, and say softly, “no, I am not going to kill you, I want to help you.” I would touch her to reassure her. The first step in caring for somebody is to win their trust. I would always try to talk to her. She would say from time to time, “Hello alligator.” The staff told me she used to, before her Alzheimer’s got really bad, be a very funny and sociable person. Everyone loved to be around Geraldine. But, as time passes, she became bitter and more uncontrollable. Sometimes, the nurses have to use restraints on her. I don’t want to use restraints on her. It stops her body but it doesn’t stop the inside. If she punches me, I’ll let her do it and I’ll tell her how much it hurts. Maybe that would develop empathy. I might even hug her. I moved her slowly, so she can see and have time to think about what’s happening to her. I kept telling her that we are going to eat and other friendly questions. Due to her Alzheimer’s, at this late stage, I would tell her I’ll be right back because I needed to get something, and a half-minute later, she would forget who I am. I have to reintroduce myself and I tried to say something that can help her remember. As days go by, she started to remember me. I would kneel down to eye level, look into her eyes with my eyes open, smile, and introduce myself, and she would remember me! I’m so happy when that happens. During meal times, I when I hand feed her (other residents could feed themselves if they can, but she can’t). The staff told me to be careful. She could spit and throw up at me at anytime. So, I was careful. I always asked nicely what she would like to eat. I would tell her the food, maybe let her feel the touch, and then tell her what I’m doing. “Let me open this applesauce up.. there, it’s opened now. Would you like some? Okay. How much do you want in a spoon? Just half-full? Okay, just half-full.” She was very selective about the food and how it’s been given to her. If you’re not careful, she would reject eating it and if you continue to pressure her to eat, she would scream. That’s probably why she spits and throws up food at caregivers, because they aren’t sensitive enough. After feeding her for a while, she would say that’s it, I’m not eating anymore. I looked at the tray and there’s still so much food left. I would try to lovingly talk to her, to persuade her to eat. “You only ate a little bit… see? There’s still so many food that haven’t been eaten yet. Would you like some? I would like you to eat more because it’s good for your health. Your body needs food; it needs energy. How about just a little bit of this? It’s really good.” And then she would agree and eat a little bit more. I just talk to her with love and she gave me no trouble at her. In fact, I really enjoy being with her. Just knowing that she trusts me and can understand me and how I always keep her informed about everything puts her at ease. Love never fails. A few days later, we went to another nursing home and after a week, came back to the old one. I looked for Geraldine, but couldn’t find her. I asked the staff and she told me she passed away yesterday. I felt so sad for her, but at least I take comfort that I gave her some love before she leaves this world. It’s a wonderful feeling to help people. A few days later, thanks to my gaming habit, I was just so unconfident and behind on my hands-on skill that I stopped going to class. It’s painful to just stop going to that nursing assistant class cold turkey. I received calls from my nursing instructor asking me what happened (she had a sad, resigned tone of voice). I would always check to see if our house fax machine has a message. I can’t let my dad find out that I secretly dropped the class. To me, back then, it’s just so scary to give other people a bath or assist them in using the bathroom. I didn’t really have enough life experience or faith in God to continue my class.

Shortly after that, I was accepted to the LVN class at East LA college. I thought to myself, this time, I’m going to study, study, study, and not let games get in the way of my life. I never really faced my gaming problem, so, the gaming problem followed me into nursing school.

But, one thing I did do good at is loving people. In the nursing homes, I was too afraid, nervous, and not good enough, etc, to actually do the nursing tasks. I would just watch my peers do it and hope one day I can do it too. But, the later I wait, the more tasks I have to do and the less time I have to do it. As always, I would be assigned to a resident, and I would talk to him/her. There was once when I decided to ask her if she would like to sing. I started singing “Amazing Grace” and she followed along. It’s great to sing with a resident because of the bonding experience. And then I sang “What a friend we have in Jesus” and she followed along. Then, I decided to test her and sang “His eye is on the Sparrow” and she just looked at me. I asked if she knew the song or the tune, but she told me no. When we sang, I would try to clap hands with her (good exercise). It was awesome. I would also try to visit every room to see how they are doing. When I was thinking about becoming a nurse (back then), one thing I would do is to go into each room and pray for that person. That way, it won’t be just medicine healing the patient, but God. I also wanted to go into each room and see if they want to pray. But, I was afraid to ask that because I was told not everyone is Christian, so I just silently prayed from room to room (I would look at their name plates). After a while, I became self-conscious. The staff may look at me and wonder what I’m doing. They may think I’m secretly trying to kill patients, etc (I think crazy thoughts), and bar me from seeing them. So, I would look around and, if it’s safe, I would go in and pray. A lot of residents also likes to be touched. I think why is because they are always so lonely all the time. The only time they see people is during meal times, medicine rounds, or group activities. I would hold their hand or their shoulder and say good bye. One nursing student at ELAC told my nursing instructor (she is very worried about me) that I did good today. I sang with patients, talked to them, etc, but the instructor just ignored me. I think that’s because she also knows my weaknesses. I tried to tell myself that if I really love them, I would spend the time to study how to take care of them better, but it didn’t work. I still played games exclusively. I only loved them when I was close to them.

I don’t know if I want to be a nurse again. I enjoy helping people and loving them, but I’m not sure if it’s my calling. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I’m still thinking. After my nursing stint, I told my dad nursing is not for me, but I felt teaching is. I became a tutor at SINWA and I found teaching kids more fun than nursing because I interact with them more and, plus, I can also teach them about their eternal future.

I have no idea what I want to be after the Army, but I will continue to seek and worship God. I think it doesn’t really matter what I chose to be, as long as I serve God.

*For the Record:

Even through Jesus’ disciples were fisherman and tax collectors, when Jesus called them to be disciples, he instructed them to lay everything aside and just follow Jesus (Matthew 19:27). When David was called by God, he left behind his earthly job, and set his heart on God (1 Samuel 18:2).

And also, another reason why I failed my nursing is because of my pride. When I found that I can pass my written examinations with little or no studying and I got better grades than my peers who did studied, I thought to myself that I already know all these basic stuff. I thought I was smarter than them. I don’t <i>need</i> to study. But, I was wrong. I should have humbled myself before God and men and not be deceived by deceiving results.

10-24-09

10-24-09

S: 8:26pm
E:

Everyday is a day of weakness for me. I know. Life in this world no supposed to be roses all the way, and for me, life will just be full of suffering. People ask me why I join the Army. I answer them by saying I serve the Lord. I joined the Army to serve the Lord. But it’s painful to just see earthly defeats all the time. It’s hard to take it, hard to bear. I get tired, weak easily. I tend to run out of breath easily, probably thanks to my past Army life. I did what I can, I did my best given my weaknesses and ability at that time.

It’s okay if men ride over me. I am not on this world to defend myself. I am here simply to trust and obey God. If he leads me to Shoel, so be it, he is my God and my King. I will still trust and obey him. There is no other way.

What really got me was tonight’s ground guiding. I am just not talented, not skilled enough to do my job. Despite my best efforts, I mess up so much. It’s depressing to feel the pain and the shame and the suffering that comes as a result of my actions, actions I have viturally no control over. It’s okay, because God is in control of my actions. He knows me more than I know myself.

You know, I feel I am not good at anything. Is there anything I can say that I’m good at and is recongized by people? Nothing. Even in computer games, many people still beat me. In fact, I am probably one of the weaker players. It would be much closer to the truth to say that I suck at everything. And everything military related I tend to suck. Shooting, I can’t shoot. I suck at PT. I have trouble listening. I have trouble speaking. I have trouble communicating. People don’t really trust my abilities. I suck at driving, ground guiding, etc. I suck at doing my crew drills despite my efforts to improve myself.

I take solace that the only thing I don’t suck at is my attributes, my character. I feel that I am good at enduring, patience. Everyday, I have to endure the shame, pain, troubles, burdens of myself. I have to endure this weak body of mine. I am good at being pure. I refuse to sin. I refuse to give in to sin. I refuse to gain temperortary by sinning. I refuse to take pleasures of sin for a season.. At least right now. I am good at showing respect because I respect God. Because I respect God, I have respect for earthly authorties. I am good at being kind, nice, and loving to others. Of course. God taught me to love Him and to love men. I lend freely, I take the loss myself, for I know my treasures are in heaven.

I guess what matters more is the fruits of the Spirit. It is better to be good in character than to be good in talent.

Still, I look at my peers. They are so much more talented, quicker than me. They know this world much more than me. I want to be like them. The drawback? They are evil. They follow the desires of their flesh, its lusts. I cannot do that. I cannot love the world because if I do, the love of God is not in me.

I feel I can write still so much. Yet, I have other things to do. Time is short, perhaps it is already up. But I know that God holds tomorrow. I am weak but He is strong.

10/19/2009

10/19/2009

Wow, I get to come back from the field again, all because we need to turn in our M16’s. We had one day of weapons training, lol. Today, we had a live convoy live-fire exercise. It’s actually easy. All we do is gear up, sit on the benches of the truck (in my case, it’s a Humvee), and shoot when ordered. I get nervous holding a weapon, especially right before a live-fire exercise not because I’m afraid to kill, but because some people get nervous knowing that I’m armed. I guess part of the reason is because I think too much. I look at how other people react and they tend to watch me closely. When other people talk to me, I tend to get a little nervous. Sigh, they have nothing to worry about. God is my judge. I serve my country because I love God. Back in AIT, one of the soldiers asked me if I love God so much, why am I in the army? Thank God, I knew the answer just a few minutes before and the answer was: “I joined the army to serve the Lord.” After hearing my response, he remained silent. Whew, right in the nick of time.

I need to be more thankful. I thought my experience was hard: Doing crew drills all day, constantly being tasked out, and little personal time. One of the soldiers I rode back with was pissed off. He’s in the RSOP team, which is the grinder of Patriot. He had to wake up at 4am, do the RSOP drills, wait until 1230 for the evaluators to come, which they failed due to lack of training (so much bullshit), get yelled at by their chain of command, and then do guard duty until now. A lot of soldiers are complaining that ADA (specifically our battalion) has so much crap; that the real army is totally different. I’m feeling it too but I don’t complain, well, facebook doesn’t count because it’s the truth. The battle belongs to the Lord. I don’t care how messed up the battalion is, I’m still going to do my best and serve the Lord.

9/22/2009

9/22/2009

 

I feel so bad. Today, during PT, I chose to be selfish, to follow my own self-interests instead of others. Yes, one of my online orders (睡夢鄉) got canceled because it’s out of stock and I was planning to share it on Youtube, and yes, this morning is freaking cold. It’s the coldest since I’ve been in this unit. I envied those who are strong; it seems I’m the only one feeling the cold. I really wanted to run, so in my jealousy, I chose to run even though almost nobody in my platoon wanted it. During the run, I felt so guilty and the cold is freezing my wrists that I fell behind. I was able to catch up in the end, but I ran with guilt the whole way. Who am I, to do what I want? Am I not to be a servant and to serve others? Why am I trying to make my life more comfortable? My home is in heaven and not on earth. I am here not to be number one, but to lead others to Christ. I can endure tough conditions, but only with God, and if I sin against God, who else can I turn to? He is my mediator, he makes my life bearable.