Day 1 La Limonada

Wow, what a great first day with the teachers and staff of Vidas Plenas and Lemonade International. Of course waking up to fresh coffee and a beautiful breakfast made by Mirna, is a blessing to a mom who loves to cook and serve her family. I can appreciate being served because I know how much I love to give in this way. Don't you wish you were here enjoying this breakfast with me?

Jessica, my morning interpreter and I arrived at Mandarina Academy at 10am to a room full of teachers and staff waiting to learn about Restorative Practices. After I got some of the boring stuff out of the way, like who I was, how I found Vidas Plenas & Lemonade International, and how I was qualified to talk about this subject, we started with a simple circle.

Circles are a tool to build community and repair harm when it occurs. Our first go-a-round was: what is your name and favorite color? We passed a talking piece around. There are two rules for a talking piece, first, when you have the talking piece you are talking, when you don't have the talking piece you are listening. This first circle and the talking piece rules proved to be more difficult than they realized. Even for adults it is hard to take turns talking and listening.

After the circle some reflections were; curiosity at why a color was their favorite, learned that there are more colors than primary colors (a male reflection), it was ok that they all liked different colors, there was fear to share they liked a certain color until others shared they also liked that same color. Probably the most important reflection was that when everyone listened (and was quiet) it was easier to listen themselves.

We also studied the book of Philemon together as an example of how the Gospel transforms relationship and how Paul used restorative practice principles to make right Onesimus' offense against Philemon. Through relationship Paul made Onesimus “useful” to the work of the Gospel and as a helper to Philemon. Onesimus means to be useful, I don't know about you but I enjoy being useful, adding value to life and to the people God brings into my life.

The teachers shared how the scripture encouraged them to be more like Paul, to help people be useful by sharing the Gospel with them and helping make things right when there are wrongs. These teachers are serious heroes, they work in the largest slum in all of Guatemala, there safty is always of concern due to gang activity, but their stories are that God called them to this work. Their lives have changed and in turn they are changing lives…

We ended our time praying for the students in small groups.

Below we are all together, showing off our new “talking pieces.”


Let me know in the comments your reflections on the following questions: Do you feel useful? How do others tell you that you are useful to them? How do you show others that they are useful?


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