Missionary Stories for Children
Luis Struggles

There are many missionary stories for children I could share from the years I spent in Puerto Rico, but this one occurred the first year I taught in Levittown. The child in the story was a first grader at the time.

Luis, (not his real name), was a smart little boy. He was one of the three English speaking students in my first year class in Levittown, Puerto Rico. How did I know he was smart, you may ask...

I could tell it by the questions he asked, and by the way he talked.

But Luis had a problem. He wasn't learning to read. It was almost Christmas time, and he still wasn't reading.

In addition, Luis wasn't very teachable. Please don't get me wrong, he wasn't causing problems like a lot of little boys with excess energy do, but every time he got something wrong on a paper, he wanted to give me a five minute explanation of why he had chosen that answer, and why he thought it should be right.

Since I had 23 students to teach, in five different grades, I didn't have the time to listen to his explanations.

Missionary Stories for Children
First Year Teaching Challenge

So, before long, Luis' problem had become mine. I knew I was responsible for twenty-three students. Most of them spoke far more Spanish than English, and many of them could read better than Luis could...

It didn't make sense. I knew it wasn't a lack of intelligence by Luis's verbal skills, but I also knew I couldn't take all day listening to his explanations while the other children waited.

I started praying and thinking a lot. After a few weeks or months of pondering, I thought I might have figured out a solution for our problem. I called Luis' parents and asked for a conference.

When we sat down together I said...

"I believe Luis may have learning disabilities."

I explained the problems he was having, and my concerns about his seeming in-ability to learn to read. I suggested they take him to a specialist in learning disabilities to have him tested.

Missionary Stories for Children
God Answers Prayer

I had been praying hard before the conference, because I was worried his parents might be upset with me, but the Lord heard my prayers.

Luis' parents thanked me for sharing with them, and scheduled a meeting to have him tested fairly quickly. After his testing the psychologist, who had done the testing, asked me to come in for a conference with her.

At the appointment she explained that Luis was highly intelligent, but, as I had suspected, struggling with severe learning disabilities. She wanted to teach me the things I could do to help him overcome those difficulties.

After I had listened to her plan for a few minutes, I asked if I could tell her about my teaching background, and situation. She readily agreed. I spent about a half hour sharing with her a more detailed version of the the story you've been reading. By the time I finished, she said...

"Oh, you could never give Luis the individual attention he needs in that situation. I'll have to recommend that his parents put him in our school here.

We have two adults working with only six students, so we can give him the individual help he needs to overcome his disabilities.

Missionary Stories for Children
God's Ways Aren't Our Ways

I would have liked to keep Luis in my class, but I doubt he would have ever learned to read there. Both his parents and I realized it was more important that he learn to read, than that he stay in our school.

So, I lost a student, but Luis got the help he needed to overcome his learning disabilities, so he could learn to read and progress educationally.

I was sorry to lose him, but I knew his needs were more important than keeping him in my class. Additionally, without his long explanations I was better able to teach the other students.

I'm thankful that the Lord provides the answers to problems we don't know how to solve. He tells us in James that if we don't have the wisdom we need, if we ask Him, He will give it to us, and he won't scold us.

I proved that promise was true the first year I taught in Puerto Rico through my experiences with Luis, as well as my other students.

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