Tag Archives: graduate

Cristina Gets Stuck on Methodology

August  2012 – For those of you who have been aware that I have been working on the dissertation of my Ph.D. for the past couple years, you might also have wondered if I ever finished it this past school year (2011-2012) as I had originally planned when we moved to Lake Jackson.

The answer is a profoundly disappointed “no.” I was staying on track for the first few months without too many setbacks.  However, I really pushed myself to finish my second chapter.  I stayed up ALL night one night to get it finished and then I got completely exhausted.  The next thing I knew, I was getting myself wrapped up in the holiday season and suddenly it was January and then February and I had accomplished very little for the third and last chapter of my dissertation proposal.  So, the school year finished off with me feeling guilty about not completing the first draft of my third chapter. This is a bit of a tedious chapter because it focuses on the methodology of my study, which is basically explaining to my audience the exact details for how I will conduct the study.

I was hoping to get some work done over the summer, but I was physically unable to do much because of all the bed rest that was required of me.  So, here I am once again starting another school year and hoping that I will be graduating in the spring of 2013.  If I do, it will be a special experience, because I will be graduating at the same time as the students that I sponsored for two years at the Alliance Academy International.  It’s hard for me to believe that those cute little eighth graders that I was teaching in a Computer 8 class in the 2008-2009 school year are now big seniors at the school.

So, I would also like to be in the graduating class of 2013.  I’ve talked to my professor.  He wants me to send him a second draft of my first two chapters before I try to send him the rough draft of my third chapter.  In that way, I can hopefully get back on track and nail down a schedule for defending my proposal, conducting my study and actually finish writing my entire dissertation to be defended later on this year.

That is my current plan.  I am hoping that the motivation I feel in updating our family blog will continue in my academic writing endeavors.  Please keep me in your prayers.

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February Prayer Requests

“God is good all the time.” 

That is an easy quote to throw around.  However the words sometimes get choked in the middle of our throats when we are faced with deep sadness and pain. These days, tragedy seems to be spelled “H-A-I-T-I,” and it is hard to compare other hardships and sadness with the amount of devastation facing the people who live in and around Port-au-Prince. However, we ask that you keep the following prayer requests in mind.

1) Those working in Haiti to help the victims of the recent earthquake. We begin our list of prayer requests with a small international school in Port au Prince, Haiti, called Quisqueya Christian School (http://quisqueya.org/). Their story hits close to home as our school’s director has been communicating with the director at their school.  Fortunately, all the teachers survived the earthquake and their school experienced less damage than other locations.  However, many families and students have lost loved ones.  Their school has become a temporary home for many displaced staff members and has also become one of the major centers from which international relief efforts are currently being made. 

Here is an excerpt from their website, posted in early February. 

“Here at the Quisqueya earthquake relief center, more doctors are arriving daily to assist with medical needs. We have welcomed new teams from Long Island, Mercyworks (Seattle), Christian Medical Network, Colorado Springs,  One Heart Ministries (Kansas), University of Maryland, Catholic Relief Services, Aimer Haiti, Delta International (Oregon), Jesus in Haiti (Indiana), and Comprehensive Disaster Response Services. The 175 – 200 medical relief workers staying on our campus include firefighters, chaplains, paramedics, doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and midwives.”

The school provides a link where people can donate directly to these efforts at their website: http://quisqueya.org/

 2) A Fifth Grade student who recently lost her entire immediate family in a tragic car accident.  Just this past weekend, a family of four was traveling out of Quito to begin their vacation when they were involved in a car accident.  Both parents and one of the children died.  However, the older child, a 10 year old girl, survived the accident without any major injury.  The girl is currently staying with extended family (as her parents were Ecuadorian) as plans are being made for the funerals of her family members.  You can read more about this story in “A Missionary Family goes ‘home’.”

3) A Korean 12th grade student was forced to graduate early only to get an extended visa a couple days later. Please pray for her as she decides whether to follow through with her family’s decision to leave the country and return to South Korea.  She has officially graduated from high school, but has recently been given an extended visa to stay in Ecuador through the end of the school year.  More about this story can be found in “An Emergency Graduation.”

4) Praise reports concerning our new nephews. For those of you who have been following the progress of little Joshua Alexander Cobb (son of Philip and Chrissy Cobb), he is slowly but surely progressing toward his release date from the hospital.  He is currently over 5 lbs and transitioning from the “preemie” stage to the “new born” stage.  His due date would have been March 6 if he had stayed in “the oven.”  (RECENT UPDATE: Hold everything, folks! I just heard that they were able to take little Josh home today (February 16). To find out how to pray for them best as they continue to care for their son’s needs at home, check out their web blog at: http://joshuacobb.blogspot.com/

We are also excited to report that Cristina’s sister, Anita, and her husband, Nick, gave birth to their first son, Noah William Gamblin on February 2.  He was nearly a week past his due date and put his mother through approximately 22 hours of labor.  However, he was born without any complications at nearly 8 and ½ lbs and is currently blessing his parents’ lives with his presence.  Look for Anita Gamblin on Facebook if you’re interested in seeing pictures of their precious bundle.

An Emergency Graduation

About mid-December of last year, one of our senior students at Alliance Academy International (AAI) was stopped by local police in Quito.  It is uncertain why they decided to pick on this particular Korean student on that day.  However, we know that they decided to take Kay Jang down to the police station.  That was when she was told the news that the visa that she and her parents were using had been invalid for several years.  We were told that they had originally obtained visas to live in Ecuador about five years ago. 

It is a mystery as to why it took the government this long to figure out that the visas had been processed incorrectly, unless you take into account the amount of corruption and legal loopholes present in this country. 

Kay and her parents were forced to leave the country “immediately.”  They left the country during Christmas vacation.  Her father returned to South Korea, but Kay and her mother were allowed to return to Ecuador under a temporary visa to take care of their home and all the belongings that they had been forced to leave so abruptly.  During that time, Kay was allowed to continue to attend the Alliance Academy International and finish her first semester of her senior year.  In the meanwhile, different people at AAI were working feverishly to get the visa situation worked out so that Kay would be able to finish her senior year and graduate with her class.

However, it became apparent that it would not be possible for her to stay in Ecuador past mid-February.  In light of that situation, Stephen and other administrators and the school worked out a way for Kay to graduate early with a general education diploma.  She would also be able to obtain her college prep diploma by completing two more classes through correspondence with her teachers and receive that diploma at the end of the school year. 

Kay gives her speech at her special graduation.

Kay and her mother purchased plane tickets back to South Korea for Tuesday, February 16, and the school scheduled a special graduation for her on Wednesday, February 10.  The afternoon classes were shortened to allow for a special graduation ceremony for all of high school (9th through 12th grade) to attend. 

Kay gave a special senior address that was a testimony to God’s grace in her life.  She expressed her struggle to understand why God would let this happen to her, but she wanted her fellow classmates to know that she saw God working through the situation and she knew was teaching her through the process.  There were many tears as she finished speaking and as each senior came to the front of the stage to hand her a rose and give her a hug.

Kay expressed her faith in God’s timing, realizing it was not her timing.  Then, God worked a miracle.  Two days after this special day of closure, Kay and her mother met with someone who had connections with immigration.  One small meeting was all it took for Kay and her mother to get special “student” visas that would allow Kay to stay in Ecuador until this coming summer. 

Now they are faced with a dilemma.  They have already purchased tickets to return to South Korea and Kay has officially graduated from AAI.  Do they really have a reason to stay any longer?  For Kay, it would be a bit awkward and embarrassing to return to school after so much has been done to help her graduate early. 

Kay has left the “stage” of her high school life, but now she can return to it and say “Wait, there is still one more act!”  It will be interesting to find out if she decides to do that or not.

August Prayer Requests

We have a few prayer requests as we wrap up our summer months and prepare for a new school year at the Alliance Academy International.  Please be in prayer with us for the following situations:

1) Stephen’s Intensive Spanish Classes – That Stephen will get the most he can out of a three week intensive class in Spanish.  After finishing one week of classes, Stephen has felt challenged in taking in and retaining the mountain of language that is being thrown at him each day. 

2) Cristina’s Ph.D. program – That Cristina will continue to be motivated as she comes into her final year in the program.  She needs to retake two parts of her comprehensive exams in the fall, as well as work on the first three chapters of her dissertation so that she can defense her “dissertation proposal” in the fall.  If she passes this defense, she will be able to finish writing her proposal and possibly graduate in May of 2010.

3) Renewing Our Visas – That the process will take place quickly and that we might be able to obtain Ecuadorian residency.  We are in the process of renewing our yearly missionary visas for the family.  We had managed to get Luke’s Ecuadorian citizenship (because he was born in Ecuador) and his paperwork was completed before we went to the U.S., but we were running late in obtaining missionary visas for the rest of the family.  We were told to return to the country under tourists visas so we could get the visas renewed after we returned.  As of now, the school’s lawyer has all our passports and legal documents to see if it might be possible for us to obtain Ecuadorian residency based on the fact that we have a son who is an Ecuadorian citizen.  If we do obtain residency, we no longer have to obtain a missionary visa every one or two years, but would be able to pay a one time fee for being a resident of the country.

4) The RE-scheduling of the 2009-2010 school year – That the administrators will be able to make wise decisions that include the recent changes in the scheduling of school days. In past years, the Alliance Academy had started their school year in mid to late August.  However, the Ecuadorian Ministry of Education informed the school this summer that they were not allowed to begin the school year before the first Monday of September.  Therefore, the first day of school is being moved to September 7th.  Recently, they’ve also expressed to the school that they are required to have 200 school days, of which 190 days must be “educational.”  This has the potential of increasing the school year for two solid weeks. Be in prayer for our scheduling team as they work out all the details.