Monday, December 28, 2009
I’m dashing off a quick note before I finish frantically packing in preparation for leaving for Tennessee bright and early tomorrow morning. My mom’s family is gathering to celebrate the 100th birthday of my great grandpa Baker, and we are all looking forward to seeing each other, fellowshipping, and honoring the amazing, godly man that we are lucky enough to be related to. I fly out of Nashville on the 31st, so I have to be all ready to go before going to bed tonight.
God has been so good to me in these last crazy weeks—He has provided for needs, smoothed out problems, and encouraged me time and time again. I was able to enjoy a wonderful, relaxing Christmas with my family as well as getting to meet with friends for a final visit before I head out. I am so blessed by the people in my life—that you all for being such wonderful friends and supporters.
I will probably be able to update my blog and send out an “I made it!” e-mail near the end of the first week of January. The days between my arrival at Sakeji and the start of term are going to be rather frantic and full I imagine, but I’ll do my best to keep you posted with my settling in. To think—in a week I’ll be there! About that time I’ll be getting my Sakeji e-mail set up and making it my primary e-mail. Remember, I would love to hear from each and every one of you! Few things warm the heart when you’re away as news from home... Also, if you have my cell phone number, after the 31st if you call it you will find yourself talking to my charming father. I’m going to see about getting a Skype account set up and perhaps setting up times when I’ll be available to chat. Of course internet time will not be unlimited (satellite), but considering how just a few years ago snail mail was the only way to communicate, I’m very thankful indeed for the wonders of modern technology! A final note—if you want a copy of my prayer card, shoot me an e-mail and specify if you want a digital or a hard copy and I’ll work on getting that out to you.
Well, those suitcases aren’t packing themselves, so I had better get back to work. I look forward to this New Year full of adventures, challenges, and opportunities to grow in the Lord. I wish you all the very best of new years, and look forward to hear how He is working in your lives.
Yours in Christ,
Lina E. Burklin
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I can't believe tomorrow is Christmas--my last Christmas at home. Thank goodness that soon the goodbyes will stop and the hello's begin! Its hard to believe that after so long, my dream is finally about to start.
P.S. I'm a full blown, certified teacher now! Praise the Lord, it is only through His almighty hand that I have not given up, died, or sworn off teaching forever. Truly He is faithful!
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Last night was La Posada--Trinity's Christmas program for EC through 3rd grade. I accompanied for it and was very nervous about it, but all went well and it was a lovely service. I'm so proud of my kids! There are COLLEGE students who couldn't have carried out that complex a sequence of events! While there is huge relief that La Posada isn't hanging over my head anymore, there is also the sadness of knowing that I will quite likely never see any of those kids again until (hopefully!) I'll meet most of them in heaven.
One of the fifth graders who I have been helping teach piano to gave me this:
Isn't it beautiful? I'll be sure to pack that extra carefully because of course its going with me!
This is a gingerperson that one of my second graders did. The funny part is that she made it to look like me! See the bangs and the braid?
When I asked her what the big "E" was for, she said, "Oh, I just wanted to name her Elisabeth." The interesting thing is that is my middle name! I had never told the kids that--to them I'm just Miss B-.
Here are a few pictures I took of the 2 year old class--I only remembered my camera one day (I know, I know, I'll do better at Sakeji!) and two year olds tend to move erratically so most of them are rather blurry, but here they are doing a rhythm stick activity-
And then several pictures of them moving to the music-
I can't believe its almost time for me to leave! I've been doing a lot of sorting and shuffling things around as well as starting to put things in my bins and making some hard decisions. Please pray that I make wise choices in what to bring, that I have the energy to keep going till the job is done, and that all the little details that still need to be taken care of are resolved. Ha, I WOULD choose to go overseas the first time I moved... 14 more days until Christmas!
Saturday, December 5, 2009
My mentor teacher sent me this in an e-mail and it so perfectly captured what life has been like these past two weeks that I decided to share it here:
'Twas the days before Christmas,
And all through the school,
The teachers were trying to just keep their cool.
The hallways were hung
With Christmas art
(Some made in November to get a head start!)
The children were bouncing
Off ceilings and walls,
And seemed to forget
how to walk in the halls.
When out of the teachers' lounge
With "holiday shirts"and "jingle bell jewels,"
The teachers looked festive
Enforcing the rules.
Suddenly, from down the hallway
There came such a chatter,
The principals went in
To see what was the matter.
The teachers were hiding
And trying to refuel,
On coffee and cookies
And treats from the Yule.
When what to their wondering
Ears do they hear,
But the ringing of school bells
-It's the children they fear!
More rapid than reindeer
The little ones came,
And the teachers all shouted
And called them by name;
Walk, Vincent! Walk, Tanner!
Walk, Tyler and Sammy!
Sit, Jamie! Sit, Laura!
Sit, Tara and Tammy!
To your desks in the room!
To your spots in the line!
Now walk to them! Walk to them!
No running this time!
So straight to their place
The children they went.
With fear of detention
Where they could be sent.
With manuals of lessons
Cradled in arms,
The teachers began
To use all their charms.
But the lessons presented
All fell on deaf ears.
The children were thinking
Of Santa's reindeer!
With a toss of their hands
They put manuals aside,
Went straight to the cupboards
Where videos hide.
Any laying their finger
On the TV remote
They sat back to write
Their last Christmas note.
But you could hear them exclaim
At the end of the day-
Have a wonderful, happy and
I love the walking part--it is SO TRUE.
Have a great weekend all!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Here are some more pictures I found while looking for an outline map of Zambia. Here's a cute little map of Africa with Zambia colored in:
From this map which you can't read the legend on (go here here to zoom and scroll around) it looks like I can expect somewhere around 49.2 inches of rain during the year:
This is a similar map of the annual mean temperature (once again, go here for the zoomable version)--looks like its about 70-75 F:
I'm getting deeper into the job of sorting things out in my room. I have so much stuff! I feel so liberated to be throwing stuff out though--its like a physical weight off my shoulders. I hope I remember this lesson about 'things'--they are often more hassle than they are worth!
I've been constantly amazed these last weeks how God is steadily providing for my needs and answering my prayers. Its amazing to see Him work! My family and I went to visit out dear friends in Henderson yesterday, and one of the dear sisters there took my family out to lunch afterwards. As we were leaving the restaurant, she took my hand and told me, "When things you hard you just crawl up in His arms and say, "Here I am Lord." Sage advice indeed from someone who has walked for many, many years be the side of our dear Shepherd. So, here I am in His arms saying, "Here I am Lord." Praise be that they are the same arms that created the universe, stretched wide on the cross for my sin, and have held me every moment of my life. I know I'm safe here.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
It occurred to me that it might be a good idea of post some pictures of Zambia so you can have an idea of the corner of the world I'm going to find myself in on January 2nd.
This is a picture of the Zambian flag superimposed over the outline of the country. The bird is the national bird of Zambia, a fish eagle.
Zambia has 9 provinces--I'll be calling the North-West province home.
Getting to Sakeji is quite a trip--it will take me four days from Nashville (where I'm flying out of) to Lusaka.
The first leg of the trip is from the states to London--in this case I'm leaving from Nashville instead of Dallas because of the family reunion this Christmas. I'll have a few hours lay-over in London, and then I'll catch an overnight flight to Lusaka which will have me arriving early in the morning on January 2nd. From there, it is a day's trip to the Copperbelt--we will probably stay in either Kitwe or Chingola, and then another day's trip up to Sakeji.
I'll try to post some pictures of what things will look like this weekend--until then have a blessed week!
Monday, November 16, 2009
A lot has happened in the last few weeks! I completed ten weeks of student teaching, had a great last observation, and started the process of sorting through all the ‘stuff’ I’ve accumulated over the last few years. I have my luggage now (two big Rubbermaid tubs and a rolling bag/backpack combo) and am filling out paperwork for CMML this weekend. However, the most exciting news of all is that I have a plane ticket at long last! I will be leaving Nashville on December 31 and arriving in Lusaka via an overnight flight at 6:35 AM January 2nd. My mom managed to find an itinerary that had me going in and out of Heathrow—what a blessing! The Ronald’s will be arriving in Lusaka on the same flight, so there shouldn’t be an logistics issues. I’m so excited—until now it was a little unreal. This was a big step out in faith—there are many things that I am still waiting on the Lord to provide. Yet, I am confident in His promises that He will provide for my every need. I look forward to seeing how He moves to bring about the things that I can’t!
Even though my load at school will get lighter in some ways, there is still much to do in these last two weeks of my student teaching. I’ll be helping to get ready for the big Christmas concert, La Posada on December 10th as well as getting my Mobberly students ready for their Christmas recital on December 14. One big blessing that the Lord has provided is that my grandparents are coming for Thanksgiving this year—I’m so excited! I haven’t seen them since graduation due to school and work, so it will be a blessing to spend some quality family time as well as gather advice from veteran missionaries! I’m also looking forward to the week right before I leave as my family will be traveling to Nashville to attend the birthday celebration/reunion in honor of my Great Grandpa Baker who will be turning 100 years old on January 6. What a great way to spend my last few days in the states—surrounded by my wonderful family and getting to visit with relatives I haven’t seen (and probably won’t see) for a few years. Truly God has worked things out well!
I will do my best to keep you posted as these last few weeks fly by—as always, check out my blog: http://littleschoolinthebush.blogspot.com as well as e-mailing or calling me—I would love to hear from y’all! I’m still working on my e-mail list—once again I’m amazed at how many friends the Lord has blessed me with! If you would rather get a hard copy of my letters, or get them at a different address, please let me know. This is quite the journey I’m setting out on, yet I’m confident that my Shepherd will supply my every need. Have a blessed Thanksgiving and a Christ filled holiday season!
This will be my address on the field:
Sakeji Mission School
P.O. Box 20 Ikelenge
Here is the address and website for Christian Missions in Many Lands:
PO Box 13
Spring Lake, NJ 07762-0013
Friday, November 13, 2009
Secondly, I bought my plane ticket tonight. This was a big step of faith--I'm still waiting to see how the Lord will provide for everything. While this is a difficult place to be, on the other hand I rejoice that if and when I make it out to Zambia it will be all of the Lord's doing and by His hand and none of mine!
Thirdly, I am in the process of getting an account with CMML, the mission organization I am going out under. CMML is not a traditional sending board, but a service organization. Among other things they provide a central place that people can send money for missionaries to and then issue checks to the missionaries. This will be a great help to me and cut down on a lot of headaches!
Fourthly, I now have my lugage as well. These three 'suitcases' are going to hold my home in just about a month and a half:
I'm starting the sorting/trashing/packing process in my 'spare' time--its a little overwhelming! This is such a big change that I can't even process it, but I'm praying for wisdom and peace as I continue to walk in obedience with my call.
Thank you so much for all your prayers and encouraging words--they mean the world to me. May God bless you richly wherever you are, and have a wonderful fall!
Its amazing how one's perspective changes when this is the size that home is...
Monday, November 2, 2009
There are still a little of details both small and large that need to be taken care of before I can leave. Who knew moving overseas was such a big deal? I need to find a plane fare I can afford, decide for sure what my luggage is going to be, start packing and packing away, and tying up all those little loose ends. Please pray for me as I finish these challenging weeks--that I will stay healthy, have the stamina to finish well, and in all I do glorify my God and Father. This fall has been full of challenges and I have been stretched in many new directions. Yet, I'm looking at this is "faith boot camp." Perhaps one day I will be able to progress to level 2! Thanks for all your prayers and e-mails--they mean a lot.
Have a blessed week!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Here is my October update--many of you will have gotten this by e-mail, but just in case I don't have your e-mail address yet or my e-mail got lost in cyber space here's my letter.
Dear Friends and Family,
I have been so encouraged as I have talked to many of you—knowing that your prayers are with me means so much. As I continue to prepare for leaving for Sakeji, it is good to know that I have your loving support. I am constantly amazed at the love the family of God showers on me and others. What a foretaste of the glories of heaven!
I just finished my sixth week of student teaching, and so far all has gone well. I can hardly believe I’ve reached the halfway point already! Next week I will assume full teaching responsibility for four full weeks. Being responsible for children ranging in age from 2 to 3rd grade is a challenge, but one that is preparing me and confirming my desire to be a teaching. I was placed with a wonderful mentor teacher who is very encouraging and full of wise advice as well as becoming a good friend. I am learning so much from Mrs. Stone, and we both marvel at how clear it is that Lord’s placed me in her classroom this semester. I have come to love my precious students at Trinity and will be sad to leave them come December even though I know I will love the students at Sakeji as well.
A few weeks ago I found out that I passed my PPR (pedagogy and professional responsibilities) exam with flying colors—all that now remains in the certification process is finishing up my student teaching and getting fingerprinted. Unfortunately because of the testing schedule I will not be able to add the 4-8 Generalist certification to my teaching certificate, but that might be something I could do on a furlough or at some later date. I will have the chance to attend a Charlotte Mason workshop later this month that should be both informative and very applicable to what I will be doing at Sakeji.
As of now it looks like shipping my books and other large items over via container are not going to be feasible options, so I am researching and praying about the best way to accomplish this overseas move. Its amazing how much stuff you realize you can do without when you are faced with the prospect of dragging it across a few continents! In the next few weeks I’m going to be trying to fix a departure date and buy a plane ticket. Your prayers for finding an affordable airfare, researching extra baggage allowances, and wisdom as to setting a departure date and my travel itinerary would be much appreciated!
I’ll do my best to keep you posted as the fall progresses and I get closer and closer to leaving for Zambia. I can hardly believe it is just short of three months! Keep checking my blog, http://littleschoolinthebush.blogspot.com for updates, and of course I would love to hear from each and every one of you! May God bless you richly this fall and as you enter the holiday season.
Yours in Christ,
Sunday, October 11, 2009
I've started to research airline tickets, and it appears that getting a round trip ticket will actually work out a little cheaper in the long run. Of course I won't use the second ticket--perhaps I can get some kind of credit or refund...
Next week I have Monday off (thank you Columbus!) and Tuesday is my first inservice day. Mrs. Stone and I decided that the proper way to celebrate Columbus day involved sleeping in! I'm a little nervous because my first formal observation is the day the kids get back--lets hope the first graders aren't too hyper and energetic that day! I hope I will be able to show that I've improved since that first visit...
Saturday, October 3, 2009
This week I will be adding the 1st graders to the 2nd grade, 2 year old and 3 year old classes I'm already teaching. In just two weeks I'll have everyone from 2 years old to 3rd grade--scary thought! While I love my EC kids, I don't think I will ever be an EC teacher. I hope transitioning to working with older kids won't be a problem...
The container option for getting some of my books and larger things to Zambia has fallen through, so I am starting to explore other options. I also need to work on getting a Police Clearance Certificate or a suitable equivalent for my work permit. I'm hoping what I have from Mobberly will work, but if not, then I will need to get a hold of the proper paperwork.
I'm sending out my newsletter this weekend--I finally had a chance to sit down and work on the mailing list. If I missed anyone, please let me know and I'll put you on the list.
I can't believe that in just three months, Lord willing, I'll be leaving for Sakeji!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
I'm enjoying my time at Trinity so much--I love the kids and my mentor teacher so much! I thank the Lord for this place He has me this fall--truely my Father knows what is best for me. Next week I add the 2 year old class to the 3 year old and 2nd grade I've been teaching for the past two weeks. Only 9 more weeks to go!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Dear Friends and Family,
It seems hard to believe that just over a year ago I had just graduated from college and just started my two summer jobs. This fall is shaping up to be quite a busy time for me—in mid-August I will change positions at Michael’s from Support Specialist to Front End Supervisor and start working evenings because of student teaching. I also plan to continuing teaching piano from my home as well as joining the music faculty at the Mobberly Baptist Academy of Performing Arts one evening a week. In the midst of all that I will also be finishing up my all level music certification and possibly adding the 4-8 Generalist as well.
As many of you know, I did a lot of soul searching the spring before I graduated about what the Lord had for me—I applied for, auditioned at, and was accepted into Baylor University’s graduate program to study Piano Pedagogy, but it just didn’t feel right. The financial end of things didn’t work out, and it was with some relief that I realized that God had closed that door. The more I thought about what I wanted to do, the more sure I became that I was called to return to Sakeji mission school as a full time teacher. I spent the summer of 2006 serving at Sakeji and at the time I considered returning becoming a full time teacher there, but as I had two more years of school I filed that away as a possible option.
Once I accepted the Lord’s call to return to Sakeji, I began to explore options for getting my teachers certification. LeTourneau University has an accelerated, post- baccalaureate program that allows people already holding degrees to get their certification in as little as one year. I started my coursework last August and now have a few weeks left on my last class before I am done with the actual courses. This June I have passed my music exam, and will taking my PPR exam at the end of this month.
I was very excited to get placed at Trinity Episcopal School for student teaching—I will be working with the lower school students. Once I finish up my certification, the tentative plan is to leave the US around New Years, Lord willing, and hitch a ride to Sakeji with the Ronalds who will be returning from furlough at the same time. I will then have a little while to get settled in and organized before first term starts. As of now it looks like I’ll be teaching music and middle school English classes as well as filling in wherever else I can help.
I would appreciate your prayers for me as I continue to complete the steps in the process of going to Sakeji. Specifically you can pray for strength as I finish my coursework (and the associated tests!), for all the paperwork to go through quickly (both with my teaching certificate and work visa with Zambia), for many details in moving overseas, and for my spiritual and mental readiness as I prepare to embark on this exciting adventure. There is so much to be done that sometimes it is overwhelming, but I serve a mighty God who strengthens His people to fulfill His will. I will do my best to keep you posted as I set dates and reach goals. Thank you so much for all your love and support—I feel so lucky to know so many amazing people! May the Lord bless you richly in the rest of this year, and may we be found faithful wherever we are called to serve.
Yours in Christ,
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
I have been so blessed by my student teaching placement--I have a WONDERFUL mentor teacher and a whole school of teachers who are willing and able to help me prepare as much as I can for my Sakeji adventure. I'm learning a lot--I still wish I had been able to take some music ed classes, but I think I'll be alright.
I got an e-mail today telling me that my work permit paperwork arrived safely in Zambia (YES!) and all I need to is get them a Police Clearance certificate which luckily I already have because I had to go through an extensive background check to teach at MAPA this fall. Truly the Lord is good!
Here are some pictures I found as I was putting my presentation together for Sunday-
This was on Sports Day--my friend Candy ended up with an enthralled audience when she started reading. The Zambian kids LOVE to play with our hair--the texture is so strange to them! Unfortunately they are rather rough when brushing it, and all they can do with it is braid it, but its still kind of fun to let them play!
This was the junior boy's Rally cookout--they had a blast running around, gathering sticks, washing in the river, and just being 1-4 grade boys. As you can see, they were rather proud of their fire efforts!
Swimming is a big part of being a kid at Sakeji--of course in the second term you can only swim for about half the time before the water gets so cold you can't breath when your chest hits the water. Yes, I did go swimming at that point, and yes, it took me awhile to warm up again!
This was at the end of term when the kids were eating outside because the parents were in the dinning hall (I think!). So well behaved!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Ah well, His grace is sufficient for me.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Earlier this week I sent off all my paperwork for my work permit--Lord willing it will all be correct and be processed in a timely and efficient fashion. Of course, this is Africa, but our God is a master of details and is more than capable of getting paperwork processed in a given time frame!
I've been meeting with my elder and his wife and talking about many of the issues I'll be facing and areas of concern. Zambia seems both so close and so very far away!
Please continue to pray for me as I make decisions about what to take with me and how to get it over there. I'll need to start packing things up and preparing them to ship on a container or mail them overseas pretty soon here. Who knew there were so many details involved in moving overseas?
Parting Shot- Two of the many reasons that all this is worth it!
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Thursday, July 16, 2009
I was in a store for completely different reasons today, but I ended up seeing a lady shopping while dragging a piece of luggage, so I looked for the luggage section and indulged in a moment or two "I want to buy ALL the fun travel stuff because traveling is fun and I'm going to do it soon!"
I was a little staggered though to look at those suitcases and realize that in a few months I'm going to be dragging my HOME in two of them. What a sobering thought...
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I work in a store with a lot of beautiful home decorator stuff. Yet when I'm tempted to buy it as I get off work, I keep asking myself, is it really necessary? Do I really need that? How would I get it overseas? Is that a good use of my limited resources? And most of the time, the answer is no. That doesn't mean I'm not going to take anything with me to make my house into home--after all, this will be my first home of my very own and I can't wait to set it up and make it mine. As I have gotten older I have also come to understand that often it isn't that you do something, but how you do it that matters. So, I will take my teapot and teacups, some pretty things, and tools to be a gracious hostess to the guests I can't wait to welcome into my home. However, it doesn't take that much to entertain gracefully, and there is no reason for me to store up excess 'treasure' here on earth and tie myself down with possessions. I've tried to focus on things that will be of more value--books, music that I can use teaching and things like that. Sometimes its hard to bypass a pretty thing that I wouldn't think twice about if I was setting up an apartment, but I would far rather do without and so better glorify my Father than to satisfy myself overmuch with things of this earth.
I cleaned out my closet last night and threw out a lot of stuff that I had been holding onto for years. If felt so liberating to get ride of the physical weight of my possessions--I've even been 'cleaning' up my computer and deleting a lot of cyber trash that I don't need to keep around. Some things were harder to throw out than others--many memories and some dreams tumbled into the trashcan last night and I felt some sorrow at their passing. There are just some things I won't need anymore or don't have any realistic time to do. I also was sad that I had wasted to much time and money on some of these things. I can remember being told when I was younger that I would no longer value some of the toys and things I sought after as a child and I remember thinking that there was no way that I would ever be sorry I bought whatever it was that I wanted at the moment. However, going through all the things I saved often merely just to say I had it or because I paid for it, I wished I had had the maturity to not buy some of those things or at the very least to let them go before now.
I still have a lot of stuff and I still have a lot of stuff to go through. However, I hope this is a way that my Father is helping to ready my heart and help me loose my materialistic tendencies. Am I a cured hoarder? Far from it! However, I hope that I am perhaps finally learning a lesson I have long been in need of, and that I am gaining a little maturity in the area of 'stuff.'
"But seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you...For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." -Luke 12:31 and 34
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal: for where you treasure is, there your heart will be also." -Matthew 6:19-21
"Instruct them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is life indeed." -I Timothy 6:18-19
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I created this blog to post pictures, personal stories, and general updates about my adventures teaching at my "Little School in the Bush." As I get closer to my departure date I'll post more, and once I'm actually out on the field I'll try to update at semi-regular intervals.