Monday, June 27, 2011

Snake whacking!

This weekend was the senior’s walk to church, so I headed down with the kids to Hillwood which is about a 15 minute walk away. After a good message on King David, we all headed back, and I found myself behind 4 of my 5th and 6th grade boys. One of them was swinging a stick he had found and whacking the tall grass by the side of the road, when his friend suddenly exclaimed, “You just bashed a snake!” Sure enough, there were hurried rustling sounds by the side of the road. Of course then the boys all wanted to see it and were on the verge of heading off into the bush when I reminded them that it was now an annoyed snake, and we should probably keep going. I laughed about it for the rest of the day though, because that kid is a bit of an airhead, and when informed of his action, his reaction was, “I did what?” in a really high, girly voice. I bet that poor snake got the shock of his life! Sitting there, minding his own business, and then he got belted by a 6th grade boy!

We are well into the coldest part of our year, and socks, sweaters (aka jumpers), and even a few gloves and scarves have been standard attire for our mornings. The nice thing is that by noon it is nice and warm, and then as the sun falls, so does the temperature until the nippy nights have you appreciating a fire, tea, and a purring cat on your lap. The only problem is dragging your body out of your warm bed in the dark. How I love dry season!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Parting is such a sweet sorrow...

Yesterday one of the harder parts of missionary life came around again, one of those parts they forget to warn you about. The part of your life where you always seem to be saying goodbye. The three education students who have been blessing us for the last 6 weeks climbed on the little plane and took off for Lusaka while the children waved and cried. I find it’s hard sometimes to let people into your heart when you know they are just here for a short time—holding back makes saying goodbye so much easier! We are so blessed by the many young people who give up a part of their life to serve with us here, but that only makes saying goodbye all the harder.

This morning I ended up walking to Hillwood for church, and then I came home and took a longer nap than I intended to. It was so lovely and peaceful on the road this morning—since it’s dry season there was clear blue skies and a nice breeze blowing. It was so great to have that time of quiet to pray and settle myself before getting to church. I love the first part of the dry season before all the burning starts the best I think—it’s still a little green, there isn’t bits of ash everywhere, and the cool mornings and evenings are all the better for the hot days.

I can’t believe there are only 4 weeks and a bit of term left—where has the time flown! All too soon it will be report card week again, and then the kids will be heading home. Where has the last year and a half gone?

Monday, June 13, 2011

In which I make Smurf shoes and get some things done.

Today is the first of our half-term days, and I’ve managed to have a some one-on-one recorder time with about half my students, get two sets of papers marked, supervised the kids for their morning swim down at the pool, felted a pair of slippers, and made some bread and cookies. I’ve also fit in a few hugs for my cat, and a few chapters of a book.

The reason I said I made Smurf shoes, is because the felted slippers that were supposed to be an elegant ballet flat in a vibrant blue, didn’t quite shape out as promised, and created shoes definitely reminiscent of Smurfs. Oh well, at least they will keep my smurfy feet warm…

This weekend I lit my first fire and enjoyed an evening of letter writing and marking complete with crackling flames, hot chocolate, and classical music. Yes, I am that helplessly nerdy! Since my house has cement floors, it can get quite cold inside in June and July, so that is one reason why I was making slippers, and it’s also why I was so excited that my house had a fireplace. One of my favorite childhood memories is of eating a special breakfast of cinnamon toast and milky tea in front of the fire while my mother read to us. This was while we lived at Mukingi, and I’ve always remembered how special it was to not only get TEA, but also to start the morning off in such a cozy way. I’m so thankful that my parents understood how important it was to make little moments like that special. Enjoying a fire is still one of my favorite ways to spend an evening, and this is the perfect season for that.

My class just finished up its science units, and now its time to start our India social studies topic. I’m not sure if I have a novel that will work to read with the unit—Kipling’s Kim is a little over my kids heads, and I can’t think of another book that is educational enough to put with the social studies unit. Hmm… I’m slowly slogging through The City of Joy, and I think that I’ll be able to read parts of it (it’s a rather long book!) once I finish reading through the whole thing. I didn’t get near as much reading done this term break as I wanted to…

Well, I had better be going. There are lots more papers yet to mark, and a few things to figure out for the end of term program before I can go to bed tonight. Yay for half-term!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

May 2011

Here is my May newsletter, and at the end is a link to the article about Sakeji that Jill wrote for the Missions Magazine. There are some good pictures of the kids, as well as some neat testimonies about what the Lord is doing in the children’s hearts.

Dear Friends and Family,

I can’t believe how time is flying! Already it a week before half term, and just six more weeks till the end of term! The children have settled in well, and we have all gotten back into routine. We have three short term girls from Canada who are with us for another two weeks who have been a huge blessing all over the school. Ashley is mostly in the upper school, and she has been a huge help with marking, teaching units on several different subjects, and just being another body to help answer questions. I’m sure going to miss her when she goes back!

My students are continuing to settle into being seniors—both the increased privileges and responsibilities. We continue to pray our students who are working through various challenges both academically and socially. As always, we are not merely teachers here, but parents as well. We strive to not only give the children a good education, but to bring them up in the ways of the Lord. I am finding out how exhausting discipline can be—I never believed my parents when they told me it was just as hard for them as it was for me! However, it is also a true joy to see children growing in the Lord and maturing.

Work on the dining hall is progressing well—we currently have four Brass Tacks
workers on site supervising, directing, and working alongside of our Zambian crew. This week the roof trusses were put up with no major accidents—praise the Lord! Most of the interior walls are plastered, and door and window frames are being installed. As the trusses and supports are welded into place and painted, the sheet metal for the roof will start to go on and finishing work can begin inside. We continue to pray for safety for all those involved with the construction and for God’s continued provision for the many different aspects of this project.

This past month has been rather challenging between the things going on here, and things going on back home. I have really appreciated the many ways people reached out to me and kept me in their prayers—how blessed it is to be a part of God’s family! As I continue to work with these precious children, I am reminded over and over again how without Christ working in me, I am nothing. What a privilege that God uses our feeble hands to do His work here on earth.

P.S. This month’s issue of the CMML Missions Magazine has an article about Sakeji Mission School that can be read online by visiting May Missions Magazine There are some good pictures of the kids as well!

Friday, June 3, 2011

I dropped my flashlight on the floor twice…

…and it’s brighter than it’s been since I changed the batteries. Odd…

I have kind of mixed feelings about flashlights. On the one hand, they keep you from stepping on things that go CHOMP in the night, but on the other, with them you can SEE the things that might go chomp. Rather like umbrellas, flashlights are a somewhat burdensome thing to keep up with, but as there is no dark like a cloudy night when the 240 is off out here, and as I don’t want to slam into buildings or fall into ditches, I tend to use them. Random bunny trail for the day…

Dry season is slowly but surely making itself felt around here. The grass is starting to brown around the edges, the bougainvillea is starting to bloom, and I’m starting to think of firing up the ol’ fireplace again. Getting out of bed in the mornings is a dark, cold process, and the sun is down by about 6:40pm.

Only a week and a bit till half term! Where do the days fly...