Dear Friends and Family,
As I start my third year at Sakeji Mission School, I’m amazed at how fast the time has gone and how much I’ve experienced and learned since I arrived in Zambia on January 2, 2010. It seems like just yesterday that I faced my very first classroom full of kids and was trying to learn all the names of our students. This year I’m teaching the same children I had last year, but different grades—I’m the 6th and 7th homeroom teacher now. There are more than a dozen new student to get to know, and two new short term staff members who have joined our team. There are lots of changes in many areas going on around the school, but the comforting constant in all this change is our risen Savior who is the reason that we are laboring and praying over these children.
Since the children started arriving on Tuesday morning, we have been enjoying the process of reconnecting with our returning students, and working through the challenges of getting to know our new pupils. This year the language barrier is not as pronounced as it was last year, but discipline has been an issue. Routines that run smoothly at the end of the year are complicated by young children who have never been asked to eat with silverware, finish their food, follow playground rules, and sit still for more than five minutes. I am reminded how important my interactions with the children outside the classroom are—I am becoming a parent to these little ones and helping them learn the skills that they will need in their adult lives. While asking a squirmy first grader for the twentieth time to take another bite makes me glad to ‘escape’ to the maturity of my upper school classroom, I’m thankful that I can be a part of the process that made my students into the people that they are today. Watching the older children pitch in and help the new ones learn the ropes is also encouraging—what I am teaching a first grader today will be passed on in a few years time. I never cease to marvel at the importance of my job, and that parents entrust their precious children to my care.
Our new dining hall is now in full use, and the kids have been enjoying the new space as well as quickly picking the new routines. The next major project that we will begin tackling later this term is re-roofing our dorm. The leaks have been bad for years, and it is not uncommon for kids to wake up and find mini lakes in their rooms. There are dozens of buckets dotting the rafters under known drips, but more keep starting every rainy season. Patching the roof is also a dubious process—walking on the roof to get to leaks often causes more! The Lord has provided the sheet metal for the roof, and a team from Canada that will be heading out around March to give a hand with the work. Once again God is proving to us that He can do the impossible!
This December I had the chance to go home for Christmas and reconnect with friends and family. It was a lovely time, but all too short as I tried to buy things for my classroom, replace clothes that have worn out (Africa is very hard on clothes!), and spend time with the many people who are an important part of my life. Highlights of my visit included Christmas with my immediate family and grandparents, going to my cousin’s wedding in Greenville, and getting to see relatives I hadn’t seen in several years. Many of my friends took the time to drop in for a visit, and of course I had a nice time being at my home assembly.
While it was lovely to be home, I’m excited to be back home in Zambia and facing a new year of serving at Sakeji Mission School. Thank you so much for all your prayers, gifts, and the time you gave me while I was in Texas. God is continually blessing me through the people He has brought into my life—you! May He find us faithful wherever we are,