Monday, December 23, 2013

December Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Whew—the 2013 school year is over! The last two weeks of school are always a very, very busy time for the staff at Sakeji Mission School. Seventy-seven report cards had to be written that take into account spiritual and educational progress during the term. These report cards had to be proof-read, and final grades calculated. Prizes need to be decided on, certificates written, classrooms cleaned, and the last batches of papers and notebooks sent up to the dorm to clear the desks for another year. Jill and I were busy rehearsing the program, last minute details were being organized, and each of us were trying to get all the loose ends in the areas under our supervision tied up. On December 3rd there was a PTA meeting which I was involved in, and then on December 4th the parents arrived to great excitement from their children. I gave several parent teacher interviews, played for the Prize Giving ceremony in the afternoon, and then for the show that evening. We had a special guest this year for the show—Chiefteness Ikelenge came with a few retainers. We don’t know how much English she understands, but we trust that the Gospel message went out to her as well as the parents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and friends of our students.

While those last two weeks were very difficult in moments, it was all worth it. It is so special to remember where the kids were at the beginning of the term and see how far they have grown, matured, and improved over the course of a year. It is always good to talk to their parents, and it was good to hear the PTA taking measures to insure that this will stay a Godly school where the first priority is honoring Him. We said goodbye to ten of our students who will be moving on to different schools in January, and prayed one last time with them that they would continue in the things that they had learned. Now there are a few weeks of holiday for the staff to rest, regroup, and organize for the next school year which starts on January 8th. I’ll have a new class of 6th graders to ‘break in,’ and a continuing class of 7th graders to get ready for their national exams. Prayers for wisdom, patience, strength, and grace to show the love of Christ are always needed as I input into these young lives.

A recent item of praise is that my new work permit came through! I took a quick trip down to the capital to pick it up; now I’m taken care of for emigration for another two years. It is a constant challenge to keep up with documents in two countries, but there are some very patient people who help us missionaries out with that. Also, with so much backlog and inefficiency in Zambia, it’s always a matter of rejoicing when someone’s paperwork comes through and is not lost! This trip was a chance to visit some friends who live along the way, and to do some shopping for the next few months. I don’t anticipate heading out to town again for quite awhile, so I’ll need to stock up on the items I can’t get in Ikelenge. I am so thankful for the safety we enjoyed on the roads and in town; it is so easy to forget how blessed we are every time we go out and return safely.

I’m looking forward to another year of blessings, challenges, and learning how to serve the Lord better. Thank you so much for all your prayers, letters, e-mails, and the many different ways you keep in touch and encourage me. May He find us faithful wherever He has called us to be!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Another crazy road trip over, and nobody died!

Beth and I rolled into Sakeji around 7:30 last night after a week of craziness in travel, shopping, and government offices. Here are the highlights:

Day 1: We packed four girls into the back of Jill's little single cab Hylux to begin the trip down to Solwezi. The road was actually quite good, and everybody survived!

Day 2: We dropped the four girls off at the airport and proceeded to drive down to Kitwe to stay with my dear Sri Lankan friends. Indian food for supper--what a treat! The road was TERRIBLE. Lots of pot holes and a few muddy detours made driving rather interesting.

Day 3: We set off for Lusaka and endured some more bad roads because of the construction on the dual carriageway between Kitwe and Ndola. As we had experienced the day before, we were bothered at every check point and asked an interesting variety of questions including:

* Can I see your license? (almost every stop)

* What kind of triangles do you have? (I wasn’t aware that there was more than one kind…Uh, the metal ones…)

* Can I see your passport? (This from an emigration guy. I’ve never seen emigration on the road before!)

* Did you know your fitness is expiring soon? (Fitness=Inspection. Why no I didn’t—oh dear!)

* Can I have your particulars? (Translation—can I get your number? Why no, I don’t give out my number to creepy guys!)

When we arrived in Lusaka we got to enjoy some Christmas including this tree made of recycled bottles at Arcades,

and these lights in Manda Hill

Day 4: I went to emigration and was able to pick up my work permit with only an hours wait! Praise the Lord! After that Beth and I did some shopping and repacked the car.

Day 5: I took off in the rain to get the vehicle fitness (inspection) taken care of, and Beth went to the Canadian High Commissioner's office to pick up her passport. We both managed to get our errands done, ate some lunch, then headed up to Kitwe to stay with the Fernandos again. We almost lost the truck in a lake by the farm, but that little truck is made of stiff stuff!

Day 6: After a much needed sleep we headed into Kitwe to finish up our shopping. After that we went with the Fernandos to a bible study Christmas party. It was rather interesting as 80% of the people there were Indians, but the food was fantastic, and we enjoyed the caroling.

Day 7: Aunty Anita made a lovely breakfast of her fabulous spring rolls and samosas, and then we set off. The road was aweful and rather wet with all the rain, but we managed to roll into Sakeji at 7:30pm. We found out later that one of our tires was in really bad shape--I'm so thankful the Lord allowed us to get home on it! Truly, God is good!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Term 3 is officially over!

Yesterday was a crazy day--so much had to happen before the kids could go home! The morning was spent finishing off odds and ends and having our in school certificate assembly. After a hurried lunch I grabbed my prizes and then raced back to my classroom for parent teacher interviews. Once those were finished it was time for the big prize giving ceremony at which I had to play a few things. It started to pour rain right after the prize giving, so supper was a slightly damp affair. I raced home after that to change for the program, then it was back to the hall to start playing as the parents came in. I am so thankful for our refurbished hall--the porch on the back was a God-send last night! We had our annual visit from Father Christmas, and then there was time to enjoy some of the treats at the back! I slept like a rock--the adrenaline had kept me going, but once I left the hall and squelched home I realized that I was exhausted. I'm so glad it's all over--so very, very glad. I'm ready for some time to rest, reorganize and regroup. Teaching is an exhausting profession!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

With Thanksgiving

Most of this week has been a rush of writing and marking tests, doing special music assemblies in the mornings, and not enough sleep. Here are a few pictures I've been taking over the last few days--much more interesting than what I've been doing!

The kids have gone on a baseball kick at the river--the bamboo bat cracks me up!

What kid can resist playing with mud and clay?

The appeal of damming up a river never fades either, especially now that there's water!

We had a foggy morning this week--it looked lovely!

Now we just have to get the program off the ground and done before the kids get to go home!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Getting ready for the last big push...

Once again not much besides 'regular' school happened this week! I was queasy all day yesterday--I think it was the worm tablets I took on Wednesday--and managed to make it through the day...barely!

Next week is report cards, student performances, and the Christmas music assembly. Prayers for strength, health, patience, and a Christlike attitude as things get tough would be appreciated!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A few things

1) Half-term is over--thank goodness!

2) There are about 2 1/2 more weeks of school.

3) I am very, very thankful for my weekend off.

4) It has been raining a lot; Praise the Lord!

5) We started using the hall for assembly this term--Praise the Lord!

6) I am looking forward to the holidays.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Cute Kid Story

On Tuesday in music class I was explaining (in very simplified terms) 12 tone music to the grade 2 students. I had some cards with the 12 tones on them, and they were ‘helping’ me put them back in order. As I grabbed the “C” card, I asked them what came next. “C shark!” came the happy response! The whole way through the chromatic scale they enthusiastically ‘sharked’ each sharp. While I tried to keep a straight face, I explained that there couldn't be any sharks in music class—too much water. The joys of working with children; sometimes they make me laugh so much!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Well, it was a week!

Once again I have very little to report. My class is working on ratios and percents in math, and we're about to start studying weather in science. My kids are getting really into our literature novel, The Bronze Bow, and we have started working on stories in creative writing. Monday and Tuesday next week are the second half-term, our last in term holiday before the end of term, so the kids are getting excited about that. The grade 9 students will be starting to write their exams on Monday, so they are getting a little anxious!

The hall project continues--we are getting to the point where we really need it now--the rains are getting more regular, and the end of term is coming up fast. They got the porch roof mostly on this week; I love the different colored roofing sheets!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Normal-or something like that!

Not much to report this week--it was, a week! I taught a lot, I marked a lot of papers, and life in the bush carried on. We have had a lot of rain this week--praise the Lord! I'm quite willing to slog through the rain and mud if it means the rivers are filling up. It's starting to get very green around here--such a blessing after the barreness of dry season. The hall project continues on, but till then, we're still on the quad for assembly. The hall can't be finished soon enough for me!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Independence Day

Yesterday was Zambia's 49th anniversary of their independence from Britain, so we had the day off from school.

To celebrate, we spent the day down at the pool having swim races and our annual cut-throat competition--King of the Plank. There was rain on and off during the afternoon, but it cleared up nicely for the bonfire. On Monday the guys built the wood stack and covered it against the rain we hoped we'd get.

Last night we lit it up, and the kids had a blast running around it, falling down when the bamboo exploded, and playing their different singing games.

This week we have had three good soaking rains--Praise the Lord! Hopefully this will get the wells and rivers filled up to where they need to be. God is good!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Not much to report

This week has been...a week. I've had a cold for most of it; not incapacitating, but the sinus pressure and meds do interesting things to my brain sometimes! My grade 7's were in and out all week with their national exams. Today they have the last one--praise the Lord! It's a little frustrating having kids coming in and out at odd times during the morning. I thought that since my week was so unremarkable that I'd post some pictures of the progress on the hall.

As you can see, the roof is on and the back porch is starting to look really nice.

I sneaked in the back to get a picture of the great job they are doing finishing out the interior. See the skylights and the lovely high roof? We're going to get a vaulted ceiling!

Friday, October 11, 2013


This week has been a bit of a challenge because this Friday and Saturday is our first half-term break from school. So, homework had to be juggled, plans adjusted, and the growing excitment of the kids accounted for! This morning I took some of the seniors for an early morning swim in the dam. I didn't get in because I had several duties this morning that would make it impossible for me to take a shower afterwards. Here they are contemplating the leap into the sill frigid water-

And here are some shrieking children in the water!

If you think about it, please pray for rain for us. Many of our rivers and wells are dry, and the lack of water is hurting the local people's crops. It seems like such a small thing, but it makes a huge difference!

Friday, October 4, 2013


Early this morning I was awakened by a loud buzzing that could not be ignored no matter how much I wanted to. When I finally turned on my lamp, I found that I was under siege by a large number of 'longbottoms' or 'dive bombers'--a harmless but very irritating species of bug. These bugs defy all common sense in the fact that they can fly at all--they have a big fat tail that takes up about half of their body, and tiny wings that somehow enable them to zoom around lights, crash into walls, and frequently dive onto the heads of unsuspecting victims. You learn to avoid sitting under lights when they are around, and the droning buzz they make is surprising loud for an insect of that size. So, I woke up and found that there were quite a number crashing around my room, climbing up into my bed, and generally making it impossible to sleep. I had to turn on the light and slaughter large numbers of them three times before I finally had reduced their number to the point were I could go to sleep. This morning when I swept up the carnage, I found that I had about a whole dustpan full of them! I would love to know where they were all coming from, and why they had to start flying about in the pitch dark at 3 in the morning. I also hope I got them all, and that tonight will be quieter and bug free.

We had our Medieval themed birthday party this Wednesday; it went really well all things considered. I helped decorate the dining room before rushing back to change into my gown. The 6th and 7th graders played a piece as the students went in for supper, and then I joined the grade 8 and 9's for "Sumer is Icumen In," a genuine Medieval round. I was very tired by the end of the day, but was thankful that the day had gone so well. Birthday party is often a rather trying day because the kids are so excited that it's hard to get much work out of them, but Beth and I had prayed together that morning specifically for that day, and the Lord sent extra grace our way!

Coming up in the busy third term schedule is our first half-term next weekend, and the grade 7 exams the week after that. This term is just galloping by...

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Never a dull moment...

My kids were peacefully taking a math test yesterday morning, when some interesting sounds started to come from the classroom down the hall. First, there was a sudden cacophony of voices and scraping chairs that signaled some reason for alarm. As the kids continued to chatter loudly, there came some loud smacking sounds followed by a high pitched "Squeak! Squeak!" More smacking, more squealing, and then things settled down. Turns out that a mother and a baby bat had fallen out of the ceiling tiles, and Janette was dispatching the mother. At tea time, I found a knot of fourth and fifth graders surrounding one student holding a tin containing the baby bat. I confiscated it amide cries of, "Are you going to take care of the baby bat?" Oh yes, that bat will be taken care of... What they didn't see was me dumping it unceremoniously in my garbage pit. You never know what you will have to deal with as a teacher in the bush!

Friday, September 27, 2013

September 2013

Dear Friends and Family,

This letter has been rather longer in the writing than I had originally intended; I had forgotten how tied up I get by the beginning of term! The kids and various staff members who were traveling all arrived back safely, and the final term of 2013 is well and truly launched! Sometimes I forget what a blessing safe travel is—arriving in one piece with all my luggage is not a right! We have three young people helping out this term as well as David who is filling in for another staff member. I can’t get over how much some of the kids had grown since I left, and it has been very good to be back with my students. It’s encouraging to see the progress that some kids have made, and it’s nice to have new strength and perspective to tackle long term issues.

Two major events this term are that my seventh grade students will be writing their national exams in mid October, and the ninth grade students will also be writing their national exams a little later this term. Many of them are really stressing about these tests because they get a lot of pressure put on them by their parents and because there is a limited number of time you can take the exams before you are failed out of school. Our students always have some of the top marks for the province, so we are working on teaching them healthy ways of dealing with pressure and constructive test preparation. Jill and I are also working on the end of term program. We are starting to teach the songs to the kids and will soon be holding auditions for the speaking parts and starting to source props. While December seems a long way away, I know that it will be upon us all too soon!

We had a few good rains last weekend for which we are quite thankful. The hydro station upriver has been switching off at night to allow water to build up, and is often off during the day as well. There are still dry wells in the area, and we are praying that this rainy season will make up for the last two years of drought. Because of the rain the grass is already springing up and the dry, dusty earth is slowly changing into its verdant splendor. The hall renovation project is continuing; the last roofing sheets were put on just in time for our wet weekend. Now the interior wiring and prep for painting are going on. It will be so good to be able to use the hall again—music classes are sharing the art room and assemblies are on the quad right now. So far the rains have not come in the mornings, but the day is coming when that won’t be an option.

I have been fitting back into my busy routine here and trying to keep my many projects going and organized. I’ve been sorting through things in my house as well as doing some organizing for birthday party, choosing music for the Christmas music assembly, and starting to learn the music for the program. God has been so faithful to provide strength for my every need—while I’m exhausted by the end of the day, somehow I manage to get most things done. I am so thankful for this summer in the States where I could rest, recharge, and deal with some issues in my life that are needed to be addressed. The time away has given me a new energy and love for my work here at Sakeji, and it is truly good to be home in Zambia again. Thank you so much to all of you I got to see while I was home—your encouragement and fellowship was such a blessing. Thank you for all your prayers and the support you give me and the work at Sakeji in so many different ways. May He find us faithful wherever He has called us to be!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Beauty despite the dust

Things remain very hot, dry, and dusty around here, but there are some beautiful trees that flower at this time of year and give the eye relief from the depressing browns and reds of the parched earth. I have been enjoying this Flamboyant tree for the past week--I love the splash of scarlet!

The purple of the jacaranda trees is another thing I love about this time of year--they remind me of the curtains of wisteria that grace East Texas in the spring.

The life of a teacher is seldom dull--last week I had a kitchen full of kool-aid dyed yarn from handwork. Talk about an interesting combination of smells... The kids love doing this activity, and I enjoy watching them get to experience a little bit more of the fiber process. I also love how easy this is to do, and that the sun takes care of all the heating for me!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fire and Rain

The other night while I was watering my strawberries, I heard what I at first thought was rain pattering across a tin roof. I soon realized that it was the opposite of rain--there was a huge fire up on the far side of the airstrip. I went up to check it out and was treated to an awesome sight-

Standing on the end of the airstrip I could feel the heat even though there was no wind. While it was a little scary, there was something exhilarating about the flames leaping up into the night.

The hall project continues--the roofing sheets are being put on, and I'm getting very excited to see the finished product!

Last night there was a lot of thunder and we started to get our hopes up. Sure enough, there we got rain! Now, if you have never experienced the terrible dust and barrenness of dry season, it is probably hard to understand why we were so very excited for our first proper rain. We went outside to smell the delicious smell that comes off the earth with the first rains and rejoiced that the dry season is coming to an end. The smell of rain is one of the things I love most about Africa--there is nothing quite like how clean the air feels here. Hopefully we'll get a lot of rain this season to make up for the droughts we've had the last few years. Water is such a precious gift; how often we forget that.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

In brief

I plan to write my next newsletter once the kids get back to school on Wednesday of this week, but I just wanted to say that we have had our teacher and staff meetings, I am deep in planning out my semester, and that things are starting to come together for third term. Our three short termers arrived safely as well as all the staff members who were away on furlough. The truck with the bulk of our container boxes on it arrived safely on Friday, and I had fun unpacking my three boxes. Especially fun was the box of books I had ordered for my classroom--there were some surprises in there, but I was really excited to find that what I needed for this term had arrived on time!

I am quite over my bit of jet lag, and now my body is trying to get adjusted to the massive altitude change. Being at 4,600 feet means that walking uphill, quickly, or carrying things leaves me gasping, but I hope to take some walks on the airstrip to help with that. Tomorrow I'll be getting my classroom all set up so that I can enjoy planning from my house on Tuesday. I love these quiet days when I have time to work on little projects, take care of my house, and cook my own meals. However, I'm also excited to see my students again!

Right now the hall is still roofless, but as the last of the sheets have finally come in we are hoping that this renovation project will be finished in a timely (and before the rains arrive!) manner. I can't wait to see the finished product, and look forward to using the nicer space. It has been a big project, but it will be worth it as we use the hall daily and it is a focal point of our end of terms.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

A couple miracle later...

Early this morning my plane taxied into Lusaka airport, and one more item on the complex list of 'getting back to Sakeji' was ticked off. There are a few more to get through, but the worst is pretty much over! So, a recap of my adventures and God's goodness to me over the last few days.


Thursday morning was spent packing, sorting, storing, weighing my bags repeatedly (I do NOT want to be re-packing in the airport lady again!), and starting to reach emotional overload. I find this the hardest time in the process of traveling to deal with--having to make so many decisions in such a short period of time, and spending hours cramming things into boxes and suitcases instead of hanging out with the people you are about to have to say goodbye to. Eventually it was all as done as it was going to be, we loaded the van, and I turned in my faithful little Camrey that had been such a blessing to me this summer. There was the long hot drive to Dallas, Flynn arrived, and then I had to walk away from my family again. Goodbyes never get easier; 'practice' only makes it worse. I had a largely sleepless but uneventful flight to London, and that's where the real fun began.


My plan was to go to the Tower of London, get back in plenty of time to catch my next flight, and have a nice relaxing 'buffer' day. Well, my cards were frozen again, so I ended up walking through the National Portrait Galley (Tudor through Regency) and hanging out in Trafalger Square while waiting for it to be late enough for the bank to be open. After some back and forthing, I eventually got the glad news that my cards were useable again, and I was able to buy my ticked to the Tower. I joined a Beefeater tour which was a lot of fun, and then quickly saw the Crown Jewels and the Bloody Tower before grabbing a sandwich and heading back towards the airport. This is where the fun starts.

The tube was PACKED because it was rush hour, and I started to realize that this was going to take a lot longer than I had planned, and that perhaps I was cutting things rather close. I took a look at my boarding pass and realized that I was in some pretty big trouble--the train would likely arrive at the airport about the time the gate was supposed to close. I started praying as the minutes ticked by, and by the time I came barreling out of the tube and went to retrieve my bags I knew I was in deep trouble. I have now been the 'almost dancing and crying with frustration at the flight I am right now missing' lady. I managed to get through security fairly quickly and without bowling anyone over, and then the race to find my gate (in the hope that the plane was still there) began. I went to the wrong gates first because it was so late that the gate wasn't displayed next to my flight anymore. I begged the BA people there to tell the Lusaka plane that I was coming, and then continued tearing through the airport in a desperate race against time. I was pretty sure I had missed the flight, and was starting to construct plan B scenarios most of which involved me having a little meltdown in a corner of the terminal. When I finally reached it, the gate was eerily empty expect for the ticket lady who was expecting me, and I was ready to sob with relief as I staggered onto the plane, dead last, but ON THE PLANE. Turns out, God sent some technical trouble to the plane which held it up long enough for me to race through half the airport to get there. I will never again complain about being held up at the gate--someone might be in my shoes and desperately racing through the airport. Praise the Lord for His goodness!

Saturday The flight itself was largely uneventful--I got more sleep on this flight, and was doubly thankful for arriving in Lusaka when I planned to. I had to wait for a long time at immigration because I needed a report order, but it turned out to be a good thing because now I don't have to make a separate trip to the main office. While in line at the airport I was watching and saw all three of my bags come through, and tried to keep any eye out to make sure non of them walked off. I did end up making a dash in to the baggage claim area before my paperwork was done because is just so happened that there was someone else with a big purple suitcase like mine, and it had been loaded onto their cart. I think they would have noticed in time, but it ended up being a good thing that I went and grabbed my bags when I did because the airport guys were about to wheel them off to unclaimed baggage. Finally I got my paperwork sorted out, got a taxi, and arrived at the Flight House where I enjoyed a good cup of tea and a hot shower.

Thank you to everyone who was praying for me yesterday--I sure appreciate it! Now I just need to fly up to Solwezi tomorrow, and then drive up to Sakeji on Monday. It's good to be home--smelling the smoke and seeing the lovely jacaranda trees in bloom, and I look forward to getting back to my little house in the bush and settling in.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The last few days...

Things are starting to move pretty fast as I face my eminent departure, and I find myself trying to grab on to the precious moments and opportunities before I climb on that big plane Thursday evening. God has been so good to me over this whole furlough, and this last week in particular. God has moved some mountains, send people to encourage me, and made things possible that I didn't think would work out. On Sunday I had a great visit and time of fellowship and sharing with the saints at Golden Bible Chapel, and today I got to have lunch with my good friend Rae. Tomorrow will be the (hopefully!) last frantic shopping trip, and then the packing will start. Because of my humanitarian plane ticket, I get to take 3 checked bags with me, but it is surprisingly easy to fill them up to their 50lb weight limit! I will be packing some boxes to mail to North Dakota to be put on the fall container (which will reach me in March or April next year). So many decisions, so many last minute details, and so many emotions! I'm so glad that my heavenly Father is with me every step of this journey, and that so many people are remembering me in prayer. I'm also thankful that this time of 'limbo' will be over soon, and I'll be diving into the new term at Sakeji. Onwards and upwards!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Safely Home Again

After getting up at 4:15am to catch my 5:30 flight, I eventually made it safely back to Texas, and then safely back to Longview. My mom and youngest sister came to pick me up from the airport, and we may have made a detour or two into a yarn store and a kitchen gadget store on the way home! The rest of the day was spent sorting out the mail and packages that had come while I was gone and helping get some things done around the house.

I must admit that I'm a little overwhelmed thinking about all that needs get done before I leave to return to Sakeji in just over a week. I have my transport up to the school arranged--I was able to get a great deal on a ticket to Solwezi on a domestic airline, and Jill and Bethany will be coming down to pick me up. Prayer for me as I make packing and shipping decisions, try to see all the people I want to see one last time before I leave, and make decisions my final purchase to take back with me. The five months have flown by as I thought they would, and now I need to start planning for my new school term. It's a good thing I have the Lord's strength to do all this in!

Monday, August 19, 2013


I have a bit of time this morning so I thought I'd give a bit of an update about Columbus before I head back to Texas tomorrow morning. Spending time with Jennifer has been a blast, and we have done quite a bit of rambling around. Among other things we have:

*Visited a lovely yarn store where I might have walked away with a stunning skein of sock yarn...

*Visited a rose garden

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*Went to the coolest bookstore EVER

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*I visited the Columbus Museum of Art and enjoyed participating in conversations via post-it note

*Saw a play in the park

*Checked out the Santa Maria replica

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*Watched Fiddler on the Roof in an amazing old theater

*Had lots of good conversations with my dear friend Jennifer

Tomorrow I head back to Texas and have a week and a half to pack up before I head back to Sakeji. Where has the last five months flown?

Sunday, August 11, 2013


I have been having a BLAST in Montana with my friend Annie and her husband Paul. I just have one more full day, but I am so thankful that the Lord made it possible for me to be here! I'll post a full report later, but here is a mountain picture:

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I am stunned at how beautiful the United States is, and so thankful that I know the God who created it.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

St. Louis

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I’m posting about St. Louis before I leave because I’ll have less than 24 hours to get turned around when I get back to Texas, and somehow I think laundry and packing will be more important than blogging!

While here I’ve visited the St. Louis Museum of Fine Art,

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Found a lovely yarn store, visited the zoo and enjoyed watching some elephants swimming,

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And enjoyed a bit of down time. We took a rather rural rout up and saw lots and lots of fields in Aransas as well as a hint of the beautiful Ozarks as we crossed into Missouri. Tomorrow we’re taking a more interstate route back home, and then on Monday afternoon my mom and I will drive to Dallas and stay with my brother so I can fly out early Tuesday morning. The adventures just keep coming!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A praise and about to start another journey

After getting back from Tennessee on Sunday, I noticed that the car I am leasing from MTT was wobbling and bumping a bit at certain speeds, so I called them up and took it to a local tire place to have them take a look at it. The verdict--three bad tired which were starting to separate! I'm so glad I noticed, and that it was a quick, easy fix. MTT has been so wonderful to deal with, and having a car this summer has been such a blessing. Now I feel a lot better about hitting the interstate again tomorrow to head to St. Louis.

This morning I gave a brief presentation to my dad's work crew as a part of their saftey meeting. It ended up having a bit of the "zed-factor" flavor about it as the computer didn't work so I couldn't show my powerpoint! I did the best I could with just words though, and I'll be leaving a photo book I put together this furlough in my dad's office for a few days so the interested can come take a look. I might end up with one more presentation before heading back at the end of the month--time is running out fast!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Tennessee in Pictures

My mom and I arrived back safely from Tennessee yesterday--we had a great visit with my grandparents, and I was able to visit a lot of nice thrift stores and find some good buys! Here are a few pictures from the trip; I spent most of it just enjoying the visit!

Sand bucket Sundays at the lake

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Though small, Lake Tansi is a lovely place to visit!

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My grandparents deck and the 8th hole

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Fruitcake in July!

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Hydrangeas--Grandma's flower

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I have a few days rest, then off to St. Louis. There are a lot of things that I would like to happen before I head back to Zambia, and I'm running out of days to do them!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tennessee, here I come!

In the morning my mom and I are heading up 'north' to visit my grandparents, so I probably won't be posting for a bit. I did a mini-service on my car to make sure it was in good shape, and the loading process will begin soon. We'll pop on on Mary and Jordan on our way over, and then have a few days to relax with my grandparents. I'm excited about the lake they live by and the cooler weather. Maybe there will still be fireflies in the evenings...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Travel Plans

Here are my upcoming travel plans in a little more detail, and also a prayer request.

July 23-28: Tennessee to visit my grandparents. I'm looking forward to the more 'northernly climes' and the chance to get in a good visit the first generation of Zambian missionaries in my family. Both of my grandparents have spent years of their life working in a Christian school environment, so it will be good to talk with them and get some good counsel as I continue my journey in teaching at a mission school.

August 1-4: St. Louis to take my mom to a writer's conference. Looks like I'll get some good knitting and reading time in, as well as possibly checking out some free attractions.

August 6-13: Montana to visit my dear friend Annie and her husband. I've never been to that part of the states, so I'm excited about getting to see what all that big sky talk is about!

August 13-20: Ohio to visit another dear friend, Jennifer.

And then of course, the big one...

August 29: Starting my trip back home to Sakeji!

And that leads nicely into the prayer request! I am working on making a decision on how I'm going to get back up to the school, and need wisdom because there are lots of factors like time, money, luggage, and people's feelings to take into account here. Too bad you can't just telaport to where you want to go...

Monday, July 15, 2013

June Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been stateside for three months now—where has the time flown? It’s been so nice to have this time away to take care of some shopping, getting refreshed spiritually and emotionally, and to enjoy seeing friends and family. While I was sorry to give up the coolness of dry season for the blast furnace of an East Texas summer, I’ve enjoyed experiencing the tastes, smells, and sounds of summer for the first time in three years. My sister’s wedding was a special time for my family with many willing hands pitching in make it happen, and it was a special treat to get to see my mom’s three brothers as well as all my grandparents and my dad’s sister. I have enjoyed getting to know my new brother in law, and watching Mary and Jordan start their married life together.

In the next two months I am going to be doing quite a bit of traveling around the country, both driving and flying, so prayers for safety and endurance would be appreciated! My mom and I will be driving to Tennessee to visit my grandparents at the end of July, and then heading to St. Louis for a few days at the beginning of August. Right after I get back from St. Louis I will be flying up to Montana and then over to Ohio to visit some friends. I am excited about getting to see some new parts of the US as well as spending some time with some dear friends.

As I start to think about wrapping things here up, there are lots of things to consider and try to squeeze in. Any trip to the states involves shopping for a lot of things that just aren’t available in Zambia for my home, my classroom, and sometimes the station. I’m also trying to spend time with all the people I want to see, and giving a presentation or two about my work at Sakeji. Here are some specific prayer points for Sakeji and myself as I return to the school to start third term.

• As I begin to plan my trip back to Zambia at the end of August, I need to make a decision about how to get back up to the school. I will have to fly either most or all of the way, but there are a lot of factors such as price, convenience, and luggage to consider.

• For guidance and help as I continue to work on sourcing materials and making decisions about what to take back with me and what to ship on the container. There are only so many pounds of luggage that the airlines will let you check, and there quite a few things that I would love to be able to bring back for my home, classroom, and friends.

• Prayers for a quick recovery from travel and jet lag in September, wisdom as I slot back into my roles at Sakeji, plan out my term and start work on the end of term program would be greatly appreciated!

• Wisdom for the staff at Sakeji as we work to disciple every child, grace as we work together in a very close environment, for the Lord to bring the right people to Sakeji at the right time, and that our students will grow to love and honor the Lord are all things that we constantly pray for. This upcoming term is also when we will start the process of reviewing applications and make decisions about which students will be joining us for the 2014 school year.

Thanks again for all your prayers, and the many ways that you have shown the love of Christ to me, particularly while I’ve been on furlough. I have greatly enjoyed getting to see many of you, and hope to squeeze a few more visits in before I return to Zambia. May He find us faithful wherever we are!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A new favorite word

There have been some things going on in my life recently that are not fun, to put it gently, but last night as I was facing having to return to a situation that had been horrible the night before, God put a verse and a word in my mind that I've been mulling over a lot since. The word, is sufficient. The verse, was 2 Corinthians 12:9a, "And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”

No matter what my situation, His grace is sufficient for me. It is enough, it is all I need, it fills my aches and sees my tears. His grace covers my failings, the people around me's failings, and the final straws that almost break my spirit. His grace is sufficient for me and I all too often forget that. So, last night I wrote the word "sufficient" on my hand as I 'girded up my loins' to do battle with my situation. And you know what? Things were a lot better. Not perfect, but His grace saw me through. Thank you Lord for being enough for me--help me to remember that more often when I am in the midst of trials and frustrations.

"Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast [c]about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I miss dry season...

Despite the fun of being home for a summer, yesterday I found myself really missing the coolness of dry season. Yesterday was a scorching 105 (the heat index was of course higher!), and I spent the afternoon at a friend's farm with my family. There were chickens, kittens, cats, goats, rabbits, dogs, horses and cows to enjoy as well as our friends. I got to go ridding for the first time in years, and despite the terrible heat, I enjoyed it very much. Though both the horse and I were sweating profusely, it was great to be outside and in the pine woods. A dream of mine is to go on a horseback safari some day. I think it would be the ideal way to enjoy the game animals--so much quieter than being in a jeep or truck, and high enough off the ground that you can see over the grass. Hopefully one of these days that dream will become a reality!

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I am praying and trying to plan for a possible trip in August to see two very dear friends who live in Montana and Ohio. One reality of being home is that my friends don't live in Longview anymore, and I would really like to be able to spend some time with them in person. We shall have to see what the Lord works out! Lord willing I'll be taking a trip to Tennessee in July to see my grandparents, and then taking my mom to St. Louis the first few days of August. I also need to start thinking about what to pack and take with me, and what to pack and ship for the container. How have three months of furlough already flown by?

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A new member of the family

On Sunday, June 2nd, I got my first brother in law. He is a wonderful man, and I look forward to many years of friendship. Jordan is just what Mary needs, and Mary is just what Jordan needs--when God writes a love story, it truly is beautiful!

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The seven siblings were together for the first time in a year and a half, and a good time was had by all (once the wedding actually started!).

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Congratulations Mary and Jordan--I wish you all the best as you start your new journey together.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

One week and counting!

Life continues to be rather crazy here at Chai house--with a wedding in just a week there are lots of little projects that we are working on, and we are trying to get in some quality time with Mary and Jordan before all the guests and helpers arrive. There has been lots of laughter, a few near disasters, and lots of insanity! This afternoon we plan to head out to the lake for an afternoon of relaxing, and then on Sunday some friends of mine are coming over to help me celebrate my birthday. Good times, but busy!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Safely back in Texas

After a whirlwind trip--to Tennessee on Thursday, Vanderbilt graduation on Friday, back to Texas on Saturday--I am very glad to be off the road! In those three days my mother, Mary, and I managed to:

* Survive the over 3 hour long graduation ceremony--congratulations to my future brother in law!

* Meet my future brother in law's lovely family and hang out a little.

* Visit the beautiful Nashville Parthenon--a full scale replica of the real one. Awesome!

* Visit a cool ini-coffee shop called "The Frothy Monkey" for a great cup of java and a lovely cheese and fruit platter snack.

*Have some good visiting time with my wonderful great aunt and uncle who also put my mother and I up for the two nights we were there.

* Drive by Graceland and visit a tacky Elvis memorabilia gift shop. Who knew that Elvis was a black belt in karate?

* Get lost in Texarkana and drive home via Louisiana--the road less traveled to be sure!

This afternoon Mary and I sorted through some of the stuff we had in storage here, and then tonight I started the embellishing of my bridesmaid dress. Just less than three weeks to go till the big day now!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Here are a few pictures of what I’ve been up to lately.

Lemon meringue pie from scratch—a summer favorite around here!

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Going to the lake on a beautiful day with wildflowers lining the highway.

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Enjoying the lake despite the wind and low temperatures!

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And walking through a magical Cyprus grove—these trees are so beautiful!

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I love my state in the spring!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wonderful music and a busy weekend

It's amazing how much time can be spent in doing now much, but I have to say I'm enjoying the change of pace! Getting a chance to sleep and relax a bit has been such a blessing. This past week I was able to take a quick trip in to Dallas to see my brother and go to a Dallas Symphony performance with him. The music was wonderful, and it was so much fun to spend time with Flynn! This weekend was rather busy; we hosted a Chai Party (a monthly gathering of MK's, international students, and the people who like to hang out with them) and the last Sunday that our two adopted college students will be here. Lots of dishes and not enough sleep later, we had a great weekend!

The next big events in our lives are going to be helping Flynn move to a different apartment next weekend, and a quick trip up to Nashville to attend my future brother in law's graduation and bring my sister home. Then the whirl of wedding plans can begin in earnest!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A much anticipated recital

Last night I headed over to my 'alma mater' and heard my dear friend Jennifer perform her wonderful piano recital. It's been so long since I could enjoy something like that, and I was so thrilled that that timing was right for me to be there! I was also able to surprise my old piano professor and visit a bit with him and my old dean. They have really made some nice changes to ol' Jenna Guest music building, and it was so special to get to enjoy a recital in the dear ol' hall again.

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This morning I met Jennifer at Starbucks and we had an all too short visit. What a treat to be able to GO OUT and visit with a friend! What a treat to visit my favorite of the three Longview Starbucks!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Settling in

Well, I've been home for almost a week now and I'm just now getting some time to catch my breath and update. I had a lovely time in England with Jill. We walked a lot, and managed to cram the British Museum, the special exhibit at the British Museum on Pompeii, Evensong and an organ recital at Westminster Abbey, 221 b Baker Street, Tate Britain, and the Globe. I saw lots of wonderful things, and fell in love with mosaics.

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I think the best thing in the whole trip was the Pompeii exhibit--worth every penny of the entrance price, and even more enjoyable since I had just finished teaching ancient Rome in history class. The achievements of the Romans were amazing, but you realize that if they had been a God-fearing society they could have done much more!

I've been settling back into home life, and re-learning a lot of things. How odd to throw all your trash in one bin, be able to run out for things you forgot, and to have siblings much older in real life than they are in your head! It was nice and cool when I first arrived, but now it's warming up. Hopefully this coming weekend will be as cool as advertised...

Here's a picture of Jill and I freezing on our first morning in London. Good thing I had lovely hand knit items to combat the chill!

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Home Safely!

After many adventures, I am safely home in Texas! I'll write out the story of my trip to London later, but I thought for those who read and pray that I aught to update this. It is good to be home, with my family, and in the South again. I'm looking forward to the next few months!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

On my way!

Today I flew out from Sakeji at 11:35, and I won't be returning till sometime in September. I had a good flight despite the lateness of the day, and I didn't get queasy thanks to the patch Beth gave me. Despite the fact that the kids in the plane with me had all eaten cake right before flying, none of them got sick (it's the small bonuses in life!), and it wasn't as bumpy as it could have been. Now I'm trying to stay awake past the early hour of 8, so I can enjoy sleeping in tomorrow. It's Jill's birthday, and we are going out on the town! I'm so excited that my trip is finally in progress--I can hardly believe I'm actually on my way.

Monday, April 1, 2013

How time flies...

It was a pretty low-key Easter out here in the bush, but I did have some fun with a few Easter crafts. I made these for my windows:

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I can't believe that I'm flying out of Sakeji on Thursday, and Lusaka on Saturday! How time flies... Now I just have 101 little loose ends to tie off before I can leave! Who knew it was so much work to go on furlough...

I am almost completely restored to health now--thanks for all the prayers! Now if I can just keep well while traveling...

Saturday, March 30, 2013

He is risen!

Just a quick update to say

A) Have a blessed Easter! He is risen indeed!

B) I am no longer deathly ill--just a little snuffly. Praise the Lord for His healing!

C) I am almost done with report cards--I am just waiting for another teacher to put in some marks so I can do the averages. Praise the Lord for His help!

D) In just 5 more days I'll be climbing aboard the little plane to begin my journey home--I can't wait!

..."and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied. But now Christ HAS been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead." 1 Corinthians 15:17-21

Monday, March 25, 2013

Praise the Lord for healing!

It’s been a rough trek for the last few days. I’ve had a shocking head cold that has knocked me flatter than I’ve been since I had bronchitis last year. To add to the normal fun of a cold, I have also been experiencing sudden violent nosebleeds at inopportune moments. I think the nosebleeds are a combination of the dryness of the week, the excessive nose blowing, and the antihistamines, and the altitude (I never had this problem back home); whatever is causing them they sure are demoralizing and annoying! Thankfully I’m turning the corner back to health, and I can think of something other than sleeping in every spare moment. Thank you for all your prayers! I’ve slept so much in the last few days that I can’t believe I can still sleep at night. I guess that more than how awful I’ve felt has let me know how very ill I was. I continue to take Vitamin C like it was candy, and to pray that I’ll be well over this before I travel in a week and a half. God is good.

My bags went over to Kalene this weekend to be flown down at some point before Jill and I fly out with the kids on April 4th. With the kids big bags there won’t be room for ours, so we had to plan ahead a bit. I packed what I could think of, and I’ll have a backpack for the oddments I couldn’t send ahead and the many things I’m already starting to realize that I forgot. I need to start working on report cards as well as continuing to write and mark exams, and in case I had any time to get bored I need to do some tidying in my house so it can be available for next term. Maybe that is part of why God allowed me to be knocked flat with a cold—so I would be rested at the start of this week!

Praise the Lord for He is the one who walks with us through even the worst of colds and the busiest of weeks!

Friday, March 22, 2013


I've succumbed to a nasty cold, so while I'm very grateful that I think I managed to clear my chest out enough that it won't become bronchitis, I'm not feeling that well. God has been giving me the strength to get the things I must accomplished, but I have to say that I'm chaffing a little bit at the timing. While there is never a 'good' time to get sick, this weekend is especially not a good time. I have to have my main bags packed and ready to send over to Kalane by Sunday afternoon, and I need to finish working out my taxes. I'm also on this weekend, and next week is exam week so I will be quite busy with writing and marking exams as well as working on report cards. Prayer for a quick return to health would be appreciated, and for wisdom as I try and balance all the things that must happen before I fly out in just under two weeks. It's a good thing that I have a big God to lean on in times like this!

Monday, March 18, 2013


It’s interesting how it’s like you have two dictionaries in your head. One full of words you know what they mean, but the second is full of words where there are vivid, living definitions that leap that will forever follow the use of that word for you. This weekend I added a word to my ‘living’ dictionary—that word was puff adder.

Jill and I were finishing our Sunday lunch when I heard my cat hiss at something in the kitchen. Now this is not usual, and the answering hiss I heard back convinced me that this was something I needed to go investigate—NOW. When I went to the door I saw a snake curled up in front of my screen door, and the cat crouched a couple feet away and watching it with blazing eyes. The snake had chosen it’s spot for a last stand brilliantly from it’s point of view—it was in front of the only accessible exit from the house, and it was also cutting off access to my brooms which might have been of use in dealing with it. However, it was also trapped, and had no way of getting out again.

I put the cat in my room so she wouldn’t get underfoot, and then Jill and I proceeded to watch and decided how to deal with it. I fetched the curtain rod I had in the dining room for Jill, and then got a bucket from my bathroom so I could deal with the immediate threat before the snake met its more permanent end. As I carefully edged into the kitchen, the snake started to hiss loudly and puff itself up alarmingly. I didn’t know how fast it could move, but I sure knew that I didn’t want to find out the hard way. I decided that the bucket would require me to get too close to the angry, frightened reptile, so I stepped back to get a cardboard box. As I did, my skirt brushed my leg and I about jumped through the roof. There was *just a bit* of adrenaline flowing through my system by now!

I fetched the box and managed to successfully toss it over the snake—now the immediate danger of being bitten was dealt with. I then called Pam to have her send Mark and the watchman over. When they arrived, Jill and I pushed the box out the door and onto the porch, the box was pushed off, and the snake met a quick end at the end of a shovel. Praise the Lord!

Of course the ironic thing is that it was St. Patrick’s Day—the guy who supposedly sent all the snakes out of Ireland. Too bad he didn’t come over to Africa too… I knew that there were snakes called puff adders, but I have never considered how they got their name. The memory of that snake puffing and hissing at me has now graven it deep in my mind—PUFF adder. I just hope there aren’t any more of them before I leave! I’m not sure my nerves can stand it…

Other than that, I’ve had a lovely weekend. Lots of sleep, and playing around with a few projects. I can’t believe we’re down to two and a half more weeks!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ants and Rain

I haven’t updated for awhile, but I’ve been about run off my feet these last few weeks. Last weekend was our second half-term, and I got a few things done that I had been putting off. We had a lot of rain that weekend so the kids spent a lot of time in the dorm, but I think that bothered the frazzled teachers more than the kids!

On Monday my gardener came and got me right before lunch and told me the red ants were at my house. When I got there I found ants all over my porch, soak-a-way, and enthusiastically climbing the walls and going up into the roof. I put some powder across my kitchen doorway, and then I gave him some “Doom” spray to get them off the walls. During lunch he used fire to beat them back, and when I got back again I found an ant free home! I was so thankful that the gardener was there that day, and that he was willing to help out! When the ants are marching you can generally keep them out of your home if you catch them early enough, but once they have taken over all you can do is move out until they are finished!

I’m trying to get everything organized for when I’m gone, and it’s a daunting task. I did a lot of planning at the beginning to term, but there is still a lot that needs to be done. I have pretty much sorted and put away the things from my container boxes, and now I’m trying to get my extras out of my house. I’ve started throwing things I want to take with me into my faithful Rubbermaid box so I don’t forget them when the time comes to pack. We still do not have someone coming out who could sub for me, so it’s looking like the other staff are going to have to compensate. Prayers for either a helper or extra strength would be appreciated!

We have had so much rain these last few weeks—praise the Lord! The rivers and wells are filling up, and the ground is getting the good soaking that we need. I love the smell of rain out here, and the smell of the clean earth afterwards. Hopefully the rains will continue till the end of April so our water table will get back to normal before the dry season!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Little Things

*There were two vipers down by the admin in the last few days--thankfully no one was bitten! This did a prove a good chance to review snake procedure though... These kids like to run *to* snakes!

*My dog is bouncing again, so she's had a very quick recovery! The whole getting pills down her has been a little interesting, but I've found something she likes that I can hide them in now. She is on 'porch rest' for a week, so we've had some nice evening walks.

*We've been getting some good soaking rains--PtL! Hopefully this will be enough to fill up the river and the wells. A drought would be so devastating.

*I had a lovely talk with my dad last night--I'm getting so excited about seeing my family again!

Parting Shot: Isn't he a cutie? He looks just like his big brother...

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Birthday Party and Poor Puppy

Wednesday was our birthday party, and the theme was “The Wild West.” I got to have this cake on my table:

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Made by a fellow Texan at Kalene! See the yellow rose?

It was my poor puppies turn to be fixed today, so she’s currently being uncharacteristically still in her crate while the anesthetic wears off. I always feel so guilty those first few days after their ordeal, but I know it’s for the best. As much fun as puppies or kittens would have been, I just don’t have the time to deal with them! Plus, the vet is only here for a few weeks every few years!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sleep, blessed sleep!

My number one priority for this weekend was to SLEEP and SLEEP, and maybe just for some variety, SLEEP. I’ve been so tired these last few days, and as the week doesn’t lend itself to naps, I figured this was my chance to seize the day! Now, having slept I’m feeling a lot better about the world in general, and I have a regained sense of perspective.

Friday was the board meeting, so Sakeji was teaming with visitors from all over Zambia. The evening of board meeting is usually a devotional/recap of the meeting, and this time there was an amazing time of singing that spontaneously started. There is something so powerful about singing words you all know and believe in with a group of people from all over the world. Truly the body of Christ is an amazing thing!

My kids had their midterms this week, and I’m slowly marking my way through them. The 6th graders have a lot of learn about performing under pressure, but I keep telling myself that if the 7th graders can be where they are today—than I can bring even this class up to par!

Parting shot—three siblings and some seriously big hair! Depending on the girl, kids go anywhere from a day to a few weeks before they begin the exciting occupation of picking out their carefully braided hair and having their friends and older students give them a new ‘do.’

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Monday, February 11, 2013


One of my favorite parts of teaching is reading the often hilarious sentence errors that my students produce. Here is a vocabulary quiz sentence from a 7th grader in all its glory:

“As farmer brown brandished a calf I felt like I was brandished to.”

I’m not sure which is more alarming—the thought of a farmer brandishing a calf, knowing that if he was that strong he could brandish me too, or feeling so sympathetic to the calf that I joined in on the experience emotionally!

This weekend was much better than my last weekend on—no carrying kicking and screaming first graders bodily away from their parents, and it didn’t rain while I was on river duty! I actually got some knitting done at the river, and we made it up for prayers in good time. I also gave a first sock knitting lesson—yet another person successfully hooked! Beth has pegged me as a knitting missionary, and while I don’t carry yarn and needles around just in case I might make a convert, I have given more than my share of knitting lessons and tips!

We had some good rain the other day, but are still praying for more. With all the green around it’s hard to believe that we are way behind on our rainfall. The people here do not plan more than a day or two ahead, so if their crops failed or the wells ran dry, it would be devastating to this area. How easy it is to take something so vital for granted!

Parting shot—we have double trouble in grade two this year, and no, I can’t tell them apart yet!

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Friday, February 8, 2013

February Update

Dear Friends and Family, Term 1 of 2013 is well and truly started, and time is already flying! The first term of our school year is always a bit of a challenge—getting kids settled into a new grade, training our new students in our rules and expectations, and dealing with the inevitable crop of new challenges. Things have been going well this term, and while life is never boring, God has been very good! This week is our first half-term, so we have all been enjoying the more relaxed schedule. It is so important to have these times of rest and recreation with the kids—when you are a teacher/parent, these fun times are when you can really bond with the kids and help build good memories with your students. Activities over half-term included tubing down the very low river, swimming in our pool, early morning swim, a staff v. students soccer game, and lots of free time outside and at the river playground. Special meals and Bar One candy bars help make the holiday mood last all day. Staff also use half-term as a chance to get a bit of extra rest, and to catch up on marking and the other projects that tend to pile up during term.

It has been so encouraging to hear of several more children making a profession of faith since coming back to school. Now we pray that these young lives will go on and make a stand for Christ wherever they end up. It’s amazing to hear what passing comments or simple things sparked the thoughts that lead to accepting Christ, and is a good reminder that when you are being faithful to do His will, amazing things can happen! I am really working with my students in scripture class to focus on discipling and equipping them for the challenges they will face when they leave here. I have seen to many young people without a firm foundation in Christ drifting and living away from Him.

As I continue to make plans and prepare for my furlough, God has been doing some mighty works on my behalf. In provision beyond my needs, the opening of doors, and working out details, He is proving Himself faithful and overwhelmingly good. One thing that I am still praying about is for the Lord to raise someone up to help cover my duties while I’m away. God has never left us with too few people to make it through a term, and we are confidently waiting on Him. This year will be a bit challenging with many staff members going home for different parts of the year, but we look to Him to provide as He always has in the past.

A second small, but important prayer request is for the rains to keep coming until the water table has a chance to get back to normal. This rainy season we have not had as much rain as normal, and there is some concern for the local people who are mostly subsistence farmers eking out a living with their vegetable gardens and pineapple fields. Last year the rains stopped early, and we are praying that the Lord will keep sending enough water to make the wells fill up again and the much needed crops grow. We are not in serious trouble yet, but are concerned for the wellbeing of the villages in the area.

Thanks you all for your faithful prayers on my behalf and for this school—I treasure them more than you can know. Thank you for all your gifts and notes of encouragement, and may the Lord bless you all richly this year.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Half -term

This Monday and Tuesday is Half-term at Sakeji school, and it's been really nice so far. Yesterday I took the seniors tubing down the river with Beth, and we managed to have a pretty good time even though the river is very low right now. My shoulders are sore today, but the bits where you could just relax and float instead of scraping yourself down the river on an inner tube were lovely. My crazy dog Hazel came tubing with us--she swam when it was too deep for her, and charged all over in the shallow bits. Whenever somebody screamed because of the cold water or a spider, she dashed over to make sure that they were alright. Silly dog! She even walked over the dam with the kids--I'm impressed!

Today it's raining, so the kids are enjoying quieter pursuits. I'm in my classroom working on some marking too bulky to take home with me. We have had a rather dry year so far, so rain is a much appreciated blessing. Later this afternoon I want to do some cleaning at the house, and I might even go wild and start a puzzle! I can't believe it's already February--the half-way point of the term is rushing up. Where does the time go?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Short Update

I thought I would post a quick update about how the first weeks of school have gone, and to ask you to pray with me on a few things.

I now have my tickets for my trip home--praise the Lord! While I'm enjoying some things about this term, I'm getting very excited about seeing my family and friends. God has been working things out bit by bit, and I'm just so thankful for His help. I was able to get a lot of the planning for next term done while I was planning for this term, and I'll keep adding to my Term 2 file as I go. There still is not someone coming out who would be able to replace me, so we are continuing to pray for whatever provision the Lord deems best.

One detail of my furlough that I've started to pray about is transport. I'm looking into renting a vehicle from a ministry that provides wheels for missionaries for a part or all of my time at home, and would appreciate prayers as I make decisions. Having a car would enable me to better help out at home, have some freedom, and perhaps take some road trips to visit family and friends.

My students are settling in well, and while there are many frustrations in training up a new 6th grade class, I have already seen some progress in many of them. The biggest issue is that these kids are not used to doing homework, so it is a pretty big adjustment for them. Some of them also have a hard time working during class time, so they are already falling behind. I'm trying to give extra help where I can, and other staff are joining me in supporting these kids, but they still need prayer. I've been very encouraged by my 7th grade class--they have really stepped up to the plate and shown some new maturity this term. It gives me hope that I can get these other kids whipped into shape!

The first weekend of school, one of our fourth grade girls trusted the Lord--what a way to start the term off! Sometimes it seems like there are such dry spells where we pour ministry into seemingly deaf ears, but I'm learning to really hold onto the promise that God's word does not return to Him void. Who knows what words will take hold of a child's heart, or what action sets their hears on the road to repentance? Perhaps others will turn to the Savior this term, or it may be another term of sowing. Either way, praise the Lord for those who have responded to Him in this last year!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Out of the mouths of children...

I gave my kids a pop history quiz today, and one of the questions was to describe the religion of Rome. Here are some of my favorite answers:

“The Roman religion was very stressing.”

“The Roman reliogn was a fierious and killing reliogn.” (sic)

“Roman religion was really weird because they worshiped gods.”

I’m having a lot of fun doing side research on Roman history—it brings back happy memories of Latin class! I’m realizing how much you need the context of Rome to understand the New Testament, and marveling again at God’s hand in history. How can you be a historian and not believe in the sinfulness of man, and in a God who’s plan spans the centuries?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

After the first week and a half

This is my first weekend off, so I thought I would take the time to show some pictures of my classroom while it still looks fairly nice and fresh. I kind of enjoy putting up the new years backer paper and boarder and re-evaluating which posters I want up in my room. I try to make things different enough to be interesting, but normally don’t go for radical change. So here is quite look into the room where I spend most of my time during the term:

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Another little peek into my life is this picture of what happens when a bottle of Bodacious barbeque sauce breaks inside one of your Christmas packages, and takes awhile to reach you…

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And just for fun to close off, here is a picture of Hazel enjoying a lazy afternoon.

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