Monday, May 30, 2016

A Baptism

This weekend we had the joy of watching four of our older students follow the Lord in obedience as they were baptized Sunday afternoon. Doug gave a message about baptism before the girls shared their testimonies,

before we headed down to the pool. Here are the girls as we sang, "There is a Redeemer" after they had all been baptized.

God is so good to give us glimpses of the fruit He is growing in our student's lives!

This week will be a bit challenging as the first half-term is on Friday and Saturday, so there is much that needs to be finished and reach a stopping point before then. My students are creating posters to 'sell' the various planets, and we are starting to tackle a research paper on an animal. Never a dull moment in Room 2!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Some pictures of Lower School

Since this past week was pretty much lots of school stuff that would be boring to everybody but me who was frantically wadding through it, here are some pictures of the Lower School project as it stands right now.

And this is a view of the staff lounge that is the temporary grade 1 classroom.

As the weather has become noticeably cooler, my cat gets more and more snuggly...

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

May 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

Term got off to a good start last week, and we are just about through our first full week of school. All our students and staff members who traveled arrived safely, and the Lord has blessed us with several short termers who will be helping this term. None of them are teachers, but they are pitching in with support roles and helping as they are able with classes. Having someone to organize, copy, and supervise children is a real help.

I’ve been working with a new Zambian employee to train him to clean our school buildings and help him adjust to our schedule. While he is a hard worker and does a good job, being task oriented is not always possible when trying to work around classroom schedules. We did a big deep clean of the Upper School buildings before school started, and I am working on developing routines that will maintain the higher standard. While it is challenging to be the direct supervisor of a new person when I am so tied to my classroom, the Lord is good! I keep reminding myself that like with my students, this will be a learning process for both of us.

The Lower School was emptied at the end of last term, and is now gutted and with sections of the roof removed. The new walls are going up, and the hope is that the project will be finished before the start of third term when the rains start again. However, as we know all too well, the ‘Z factor’ often interferes with the best laid plans. The grade one class is enjoying their temporary quarters in the staff lounge, and the second and third grade classes are using one half of the hall for their classroom. Having to move so much furniture and figure out where to store all the resources was a challenge for the lower school teachers, but they did a great job of adapting to their circumstances.

I had a nice holiday over the month of April. I didn’t go anywhere other than to Ikelenge to check the mail, but it was such a treat to just be quietly at my house working on projects. I did a deep clean of my house as well; washing my inside walls, sorting through the inevitable stacks of ‘teacher mess’ that end up at my house during the course of a term, and listening to a fascinating course on ancient Egypt to prepare for history class this term. As the skies become more consistently clear, I have been enjoying the familiar parade of the winter constellations; Orion, the Southern Cross, Scorpius, and even Ursa Major upside down. We are studying astronomy this term for science, and I hope to be able to take my students out on half-term evenings to look through the telescope again.

Some specific ways to pray for me and for Sakeji Mission School this term include the request for heavenly wisdom and strength for us teachers. We want to model lives that glorify the Lord, and we want our students to come to know and love Him too. Each child has a unique set of challenges and circumstances that we need to work with and through, and without the Lord’s help we are nothing. Another continued prayer point is for future staffing. While we are blessed by several short term helpers over the next few months, we are still in great need of qualified, long term teachers. At bare minimum we urgently need two more teachers, but more could certainly be used! And thirdly, this has been and will continue to be a pretty challenging year for me personally, and while I’m not sure what the Lord is making out of all these circumstances, I want to learn the lessons He is trying to teach me, and rely on His strength. How comforting to know that I don’t have to sort out or fix everything—this is His school!

Thank you for your prayers, e-mails, and gifts over these last few months. Oftentimes during some of my worst days or months I would hear from someone back home, and that encouragement would help carry me through the rest of that day.

May He find us faithful wherever He has called us to be!

Monday, May 2, 2016

Ready or not, here they come!

Today is May Day, a national holiday in Zambia, so we don’t have any workers in, and I’m getting a chance to get a few things done before the final push to prepare for term. Last week was a very busy one for me full of training new people, working through some logistics for my new responsibility for the cleaning of the school buildings, and of course some planning. I also managed to finish The History of Ancient Egypt Great Course, and the second part of a church history course. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking/worrying about floor polish, man hours, and washing walls, and I’m very pleased with the two new workers we hired for school and accommodation cleaning. It’s lovely to start with a blank slate as it were, and get things set up so our buildings will be cleaner.

Tomorrow kids start to arrive, and then the mad dash of term kicks off on Wednesday morning. Prayers of wisdom, grace, and sanity are always appreciated! I’m hoping that the holiday will have been as good for my students as it was for me, and that they will come back with a real heart to work hard and do well.