Monday, May 29, 2017

Birthday party, a birthday, and another busy week

Last week was a little intense as it was birthday party (early, I know). That meant that Tuesday, Wednesday (the actual day of), and Thursday were rather thrown off by the pre-cake, cake-day, and post-cakehead syndrome that afflicts our children three times a year. The theme was Russia, so I made a kokoshnik (Russian headdress),

and found time to sneak in and do a balalika birthday cake.

We had a Russian dinner including peroshki (huzzah!), and the kids as always produced some lovely art.

My birthday was this weekend, and as I was off, it was a lovely weekend indeed! Naps! Cooking! Movies with friends! Knitting time! Laundry! This is the stuff bliss is made of… Don’t worry, I didn’t do any marking after lunch on the actual day, but I got caught up this afternoon and evening. I got a few cards and gifts from students including this lovely item lovingly crafted for me by a grade 3. Not sure what to call it, but am tickled with her creativity!

This week will also be a little intense, as it is a four day school week with half-term on Friday and Saturday. So, the phrase that will be on my lips all week as I continue my overcoming inertia efforts will be, “GET IT DONE! Because I CAN and I WILL haul you in here over half-term!” So, prayers for some extra grace for me, and some extra ‘want to’ for my students would not go amiss!

Also, it is board meeting at the school this week, so there will be a lot of traveling and a day of intense discussion of school affairs on the board’s part. Please pray for wisdom for them as they have a difficult issue to discuss.

In just the last few days the weather has noticeably gotten colder at night—yay dry season! I’ve started pulling out socks in the evenings, and soon I’ll be firing up my new heater. Looking forward to what cold weather I can get—hand knits time!

Parting shot: Grade 2’s in music class working on their pictures as we listened to Pictures at an Exhibition.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

May 2017 Newsletter

Dear Friends and Family,

I know it’s been awhile, and a lot has happened since I wrote you last! I am back in Zambia after a wonderful, but very busy five months in the US on a much needed furlough. During those five months I made trips to Colorado, Tennessee, Georgia, Delaware, Indiana, Montana, and Canada. I got to go up Pike’s Peak, see Niagara Falls from both sides, and see the Liberty Bell. I had the opportunity to visit with many dear friends and family members, and I was able to find some much needed supplies to bring back to Zambia. I was able to get my shoulder seen to, attend a cousin’s wedding, and finally meet some dear saints who have been sending my supplies in container boxes for the last few years. I had to spend the night in an airport food court after a series of canceled flights, and had the opportunity to do some substitute teaching at a local Christian school. Yes, it was a very busy five months, but it was also a very wonderful five months.

There has been a lot of paper work I needed to do in the last two weeks, and the Lord has given great help. Before heading back up to Sakeji I was able to get my NRC (National Registration Card) so that I can continue the process of registering to teach in Zambia with the ECZ.

I also had to make a visit to immigration in Ikelenge to get my work permit extension stamped into my passport and certified copies made of my documents last week. Thankfully I was able to find the immigration officer, and get those items taken care of. Also, while I was in the States I took the Generalist 4-8 exam and passed it, so I have now added that qualification to my teachers certification. It is a relief to have all those details taken care of—now I should be fine for the next year and a half!

Once I got back up to the school, I had two and a half days to prepare for second term. This whole first week has been pretty intense; picking up old routines, figuring out where things are, evaluating what was accomplished during term 1. I have 11 6th graders to get to know, and 10 7th graders to continue a relationship with. The days continue to be long, but it is good to be back in my own classroom. This term will certainly have its challenges, but I also look forward to having a chance to impact these young lives.

As I go into this new term at Sakeji, here are some specific things you can pray for. Firstly, please pray for me and for wisdom as I settle back into all my routines and responsibilities. Secondly, a praise that my shoulder is much better after some medication and two massages, but prayer that I will be able to manage it wisely and keep it from getting so bad again. Thirdly, pray that I will know the Lord’s will very clearly over these next few months, and that I will be quick to obey His voice.

Thank you so much to all of your who pray for me, and particularly all the people who encouraged me, listened to me, and treated me to some North American luxuries while I was home. Without your support and prayers, I could not continue to serve. Thank you, and may the Lord bless you richly for your kindness to me.

May we be found faithful, wherever we are called to be!

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Teacher has Returned

Well, no matter how well I plan and how good my intentions are, I just can’t seem to manage the last few days of my furloughs as well as I would like! This time I got a grand two hours of sleep before loading up the car for that last drive to Dallas. I had been up late watching a last movie with my family, and then packing my bags and the tubs of my things that needed to be put in storage. I cried when I left my mom to head through security, and I cried when we took off from the state I love. Every time I leave, I am reminded again how deep those pine scented hills and friendly folks are woven into my heartstrings.

While long, my trip to Zambia was pretty uneventful. As usual I had a long layover in Dubai where I was provided with a hotel room so I could do the two things I most wanted in the whole world at that point—take a shower and sleep in a bed. I enjoyed my last Starbucks at the airport, and found the tinniest Nutella jar I’ve ever seen. One of these days I’m going to go out on a tour of Dubai…when I’m not so tired I’m nauseous!

I had two and a half days in Lusaka before heading up to the school, and I spent them with some dear family friends who cheerfully waited for me to get my report order, took me shopping, and treated me to a few last indulgences before heading up country. I am so thankful for their hospitality and kindness. As I have been processing through a lot of emotions and thoughts these last few days, the ‘buffer’ time was much needed. It is also good to be with people who have known me since I was a kindergartener, and who know and love my family.

Now that I’m back up at the school, I have been busy with cleaning in my house, unpacking, getting my classroom straightened out, and sorting through the many details that go into a beginning of term. These are of course compounded because I was away for a term! The students arrived back on Friday, and I spent a large portion of the day in my classroom working through lesson plans and projections. This is my first time with the new term schedule (opening on a weekend), and I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out.

Today was the first real day of classes, and while I could have used an extra half hour or so, it was a good day. I also had to make a run into Ikelenge to run various errands including a stop at immigration, the post office, pick up a basin of tomatoes for the school, and buy a few staple items for myself. All in all it was a productive day; I even got a nap in!

Parting shot: The view towards Kalene--so pretty!