Monday, February 18, 2013
New!!! Pictures in Album from December Holiday. If you have a problem viewing them, please email me: email@example.com
In January, the Lord sent an amazingly talented, Christian Counselor who is serving with us for a couple of months from Johannesburg, to minister specifically to our children and mommies. The bible says there are those who plant and those who water and those who yield the Harvest. Well so many people, tears and so much time and energy have all been poured into the children and mommies in Children of Promise Ministries, Namibia. The Lord is blessing each conversation she has with His presence and is producing a lot of fruit through the time, experiences and words she is giving them. Pray for continued fruit!
Mr B is coaching/disciplining the soccer team and doing an excellent job chasing our kids around the field until we learn to play by the rules and respect the sport! My roles at TKCA have changed in the past couple of weeks. Praise the Lord, they found an excellent, Namibian, grade 3 teacher (though I really miss them) and I am now doing individual training for the children with special needs along with teaching 2 upper primary classes. The challenge now is fitting everyone from the different grades into my day and coordinating with classroom teachers so that I am reinforcing the classroom work as well as meeting their individual needs. God's grace and mercy and patience has been extended to me and others during this time, but only through your prayers for peace and flexibility. Thank you!
Guitar classes are every Wednesday and they come for supervised practice on two seperate days. Please pray for ideas and guidance as far as keeping the children interested and helping them to see they can do it and become successful with practice. Commitment is very important - weather it's to school work, a hobby, family, church, anything however it's very difficult to teach them. Pray that the Lord will build the confidence in themselves. There is so much desire, but only two come on a regular basis.
Speaking of church ministry, I am so privileged that the Lord has been using me daily at Eagle Christian Center, Arandis. I have seen the desperation for our heavenly father in this place and it's amazing during a Sunday service to see people so intent on loving Jesus and drawing closer to Him through the songs they sing. He gives me words to teach, motivate and encourage - nothing I "plan" to say can ever come close to the clarity and power of His message. I know the peace and success in their life is coming as they invest in God's word. Pray for the young people as members of the worship, youth group and choir to listen to the Lord and be open to commitment to Him. I know they will be blessed if they reach beyond themselves to a loving, Father.
Birthdays are a tremendous blessing in Arandis! We celebrated Cyprian and his wife Rejoice (an elder at Eagle Christian Center) on a beautiful afternoon of some more of Ms Nan, Hospitality. Christmas Eve (attached) was another example when we had more than 30 people at the house to eat! Her gift is so evident and it's great to see. Pray that the Lord will bless her even more as she consistently gives generously. While on the topic, I am humbled and amazed daily at God's provision for my life and the Lord is using her to willingly provide for my living here. If and when I hear about birthday's I try to give words of encouragement and some chocolate to each child, but since it's been more than a year - they are all coming back for round two, YIKES!
There are 7 weeks to wrap up before I will be reunited with my family on the other side of the coast, to return and finish out the year. No matter how strong you are, 10 months is a long time to be away from family :) Pray that these last few weeks, I will give all that I can to help establish leaders here in Arandis.
As you open you're eyes, may you see God and experience that peace that, Lord knows, we all need.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
As for myself, at TKCA, the Lord is gracing me with flexibility and willingness to do whatever task is at hand. I am now teaching grade three full-time, all the subjects (except for Afrikaans). We have finished two weeks and now I can say that I am doing well and loving it. I have one reading student, and guitar students apart from the eleven in third grade. We'll be starting an "academic/social counseling" session (of sort) one on one with the upper primary children next week in the afternoons. We have some people coming in to help with afternoon classes and the third grade aid is taking care of after school for our class! God has brought help and it's really neat to see things working well this year. Of course their are gaps, but with His help there is also tremendous success.
I am enjoying playing guitar again with the kids and leading at church. One of my students is now playing with us on Sundays which is really amazing! As soon as I can figure out how to get my pictures from my memory card to my computer, I promise I will post them to the blog so you can see what we've been doing. Until then, be blessed in His presence and continue to be open to conversations and random acts of kindness to people that will bring change in their lives.
Saturday, December 8, 2012
It is comforting to think about you all back home. I am thankful for the prayers that are sent here from home. They are the absolute best Christmas gift I could ever hope for. I see how God applies the prayers of his saints where ever he needs them. I see how they are used to prevent peril, provide for needs, to soften hard hearts, and increasing his kingdom in every imaginable ,way. THANK YOU!!!
The children are done with school now and are preparing for break, "holiday" as they call it. It is summer vacation and Christmas all wrapped together. They will return to school January 15 to begin a new year.
Most of the children will be traveling. They go to the "farm". The farm is a general term which could mean a farm with animals and produce or just where they have "family". Family could be the people they grew up with or that lived in their household, not necessarily blood related. So if they say my brother, Aunty, or cousin it is, for sure, an important relationship of some sort.
The farm, however, isn't always a safe place for them. It represents the dangers, negligence that fostered their coming to Arandis. Many were removed by the government for their safety.
I had the privilege of assisting Anna in planning a Friday Fun Day full of events for about 35 of the children. The main desire was to send them off with prayer as we do in our church when someone is going off somewhere. First we had a field play where they played soccer, elimination, and other fun activities with water balloons. There were lots of smiles and joyful sounds as they all interacted. We then prepared snacks for the movie we showed at the end of the activities. The most important time was the prayer and sharing we had with them. We asked pastor Banda and another brother involved in youth ministry to join us. It was reassuring for us as well as the children to have encouraged and prayed for them before they all leave. God will protect them!
I will leave you with some verses I've been meditating on.
" Praise to God, the father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heavenly realms in Christ. For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. He did this by predestinating us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will to the praise of the glory of his grace that he has freely bestowed on us in his dear Son. In Christ, we too have been claimed as God's own possession, since we were predestined according to one purpose of him who accomplishes all things according to the counsel of his will.
"in this new life, it does Not matter if we are Jew or gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave or free. CHRIST IS ALL THAT MATTERS AND HE LIVES IN ALL OF US!!". Ephesians 1:3-6,11.
Yes, Father, we were all created by you and in your image and likeness as part of your family. Some come from such places of devastation yet we all are rich in your glorious nature through Jesus Christ, our brother of redemption. So from Every nation, tribe and tongue we call you, Abba,Father. Praise to your most Holy Name!
We love you, church!
Grace and peace be to you all,
Anna and Maureen
Sunday, November 18, 2012
IF precious children felt safe, valued and respected - the state of mind in which they are most naturally capable of learning - THAN they would be able to retain content.
IF teachers assigned authority to students and not gave them tasks THAN we would develop leaders not followers.
every moment of these precious ones' days were absent of all threats, confusion and strife.
"For God is not the author of confusion, but of PEACE!"they knew what to expect when coming to class
the directions were clear and there was never miscommunication between teacher and student.
"Mean what you say, and say what you mean!"teachers cared about their students' personal and academic goals.
teachers actually believed that every student can learn, although each brain is unique?!
teachers believed that they can influence and inspire students?
students were were consistently taught (7% of the time with words 93% by adult-modelling) to respect teachers, peers and themselves.
there was a secure classroom whose activities were purposed to intentionally reach "all learners." If
students could trust and therefore respect the authorities in their lives
IF we engaged students in their learning since that's 90% effective and lecturing is only 5% THAN we would have at least 90% success in the classroom, at home and at assessment time.
IF we ministered to their emotional needs THAN "A heart at Peace gives life to the body!"
IF we exemplified true love for them to follow since that is the only thing that can truly transform a person THAN they would actually love thier peers and themselves.
In the same way, if students felt valued by the adults in their lives; they could in turn value themselves, their peers and their work.
"But Jesus looked at them and said to them, 'With Men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible!'" (Matthew 19:26
Teacher, parent or not - we all have children in our lives, can we commit to loving them like this so the above items can turn from imaginary to reality and our "proofs" can come to pass?
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
From a few of my kids when analyzing simile's in preparation from their exam
Student: The "God worshipers" are being compared to a mountain. The mountain is strong, it can not be shaken or move. It just sits there.
Ms Anna: Ok, and what about those people? Why are they being compared to this mountain?
Student: Well, when they trust God, they also can not move. Their trustness in God so strong that they don't think about moving.
There are many things that one could be anxious about during this time. For example: children whom you've been entrusted with passing their exams and moving onto the next grade, wondering if you've prepared them enough; an important City in the USA and myriads of families loosing their livelihood from a natural disaster; ones precious country electing it's new president while your watching with the rest of the world from afar..and the list goes on.
I've been gripped with fear and concern from the beginning of the day. Not because of the man that will be in office after this day finishes, but because of a lack of Trust in the Mighty, powerful God that we serve. What happens to those who do not trust in the Lord? We are not a country who trusts in the Lord or relies on His complete and utter control. Will we fall? Will we be shaken? We will certainly not stand like Mt Zion or be surrounded by the loving arms of the Lord. I awoke this morning after having dreamed about the declaration of independence with such a sense of honor for my own country and a burden to pray for us that we may remember Christ.
Do you know though that, despite what happens, God is in control?
This is literally where I read as I was praying tonight: I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever, nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it, God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past. Ecclesiastes 3:14-15
Let's pray more, trust God and live to the fullness that he wants us to. Ek het jou lief! Lekker aand!
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Vandag was Diensdag. Die dag was baia lekker! I enjoyed walking around after, afternoon classes and greeting many people on the road. There are just those days when you can say, "I'm so happy to be in Namibia!" When, despite the many challenges, you can attest to the fact that you fit right in! You can greet someone and make small conversation in Afrikaans, you become accustomed to the common remarks and can behave similarly, you are aware of certain personality traits of Namibians – eliminating some confusion, you don't stick out as much on arrival to a place. This evening there was a knock on the door… "It's Luis!" shouted the man with complete confidence, as if we should know him. Jillian, do you know a Luis? "No" Who's Luis? Should I open the door? I open the first door and of course it would be a micro-wave delivery man at 8pm. "No, sorry, wrong address!"
Deep into a lengthy lecture this morning with a few of my students about purpose and informing them that they need to desire their own education. If they are doing their work for Ouma, Teacher Anna, Teacher Jillian, or Auntie; they will not complete it. Each student has to want to want to get his education. For example, if Auntie says, "you can have a chocolate bar if you clean your room," will you clean it?
"Because I want the chocolate, Ms. Anna."
"What if your brother dropped 12 eggs and wiped them all over the floor?"
"I would do whatever it takes to clean that room because I want the chocolate."
"What if you were not offered chocolate? Would you want to do such a good job cleaning your room?"
"Ok, well what's your chocolate? What's that something you love to keep you interested in your education?...please tell me, I'm waiting."
"Well, Ms. Anna, what does 'Education' mean?" Oh, wow, great question. I guess I have to start again.
"I don't even think chocolate would keep me interested in school for that long. I would get sick of it!"
I don't know why I thought symbolism would work with very literal brains, but it was an honest mistake on my part. Working here in Arandis has aided in my understanding of how invaluable education is and how irrelevant it is to, much of the government in this country. On my way to Mummies Restaurant to greet a friend who works there, I ran into a ninth grade student who is suffering because her teachers have gone on strike and are lazy at school. They are not being taught anything in class; if they want to pass their exams, they have to go and find out the information on their own. Teachers are threatening not to mark the grade 12 exam papers, which would deter students from passing altogether. Ahh! What do you even say to a student who is going through this on a daily basis? Many students are just fooling around and the serious ones are getting understandably discouraged.
Back to the above story of our young students who lack the motivation to learn basic academics. What example are they getting from all outside influences? Why is it so hard to motivate these kids to challenge their minds and think outside the box of their current understanding? Everything around them says school is a joke; you won't ever amount to anything anyway. May they hear only the words of Christ; they are children of the King. They are fearfully and wonderfully made! He knows the number of the hair on their head; He knows their thoughts and every detail of their life before they were even born. (Psalm 139)
Now my thoughts are out – I can stop putting off preparing the end of year exam review for English! Yikes, two weeks left to the term and then it's decided, who moves onto the next grade. May each one reach his full-potential and study to the best of His ability; may God carry him the rest… Write one synonym for carry. Yes, good – Hold! Now use it in a sentence written in the past tense with two common nouns and one proper noun…
Stop typing and get to work, MS ANNA!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
"It's just a job Anna, don't worry so much about it!"
"That's the thing, my friend, it's not. If it were I'd be home, sitting on my parents couch drinking coffee! It's not a job; it's why I came here."
"Yes, that's what I'd be doing!"
"Remember, it’s just a job. Who are these kids? I’ll come and talk to them! You know Anna, in order for you to gain the students respect; you have to be buddies with them. Then they will do whatever you ask, not because they care about school, but because they like you!"
“Thank you, but, for fifth grade students, that won’t work. They will eat me alive. You know I am so reliant on God. I am desperate for him to fill my mouth with words. 'A soft answer turns away wrath!' Each moment with them is a gift from God."
“Remember, it’ just a job!”
How could I ever say that about real, human beings? Even though I'm terrible at this more days than not, and they help me to daily come face to face with all my imperfections...I still can't be lazy or give up. These are kids’ lives and the future of their community. Thankfully He has them hidden within the palm of His hand. There are those days when I wonder if I'm called to be a teacher. Communicating to students, managing their behavior and learning, disciplining and motivating them to want to want to learn and be successful, dodging their darts, and all the time understanding that they are just calling out to be loved, is nie maak lik werk. (It’s not easy work!) It's asking a lot of a weak, insecure human piece of dirt, it's not asking a lot of God! He knows and loves each one.
I attended a meeting and am pondering the ultimate privilege it is to work with children. (Simile is on the brain after editing my test for tomorrow) As frustrating as winding up a microphone cord. Tiring - like a ten mile run having been dormant all season; painful as slamming my thumb in the door of an old station wagon and heart-breaking because I want so much for them to realize the full potential that is there life. The privilege is: every question I can ask to stimulate his mind, every moment to plant the seed of God's word to quicken his spirit, every interaction to point him in the right direction. In the recurring words of Ms. Nan to the kids, I may be speaking to the "next president of Namibia!" I can always count the seeds in an apple, but I'll never know the myriads of apples that will come from planting one seed.
We had our first group-guitar class; I gave up giving 10 lessons in a row. There were only a few, who came, but it was great to see the excitement and the eagerness when they saw two brand new guitars purchased just for them. They are eager to learn and practice. Today we learned all the major notes up the neck, not the most fun lesson :) It’s so much more fun to play songs and sing or ask Ms. Anna to sing for them, but we are growing and learning to stay committed to something good, even when it's not as fun. One student hadn't done English homework in two weeks; I couldn't figure out a reason or come up with a way to get them to care about it. This person really enjoys the guitar and is doing so well. I finally decided to deter their practice until they decided to put the effort into the grades. One of the brightest in the class, could still pass without doing any homework or practice at all, but would be soaring if only would apply them self. At first it backfired (like many motivational activities I try to implement) this person decided to give up the guitar or find some other means to learn it. I stuck to my decision, as hard as it was and they came around with the signed agreement. I'm delighted they made the right choice! Let’s have faith it will last. There are so many stories of daily challenges and successes, I hope to jump on here more so you will be able to come along for the ride. All the honor goes to our Maker and Father, Jesus Christ.