Mwabomba uli (work greeting in Lungu),
Well, another school closing day has come and gone. Quite a few guardians showed up for the program where they had an opportunity to see the kids dance, perform skits, and recite character trait poems. As I was watching the kids perform, I was reminded of how much has happened this term. There have been many challenges, and so many beautiful things as well. Sometimes it felt like walking through a desert, but then suddenly there would be this vibrant flower that I couldn’t help but notice. So the desert didn’t always feel like a desert, even though it should have, because God is good.
Several of us on the school team here are referring to this school term as the term of “darkness coming to light.” We have had several serious issues with two of our teachers come to light in a way that prompted us to take action and suspend them. There are legal hoops to jump through, and many other factors that our team had to consider when coming to this decision, but for the sake of the students and staff we found it a necessary step to take. Even though this was something that fell mainly under my responsibility umbrella, it became a team effort to ensure that we were following the Spirit’s guidance, and making wise decisions. Through these challenges our team has seen the benefit of working together and communicating more often. God wants us to be a body of believers for a reason.
Light was also shed on our kid’s views of love and marriage. Some girls came to my office and shed light on some inappropriate things that were happening at school, and outside of school. This led to the rest of the teachers and I having talks with the students about what love is and what marriage is…most of them didn’t know, and had some really sad interpretations of both. Our kids all live in villages, so there’s not a lot that they haven’t been exposed to (even our grade 0’s). What they’re taught about love in the villages is so SO false, and even though it was tough to hear about some of their experiences, it was very good to have the opportunity to share Biblical truths on this subject (which is not usually talked about openly). I also think that for our teen girls to see that I’m content to be single was very strange, but also a good example for them, and a way to show that my identity is in Jesus and not my marital status. As all of this was happening, we also found out that one of our grade 7 girls is pregnant and that the boy is refusing to accept responsibility for the baby. She is coming from one of the most vulnerable families in Mpulungu, and won’t be able to take proper care of the baby when it comes. Pray for her, and for us, as we walk though this journey with her. Most of all, pray that the students would come to understand and know God’s love for them deeply.
Really, all of our kids are going through something or need help in some way and need someone to walk alongside them. Many of them have been opening up to me more about struggles at home…not having food or money, being beaten, not even having soap to wash clothes or themselves, etc, but I don’t always know how to help. I love that they open up, and that God has given me the opportunity to show compassion to the kids and their families, but pray for Godly wisdom, and that through helping with money or food or prayer they will experience the love of Jesus.
In a way, these tough situations where darkness has come to light, and when I don’t know what to do are the real flowers in the desert, because it gives me (and the team) the chance to walk in integrity and to speak the truth, and the truth is powerful. These situations cause me to look to the Lord for answers and help, and that’s always a good thing. However, one of the most beautiful flowers was a more obvious kind, and came into view when one of my grade 5 students came to me after I led class devotions to say that he wants to know more about how to have a relationship with Jesus (!!!!!!!). We met in my office later that day and he accepted Jesus as his savior. Pray for him as he navigates how to have a relationship with Jesus. He’s coming to my house tomorrow to have a Bible study, and I feel like the most inadequate person to disciple him, but I’m bursting with joy, and so is all of heaven! How amazing is it that God would let me see this boy come to Jesus?!
A few other desert flowers have come in the form of a birthday outing and, of course, football games. I took some grade 6 boys to the beach at Isanga Bay for my birthday, and man oh man did they have a blast! They got to swim, kayak, eat nice food, and play football on the beach. It was a great time, and I’m so thankful that I was able to bless the boys in this way. Team Cooperation has also had more games, and more teams around Mpulungu requesting to play them. They’ve really come together as a team and have been very committed in training. I also have more boys that are younger or smaller that wanted a team, so now Team Compassion has come into existence. They just had their first game today and won in a penalty shoot-out! One of my boys from Team Cooperation even helped to coach them, and the others encouraged them and gave advice. All the boys still consider me a “coach” because I help to organize everything and because they want me to show up to the games, but really, their coach is a friend of mine who actually knows how to play football. His name is Sunday, and he’s been through the coaching training and has a heart for the boys. I’m so thankful that he is willing to give up so much time to invest in their lives (Especially because I have no idea what I’m doing, which is nothing new).
-that gossip that was spread by a teacher would not interfere with work for the Kingdom. Pray for protection as gossip in Mpulungu can spread quickly, and that if it does spread people won’t believe it.
-for the boy who accepted Jesus as his savior, as he grows in his relationship with the Lord. And for me to know how to disciple him, and that others would join in this mission.
-that the school leadership team would continue to work well together, and that we would have wisdom from the Lord as we deal with the tough stuff (especially teacher issues).
-for the kids at school. SO many of them need help, and as teachers and missionaries we need discernment on how to help them.
- for the new finance team member (Zambian) and a couple that has just joined us from the Netherlands.
-that God would continue to call the students at our school to Himself; that they would accept His forgiveness and grace.
-that the process of getting my driver’s license would go smoothly. My international one is expiring and getting my Zambian one has the potential to cause a major headache.
Thanks so much for your prayers and support. As God brings this darkness to light it’s as if He’s preparing the soil for the seeds; by pulling out the weeds and removing the rocks that we too often let accumulate in our lives. But, there is progress.
Lesa amipale (God bless you),