Sunday, August 30, 2009

When I was blog walking this morning...

I saw this:

Faith without social justice = narcissism
Social justice without faith = despair
(Kevin Lum)


Friday, August 28, 2009

School Thoughts

So, once upon a time I used to go on and on about school...

haha. Okay, sometimes I still do. But seriously, you can ask Eric, I talk about it a lot less than I used to. I mostly credit this to having a co-teacher. It's amazing what having an adult in the room with you does to your need to process with your spouse!

So in the spirit of my last post, I'll let you know the scoop on my first week:

#1 It was way too busy. First grade teachers pulled several 6 pm departures... leaving today at the miraculously early time of 4:10. (Too bad I just finished the schoolwork I didn't get done on location.) But we did enjoy some relaxing time together with other coworkers before heading home, which was great.

#2 I really like my class, I think. I'll put in that disclaimer since it's only been one week. It seems like a great dynamic though, and I love the different personalities that are popping up in our room!

#3 Geography lessons were part of the curriculum this week. We learned all about the seven continents, including the one we live on- North America. When asked what the name of our country was, one of my English Language Learners replied, "The United States of North America," which I thought made perfect geographical sense. Here's to the good ol US of NA!

Now this weekend, much to Eric's pleasure, I will be enjoying my time sans schoolwork. Check those bubbles in your mouth, hands at your sides, and have a great day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Obligatory First Day of School Post

It came with 26 children (4 absent). It went (still with 26 children).

There were no catastrophes.

Chalk it up as a good day one for class #5.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


Don't you just hate when...

you try so hard to do everything right and then find out that somehow you made some major error that you're not sure how you would have prevented in the first place?


that happens twice in the same day?

Don't you just love when...

your husband loves you well by cleaning the house and volunteering to start dinner and insists on making you relax?


when you spend good time with friends, who though from a different culture halfway across the world, you have deepening, real relationships with?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Faces of Change

The past two years as I have prepared to go to Sierra Leone, I have spent a lot of time talking about the organization and the programs and the inservices and all the things that we do there to help promote a better future for the country. I think it is easier to talk with people about those things since saying, "Aunty Miatta and I had a good time watching the male teachers play in a football match," does not as easily inspire people to give prayers or otherwise. But the foundation for all of our man-made programs is the God-made people. And people are reached, grow, and change through relationships. The words we imparted have no impact if we are simply foreigners to one another. And in my mere words, it is hard to express the impact that these specific people have had upon my life. To me, they are not simply Africans. Or cute children from a different culture and continent. They are friends. And I strongly believe that it is through friendships that change takes place. And it is through the nationals' relationships with their people that Sierra Leone will change.

But people change slowly. Heh, I feel in my own life that I'm often one step forward, one mile back. But just as Christ's commitment made at Calvary doesn't have a deadline, neither should my relationships with them. And this confronts my American efficiency. I need and they need the transforming work of the LORD, and I am thankful that God uses us to grow each other.

I wish you could meet these people. Please pray for them...

Leader of the international (that's us) teams. He was miraculously saved from death during the war. He is hilarious and gets American humor.

Stephen Michael.
Child polio-survivor. This does not define him. What defines him is his godly leadership. He is admired by the younger home children and has started churches. (He is "only" a teenager.)

Uncle Sons.
Primary principal. He desires to teach correct content in the school. He believes, with a minority, that all children (regardless of ability) should be educated.

Sahr Brima.
A young man growing in his faith and in his leadership.

Rescued from a life on the streets, she is one of the older home girls. She is a becoming a leader of the other children.

Brave enough to stand up for the first time a year ago and encourage her peers to keep themselves pure and away from premature marriages.

Aunty Miatta.
Believes in the training we have brought. Loves on the good and "troublesome" students. Is excited to grow as an educator.

Aunty Chris.
Has blessed us through her service the past two years. Pastors a church with her husband in Freetown. Love the home children like a true mother.

One of the oldest home children. Is going to the university in the fall to study law.

Aunty Batu.
Loves well. Seeks to bless her family.

Musa Jongo.
Will be a diplomat or president someday.

Knows how to have fun with her peers and how to be a friend.

Goes to school and works hard on his very own farm. He's also 15.

Janet Nicol.
Eric and I's sponsor child. How I pray that she will grow in the LORD and become a leader in her country.

A national intern. Has a servant's heart. Loves well.

Leads by example. Has great hope.

International friends seeking godly change.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yes. Normal life is back.

Today was a day definitely more reminiscent of normal life and not that lovely summer vacation I just said good-bye too.

Get up early- spill coffee on pants while getting in car- run back in and change- get to school almost late- stay super busy all day long- leave feeling like I got nothing done- run almost 3 miles- run home (not literally)- shower quickly- water plants- fix computer*- youth group til 8- go home- play with cats- clean dishes from morning- finally sit down.

Yes, life how I've missed you. As I told my sorta cousin, I love my life, but I don't know how I'd do it with kids! Bring it on school year!

* Disclaimer: I don't normally fix the computers around here- I married well. This normally falls to Eric who not only enjoys it but who also does it in a sixteenth of the time it would take me. However, it is not normal for me to be the spouse who is left behind in the U.S. And since we were having printer problems and the one my friends call to fix their computers is also my missing spouse, I tried to figure it out. At first I failed. But it finally hit me this afternoon, it was a network problem. Now with our printer manually connected and the network for Eric to fix upon his return, computer problems have been averted!

** Please pray for Eric. I talked to him today (he was proud of me for the computer!) and he is not feeling well. Please pray for energy and good health for him! Thanks!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Like a Good Pair of Jeans That's All Worn Out

Day one of the rest of the school year- check!

I can't believe summer is already over! It flew by. We had the blessing of seeing many friends who came to us and who we went to see. I had about 5 relaxing days at the end of the break which helped me feel rejuvenated.

Still, it's never easy jumping back into a year. I woke up early enough to do some yoga this morning; we'll see if I make it out of bed in time to do it tomorrow. Last year, I did yoga the first day too, and then never did it again before work the whole year. Hopefully, that will not become a tradition!

I jumped straight into busyness at work, but I have a good, tired (oh so very tired) feeling.

Today, my co-teacher Amy kept asking me if we could try this or that, and I was pretty amiable toward everything she suggested. She was somewhat surprised as I (like her) can be pretty opinionated. However, as I explained to her, co-teaching with her again is like putting on that comfortable pair of jeans. You don't have to try hard to wear them, so you can just go with the flow. I'm thankful to have Amy teaching with me (and I with her) again this year, which is good... because we have a lot of work to do tomorrow!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

House to Home

We made it. We've finally, truly moved in. Countless hours of work and 3 1/2 months later- this is what you get.

The "Before"

The "After"

Our dining meets living area.

Notice the absence of the wall. My husband and college guy friends were all over that!

Our Bedroom


More kitchen goodness. (I love it!)

My half of the study.

And... Eric's half!


Guestroom. We're currently on guest #6. Come visit us!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Two Random Things... Actually Three

#1 You figure out the relationship. My cousin's husband is staying with us for a few weeks as he attends a work training here. What is he in relation to me? Cousin-in-law? To Eric? Oh boy... good luck! Anyways, Mike is great and even mowed our lawn today :) But what I mostly wanted to share was what he brought:

That's right. Not just any coffee... Obama coffee! Apparently a friend of his owns a coffee shop and is making his own blends. For the President it is half Kenyan- half Hawaiian. For all my dear conservative friends, I believe Mike told me there was a McCain blend as well. (p.s. The maker of this coffee owns a Christian coffee shop... just sayin.)

#2 I wish I had taken a "before" picture, but sadly I did not. All those who have been to our house can vouch that we had an awful sticky residue that happened to be the shape of a perfect rectangle in our living area. (hmm... I wonder what caused that??) It must have been a slippery rug. Anyways, I bought this Goo Gone stuff, and it worked, like a miracle. Spray, wipe... spray wipe. My friend Lindsey had tried getting it up while I was gone in Sierra Leone (she's awesome) but to no avail. Dear G.G., you are my hero!

#3 I started to post about the first two items, but then realized I should ask you to pray for Eric as well. He and a team of ten are in Guadalajara, Mexico on a mission trip with our church this week. I believe in many ways this is an exposure trip, as well as an opportunity to share the gospel with children there and minister to the family our church supports. I took them very, very early to the airport this morning. They'll be there August 1 - 10.