Friday, June 10, 2011

Sierra Leone Bound

I wrote this as a letter, but I thought I'd post it to my blog too...

This will soon be my view, and Buwa will soon be my greeting! As many of you already know, I am returning to Sierra Leone, a country in West Africa, tomorrow to continue working with the national teachers and the Children of the Nations education program. Returning has such a nice sound to it. I remember when I visited for the first time in 2008. Excitement met fear, and I wondered what in the world I thought I was doing. What happened that summer is that I met a lot of teachers, other adults, and children that were people just like me. They had strengths they shared, and I had mine. We took these gifts from the LORD and did life together. And I am excited to do this again.

This year, I am taking a leap of faith and adding Teacher Team Leader and Team Host to my in-country responsibilities. This had led to a busy season of preparation, but I look forward to being stretched and grown in new ways. As team leader, I am leading our team of 8 to work with the national teachers through inservices, co-teaching, co-planning, and modeling. Our inservices will cover assessments, teaching English as a second language, math strategies, cognitive development, being a Christian who is an educator, the reading and writing continuum, and leadership development within the school. When the teacher team leaves on July 3, I will be stepping fully into the role of Team Host. As the host, I will be working with the other Children of the Nations teams as a liaison between them and the national staff. It will be a wonderful opportunity to see other pieces of the puzzle that are building strong community and future leaders in the area of Banta Mokelleh. Perhaps, most importantly, it will give me more time to spend with my padi, or friends, in this special place.

I would like to ask for your prayer during my six weeks away. Summer is a busy season, but knowing that you are petitioning the Father on behalf of myself, our team, and Sierra Leone will be an immense encouragement. I know that HE can do great things in this nation, and my prayer is that I can be a part of it.

Please join me in praying:

v F For COTN (, in its mission and vision as an organization in Sierra Leone.

v v For safety and health for myself, my team, and all the teams coming and going this summer.

v F For unexciting plane flights that come with no delays or problems.

vv For excellent interpersonal relationships between the team and the national teachers.

v F For an attitude of servanthood from both the national staff and the international visitors.

v F For cultural differences to enhance, rather than destroy, relationships.

v F For the LORD to meet team members where they are at and reveal more of Himself to them.

v F For personal wisdom, grace, and clarity in duties or conflicts that may arise as Team Host.

v v For personal faithfulness in spending time in prayer and rest before the LORD .

v F For our marriage to be strengthened as Eric and I are apart this Summer.

I value your prayers. What a blessing it is to have good and faithful friends on both sides of the Atlantic!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


5 years ago and a few more days the Dallas Mavericks were playing for the first time in the NBA Finals. They were going to make 2006 special by winning, but sadly on our fourth day of marriage they started losing- badly. In ended that same way (the finals, not our honeymoon).

Tomorrow is my anniversary, and tonight the Mavs gave us a 5th game win to lead the series 3-2. I am glad to say that just like the Mavs, our marriage is better after 5 years.

Love you Eric (way more than Dirk...).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Fortunes, Flying Solo, and Future

Last night, I got Chinese take-out, always an excellent choice on a solo Saturday night. I even got two fortune cookies since Eric was not around for sharing. Where is Eric, you might ask... Well Eric is gone, gone, gone for Air Force chaplain training. Gone to the tune of 3 months, which for us will be a record. Before this, the longest was 3 weeks, and two things were much better about that time apart:

1. Weeks
2. I was the one gone.

But, we will survive. Minus my bout of emotional crying during good-byes at the airport that may make you think otherwise, I am doing fine. I've lined the kitchen cabinets, killed hoards of moths (what's up with this moth attack, Denver??), duct taped a window (re: moths), and eaten take-out Chinese by myself on a Saturday night. The latter is my biggest feat yet. It's come as a shock to realize how much Eric entertains me!

But back to fortunes- for I was lucky enough to get two. When I opened them, I had to laugh...

First of all, anyone who knows me well knows my best ideas always come in the shower. Seriously. I think my successful interventions for my students have always come between shampoo and conditioner. So really, I got this fortune in the bag. It's more like a cheerleader "Keep up the great thinking" reminder. Perfect.

And then, onto Changes... I feel like I could mostly sum up life right now with that word. Eric being gone and beginning what will hopefully become a career in the AF is biggest change Numero Uno. Then there's the fact that I will be gone in Sierra Leone for 6 weeks and trying out team leader and team host. And how about that half my friends are leaving Denver (crazies) and leaving me to my own devices, like Saturday night Chinese and the urge to walk up to random people and befriend them. Which leads into my favorite question, "What are you doing in 2012?" To which I reply, "We are living in ambiguity" which is code for 'We will have no idea what changes are coming for a long, long time'...

Good thing we will settle happily.