The Nit-Grit: Smiles and Sweat

What’s in this edition:

site visits

This month I have had the opportunity of taking several visits to schools and other sites our organization works to support. It was great to spend some time with our national workers, both encouraging them and also learning from what they are doing. One highlight was visiting one of our schools that is just three years old. I was encouraged to see the energy and ambition of our national partners, as they fearlessly led this elementary school with creative teaching style and revolutionary learning techniques. I am excited for the future of this school as it continues to grow. I had the privilege of teaching 1st and 2nd grade while I was there. See the photo album here.

I also had the joy of bringing my grade 9 Bible class on a short term service trip (read about it in my post “Just Jump”). After focusing a lot on community development and leadership this year in class, it was a joy to see them translate what they had learned into practical application. They taught classes, prayer walked, and picked up trash among this tiny village up in the mountains. See the photo album here.

 

s-village

Please pray for S-Village. If you haven’t kept up with the developments of S-village, you can read the first update here and the second update here. There has been an incredible amount of spiritual warfare in this village. We have sent a national teacher from our school, but there is a lot of conflict between a majority religion teacher there and the village chiefs. The village chiefs want education, but coming out of their animistic beliefs, they are not sure which religion to follow. Please keep them in your prayers.

teacher training program

I am beyond excited to be a part of the building of our new teacher training program. This will be my focus over the next year as I not only live with our teachers in training but will also be involved in the creating of the program as a whole.

Quality teachers are the foundational element to effective Christian Education. Right now I work with a “Lab school”, that is a school we hope to model other schools after that provide quality, creative, Christian education to nationals. This year we have started a Teacher Training Program to equip teachers to train in these schools. This last year, we brought four students in from another area and enrolled them in a local University. The students went to class in the evenings and then attended specialized training given by us at our Lab School. We pay for these students to study for four years and live in our dorm (which I currently live in as well) and then they commit to teaching for four years in one of our schools (we have about 25 schools in different parts of the country). This past year was the pilot year, and I am excited to be a part of the program as we grow it into its second year next year. I am looking forward to receiving five new students next year from a different remote area.

We took the four students from this year on a field trip to celebrate them finishing exams. See the photo album here.

language learning

Thank you SO much for your prayers concerning my language learning. I had reduced my official language classes to 2/week in March, and as of last week I have finished classes altogether.  I anticipate language will be something that I will continue to learn throughout the entirety of my time here, but I am encouraged to move beyond the classroom and continue to learn from the nationals I live with and the people around me. Please continue to pray that my comprehension would increase, that I might better be able to understand those around me. That being said, while this journey of language learning has been difficult, I have had some recent breakthroughs that have been very encouraging.

this summer

I am very excited as I look ahead into the next several months. Next week I will be traveling with some of my ninth graders on a short trip to celebrate their graduation, as well as returning to the 3-year-old school I described above for their graduation. I am looking forward to spending that time with my students and continuing to deepen my relationship with them. We will also be receiving five new students into the dorm I live in (as described above).

We will also be hosting several short term teams from the US. In July, I will be doing some teacher training at our school on “Strategies for using the Internet for Resourceful and Creative Teaching”. My emphasis will be on TedEd and Skype in the Classroom, and I am really excited about the possibilities both of these options have for enhancing our creative teaching here in Southeast Asia.

In August I will be taking a trip to a site out in the “Jungle”. Just today I met with some phenomenal, innovative teachers from that same area who have a passion for providing education to their next generation of leaders. I look forward to visiting the school we already have there, as well as meeting with some other people who I hope to encourage in their endeavors to develop Christian education.

prayer requests

Here are the major prayer requests, visit my prayer & praise page to read more:

  • For S-Village (see above)
  • For the short term teams coming this summer, that God would prepare their hearts and ours, and that God would open doors for their maximal effectivity
  • For the 5 new students in our teacher training program, as well as the 4 returning students
  • That God would continue to guide us in developing our teacher training program
  • That God would continue to awaken dreams in the hearts of our students who are graduating this year
  • For our grade 12 graduates as they continue on to University
  • For safety and guidance as I continue site visits

Thanks so much for your prayer, support, and interest in all that God is doing here. It’s so exciting to be a part of, and I am so grateful that you are a part of it with me!

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