Tag Archives: prayer

Be a Part of TransformNation

photoWould you like to be a part of TransformNation, and all that God is doing through teachers and schools throughout Indonesia? Join my support team, or click here to sponsor a teacher.

Would you commit to praying for us? Please pray….

  • for the adaptation of new students in TransformNation
  •  for schools and villages throughout Indonesia which don’t yet have the opportunity for quality education
  • for our four recent graduates of TransformNation as they go out to serve and lead in under-resourced areas throughout Indonesia
  • for Indonesia as it transitions to a historic new president

Life Together

Even now as I sit in my room writing this update, laughter is reverberating through the dorm that I live in. I’ve enjoyed every moment with these students that I have the privilege of living life together with.

What’s in this edition:

dorm life and teacher training

We have just finished our pilot year of our new teacher training program and are excited to welcome four new students this year. The vision is to take students from undereducated villages, educate, equip, train and disciple them to be teachers, and then send them back to their villages to teach their students in the same way. Last year we had 4 students come from K-island, and just last month we added 3 from P-island and 1 from J-island. This new teacher training program has become the focus of my ministry here. Please pray for us as we build the program, and that God would open doors and guide the program in the way He desires.

visit from Mom and Dad

A huge highlight from the last month was a visit from Mom and Dad! It was great to spend time with them, live life with them, and do ministry with them for ten days. They got to meet a lot of people I work with, and we made some time to do some volcano hiking and motorbike rides through villages. Make sure to check out the photo album.

creativity

I’m passionate about creativity, and I really see it as an important part of all ministry. (If you haven’t already, watch a video about my vision of creativity.) Beginning next week, I will have the joy of teaching creativity to our 8 teachers in our new training program. Please pray for inspiration, and that God would shape them into the creative beings He created them to be.

teaching English

For the last month or so I have been teaching English to my highschoolers. We were studying Helen Keller, and I had them do a project about the Paralympics. It was great to discuss disabilities, how God created us unique and beautiful, and the many ways God uses hard circumstances for His good.

prayer requests

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

  • Pray for the development of our teacher training program
  • Pray for guidance and inspiration as I teach and live with the students in the program
  • Pray for guidance and discernment as I look at shaping my ministry over the next several months
  • Pray for our team here and the many opportunities we have to be a part of God’s work in this country

Thank you so much for joining me in the work God is doing here!

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!

Irony and a Prayer Request

“The moment we recognize our complete weakness and our dependence upon Him will be the very moment that the Spirit of God will exhibit His power.” (Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest) Oh how I bank on the truth of this statement.

Nothing can prepare you to live and lead across cultures. Before I moved here I did a lot of studying, including taking a grad class on leading cross-culturally, but I am finding the only way to learn how is to do it and fail. I am preparing my 9th grade class for a short term trip in a couple of weeks. We will be going to a school to teach in an area that was affected by a volcano eruption a couple of years ago. Like any short term trip, my hope and desire is that the students would be stretched and grown into stronger leaders.

As a part of our preparation this week I am doing an exercise in class that will aim to help them identify assumptions they have and experience a simulation of what it’s like to experience cross-cultural stress and intercultural communication. Even though the area we are going to is in the same country, every region of this country has different micro cultures, so I anticipate it will be a cross-cultural experience for everyone.

The ironic truth is this: I’m incredibly nervous about performing this simulation on Monday and its effectivity. Why? Because I myself am trying to communicate across cultures. As I prepare the simulation I am being reminded of my own assumptions: that the students will understand the rules of the game, that the students will follow the rules, that the students will participate. All of these are essential for the effectivity of the simulation. But I long ago learned that these things can’t be assumed. I know full well that I may show up on Monday and the room isn’t available, or some students are absent, or they don’t understand what I’m trying to communicate.

And so I find myself arriving at that moment Chambers talks about. I am of complete weakness. I have to depend on Him. He is the great interpretor. I can spend days preparing, but it is the Holy Spirit who does the teaching, not me. If I fail, I fail. But He does not fail.

Please pray for my class on Monday. Pray that the students would understand. Pray that the Holy Spirit will interpret. Pray that cultural and linguistic barriers would be eliminated. But most of all, pray for my students, that God would stir in them His dreams and desires.

The Nit-Grit: Transitions

What’s in this edition:

s-village
teaching
language learning
moving forward
prayer requests

s-village

A quick update on S-village: we are sending one of our national partners to S-village for a couple of months to see if it would work for her to be a teacher there. Please pray for her as she makes the extreme transition (village life there is drastically different from city life here), and continue to pray that God would provide wisdom, discernment, and workers to send to this village. If you missed the last update, read about S-village here.

teaching

Teaching has been really fun over the last month as my students and I have gone through the books of Esther and Nehemiah and learned about what made them fantastic leaders. Recently, they were each assigned a character from the book of Esther and had to dress as their character and answer questions about what life was like for their character. Consequently, that day was my sister Joy’s birthday, so here is a short video of them in the costumes saying, “Happy Birthday Teacher Joy!”

We have spent the last few weeks preparing for a short term m-trip we are going to take to serve some schools and a mental hospital up in an area a couple of hours away. This area was affected by a volcano a couple of years ago. Please pray for the students as they prepare and that God would really work in them during the trip, opening their eyes to the immediate needs of the community around them.

I just finished teaching CPR and first aid this week and I am so proud of my students! They worked hard, studied hard, asked good questions, and are now equipped with basic CPR and first aid. It was a lot of fun for me too.

language learning

I have good news to report about language! Thank you all for your prayers. I finished formal study and will move to class just two times a week. I have truly felt God’s grace on me over just the past week or two as I have felt somewhat of a breakthrough. I’m not quite fluent but I think I’m flirting with fluency. I have been recently surprised at being able to completely understand people who just a month ago I could not even understand one word. Thanks again for the prayers, continue to pray for diligence and continued breakthroughs in eliminating language as a barrier to ministry with the wonderful people of this country.

One major blessing has been being a part of small group made up of nationals from a local church. It has brought me great joy to meet with them each week, pray, share and laugh together. This has also been a huge part of my language learning. This group is made up of people from different areas of the country who all live on this island, so we unite in a shared feeling of being outsiders in this culture yet at the same time one family in Christ.

moving forward

This month has been a month of transition and I am looking forward to the months ahead. I am currently house sitting for a family who is in the US and will be here for a few more weeks as I prepare to move into a dorm to help with our groundbreaking Teacher Training Program (read about it here). As teaching and language wrap up for this year I am really praying and thinking through what my specific role is going to look like over the next year in connection with our network of schools.

prayer requests

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

  • workers and wisdom for S-village
  • my 9th grade class’ short term m-trip
  • guidance for my specific role over the next year

Thank you for your prayers!

I Cannot Do This Alone

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Germany/1906–1945)

O God, early in the morning I cry to you.
Help me to pray And to concentrate my thoughts on you;
I cannot do this alone.

In me there is darkness,
But with you there is light;
I am lonely, but you do not leave me;
I am feeble in heart, but with you there is help;
I am restless, but with you there is peace.
In me there is bitterness, but with you there is patience;
I do not understand your ways,
But you know the way for me. . . .

Restore me to liberty,
And enable me to live now
That I may answer before you and before men.
Lord, whatever this day may bring,
Your name be praised. Amen.

House, Tyndale (2009-12-17). Devotions for Lent (Kindle Locations 275-299). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.

The Nit-Grit: Hitting the Ground Running

Last December I was challenged to “hit the ground running” in 2012. Sick with Dengue fever, tired, and overwhelmed, all I could think of was “hitting the ground”. However I find myself in the month of March having sprinted through the last 2 months, and I don’t dare look back! Read about some of the incredible things God is doing here. Seriously, you gotta read it. It’s nuts!

teacher training center

What’s the best way to create quality schools? Create quality teachers. Years of work previously done by the team here is culminating as ground was broken to build our new teacher training and early childhood development center. The program will be multifaceted, including training for teachers from all over the country as well as training teachers who will later go teach in one of our schools out in the villages. The need is pressing, the vision is great, and we step out in faith trusting that God will provide the funds needed for this center. (If you are interested in helping sponsor the building of this teacher training center, send me an email and I’ll get you in contact with the right people.)

old dorm new dorm

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in this dorm with local college students but am excited about my upcoming transition to living with and developing students in our teacher training center. We are still praying through the details of this, but my ministry will be making a transition into greater involvement with the residence life of those involved in our new teacher training program.

s-village

S-Village is a tiny village nested in the mountains of a remote region of this country. S-village has practiced a local religion for all of it’s existence, but as times change this village struggles for survival. To save themselves they beg for education. With the new generation thirsty for a new religion, will they be quenched by a government majority religion school, or will we be able to open a school there and teach them the ways of the kingdom? Pray for S-village and for our team as we search for ways to save the souls of this village.

language learning

I’M ALMOST DONE!!!! Well with formal classes that is. Language learning has been a test of perseverance for me. I’m not fluent yet but I am encouraged as I near the end of my formal language classes. I’ve appreciated the prayers, keep ‘em coming!

teaching

Despite all that is going on, I am still teaching grade 9. It has been a great semester so far as we just finished a section on Worldviews. We will be taking a short trip to a village school up near one of the volcanos later next month. I have also begun teaching CPR and first aid to four 11th grade students hungry to learn. It has been fun for all of us.

basketball

In case you didn’t hear….WE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP! I’m so proud of my girls who came from a last placed ranking to winning the whole thing. Read the comeback story or check out the photo album.

 

prayer requests

Ok brace yourself–there’s lots:

  • for God to provide the funding for the new Teacher Training and Early Childhood Development Center
  • for God to continue to drive the vision of the teacher training program
  • for God to guide me personally as I transition to new ministry in teacher training residence life
  • for my move out of my old dorm, that relationships would remain positive and that I might still be a light to those I am leaving
  • for God to provide a teacher from our faith who can live in S-Village and start a school there
  • for God to knock on the hearts of the people living in S-Village and that they would respond
  • for my language learning, that it would not be a discouragement or hinderance to my ministry, and that my language would come quickly
  • for my grade 9 students as they prepare for national testing, and that they would continue to be receptive to what God might teach them this semester
  • for my CPR students, that they would be ready and willing to utilize the knowledge given to them
  • for the 9 teachers in town this month from all over the country participating in teacher training
  • for some of my friends who have to deal with extremely difficult circumstances due to their choice to follow our religion instead of the majority religion

Thank you for your prayers!

The Nit-Grit

I like to keep my email updates short, so here is a more nitty-gritty, in depth (and long!) update on all that’s been going on here. Thanks for being interested! I know it’s been a while since I sent an update, but the past month (or so) has been full and wonderful.

Here are the topics:

teaching

Teaching has come to a close for the semester as this week and next are final exams, and after that the students will go on Christmas break. My final project for the semester was a “Change the World” project. My students had to pick a cause or problem in their community that they care about, present on it, and come up with a creative and new approach to try to solve it. They then had to create some kind of advertisement to publicize their cause. Here they are with some of their advertisements. Some of my favorites include a creative video one student made to persuade people to not be so addicted to their Blackberrys, and a hand fan another student made to persuade people to use less energy. I was so proud of them!

language learning

I have been investing a LOT of my time and energy into language learning since I got here. I have really appreciated my language teacher as she pushes me hard and really motivates me to work hard and learn it well. We have also become quite close friends (here’s a funny photo of us)! I began Unit 4 a couple of weeks ago and well enter into Unit 5 after I return from Christmas break (usually there are a total of 6 units with an optional 3 more for further study). It has been so freeing to be able to speak more and more, I know many of you have prayed for this and I am so grateful! I am far from fluent but am making a lot of progress.

cultural learning

Wow there’s a lot to learn about this culture! Just when I feel I might have a handle on things, something will happen and I’ll realize, “Wow, I’ve got a long way to go!” Someone once told me, “If at the end of 2 years you have a pretty decent handle on the language and culture, I’d consider that a great success.” I think I underestimated how great the learning curve would be on this one, but I am in for the ride and enjoying every twist, turn and bump along the way.

basketball

If you’ve kept up with my blog you know I’ve started coaching high school girls basketball at the local International School. This has been a blast! Most of the girls are Korean, with a few Americans and one African. It has been wonderful to pour into them and disciple them, and furthermore I am able to do it in English, which is a nice break! We started out a little rough but had our first win last week, and I am so proud of the progress the girls have made. Sorry the photos are a little blurry, but be sure to check them out!

thanksgiving

I had a most wonderful Thanksgiving with my team here. Although the actual day came and went without much notice, we celebrated the Saturday after. It truly felt like Thanksgiving; we cooked all morning, ate around 2pm, then played some soccer outside before eating Pumpkin Pie for dessert. Somehow rice made it on the table, but nobody ate it! When we went around and shared things we were thankful for, I was overflowing. Looking back on the past year, there is so much to be grateful for.

what God has been teaching me

Wait, wait, wait. That’s what God keeps saying. I’ve been so anxious to get this language and culture under my belt! But God has been faithful in teaching me what it means to wait on his timing, his good and perfect timing. You’d think I would have learned about trusting his timing with the whole visa process. The truth is, any kind of growth takes time. This will likely be a continual life lesson.

what’s next

December is a full month! We are having some national leaders get together for encouragement, worship, and training in a couple of weeks, so we are busily preparing. We will also have some short term guests associated with our organization from North America come. Additionally, I will be taking another trip to a different island to visit another school and site. And this is all before Christmas! I am looking forward to a month full of ministry, followed by some time to rest and celebrate the birth of our Lord.

prayer requests

Many of you all have been faithfully praying. Thank you! Here are some prayer requests for this month:

  • Health – I have been sick several times this month as have many of my teammates. Please pray for protection for germs and amoebas and all the other things that swim around here!
  • December events – please pray for all of the ministry anticipated this month (as described above).
  • Language – many of you have prayed for this, thank you! Please continue to pray for my language and culture learning.
  • My students – please pray they would implement some of the things they have learned this semester and that God would continue to work in and stir them.
  • My community – please pray for the people I interact with on a daily basis, that I would be able to minister to and encourage them.

Thank you! Much love sent to you from Asia.