Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Talitha Kumi

As I shared in the last post, Namibia is certainly a beautiful country. Yet even more beautiful than the landscapes are the people- especially the precious children that I had the opportunity to teach for a week at Talitha Kumi Christian School. The Talitha Kumi students are primarily orphans whose parents have died from the AIDS virus. The children live in foster families throughout the community and are able to receive care and a quality education through Children of Promise Ministries and Talitha Kumi. 

On June 29th, I wrote, "Today Jill and I went to the school, met with come teachers and got to spend time in the classrooms. I loved that!! I'm going to be teaching 5/6th grade Math and Social Studies all next week! I'm so excited to get a real feel for what it would be like to teach here. I am amazed at how much this school is a real-life picture of the school I have always imagined in my mind that I would be teaching in one day. Crazy! I'm beginning to be able to see myself here for a season possibly- I don't know when or how, but I do feel You (God) doing something in my  heart." 

Here is the school and the students that have captured my heart... 

The playground... 

... in need of a fresh coat of paint...

... so we painted! 

My 5th and 6th Graders. Oh, how I miss them! 
Practicing skits in 5th grade social studies class. 
Performing skits!
6th Graders performing raps about natural resources. 
My sweet 6th graders! 
Jump rope was the favorite activity during break time! 

I gave it a try too! :) 

One morning our team performed a skit for the morning assembly. We acted out the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. 

My favorite time of the day was "HUG TIME" with the preschoolers.   I can't think of a better way to start out the day then  being attacked with 100s  of hugs from adorable, energetic preschoolers! 

I loved teaching at Talitha Kumi. On July 4th, I wrote, "It amazes me how normal life here feels. Teaching social studies, leading dance class... it just feels right... like I have been here forever. It seems like these students have been mine all year. I don't want to leave them in one short week."

It was indeed hard to say goodbye to these wonderful kiddos. Yet I am overwhelmingly thankful for the short time that I did get to spend with them. I am still amazed at how the particular need while I was there happened to be exactly what I am trained to do. God is so much bigger than I can even begin to fathom. He knew that for one specific week, the school would be in desperate need of a 5/6th teacher, so there I was, just at the right time to fill that need. I feel so richly blessed to have been able to be a part of the school and the students' lives, even for such a short time.

Love from across the miles!

Welcome to the Desert

Tomorrow marks the year anniversary of moving to Charlotte. What a year it has been! One of the highlights of the year was undoubtedly the time that I spent in Namibia this summer. I have been home for 2 weeks now, and I still miss it terribly. It has been fun to sort though the pictures and relive the memories. In an effort to share the trip with you, I have broken my pictures down into a few different categories that I plan to post over the next couple of days. I will let my pictures do most of the talking as I share this incredibly journey with you! 

Today's theme is "Welcome to the Desert". Whenever I hear someone tell about a trip that they went on, it always helps me feel more connected to the story if I can picture the place in my mind. So today I will try to paint a picture in your mind of Arandis, Namibia-  a small town in the middle of the desert that I was blessed to call home for 2 and a half short weeks. 

Jill and I looking fresh and chipper as we wait for our first flight out of Raleigh, NC. 40 hours later we would reach Arandis- not quite as fresh, but definitely thankful to have arrived safely at our destination.   
We made it! Here's a group shot of the team. 
Welcome to our home for the trip! 
Home Sweet Home
Walking though the streets and getting acquainted with the lay of the land. It was a small town and we walked everywhere, so it didn't take too long to become familiar with where everything was. 
A typical street in the town. The only thing missing is the kids that are usually playing  games in the streets... 
The flat desert landscape lets you see for miles and miles in all directions. 

A few trees lining the road, and my new friends posing for a picture. :) 
I did get made fun of for taking a picture of the dumpster, but what a perfect picture of the color palate of Arandis. A pristinely blue sky with a sea of desert gold stretching as far as the eye can see. 

Each morning as Jill and I walked to school we were astounded by the breathtaking sunrises. We had to start leaving for school 10 minutes early so that we could have plenty of time to stop and take pictures along the way. 

Another glorious morning view from outside of the school (more to come about the school...)

I hope you enjoyed your brief tour though the town of Arandis. [We also spent time in Swakopmund and Okahandja, but more on that later.] Thanks for stopping by. Stay tuned for my adventures teaching at Talitha Kumi Christian School! :)

Love from across the miles!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Jumprope Jes


I have a quick moment to jump on the internet, so I thought I would share a few pictures of the past week here in Namibia! My time here is flying by! My days are filled with teaching 5/6th grade math and social studies in the morning, and helping lead dance classes in the afternoons. I feel so blessed by the work God has given me to do here! Two of my favorite things- teaching and dancing- just happen to be two of the big needs here! Praise the Lord that he equips us and leads us to specific tasks that use the abilities he has given us!

Here are a few quick pictures:

Jumping rope with my stuents at break time!

A few of my students- Melvin, Rachele and Rudy.

Jill teaching her 4th grade class. These are what the classrooms look like. 

Afrikaans class is almost finished, so I have to run and teach some math- division with length, here we come! I said I would be happy to teach Afrikaans... that got a good laugh out of us all!

Please be praying that God continues to build relationships amoung our team and the local people. Specifically that I will develop some strong connections with the teachers here and learn how to encourage them in their work.

Love from across the miles!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Welcome to Namibia!


I'm finially signing in from Namibia! Internet is hard to come by, so sadly I will not be able to write daily blog posts or post many pictures. However we have a team blog that will be updated regulary with posts and pictures. Check it out:

Hanging out with some precious girls from the neighborhood! Goodness, I need to work on my tan!

Love from across the miles!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Motivation, Education, Inspiration

I am a teacher. I have wanted to be a teacher since... well since I can remember wanting to be anything. I love my job. I work at a school where I am supported by a wonderful staff team, an incredible administration and amazing parents. I have resources, a solid education, and am continually poured into by my team and numerous professional development opportunities. I love my job.

Yet there are so many times where I feel the burden of the job. I feel inadequate, I feel fatigued, I feel under-appreciated, and this is coming from someone who feels so incredibly blessed to be a teacher.

Some days it just feels so overwhelming.

I was thinking about this and it hit me: How much more would I feel those emotions if I had no training? If I was not equipped for my job? If I barely had a high school education, let alone training to be teacher? And yet this is what I had to do and I had no support and no resources. What if I was struggling with a student population who could hardly make it to school because of poverty, sickness, AIDs, abandonment. How much more prevalent would those feelings of inadequacy, lack of motivation and fear of failure be in my life? I began to hurt for the countless teachers who do this every single day.

I think about how much encouragement it brings me when a thoughtful parent drops off a basket of muffins in the teacher’s lounge. Something so simple can bring so much joy, and yet there are teachers who never get to experience that. And not only do they not get to experience that, but they don’t even have training, education or ability to go to professional development and find the joy of teaching and learn how to motivate their students to see these results that make teaching so rewarding.

As I have been thinking and praying about this, God has placed a passion and excitement in my heart and life to help these teachers. I want to love on the teachers in Subsaharan Africa who don’t have training, who have never been given the opportunity to be equipped for their job. Yet they are in this job without pay, without support and it is what they have to do day in and day out. I can't even imagine the fatigue and weariness they must feel!

I want to go and love on them and spoil them, for however long I can! I want to show them encouragement while giving them professional development through seminars and workshops. To be able to do that for teachers seems like such a huge need because it is not being done! I have scoured the internet and the research to see what is out there for these teachers and I haven’t found much. UNICEF and UNESCO have initiatives and programs to help make the situation better, but I can’t find much about people actually going in and just encouraging and supporting the teachers while providing professional development. That’s what I want to do!

The vision that I feel like God has given me is to find 4-5 schools that we could go into every summer and build a relationship with the teachers. Every year go in and pour into those teachers and see them grow year after year and develop them in their trade, in order to really reach their students! Reaching students is what teaching is all about. We could go in and teach lessons for a week, but what if I could share my knowledge and passion for teaching and the countless resources that I have at my fingertips? I could give these things to the teachers, and then how much more of a lasting impact would that have on the students?! The students would not just get to experience it for a week, but rather all year long!

I know how motivated I can get from a day or week of professional development, Sharing ideas and collaborating with other teachers. So I can only imagine how much more motivating and inspiring could that be for someone who has never had that opportunity. This is the opportunity that I want to give to untrained teachers in sub-Saharan Africa! This summer I am traveling to Namibia, where only 30% of the teacher have received training. I am hoping to plan a week long workshop to provide motivation, education and inspiration to the teachers at one local school!

I feel so incredibly inadequate. I am only in my third year of teaching, and I hardly know where to begin. Please share with me your knowledge and insight! My challenge for you today is this: if you have a passion for teaching and resources at your fingertips, then don’t keep them to yourself! There is a world of students out there who need them and need teachers with them! If we can equip teachers, we can reach countless more students and change the world!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Little Girl Dreams

To say it has been a while would be a putting it gently. Nine months have passed since I stuffed my suitcases to the brim, said tearful goodbyes to the people I have loved and shared life with for two years, and boarded a flight back to the US. In the past nine months I have found myself in a life that is completely unexpected and drastically different then anything I have experienced so far... I have a job, an apartment, I am in the United States, I pay my own bills... Seems as though I'm an adult! Imagine that!

All joking aside, I am loving [almost] every moment of living and teaching in Charlotte. :) My job is challenging, yet so undeniably rewarding. I am growing professionally more and more each day. I have had the opportunity to use my abilities and experiences in dance and theater to do the choreography for my school's Show Choir and our musical, The Wizard of Oz! Outside of work, I have been richly blessed with friendships that bring such joy and encouragement. I have nested into my own little apartment, and decorating my own place was everything I hoped it would be (I'll get some pictures posted asap)! Life is good, God is good! It has not all been easy- I've struggled with fatigue, loneliness and heartache, but I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be for this season. It's not where I ever expected to be, but I am overwhelmingly thankful to be here.

In my absence from the blogging world, I felt like I was in a time of settling in. I was settling into a new home, a new job, a new ministry, a new direction. To be honest, I haven't known what direction my life would take. I still don't. My ministry right now is teaching and pouring into my students. Each day is a new adventure with them, but I am still left with a very slight but ever-present restlessness deep down in the depths of my heart. I believe that teaching is my passion and my gifting, but I am still praying about what that exactly means. Does it mean that I get to live in this fabulous city on a beautiful lake and show my suburban kiddos the love of Christ through my actions in the classroom? Right now, yes.

Right now. I am trying to enjoy each moment. I am humbled and honored to receive such a noble calling. This is what I dreamed of doing ever since I was a little girl. This was my little girl dream, and I am living it. Yet what I am learning is that sometimes our "little girl (or boy) dreams" are not our God-given destinies! (Thank you Beth Moore) For some of us, that is a good thing- I think about a dear friend of mine who, as a little boy, wanted to be a firetruck when he grew up. Thankfully God had different things in store for him! Other times we wonder why our dreams can't come true. My little girl dream was to be a teacher, wife and mother. That doesn't seem like too much to ask, and maybe I will be all those things, but more than any of them, I want my God-given destiny! We all have one, and it may seem to be poor timing, or feel like an unreasonable expectation, or leave you with unanswered questions, but oh, what an honor to be able to glorify the LORD of ALL with our lives!

The Lord is stirring something new inside of me. I feel excited and nervous and inadequate. I still don't know all that the future holds, and I don't quite have any clear direction to share with you, but new ideas are forming. I don't have it all together, but I decided that tonight was the night to begin blogging again in an attempt to reconnect with beloved friends and family, and be transparent about the work that God is doing in my heart and life.

To God be the glory, now and forever!


Love from across the miles,

Saturday, May 21, 2011



So I did something a little out of the ordinary... I went bungee jumping! Bungee jumping was never on my list of things to do in my lifetime. The thought of it completely terrified me, which is odd because I have always wanted to go skydiving. I think the difference is that with skydiving I would be strapped to a professional and not on my own. Well, when the opportunity arose last week, I knew that I had to step up, face my fear and go for it. And let me tell you, it was well worth it!

Getting strapped in... I hope those ankle harnesses hold! :) You know that nervous pit that settles in the stomach? Yep, I was feeling that!
Eeeekk! This is where the man shouts, "3...2...1... BUNGEE (insert jumping off here)!"

I'm flying! What an incredible feeling!

Coming back up! Phew! I made it... but my hair tie wasn't so lucky! :)

And three minutes later, it is all over. That was incredible! You can't tell in this picture, but I was still shaking! Fear conquered! Woo hoo!
Group shot:
Well, that was honestly something I never thought I would do. It just goes to show that you never know what a day might bring. We drove up the mountain to see a water fall and I ended up jumping off a cliff. What a day!