Reflections on the week of School

First, apologies for the late posting… our internet was down overnight. But now we’re in Livingstone with wifi again!

I am the Speech Pathologist of the group and just completed my first year of the program. This week I was able to get to know many students and teachers at ISL. As I worked with students with speech and learning differences, it was extremely rewarding to see them make progress throughout the week and experience the appreciation of the teachers who do not have anyone on staff to help students navigate these differences. I was challenged in ways I never would have imagined and am so grateful for all I have learned.

In the morning Joy, Lauren, Heesong, and I had a wonderful driver, Tom, take us to school very early each day. One morning this week, as I love to sing, we all joined in singing worship songs. Tom taught us a traditional worship song in Cinyanja. The words in English are, “I can not doubt you Lord, in your name there is deliverance.” As we sang in the car during our daily commute and drove past poverty stricken areas I realized the beauty in the words we were singing and the joy we can have in our hearts despite our circumstances. I am grateful to my friend Tom for what he taught me this week.

Today was our final day aiding in the schools! I think we can all agree that it was hard to say goodbye to the teachers and students that we have spent time learning and growing with this week. We have learned so much about Zambian culture, formed meaningful relationships, and gained experiences that we will never forget.

Many of us finished school early and enjoyed an afternoon of resting and playing with children in the nursery. We had an American meal of burgers and potato salad, which was much welcomed after last night’s adventurous menu. After dinner we were able to reflect on our experiences and thank God for the work He is doing in us here in Zambia.

Tonight as we unwind after a long week, we are also preparing for our seven-hour bus ride to Livingstone tomorrow. We are so excited for a weekend of fun! Thank you so much for your prayers!

I love you and miss you Mom, Dad, Whitney, Grandma, and Aunt Sherri! I can’t wait to see you when I get home!

Love,

Natalie

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 4.14.34 PM Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 4.12.21 PM

Muli Bwanji!

Today was our fourth day aiding at the Lusaka schools. Natalie (who is majoring in Speech Pathology) and I are at the International School of Lusaka (ISL), a school that serves to educate diverse students from the upper social-economic status. We’ve been having a lot of discussion about those that represent a different sector of the socio-economic scale and how our variety of school placements serve their particular students. Being at ISL is truly a humbling experience for me personally. As a person who has educational experience in an international school setting, seeing its curriculum and learning/teaching practices through the eyes of a future educator is a whole different view.

Most of the students at ISL are children of diplomats, CEOs, ministers, businessmen, etc. It’s so interesting being in a classroom that truly prides itself on diversity, academic success, and leadership. One of the biggest things leaving an impact on me is the way the children embrace one another by showing love, respect, and encouragement. A few of my Muslim students, for example, only stay half-day Fridays because of their religious customs. No one in the classroom shows judgment, but rather mutual acceptance. I feel like I learn something new from these students every day and it reinforces my dreams of longing to teach abroad.

 After school, others and I have been spending a significant amount of time in the nursery while here at the House of Moses. I tried to call the children by name, hold them, pray for them, and just love on them to the best of my abilities. My heart aches because a lot of the kids in the nursery are lacking the nurture of a loving family, especially at such a fragile and vulnerable stage, but God has been reminding me that He has a plan for every single child and that He won’t forsake them because His love abounds deeply. Please keep these children in your prayers whenever you remember—that they will be able to re-integrate into their homes where they belong, that they would be provided the education they deserve, and that they would be reminded daily of who they are in Christ and His love for them.

2014-06-05 19.08.08 2014-06-05 19.08.17

On a lighter note, what do you say about having fried caterpillars for dinner!? Today, our two beautiful Zambian chefs, Theresa and Ruthie, cooked a traditional Zambian dinner one could find at a wedding ceremony. Our dinner plates consisted of pumpkin leaves (called chihuahuas!), okra soup, okra relish, boiled/grilled chicken, and fried caterpillars! A few of us were hesitant at first, but our hungry stomachs eventually devoured the food with great pleasure and thankfulness.2014-06-05 19.08.44

 All in all, we have been stretched in ways we did not anticipate. I am so thankful I am able to be a part of this beautiful journey. I see God working in this country, in their culture, and in the children. As our fellow Zambian brothers and sisters say: Mutsale bwino (moo-tsa-leh-bwee-no, which means stay well)!

Written by Joy with the help of Allison and Emily and Professor Terpstra ❤

P.S. Hello mum and dad! Sarangheyo! –from Joy and Heesong

To God be the Glory

As our alarms went off early in the morning we were reminded it was time to start getting ready to aide in our Lusaka classrooms for the third day. I have the privilege to be aiding at Faith Christian Academy with Lindsey and Paige C. It is one of 18 schools from the organization called Family Legacy. Abby, the future nurse, is also on the same compound working in a tent for Zambians attending a week long camp. The school of Faith Christian Academy is full of children who have come off the streets or from abusive homes. It is also staffed with amazing teachers who have a heart for vulnerable children and a passion for teaching. Each morning this week the four of us walk to a bus stop near the House of Moses and wait to see the bus with BE REAL plastered to the windshield. When it arrives the four of us walk on and greet our new Zambian teacher friends. Once we are all on the bus one of the teachers leads devotions and prays for the students of the school. This is has been a great experience for us to bond with the teachers and has made us start to understand the life of a Zambian teacher.

Screen Shot 2014-06-04 at 4.22.07 PM

The past two days I have been in a pre-school room, but my teacher was unable to make it to school today. Without a good source of substitutes, we were not able to have pre-school today. So I moved to the first grade room, which I enjoyed because they spoke more English and I was able to communicate with them more clearly. Throughout the day, the others at my school and I taught multiple lessons, with each of us doing the best we could. I have learned from my teacher about classroom management and she expressed appreciation for my lessons that incorporated movement. Besides teaching the lessons, my two favorite parts of the day were of course lunch and recess. Paige C. and I went to the cafeteria with our students and tasted a spoonful of what they call goose goose, which is a mixture of rice and chicken. We decided that it was not bad, but could not imagine eating it every single day. We chatted with the students and one little boy said to me, “You are from America, the rich country.” I thought about what he said for a moment and thought yes, after being here for nine days I do realize how blessed we are in America in terms of material things, but I also have been realizing how blessed the people here are in terms of relationships and attitudes toward time. We need Jesus’ redemptive work just as much as our Zambian brothers and sisters. I think I speak for the group in terms of rethinking and reconsidering how we are living our lives back in the states.

IMG_2229I mentioned earlier, I also enjoyed recess because I played soccer in my long skirt with about ten boys. I failed at my dream to score a goal, but it was still an unforgettable fun experience.

I continue to be blown away at the hospitality our group is experiencing at the House of Moses. Kevin, the leader, whose birthday we were able to celebrate tonight (yes, we did get cake and ice cream!), coordinates our schedules, rides, and activities. The ladies take care of all of our needs from dirty laundry, making us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and preparing delicious dinners. God has been at work here and our group is meshing unbelievably well. As we have made it to the half way mark, we ask for continual prayer for protection, strength, good health and laughter.

IMG_2258For everything that has happened on this trip so far and for what is yet to come, to God be the glory.

Post by Jenna

 

Hope in the Eyes of the Weary

Day two in our new school placements=SUCCESS.

Today started out as another early morning. Everyone headed out in a different direction with new opportunities awaiting. The group of us going to Faith Christian Academy (Abby, Jenna, Paige C., and I) walked down the road from the House of Moses to the bus stop. It was like the first day of kindergarten all over again—lunches packed (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches of course), backpacks on, and butterflies fluttering in our stomachs as we waited for the bus to pick us up. After waiting for twenty minutes, we finally got on the bus and joined the other FCA teachers. The Faith Christian Academy is a school for orphaned and street children. Most of the students at the school live in homes behind the school and are sponsored by Americans. Each house has a Mama and about twelve kids of similar ages. Jenna, Paige C., and myself are all working at the school compound. Today we not only got to observe in the classrooms, but we all got to teach multiple lessons! The familiar butterfly feeling quickly returned when we were each asked, “Can you teach a lesson now?” We  got up and taught lessons in our classrooms–anything from shapes in preschool to fractions in seventh grade. The Zambian teachers in our school are so eager to work together and learn from us. We have felt so welcomed since first stepping foot on the FCA school grounds.

Only a short walk up the hill on the dusty road, Camp Life is taking place. The camp hosts kids from surrounding villages that come from very impoverished areas. Here they get the chance to play sports, learn about the Bible, and get a free health screening. The kids are brought into the nurse’s tent in groups where today Nurse Abby diagnosed and prescribed medicine to them. In her words, “She’s livin the dream,” treating cases of ringworm, skin infection, and burns. The four of us laughed on the bus ride home as we shared stories of challenges, accomplishments, rambunctious students, and ways we saw God at work.

Sitting around the dinner table tonight we shared breathtaking moments, moments of accomplishment, challenges and heartbreak, and ways we saw God working. Eyes lit up as people shared stories of lessons they taught and interactions with students; hearts ached as we heard other stories of poverty and lack of opportunity; and our hearts were filled with thankfulness and encouragement as we shared how good our God is. In the wise words of Jack V., “When I see the things they lack, they see the things they have.” There is hope where many would not see any hope. There is hope in the students’ eager attitudes to learn, hope in the smiles exchanged among poverty on the streets, and hope in the bond shared among believers around the world.

“Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:30-31

I think it’s safe to say everyone’s exhausted from another long and eventful day at school. We are excited to see what the Lord has in store for us tomorrow and the days to come. Please continue to pray for rest, health, safety, wisdom, and the ability to bring hope to our Zambian brothers and sisters.

 

Written by Lindsey with the help of Abby 🙂

PS. Hi mom and dad

Faith Christian Academy school grounds
Faith Christian Academy school grounds
All aboard the teachers bus on the way to Faith Christian Academy
All aboard the teachers bus on the way to Faith Christian Academy
Among the many public buses that pass our bus stop, none quite have the character our bus has--  "Be Real"
Among the many public buses that pass our bus stop, none quite have the character our bus has–
“Be Real”
Our trecherous journey fighting traffic and snakes.  (Walking back from the bus stop to the House of Moses)
Our trecherous journey fighting traffic and snakes. (Walking back from the bus stop to the House of Moses)

 

 

Living, Learning, Loving Lusaka

Resource Center at Helen DeVos
Resource Center at Helen DeVos
Back roads to school placements
Back roads to school placements
Free Baptist
Free Baptist
True Gospel
True Gospel

6-02-14

This morning began at 5:00am in Zambia, just in time to beat the morning sunrise. Drivers came in waves to bring us to our school placements. We traveled through heavy traffic from highways, thankful to have an expert behind the wheel as we watched vans zoom past with no more than 2” to spare and dodged hoards of pedestrians braving the streets. We meandered back through hidden roads between small concrete houses, over bumps and rocks that threatened to halt our van. Sure, there was the familiar scent of burning trash, but we also could not help but notice the unique detailed advertisements on small street-side store walls, the colorfully decorated chitenges worn by Zambian women, and the bright wildflowers that decorated our path. From these back roads, each of us were dropped off to our week-long school placements that had been established by the Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia (CACZ).

We were once again surprised by the disparities. A small church building served as the site of four classrooms, one of which was windowless and remained dark throughout the day. Others aided observed in three 3-hour teaching sessions, experiencing the cost of a limited staff. Some schools were more fortunate with well-developed buildings; one school had a multi-storied building and another provided a comparatively modern resource center with various textbooks, several computers, and a copy machine. These were rare commodities.

Knowing that this week was the culmination of over a year of prayer and preparation, we tried to absorb whatever we could in our unique experiences and helped wherever teachers expressed a need. Some of us gave impromptu lessons on Bible stories, decimals, and even Cinyanja (one of the main local languages) and Bantu migration. Many are working hard in preparation for teaching several of tomorrow’s sessions. Others in the group assisted with speaking needs of diverse learners and medically screened and cared for camp members.

Still, we think that the blessings we received far-exceeded any that we could have given. All the time, we are surrounded by incredibly respectful and good-natured students and adult servants who appreciate education and are passionate for the Lord. Despite the circumstances, these individuals teach us to find hope and thankfulness for the little things—like shoes and pencils—that make education possible for the students here. We are also recognizing the value of our own education at Calvin College, blessed by dedicated instructors, an abundance of resources and endless opportunities.

Being a part of the long-term efforts of CACZ has been a humbling experience. The labors of these schools and churches reminds us of God’s faithfulness as in Habbakuk chapter 2, when the Lord assures that visions inscribed on tablets “hastens toward a goal and will not fail,” or in the labors in Nehemiah chapter 4 as the wall of Jerusalem was faithfully rebuilt despite opposition. We are seeing this kind of hope all around. Through our time here, we are challenged us to see such environments in a different light—focusing not on what is missing, but what the Lord has already provided with assurance of his continued blessings. We would be honored if you would continue to pray in thanks and anticipation for the Lord’s faithful provision and care over these teachers, students, and communities, both now and in the days and years to come.

Written by Paige Stephens, a.k.a. “Zulu”

Pentecost

“When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.” As we allow the Holy Ghost to enter our lives, it gives us value. Not by their own strength were the disciples able to speak and allow others to hear it in their own language, but by the power of the Holy Spirit they could do the work of God.

Today we were blessed with the opportunity to attend worship here in Lusaka. After reading about the Pentecost in Acts 2, we were spoken to this morning about the Holy Ghost and His power in our lives. As we entered the church we immediately could feel the joy in the room. The enthusiasm of the worship was contagious while the choir stood in the front of church dancing and singing. If you have not done it before, I encourage you to pray in the same way the people of Zambia pray. It is a roar of praises and prayers lifted by each individual spoken simultaneously to the LORD. In our group discussions, we later came to realize that Americans are the ones who have been missing out on this communal practice. Worshiping cross-culturally was a wonderful experience. The preacher explained it well. “God was baking a cake,” he continued to tell a story of God putting a cake in the oven. One batch he took out a little too early and the next he left in a little too long. “We all have the same ingredients. One batch, taken out early, remained white; the other batch, left in longer, darkened!”

After church we traveled to the Arcade Mall, which also held a weekly outdoor market. Our Zambian host informed us that as soon as the vendors see tourists, prices are knocked-up two to three times what they would normally be. Although we knew better and would barter down, this didn’t stop anyone from surrounding us and shoving their items into our hands.

Following the market we returned to the House of Moses to continue our Sabbath rest; some enjoyed joining the Zambian mamas in the orphanage showing the babies much needed love, some took the time to explore the neighborhood while getting exercise, and others took the opportunity to simply rest. The evening concluded with a fairly intense large group preparation for the demanding week to come. By the time you are preparing to go to bed (maybe some already sound asleep), we will be waking up getting ready to visit our new school placements (11:30 p.m. in America, 5:30 a.m. in Zambia). Family and friends, with all this excitement and busyness, please remember how loved and missed you are. As we know that many prayers are being sent here; know that we are keeping you in our prayers as well. Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Post written by Lauren, or Phiri, my new Zambian name 🙂

ImageImage

 

 

Chitenges, Chicken, and Children

What a wonderfully, full, exciting day of new experiences and changes we have had. We started out the morning with pictures, prayers, and goodbyes with the Esther School staff and an hour-long bus ride from Nyangwena to Lusaka. Riding along the Great East we observed different aspects of life as a Zambian. Passing small markets on the side of the road, watching the mountains rise and fall, breathing in the fresh Zambian air, were all wonderful reminders of God’s great glory and majesty.

2014-05-31 10.34.01

We arrived at the House of Moses to unload our suitcases, meet some of the staff, get a glimpse of the babies, and then head over to the Bill and Bette Bryant children’s home and school to hear from Ms. Mumba, associated with the Southern African Institute for Policy and Research (SAIPAR), about Zambian culture. She taught us about everything from greetings to dress code and from gifts to rites of passage. As we listened, modeled, and took in all of these new ideas, customs, and culture we realized that some of our actions from this past week were largely influenced by our American culture. Our eyes have been opened to being more aware of how to respectfully interact with Zambians.

Around 12:30 we got ready to head over to the market for some lunch and shopping. We had some grilled chicken, brats, French fries, and ice cream for lunch. Those who had never been to a market before were a bit apprehensive about bartering and making purchases, but after grabbing some food we had about 45 minutes to buy some goodies. Bartering was great for some, not as great for others, but we all returned to the bus with chitenges (wraps for women to wear as skirts or make a baby sling), blankets, wooden carvings, scarves, headbands, and more.

2014-05-31 13.40.33

2014-05-31 14.17.48

After the market we returned to the House of Moses for an orientation with Jessica, also associated with SAIPAR. She informed us about the history of Zambia. It was very insightful and we learned more about how this country and culture were formed. We think it will be very helpful as we continue interacting with Zambians during our time here.

Our orientation finished and we enjoyed some free time before dinner. Some of us went up to the baby room to hold babies for a while, others played in the toddler room, and others hung out and chilled for a while. After our free time we had wonderful spaghetti for dinner prepared for us by the house mamas. While finishing up dinner we were welcomed in song by Peter, one of the evening watchmen. We wrapped up the night with some refreshing showers and time getting to know Sandra, one of the founders of Christian Alliance for Children in Zambia.

Post by Allison, photos by Joy

2014-05-30 12.15.56

 

Adventure Awaits