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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Visitation and Stoplight

Sunday was a day of driving.  I took my neighbours to see their son in boarding school for visitation day.  Once per term, families are invited to come and visit their children at school, share a meal, and meet with their teachers and dorm parents.  
 I couldn't believe the size of the plates that these students were using to get their lunch!! They were like mini basins.  Woah - that's a lot of posho (cornmeal) and beans.
 This was just some of the family that gathered together on Sunday - Aunties cooked, cousins fellowshipped, and parents caught up on the progress reports.  It was worth the drive to Malaba!
And we drove home under the most incredible rainbow.
 Yesterday, 17 people packed into my sitting room for an introduction to the Stoplight Approach.  It's a new material being developed about creating environments that keep our children safe in school and in the community.  I really want to go further with this material here in Soroti.
 It combines the brain, psychology, and the Bible... to understand children's needs and how to best educate them when they are feeling safe.  Using the colours of the Stoplight...
Red means a child is in fight, flight, or freeze mode - not feeling safe.  (Survival mode)
Yellow means a child is emotional - maybe hungry, tired, stressed.
And green means a child is safe - feeling loved and valued.  It is best to teach in the safe zone... that's where their IQ really grasps what is being taught.
I thank God for this training!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Sharing God's Story

Yesterday, in the middle of rain, a few kids collected together to hear the Good News!


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Clothes for a Sister

Last week I went "digging" for some new clothes.  "Digging" is a local slang word for a few of us Westerners who love to look for second hand items amidst the piles of clothes that are sold in street corners or in market places.  Well, I found a few cute items and added them to my closet.
As a general rule of thumb, I try to get rid of a few items whenever I bring "new" ones home.  So, last Friday I gave a few dresses to my friend Hellen.  I told her to take them home with her and give them away in the village, however she felt was necessary.
Hellen came back a few days later with an awesome story!
A neighbour of hers had been sitting on the verandah of her simple mud home.  She was weeping out to God saying "If only I had a sister, maybe she would buy me a new dress.  I have nothing in these times."  Just moments later Hellen came to her house to visit.
Hellen gave her the dresses and the lady started to cry.  She couldn't believe that Hellen would just give her the clothes without any strings attached.  Or without keeping them for herself and tailoring them to a smaller size.  Hellen was happy to be a middle person, blessing a lady who had a real need.
And I'm glad to be a secret sister!!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

In all Things - Give Thanks!

For the past many months we have been living in a very dry Teso Land.  Many of my friends in the village (those who live off the land alone) are down to one meal a day, or even borrowing/sharing with the neighbours.  We have been praying for rain for a long time!  Rice and corn are more expensive now days and that makes it harder for people to survive.
Also, my friends Rachel and Eddie, in the Chalbi desert, northern Kenya, are experiencing even more drought - with goats and camels dying far too often.  It is my hope to go and visit them soon in the desert, so encourage them in their work there.
Even though the land is dry, people's thirst for God's Word is not!  People are desiring God's Word and willing to share it with the next generation.
This past week I was in Kaberamaido for another two day training in OneHope and other children's ministry tips.  During the second day of the training the skies opened up and the rains seriously poured down.  I couldn't even be upset that God had taken away two hours of training time.  We just sat down and enjoyed God's abundant blessings upon the land.  
We also thanked God for keeping us safe because the van brakes broke about 30km from Soroti.  We slowly crawled back to town that night and praised God for His journey mercies.
 Group discussions - learning together
 It was too hot inside the church on the first day, so we moved the class outside
 I was talking about the ways that children learn - attention span, environment, multiple intelligence's (word, people, self, logic, music, body, visual, and nature) and more
 I am always energized sharing with God's people
 Playing games
 Sharing the load with my team-mate Julius
 Telling Bible stories clearly
On the first day I saw this man struggling to read... so
 I went home and found a few specs for him to try.  He was so grateful!
 Distribution time... counting out another 10,000+ manuals for the village kids.

 The rains came!
 Even school kids were watching God's provision
 Joy Joy Joy
The teachers were excited to have new curriculum for them to put into practise

Monday, March 13, 2017

Ministry Movements and A Wish List

Sunday afternoon Bible study had 7 ladies sitting in my living room.  What a joy to gather together and study God's Word.  We have just started new study on "Connecting with Others" through the Sermon on the Mount.  Lord help us to be more meek, humble, servant-hearted, pure, loving, and  righteous peace makers.
In the middle of last week I was part of a huge two day training with church leaders and Sunday School teachers.  There were 108 attendees and we handed out close to 11,000 OneHope kids curriculum.  I think you can see the boxes stacked on the back wall.
I love teaching with a variety of ministry partners because each person brings his/her own skills, passions and expertise to the training.
While sitting with the team - we dreamed about a wish list for the ministry... it started out with honest needs and then became a super fun wish list.  Only the Lord knows the future of children's and youth ministry in Soroti area.
1. 2-way radios (Walkie-talkies) - for when we are moving in separate vehicles, and traveling in villages without cell signal.
2. Mobile Speakers - a portable speaker system that could maybe even run off of a car battery.
3. A generator
4. A projector - to show movies and teachable movie clips
5. Camping tents
And now the dreaming begins...
6. A minibus or coaster and / or a Land Cruiser
7. A clown suit
8, A radio and/or tv station
9. A "Coffee House" or Youth Drop in Centre
10. Established office
11. Youth Camp Ground
12. Youth pork joint.  :)
Since the first day was International Women's Day, and there was no school... even Opio and Ocen accompanied the team for training.  "Auntie Karen, your church is FAR!" (We drove 45 minutes to the village of Kalaki.)
 Moses was teaching on 7 Ways to Ask Questions... to understand a Bible passage - for either personal devotions, or coming up with a lesson plan for children.
 Singing and games is always part of the plan!
 Teddy is very fired up about Discipleship now days!
 These questions always lead to some great group discussions.
 After processing the questions, we realize that the work of teaching and raising children is not an easy task!
 Interviews, drama, sound effects, modelling, drawing... so many ways to explore a story.
 These days are some of my favourite reasons for being on the mission field.
 I pray these leaders will put some new ideas, excitement or thoughts into practice.
Tag Team teaching is fun... Teddy, Julius, Moses, Peter... we all help each other out... for explanations, interpretations, games, or morale.  
Now I just went out to get some more manila papers, markers, and manuals for another big training taking place tomorrow.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Discipleship and a Shipment

I am so grateful that I attended the Youth Workers Toolkit Training because it brought more curriculum to use and guide in ministry to teens.
 Last Saturday I led a Discipleship class at a local child sponsorship site.  We went through the first chapter of "Awakening a Disciple's Heart" by Henrik Ermlich.
 This program is hoping to continue once a month for the next 12 months.  
 Then today, a shipment of OneHope books arrived from Kampala.  The kids were super helpful in unloading the lorry.
I'm ready for more training this week!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Back in Class

I have found over the years that one thing I absolutely love doing is teaching.  It's such a joy to be in the classroom, but I don't want to be a full-time teacher in one classroom.  I love various groups, ages, and settings.  I love change.  :)  
On Saturday I had the privilege of going back to Vineyard Christian School to do a one day workshop with my friend Teddy.  We had a time of evaluation on the 17 Stories curriculum and did a recap on the Stories of Hope materials.  This year I will be joining the school every Wednesday to help teach 75 Bible stories there during Religious Education class.
After those materials were handed out, we went into a half-day workshop on Discipline.  It is important for teachers / staff to understand God's view on discipline, and to know that it must be done with patience, love and respect.
I've heard testimonies of some schools where at the beginning of the term, a lorry drives in filled with sticks and dumps them in the corner of the school compound.  Those particular sticks are not for firewood.  They are the caning tools for the teachers.  It breaks my heart.  There are so many other ways to discipline besides using the rod, so we discussed that together as a group and tried to think of new ways to discipline.  And guess what - even forgiveness is a form of discipline.  Who knew!!?
 Group discussion time - searching God's Word together!
 I was excited to see some "17 Stories" as wall decor in the P3 classroom.
 Teacher Teddy
 Who comes up with this stuff?!
 The class was very involved... asking questions and giving great insight.  It's always a pleasure to work with an energetic group of teachers... on their day off.
 Tag-teaching with my super cool friend Tereza!
 In action
 Going over the curriculum
 I hope these teachers put the materials to good use and that children will truly be able to hear and understand the Word of God!
Growing together