Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Friendly Soccer

The past few weeks our school has had visitors from our sister school in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  One thing that the group aimed to do was assist with our soccer team.  Not only that, they brought soccer uniforms and cleats and soccer balls!

The junior teams with two of our visitors and the coach!
Yesterday our 4 soccer teams played friendly matches against one another at our neighboring school, Mphanama.  We enjoyed the nice afternoon outdoors cheering on our boys as they worked hard during the matches.  One of my grade 4 students even kicked a goal! (Proud teacher moment!)

Sporting new uniforms with our school logo!
We hope to see the soccer teams continue to grow and challenge other schools around the area!  We thank God for providing this opportunity for our students!


Junior teams playing against one another

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Botshabelo

Over our winter holidays from school we drove ten minutes outside of town to visit Botshabelo.  Now a historical site for people to visit it was originally a German mission station.  The term Botshabelo means 'Place of Refuge' in Northern Sotho.

The 4 missionaries standing outside the church
Today as you drive to the tiny historical village you might catch a glimpse of zebra, monkeys, warthog, springbok, or eland.  The village contains a church, parsonage, farm sheds, and Ndebele houses- all of which are slowly crumbling away.  I was once told that the church there was the first Lutheran church built in South Africa.  After doing some research online I don't think that statement is true, however, the church was originally Lutheran.

View up the hill to the church
Another short drive takes you to Fort Merensky which is now nothing more than a stone wall and a small tower, but was once used to protect the small village below.

It was an experience to step back into 1800-1900's South Africa, but unfortunately the place is not being preserved and eventually the buildings will be swallowed up by the plants and animals that live there.


Inside the church

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Future Plans

Although it was a difficult decision, I have decided that at the end of my "extended-year" contract in December, I will not be renewing for another year of missions in South Africa.

I have enjoyed my service immensely!  I've met such wonderful people, made lifelong friends, taught unforgettable students, and learned so much in these past years.  

I don't know what God holds for my future, but I do have the comfort in knowing that He holds it.  God knows what is next for me and I'm trying my best to not worry or be anxious and to let things fall into place.

Please pray for me as I prepare to return to the United States in just over four months and as I look into future job opportunities.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11

Friday, 4 July 2014

Cultural Blunders

Even though I've spent 18 months in South Africa I'm no expert.  I still have a lot of things to learn about the country and it's people.  I try my best to keep my eyes and ears open so that I make as few mistakes as possible, but there are some things I'll never pick up on my own.

Just a few weeks ago I was attending a dinner and my friend said to me, "Take off your gloves."  I looked up as if to say, "Are you joking?  It's freezing in this place!"  My friend responded to my facial expression with, "It's rude to shake someone's hand with your gloves on."  I was skeptical until another person chimed in that it indeed was rude.  Well, there's two winters already come and gone that I've made that mistake in!  At least now I know.

There's also a rule, although it doesn't seem to be strictly enforced, that students shouldn't wear hats in the classroom.  I get that, except when it's winter.  When it's 40 degrees in my classroom I have a hard time telling my students to take off their winter hats, especially when I have no intention of taking mine off!  That being said, it's even more rude to wear a hat while praying- even in America this is true.  But it's not something you think of as you sit shivering in the winter cold.  At least not something you think of until one of your students stops you and says, "Teacher you're still wearing your hat!"  Oops!

Those are just two examples of the many, many blunders I've made!  But the good news is I do continue to learn and try my best to adapt into South African culture!

Thursday, 26 June 2014

School's Out!

After closing in prayer at our school chapel today the kids rushed for their bags and headed home, not just for the evening but for the next three weeks!  June exams have come and gone so now teachers and learners both get to enjoy the winter holidays.

Here's some photos I captured on our last day:
Reading her report card!

Proud of his work during the term

Rushing home to a three-week holiday!