Saturday, September 28, 2013

teaching...

Today, I read this article that was posted on the Family Legacy Blog. These amazing teachers touch the lives of their students everyday! I am so blessed that I will get to work with them in just a few weeks!
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Equipping our LIFEWAY Teachers
(click the title to visit the Family Legacy Website)
September 26, 2013
 By: Anne



Earlier this month, American educators Mike and Teri Rhodes joined our Family Legacy education staff to conduct a week long professional development conference for the teachers working at Family Legacy’s LIFEWAY Christian Academies. The special focus of the training was creating schools of excellence through defining excellence, setting expectations and discussing potential challenges in the future. During initial sessions addressing these ideas, the teachers created Legacy Vision statements for their specific schools.

     

     

     

In addition to times of devotion and worship, teachers received specialized programs throughout the week on subjects including math, reading, and leadership. Each session expanded on these using a Socratic teaching method and focused on ways to enhance learning and comprehension. During the math instruction time, math teacher Teri Rhodes provided a variety of teaching activities using cards, dice, and other techniques. She also demonstrated and highlighted different ways to teach multiplication from sets to hand signals for teaching math vocabulary. The reading workshop, led by Family Legacy’s Superintendent of Schools Kathryn Shindoll, focused on the importance of reading, phonemic awareness, comprehension strategies, book and print awareness, vocabulary, and using newspapers to promote reading.

Trainings such as this are incredibly rare in a country like Zambia. Once a teacher graduates from an education program and becomes certified to teach, there are few resources that will help them continue to improve and grow in their profession. We are so grateful for Mike and Terri Rhodes, as well as our Family Legacy education staff, for their support in ensuring our LIFEWAY Christian Academy teachers are truly the best educators in Zambia. It is truly a priceless gift to give the orphans and vulnerable children of Zambia – the “least of these” – the greatest education in the city of Lusaka!

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Roots

My family has lived in Texas for a long time, but I still consider Alabama to be my home. This weekend my Dad and I took a trip to Birmingham for me to see my family. This would be my last trip home for a little while, so I of course I wanted to soak up as much of the South as I could!
 

There are so many people who help shape us into the people we become. I am so thankful I got to spend time with so many people who have been an extremely important piece in my journey. I am truly blessed to have been surrounded with so many incredible people! 



"Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life." - Lisa Weedn

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Green Bandanas

As I prepare to move, there are many times where I become overwhelmed with the change. There are so many people I will miss and things that will be different! What will I do without being able to stop by and see mom at the store or go play with my nephews after a long day? Then there are the less important things like a Starbucks on the way to work or a sonic drink during happy hour! When all this change that is going on becomes a lot to handle, I immediately try to imagine the smile on my sweet James' face when he sees me and finds out I have moved! James is my sponsored kid who lives at the Tree of Life in Zambia. James was a gift God sent to me during my time in Zambia this summer!

Soon after I signed up to go on the TEACH One trip, I started learning about all the different ministries I could be a part of with Family Legacy. One ministry I began praying about was sponsoring one of the kids through Family Legacy. I checked the website and never saw any new kids available to be sponsored, so I was hopeful that after I went to Zambia there would be some children in need of sponsors! When I landed in Zambia, one of the first stories I heard was about the event on Thursday evenings at the Tree of Life. All of the Americans that are there for Camp LIFE or TEACH One go out to the Tree of Life to see the Children's Home and their school, Faith Christian Academy. The students all sing and dance and perform and are so proud to show off their home! Each child who lives out there wears a bandana during this time. Those who have sponsors wear a red bandana and those whose sponsors could no longer sponsor them or they were new, wear green bandanas. Before the students perform the students with green bandanas run to the Americans and welcome them to the Tree of Life.
 
At the beginning of the week, I started praying about sponsoring one of the "green bandana kids." By Wednesday night, I was sure that I needed to. After our meeting, I went to speak to the girl in charge of sponsorships and told her I wanted to sponsor a kid. Since I had been in the school for a few days already, I thought it would be really special to sponsor a kid from one of my classes. We looked through the kids who were not sponsored and there was only one of my students on the list, James. James had been in my Grade 6 class and was extremely quiet. I could tell James had been through a lot, because he was much older than the other students in his class and had a limp when he walked because of something that was wrong with his leg. I has not had much interaction with him and just wasn't sure if he was who I should sponsor. That night I prayed about James and watched him the entire next day at school, but still wasn't sure if he was the right one. 

When the teachers headed over to meet the camp group on Thursday night we saw the kids all lined up. Mainly red bandanas and a line of green ones in the front. It broke my heart to see those precious kids with green bandanas. One of the girls who works for Family Legacy told me how hard it is when a kid is not sponsored because the kids sometimes associate it with not being loved enough. She said the older kids, especially boys, are so hard to find sponsors for because Americans typically want to sponsor the younger kids. 


As I walked closer to the group of kids I was overwhelmed with certainty that James was who I wanted to sponsor. I went to tell the girl I had spoken to the night before, so James would not get taken. She went and told James that when the other green bandana kids start running, he needed to just come see her. Of course James asked why. She told him she had a surprise for him and she said his face just lit up. When the kids started running I saw James go to meet her. She told him I wanted to sponsor him and he came as fast as he could across the field. He had a HUGE smile on his face, it was the first I has seen all week! I hugged him tight when he got to me and my hand felt his heart beating SO fast. I said, "James, your heart is beating so fast!" He responded, "it's because I am so happy!" 


I got to worship with James and the other kids for a while and when they dismissed us, James grabbed my hand and said, "I want to show you my house!" As we were walking to his house James said, "Auntie, I have been praying that God would send someone who could love me, but I wasn't sure He was going to answer me." It took all I had to get the words out, "James, it looks like he answered your prayers!"  
 

When we got to the house, I met James' house mom and the brothers and sisters he lives with! It is amazing how quickly you become a part of their family! I met James' actual brother Luka and he was even more excited about me sponsoring James than James was! He must have said thank you 100 times that night. I spent the rest of the evening with them and rejoicing in the blessing that God had sent to me! 



So, on the days that are difficult right now, I only have to do is picture sweet James. I can only imagine his smile when I get to see him again and the joy of our reunion very soon! 




Thursday, September 19, 2013

Back to School...in January

One of my most favorite times of the year is BACK TO SCHOOL. Seeing school supplies stocked in stores always makes me happy! Last night I had the opportunity to work with the staff at Family Legacy and volunteers to pack supply bags for 8,000 students who will be attending Family Legacy Schools starting in January!

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This time, school supplies had a whole new meaning for me! Each bag that we packed represented a student who was going to have the opportunity for a better future. Every child in Zambia does not have the opportunity to learn and having the opportunity to be a student is priceless to kids there. It is exciting to know that each bag packed last night represents a kid in Zambia who will get to be a student!

 
Thousands of kids will get the opportunity to not only be educated, but learn more about Christ and His love everyday! What an amazing gift we can give these children!
 
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Ready, set...

When I pictured what my August and September would look like this year, I planned for back to school preparation and football duty! I never imagined I would be packing and making plans to move to Zambia. I had the opportunity to keep working for most of August and my last day was the Friday before students arrived. Instead of running around trying to get students to the right places on the first day of school, I spent the day running around with my mom trying to buy everything I would need to take with me! I had less than 2 weeks to pack anything that needed to be put on the container to Zambia. The container takes about 3 months to arrive, so anything I could get on the container would arrive in December (about a month after I will move over!)

Packing anything I might need turned out to be more of a challenge than I thought it would. How many bottles of shampoo do I need to buy for year? What size sheets do you buy for a not so queen sized bed? How can I make my bedroom feel like home and not take anything that I would be too upset if it didn't make it back to the states when I return? 

After cramming as much as I could in to the boxes I had and as much in my car as would fit, I dropped  off what seemed to be a small piece of my life to be shipped to Zambia! This was one of those moments when I realized there is no turning back!