Tuesday, August 6, 2013

“God, Where Are You in All of This?”

You might be surprised to hear that all five of us at some time were asking God that question during our time in Macha. Each of us had a distinctly different volunteer role to fill at MICS and sometimes we overlapped with each other, got in each others way, even had a difference of opinion on what to do or how to do it. We’d love to say that we delicately and purposefully navigated well through those times, but to be honest we all showed our humanness more than once. Yep! It’s difficult to go and serve and love all at the same time. We were dependent upon God to live in us and speak to us each and every day. 

That was why your prayers and encouragement were so vital to us. Whether you shared with us how God was leading you to intercede on our behalf or kept it all to yourself, we felt your prayers.  So, thank you: for praying, for interceding, for sharing what God was saying to you & for encouraging us with truth; in that way you were a vital part of this work. We could not have made it through without your partnership.

The major projects that needed to be addressed were mostly contained in the new MICS 2 building. This project had been underway for a few years. At the time the construction was started the school was a part of the now defunct MachaWorks.  Without going into details, let’s just say that some of that work wasn’t done well. And the new apartment that Gil and Ronda had hoped to be occupying by now needed attention and renovation before they could move in. Once they make the move there will be an open apartment for another couple to come to Macha and assist them in running the school.

Big bathroom after!
Big bathroom before!

The major work was to rebuild the showers in the two bathrooms, and reinstall toilets and sinks so that they are usable. Mike is quite skilled in laying block or brick, pouring cement and laying tile. At the same time he mentored Dexter, the Krause’s maintenance man, in how to do those jobs. Dexter, an experienced electrician, was a willing student, and was left to put the finishing touches on those projects. Mike also spent some time on the school roof securing the metal roofing and fixing leaks. The rainy season will be coming up in a month or two, so this was pretty significant. Mike could be found every night eating dinner with the boarding students and became a big fan of nshima (corn meal).

Smaller bath prior.

Dennis was a wizard at making more than one closet functional with shelving and clothing bars. And at the same time he used scrap lumber to teach the boarding boys how to make wooden crosses. Dennis did much of the plumbing with the bathroom projects; both Dennis and Mike were able to fix a sewer problem and patch up some holes in a house that several of the teachers live in. The teachers were incredibly grateful to these guys who showed them love by making their homes more livable. Dennis took a real liking to the fresh baked buns that Joyce and the other cooks made for the students and teachers. If we didn't keep an eye on him, he'd eat our entire daily allotment all by himself!

Dennis with Joyce, the bun baker.

Miss LeeAnn teaches phonics to 1st graders.

LeeAnn was asked to step in and model how to teach phonics effectively and even made it fun for the first graders and their teachers. When she could, she helped Kathy manage the throngs of people that would congregate at the front door to ask for one thing or another. She was able to connect with many of the teachers that she’d known prior; as well as handing out discipline to unruly students. You would find both LeeAnn and Mike connecting with boarding staff and participating in evening devotions with the boarding kids each night.

Kathy helps 2 teachers, Chilala and Anastasia draw a dress pattern for their home ec class,
Kathy & Greg with the teachers at morning devotions.

Greg & Kathy were usually up and out the door before dawn. Together, with Misha on the leash, they walked the perimeter of the campus to pray for the day. Kathy’s work day started each morning with teacher devotions and prayer. Her main focus was working with the school staff to make sure everything ran as it should. There were countless problems each day that need to be addressed from tending who were sick, injured or misbehaving, making sure teachers and students had what they needed to do their jobs, to working with the boarding, cooking and cleaning  staff. .. And, then at the end of the day coming up with something to serve for dinner every night for our team! On top of that, she kept an eye on Misha throughout the day who needed just enough attention to stay happy  & satisfied (the dog, not Kathy!).

Coster and helpers work on a new welcome landscape project.
Greg helped Kathy run the school until the guys arrived. Then he helped with building projects by finding materials, mixing cement, getting Coster-the-groundsman what he needed, unlocking doors in the morning and locking them back up in the evening, taking sick kids home or to the hospital, taking cooks to the butcher or the mill and occasionally walking the dog.  Unfortunately he had to be the “buck-stops-here-guy” for the missing laptop debacle, but purposefully and skillfully brought resolution for all who were involved. He was the sole owner of the three large key rings for all the buildings, so he was quite the popular guy all day long!

End of term with entire school; students, teachers, support staff and us1
The last day of school included an all-school soccer skills competition with Push the Rock. Afterwards, each class presented song and recitation as a thank you to us and to PTR for sharing our lives with them for the time that we were there. Lots of hugs, hand written notes, drawn pictures and requests that we come back again.  It’s hard to turn down offers like that!

There's more photos below!

Bit by Bit, Dennis favorite place to shop in Choma! Couldn't keep this guy away!

Friends gave Dennis this chicken as a gift.
Joyce thinks Kathy should help prepare this bird! Yikes!

First graders enjoying morning tea break!

Mike brought Packer and Bucks hats for the kids.

Our kids, Wize, Elifer and Weston.

Shoe store in the local market.

Need a new suit? Macha market has those too!

Mike ate dinner with the boarding kids every night!

We've got lots more photos and stories to share! Visit our blog in a few days to see what other exciting things are happening!

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