Where is a home can be a tricky question in the international community. Do you mean where I live now? Where we came from before here? My passport country? Where my heart is? The kids give you a confused look, the older ones and adults might chuckle, then ask for clarification. The international community is a transient community. There are very few families that have stayed in one place for the student’s entire schooling. Not just that they moved from one side of town to a neighboring community. They have moved from Canada to the Philippines to Canada to Ethiopia to Ghana to Tanzania.
Even though this is my first experience living outside of the US, I struggled last year feeling I was just passing through so how much do I make my home, home? Towards the end of the year, I invited a few students over. They commented on how they had never been invited to a teachers home. That bothered me but I wasn’t living in a place I could easily entertain and more than that. I realized I didn’t want to just be passing through. Dar es Salaam had become home. Seeing a huge need for a place to have students over to just have a safe space, a place to learn to cook, and talk about life, I decided to move. It was a risk for me financially. Thankfully I found a place that was affordable, still in my neighborhood where I felt safe, but completely unfurnished.
It was time to make my place, my home. No more living out of totes, bare walls, empty floors, or lack of seating. Thankfully through the missionary community, I was able to acquire much of what I needed for a reasonable price. I still have a lot I need, but it is worth it! What has been happening in my house to be worth it? Please keep reading!
I am in awe of how God has confirmed this move and has been using this opportunity. I have been able to stay in contact with the 2014 Graduates. Shortly after I returned, I had a group of them over for dinner before they left to all corners of the earth.
Over term break, I had six students over for a day to teach them photography, a couple girls brought a woman over to braid my hair,
and now every Thursday is pizza night for Grade 12. About 10 students come over and we make pizza and snacks together. Some kids live too far away to stay after school on a week day so I suggested moving it to Friday. Their response? We need this break in the week. I am so thankful to be able to provide this brief respite in their chaotic lives. A homey place to come, be themselves, listen to music, laugh, have fun, and let go of life’s pressures for when they leave it is homework, thinking about where will I go to uni, how will my family pay for it, what testing go I need to finish yet… so many questions that are constantly burdening them.
The other exciting way I have been able to use my house is for a G12 girls sleep over. We fit nine of us on the floor of my living room. I am really excited for this opportunity to mentor these girls this year. We have a very active Young Life ministry on campus. About a month ago, one of the Young Life leaders asked the HOPAC staff if anyone would be interested in leading a discipleship group for senior high. I offered to help with grade 12. Since no one had been working with this class yet, I just put out a message to all the girls saying I was thinking about starting a discipleship group where they could grow deeper in their Christian faith. 11 of my 16 girls responded! We kicked off our discipleship group with a sleepover. 9 of the 11 where able to come! We cooked dinner together, played games and shared some of our faith stories. Please pray for us as we journey together this year that their faith will grow and we can be real with each other as we challenge each other to walk closer with our God.
Welcome to my busy happy home! So as you can see, the financial stress has been so worth it. Amazing, challenging conversations are happening, lives are changing. Some people had told me I had too many chairs. I don’t have enough! And there are a few other needs. Would you be willing to help? I am praying a few people would consider financially supporting to meet these needs.
Food for Pizza nights: $40/wk
Living room curtains (6 panels @ $30ea): $180
Recovering ripped chair cushions (16 cushions @ $20ea): $320
The above would both be made by a local seamstress to support her business
Cooking pots: $120- need a couple more for teaching cooking
Silverware: $60 – enough to use when students are over so we don’t have to use plastic, especially since their isn’t a good trash disposal process here.
Mosquito Net: $60- made by a local seamstress
Bar stools (6 stools @ $30ea): $180 I don’t have a table but I do have an island. This would allow us to eat together at a “table” as well as provide additional seating for large group activities. – made by a local business
Speakers for TV: $150 I was able to get a TV from another missionary but the speakers are blown in it. Need to get speakers to be able to use it to show bible study videos and watch movies with students.
I already have a few items but I am making payments on them and need to pay off:
Are you able to support my ministry by filling one of the above needs? Maybe one week of pizza? One (maybe 2 or 3?) bar stools? TeachBeyond has made it very easy to help! Please follow this link to their website where you can either donate online, http://www.teachbeyond.org/donate. Please include account #40270.
Thank you for helping me show God’s love to our students.