I arrived in Ghana on July 27, 2010. I was coming in a little nervous about what was ahead. I had met with John and Stacy only once before and came in not quite sure what the task would look like for me.
I thought that I'd perhaps do some tutoring, that I'd work with them after school to get their levels up, and compile curriculum to help get their scores higher.
But, stepping off the plane, John and Stacy told me that their vision was for something quite bigger--starting a school...a whole school...in a country I had never been in before...with children I'd never met...and it was starting up in one month's time.
So, I took it in stride and Stacy and I went school-crazy for awhile, preparing lessons, talking about the vision of the school and what the future might hold! We started up Faith Roots International Academy at the Freedom Center in Tema. Everyday was a struggle at first as the kids and I had to learn how to communicate with each other, as we had to learn new styles of teaching and learning, and as we worked to bring out the best in each child.
It was a year of learning experiences for me. And in the middle of it all, we moved to Doryum, a village outside of Tema, and started our Children's Village building projects here. We started the foundation of the school on December 28--a school design which Stacy, John, and I dreamed up on one of our many car rides around Ghana...a school that YGAP has generously donated time and money to see built...as school that we continue to see expanding in the future and dream up ways to beautify amidst all the concrete dust that we currently see.
I couldn't have imagined six months ago that I would be starting up school this year. Staff problems were so discouraging at that point and for awhile, it seemed like nothing was falling into place the way that we had planned it. And yet, here we are...we don't have windows or doors, our floors are unfinished so they're a bit dusty, our toilets aren't installed yet, and we don't have electricity...but, school is in session...and it actually works without all of this things! I mean, I keep having to remind myself (and Stacy does too)--TIA!! This Is Africa! Somethings just work a different pace and with different expectations here, but we have desks and we have students and the kids are already learning.
I've been so impressed with most of our teachers so far. They've really been trying to implement the things that I taught them. Morning meetings are happening in every classroom. I am seeing decks of cards and popsicle sticks used as methods to call on students. I'm seeing teachers check student learning at the door. They're following curriculum (for the most part--still have some that need a little modeling help). Students are learning! I mean, we have such a variety of kids here. Some are 9 years old and have never been to school, but they are learning how to write their name and are showing improvement every day!
I look at what ONE YEAR has done...and I have to say...there is NO WAY THIS IS POSSIBLE! I get to live the impossible here. Yeah, the impossible is sometimes exhausting, but it becomes possible with God. He granted the vision. He called me here. And here we are...a school with 80 students (still more coming to register), 7 teachers, an office administrator, a school cook...and me. God is good. His visions are FAR BEYOND what we could ever dream up ourselves. I would NEVER in a million years, have thought that I would be a part of something like this. It even brings tears to my eyes at different moments throughout the day to walk through our halls and see the smiles of so many children in our classrooms.
He casts the vision. I know that it's His provision that has brought us this far. So, I'm running with it...
Sometimes I wonder what else God might have in store for me...because this one was pretty BIG!