"When your church is eight seconds old, fancy things like services and tithe checks remain somewhere in Futureland too. It takes a lot of work to prep the surface, and this was about when we realized we had no idea how to start a church from scratch. What do we do first? How do we stay true to the vision? It was overwhelming, and I complicated matters by operating in an emotional drift. My mental space was consumed with loss from our departure, and I could not find center. I wanted to embrace the adventure, but all I could think about was leaving the platform." Jen Hatmaker, Interrupted
July 28th was my 4 year anniversary of moving to Ghana. 4 years! Sometimes I marvel at that very fact.
I was in high school for 4 years. I graduated with 69 other happy-go-lucky seniors the year of Y2K.
I was in college for 4 years. I am still besties with my friends from college, who I met some 14 years ago. (Ok...getting old)
4 years...it's enough time to change a life.
I intended to come for one year. In fact, I was quite certain it was only going to be one year. I made an arrangement for my car to be taken care of, for one year. I talked with my HR rep at the Ravenswood City School District about rehiring me when I return, one year later. I stored my stuff in my friend's garage, knowing I would be back in one year to reclaim it all.
I have been here 4 years.
After the first year, I sold my car...and spent its earnings on a trip to Australia for my 30th birthday.
This year, when I was home on furlough, I cleaned out my storage (or at least most of it) from my friend's garage. I have about 4 boxes of things to my name now in California. Mostly children's books that I couldn't bear to part with but were too heavy to make the journey with me to Ghana.
That quote up there from Interrupted...yeah, that was me when I landed here in Ghana and found out that I wouldn't just be tutoring the kids after school, but would be starting a school. Surprise!
Everything went through my head.
I wasn't trained for this.
I don't know how to run a school.
I don't know how to train teachers.
I don't have any clue what I am doing.
I was overwhelmed, out of my league, beyond my depth...
But the thing is, it was never about what I knew or didn't know. It was about being clay inthe hands of the Master Potter. I could NEVER have dreamed up what I see I front of me today. In fact, if you had told me that this was what I would be doing, I would have stayed right where I was.
I took a leap off that platform, trusting that even when I didn't know...He did.
2010-2011: We taught our 19 kids at home, 10 of them in my classroom...four different grade levels, no curriculum, just filling in gaps.
2011-2012: We hired six teachers to fill our shell of a school building which had no plaster or paint or windows or doors or electricity. We had students and desks and white boards and teachers. 19 students to 120 that year.
2012-2013: Second wing of the school completed. 120 students became 180 students.
2013-2014: Third wing completed. 180 students became 230 students. 22 staff members.
This will be my FIFTH school year in Ghana. I am sure we will have out share of challenges with our incoming 240 students and 25 staff members.
But, I don't know where I would be without this big adventure.
What is the BIG ADVENTURE God has you on? And where do you need to just make that leap off the platform you've been standing on?