Back to School!

I’ve been staring at my computer for a while wondering how in the world am I going to put into words the four days we had on safari… Pretty sure I could write a book. Instead of writing the longest blog post in the history of the world I think I’ll just give you my top 5 moments.

1. Elephants playing in the mud
2. Picture with the Maasai tribal people
3. Getting advice about love from our safari Jeep driver.
4. Passing out for the first time ever.
5. My professor, Amber, and I getting charged by an elephant.

Between the spears being thrown, angry elephants running around, and me wacking my head on sink after I passed out brushing my teeth, a lot more amazing things happened. I could spend so much time on talking about the animals we saw and the adventures we had… There are just not enough hours in the day or proper words to describe spending four days in God’s amazing, unsoiled creation.

Not gonna lie, I almost didn’t want to go on safari. I felt so guilty being away for two days and not being able to help teach the science classes. I just wanted to get back. I had dreams of buying backpacks for the cute little orphan kids. I was itching to write lesson plans. I missed walking the busy streets and my new friends at school.

One thing I didn’t realize is that when you go on safari, you are in the car for up to 8 hours a day. Kinda gives you a lot of time to think. All I could think about was going back to Arusha.

So on Tuesday we did. We came home to Arusha. Home. It’s kind of funny how a place so foreign suddenly becomes like home after a four day crazy adventure in the bush. Room A5 at the Outpost Lodge never looked so good!
I went back to school yesterday and found out that Frankie, the man who my headmistress hired to help with the science classes, had quit on Monday.

Shoot. My students had been without a teacher for two days. My heart broke. But as it shattered, a fire was lit inside of me to give these children an education that they will never forget.

So for the next two weeks I will have 60 young minds split between two grades needing to be taught chemistry, biology, and physics. Six different classes, some twice a week. I also need to teach 6 lab sections. No co-teacher, no classroom teacher. Just me. Two weeks ago was the first time I ever stood in front of a classroom.

Two weeks ago.

Never in my life have I felt more under-qualified. In three weeks the students in my care will undergo examinations. Whether they pass and move on or fail and waste their parents’ precious hard earned money is weighing on my shoulders. I have no idea what I’m doing and the work load is insane.
This all may sound like complaints. I promise they aren’t though. This is me, rejoicing in the Lord for all he has given me. Because despite all those things…

I love my school.
I adore my students.
The staff is amazing.
I feel so incredibly loved by my students at Meru.
I love riding the daladala home.
The other GVSU students at my school are amazing (they walk miles with me all over Arusha, they’re just so awesome!!).
Lesson planning is a joy because, for some reason, there is an unending stream of ideas to inspire my students flowing from my brain.
I love the court yard at school filled with exotic flowers.
Donations to help Arusha’s schools are still coming in.
My students are getting more and more excited to learn every day.
I have a cozy bed to fall into at night.
I have an incredible family, boyfriend, and friends supporting me from home.
Good meals twice a day.
I am learning SO MUCH.
I am surrounded by wonderful people.

And every time I turn around, small and huge miracles seem to be happening.

I don’t think I’ve ever been happier (or more exhausted) in my entire life.

I’m going to quote Katie Davis, my favorite person ever after Jesus, to sum up how I’m feeling…

“”Remember, God will never give you more than you can handle.”
People repeat that frequently. I heard this when I was growing up and I hear it now. It is meant to be a source of encouragement, and it would be if I believed it were true…

But I don’t.

I believe that God totally, absolutely intentionally gives us more than we can handle. Because this is when we surrender to Him and He takes over, proving Himself by doing the impossible in our lives.”

Right before I left for this trip I prayed that this experience would “wreck” me, break me down, teach me, challenge me. And well, I am living proof that God does answer prayers.

Basically what is about to happen the next two weeks is close to impossible. My goal is to have all 60 kids do well on their exams in all the subjects I am going to teach. In two weeks. Impossible. I know it is. But I trust that even though I am an ordinary person, I love and serve an extraordinary God. And with Him guiding me, there isn’t a single thing to worry about.

“As for God, His ways are perfect:
He shields all who take refuge in Him.
It is God who arms me with strength
And keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of deer;
He causes me to stand on the heights
You [God] provide a broad path for my feet,
So that my ankles do not give way.”

Psalm 18, selected.

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