Wow, it’s been too long since I last posted an update of any kind. The last couple of months have been really busy, lots has been going on! At times here, it can be easy to get bogged down with work, and to start to feel overwhelmed. I’ll try as best I can to summarise the main events of the past two months. I realise this will be a long post since I have a lot to cover, so if you can’t be bothered reading it all, click here for a summary :-)
Way back in early March, we had the Bingham High School banquet, their formal dinner occasion. This is usually held at Bingham and the parents of the students prepare the food and decorate the school gym etc. This year’s theme was a masquerade ball theme, with a murder mystery game for the students to work out. It is always a fun and interesting evening seeing all the high school students dressed up, and it looked like they really enjoyed figuring out who the murderer was!!
After another week or two of school, Bingham had a week off for Easter Break. I was excited about this particular break as my parents were coming out to visit. It is great to be able to show relatives and friends around all of the parts of this country that I love so much. We spent a few days in Addis, seeing things around the city, and then took a few trips out of the city. We visited the rock hewn churches in Lalibela for a day, as well as a long weekend in Langano with Brian and Laura Hall. I think that they enjoyed their time, even with having to put up with a few stomach bugs!
This month, I participated in an outing for the Horizon Boy’s project. I was involved a lot in this project when I was here back in 2007-2009, but haven’t been quite as actively involved with it as yet this time around due to time constraints, but I do still try to join when I can. The project works with neighbourhood boys, organising games and activities for them, and helping out with donations of spare clothing etc. On this occasion, we were taking them to Born Free Ethiopia, an animal sanctuary specifically for big cats that have been abused. They have a number of lions, cheetahs and various other big cats all who have been rescued from abusive or poor conditions of living. It was fun to go around and see the place, I’ve heard about it but never had the opportunity to go myself. I think that the boys enjoyed it too, even if their faces don’t show it in this picture!
I have also been really enjoying being a part of our church worship group recently. Normally, I’m scheduled to play drums once a month with a number of others who also happen to be scheduled that week. However, recently a number of us have formed a more solid group who meet more regularly to practice and rehearse for an upcoming Sunday. It is a bit more work, but I enjoy it and it is always more freeing to play having practiced the songs well beforehand.
Here we all are after last Sunday, all with matching T-Shirts :-)
School work has obviously been the biggest time pressure on me these last few months. I have found it continuously difficult to juggle the various roles I have here, half teacher, half IT coordinator. With God’s help, I have managed to get through the year! Thank you all so much for your prayers for me. As I said, I have spent a lot of the time feeling overwhelmed, with so many things circling inside my head. I’ve learned a lot this year, not least trusting and relying fully on God for help in the midst of so much busyness in life. However, things have turned a corner, my high school students have left for exam study leave. So I can concentrate on only one role; that of IT coordinator! I’m looking forward to attempting to get a fair few things done in this capacity. My IT students have already sat two of their IT exams: both timed practical examinations of their ability to use various computer programs. The first of these exams was a bit of a nightmare: one of our servers here suffered a hardware fault, causing it to be extremely temperamental and creating a lot of disturbances for the students doing their exam. Thankfully we had a few weeks between it and the second exam, so we managed to track down the problem and fix it before the next exam. Very thankful to God that the second exam went very smoothly, and the students all seemed happy enough with how it went. We don’t get any results from this class until August, so will have to wait until then to find out how they’ve done.
Despite all the busyness, God is giving me a number of encouragements.
I’ve been involved with coaching some football this season, the Under 16 boys team. We did fairly well, unfortunately didn’t make it through the group stages due to some draws that we should really have won!! However, it was awesome to see the boys come together as a team, they were a much better team than when we started the season.
I’ve also been busy with my Rock climbing club these past few months. We had about 6 High school students come on a weekly basis to the indoor wall, and myself and another friend have been running it, he used to work at a climbing wall back in the US and has lots of great ideas for making it more challenging for the students but also improving their technique. Things like making them climb while holding tennis balls to improve their footwork etc. We’ve also made a few difficult routes up the wall and enjoy sitting back watching them struggle to complete them! Anyway, a week ago, we had our first official Bingham Academy climbing club field trip to the cliff that we’d been visiting regularly. I organised all the appropriate, scary “don’t sue us if you die” paperwork and we set off with 5 students for a day. It was really enjoyable! The students loved it, they found it a lot scarier than the indoor wall, but they still all managed to complete all of the routes we put them on. I really love developing relationships outside the classroom, it really helps with the goal of mentoring. Please pray that I can continue to develop these relationships next year.
Further encouragements in past weeks have come in the way of special chapel events that Bingham has run for the high school students. Firstly, they had a missionary couple in to give their testimony to the students. They had a very powerful testimony of how God had rescued them out of a life of broken homes and drugs. Many of the students were moved by how God had worked in their lives, and stayed behind for prayer afterwards. Secondly, a chapel was held where the senior class here shared testimony of how God had been working in their lives over the past few years. 5 students gave really encouraging accounts of God’s help and work in their lives recently. It was a real encouragement to us all. It is amazing to be part of these events where you can feel God moving in that very moment! Times like these make all of the stressful and overwhelming times worth it. Praise God for these times of encouragement and continue to pray for his working in the lives of the students here, that we as a staff can continue to follow up with conversations that were started by these and other recent times of blessing.
One student shares at chapel
The staff body praying over the leaving Grade 12 students, a wonderful Bingham tradition. Please pray for these students who are leaving Bingham to transition to University, in most cases outside of Ethiopia.
As a staff, we are very encouraged and happy to report that God has answered our prayers for staff. Many positions have been filled, which is quite miraculous considering how things were looking, humanly speaking. We are still in fairly desperate need of a Spanish teacher, so if anyone knows anyone who might be interested, point them our way! :-) Please do be praying that God will provide here as well.
OK, wow, a lot of news there. If you just wanted the summary: here you go.
Very busy, overwhelmed, got through through with God’s help, a little less work now that high school classes off for exam leave, encouraged by recent chapel testimonies from students and other speakers. Many staffing positions filled: praise God! Pray for next year; still need Spanish teacher, for continued relationship building, better ability to cope with work demands with God's help and strength.
More pics here
Hope all is well back home, look forward to catching up with you all in June!!
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