I woke up this morning humming a tune. “Great is thy faithfulness, Oh God my father, morning by morning new mercies I see.” Oh, and we do see His mercies every morning here. “All I have needed they hand hath provided.” This school is a testament to His provision. “Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.” Wow! What a great way to wake up – knowing and feeling His provision and faithfulness.
Back in November we were especially feeling grateful. The school has benefited so much from the faithfulness and generosity of so many people. The management team of the school decided that it was our turn to go to an international conference to promote the school and look for teachers.
The conference is held each year in a different location in the US to showcase work being done throughout the world. It is a great place to network and let people know about our school in Prishtina. The conference lasts 4 days with main speakers about twice a day and classes on specific subjects throughout the rest of the day. Also there is a huge hall full of hundreds of booths to introduce people to workers from around the world. Thousands of people attend each year.
Next year the conference is in Richmond, Virginia – you should plan on going, it is very inspiring to see what is happening out there away from our comfy homes. It might motivate you to come to a place, like say Prishtina High School, and help our kids.
On November 7, our tickets were booked, we said our good-byes, telling everyone that the school would be fine while we were gone, and off we went.
Our first stop was Boston, but then it was off to the conference in Columbus.Our friend Pat met us at the airport with a smile, a plan for lunch (Max and Erma’s we highly recommend it!) , and a tour of downtown to get us situated before we headed off to the hotel.
The next morning it was the to get our booth all set up and ready to greet people passing by. We took a tour of other booths to see what was going on.
We made some great contacts over the 4 days. We found a few people who might be interested in coming, and many teachers who had friends they would pass our information on to. We talked to 3 universities who would like to work with us by helping our teachers further their education (on-line) and by encouraging their students to think about the possibility of working overseas for a bit after graduation. All in all, it was a great few days of networking.
You can help also! We are still looking for teachers in mathematics, English, science and social science for next year. We have wonderful teachers at the school who first learned about us at the international conference. If you know of young people, graduating from college and looking for an adventure, tell them about us. If you know of teachers looking for a change in location. We have a great place.
Another side benefit of being there was that we got to see some friends and family.
As we walked around in our free time, we got to talk to people from Team Expansion and Master Provisions, we met board members for the first time and met the couple responsible for organizing shipment of containers full of equipment to our campus. People whose generosity and purpose we feel every day. For once, we got to say thank you – in person. Truly morning by morning new mercies we were seeing.
One morning we had a fun surprise. A man stepped into our little booth. I said,”Can I help you?” and he just stood there. It took me a few seconds before I realized it was my cousin, Derek, who I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. You know, the father of Gretchen, who painted that amazing picture. He thought it was hilarious that I didn’t recognize him right away, but it is a matter of context I tell you :] We had a great time catching up a bit and then I asked about Gretchen and that picture. Well guess what. He told me that, Sophorn, the young lady in the picture, was there at the conference!
She was one of three girls featured in a documentary made by Rapha House called “Finding Home” which was being shown at the conference. I must say that Rapha House sells beautiful things made by the girls whose lives they literally save, if you would like to find some beautiful, meaningful Christmas gifts, look here.
Another great thing at the conference happened Saturday afternoon. At our end of the building there was some very loud hammering going on. It turns out that these teenagers were being taught how to build a wall. Each group of kids were working on a wall and there were many groups. At the end of the day the walls were put on a truck to be shipped off to a Children’s Home in Oklahoma where they will be put together to make a new home for orphaned children.
This organization builds homes, not just for orphanages, but for many other needs. Pretty cool. The group doing this will bring wood to any group who wants to participate and let whole communities in on the fun. I am sorry to say that I have lost the name of the organization, but if you would like to do this, contact me and I will find the information for you.
Then at the other end of the building whole families were filling meal bags.Again, IDES will set this up in your community, if you’re interested, you can contact them directly.
As you can see, the conference showed us truly, “All we have needed, the Lord’s hand hath provided.” It was so very touching and inspiring to see all that is going on in our own backyards and around the world.
There were some other highlights that were just side benefits of being in Columbus. Lunch at North Market for instance. North market is a building full of deliciousness! There are 35 vendors who sell all things wonderful and food related – my kind of place.
And what’s for lunch?
And on Sunday we hitched a ride out to Fairfield Church North Campus, where Derek is now the pastor. A side note – John and Ruth, our dear friends and fellow workers, were the pastoral couple here when this building was built many years ago. What a fun coincidence.
After church we went out for Mexican food (the love must run in the family!) and had a great time talking and talking about what is happening with each of us. What could be more fun.
Later we decided to venture out.
What would make us leave the warm hotel to venture out in the cold?
Where we could find
OK – I have to confess, I got the best socks ever here and Ted picked up a shirt or two. Oh, and that place was not far from this place.
We walked around the mall oohing and awing – fun day. The next day we drove out to the Amish country, where apparently I took exactly 0 pictures (sorry), but we loved the beauty of the drive and even in all that snow we saw some buggies out for a ride and got to visit some cute stores. Yes Columbus was a beautiful and inspiring place.
By the time we got ready to leave this reminder was on display.
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness,
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.
I do need to say that while we were having a lovely time in the states, the school (that we promised would run smoothly without us) did have a couple of hiccups. While we had two teachers who had medical problems which could be addressed in country, we had two other teachers need to leave the school. Our Algebra and Geometry teacher needed to leave immediately to attend to personal concerns and Kara, our middle school math and science teacher, made the decision to leave in December for health reasons. We will miss them both.
But, as we know, “All we have needed Thy hand hath provided”. Last summer we made the decision to hire two Social Science teachers when we really only needed one. It turns out that one of those ladies is able to teach in the high school math position. And I am available to fill the middle school math and science position. The good news is that before we even knew our needs, He took care of them.
The school did well without us, when needs arose, they stepped in and took care of them. How blessed we all are. Yes, we have “Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” Great is His faithfulness!