Friday, August 25, 2017

ZAMBIA CHRONICLES 2.0 - Literacy School

Four years ago in January 2013, the missionary pastor of Big Tree Baptist Church in Malongwe Village started a literacy program for the members of the congregation. Church members had access to bibles written in the native language, but very few people could read them. The first classes were taught by Doreen Zulu, and there were 18 students in attendance. I was blessed to be an early supporter of the program, and I’m so pleased to see the way the Lord has continued to grow this ministry. Over the years we’ve have different teachers volunteer their time to teach the classes. As the program has grown the need for additional teachers has become more evident. I’m so thankful for the two new teachers that have made themselves available for the literacy school. It was wonderful to meet Mr. Silimbana and Mrs. Phiri. I had the opportunity to share my burden for the people of the village and they, in turn, expressed their desire to minister. Two different classes are being offered: the English class is taught by Mr. S, and the Chichewa class is taught by Mrs. P. There are 23 students enrolled. It was a blessing to share all of the resources with our new teachers that I had shipped in barrels back in March. Thank you to everyone that donated school supplies. They were so pleased to receive all the teaching materials they needed to get their classrooms set up. I want to extend a special thank you to Robert Futrell of Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida for donating a library full of hardback, early reader books and English dictionaries.
Mr. S and Mrs. P have great resolve AND patience. The literacy classes meet on Monday, Thursday, and Friday at 3pm. Both teachers walk to our village after teaching their regular classes in the neighboring villages. They welcomed me to sit in on the classes so I could observe their teaching techniques. Even though the Resource Center is still under construction, the classroom is already being used by Mr. S for his English class. He uses the Bible as his primary textbook (can somebody say Praise the Lord!), and the day that I observed his class, he was teaching on the story of the Good Samaritan. After looking through the library of books, he discovered that I had brought a book about that same parable, and he invited the students to read the story using the primary reader. God’s timing is ALWAYS impeccable!
Mrs. P’s Chewa class has 13 students, and they are all learning at different levels. Most of the students are completely illiterate, but she is very patient with them. Please continue to pray for this worthy program. God is blessing in a great way. People from the surrounding villages have heard about what is happening, and so many more students want to attend classes. The teachers and I agreed that we need to put a cap on the classes, but I feel confident that by the end of the next term (December) we could have as many as 60 students enrolled in the school. To God be the glory! 

This is a picture of most of the literacy school students. Mr. Silimbana is taking the photo. Thank you for your prayers for these students and the teachers. A whole new world of literacy is being opened to them.

My lovely classroom. There is so much I love about this picture. First, it looks like a classroom. When I first observed Mr. S teaching class, the room was covered with ladders, scaffolding, and plaster debris all around. I love the desks that we had built, and the students love them, too. This room is serving double duty. Our sewing class also meets here. The sewing/cutting table is propped up against the wall on the right. The storage rack on the left side of the picture holds all of the student sewing kits as well as the library of books and all the school supplies. We're making such good progress. Thank you for being a part of this great work! 

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