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Hello, I am a mother of three living with my husband in Africa. I have been blogging for seven years but still find myself very technologically challenged. I make lots of mistakes, but life is a journey. Come join me on the journey!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Boarding School, Really?

You might be thinking, "Why would you send your child to boarding school? Why would you make that change?" 

When we learned our first language overseas, we only had a toddler. I was able to leave him with a sitter to go to class, and then I took him along with me on visits and outings. So no schooling was involved for him.

When we learned our second language, we had a first grader and preschooler. While first grade was a crucial year, it did not take up all that much time to homeschool, still allowing for lots of study and practice times. 

Now we have a ninth, seventh, and second grader. These are all very crucial grades. They each require time to be done well. It does not leave much time for French lessons, much less study and practice time. With also looking at learning another language in a year or so, it would be best to make the shift from homeschool to other options now rather than delaying the inevitable. 

"Aren't there good public schools to which you can send your children?" 

Actually, there are a few public schools funded by the government. The government does not invest a lot of money in the system here.  All schools are therefore basically private in that you pay for them. 

"Aren't there good schools in your city?" 

Yes, there are actually some really good schools. 
There are French and Belgium schools, but making the switch to all school subjects in another language can be very difficult in the upper grades. 

There are other small schools that have lots of benefits, but they may or may not have all the future grades. If he cannot continue at the school throughout high school, the credits he takes there may or may not be accepted when he transfers. Why make it easier now just to make it harder later? 

There is an American School here, which offers all grades and is all in English, however it is cost prohibitive. 

"What? Cost prohibitive? Isn't boarding school expensive?" 

Actually it is cheaper to send William to this boarding school and pay for flights back and forth each trimester than for him to attend the American school in our city. 
For that matter, the boarding school actually costs less than the small, English school, which only goes up to ninth grade right now, that we are looking at for the girls. 

"How can you let your child go away? Don't you love him? Won't you miss him?" 

Absolutely! I will miss him and I love him dearly! This is the reason for so many years in our village, I insisted that I would home school our children all the way through. Even when I saw a lack of Christian friends for him there, I believed we could be enough to encourage his growth. At that time, I could not imagine sending him a twelve hour, and later only a ten hour, drive away in the same country. 
Now we are sending him across the continent to a different country!

"So what changed?" 

About five years ago, as I thought about friends sending their children away to college, I thought how hard it would be to send them back across the ocean. I thought about how few years we still would have him. I thought about our friends sending their children to boarding school. I could never do that. I have so much to teach him. I could never teach him all that I wanted to before he went to boarding school. Then I looked in The Word. 

Moses' mother had him for three months before she had to place him in the river, but then she got to have him until he was weaned, maybe two or three years. Then Samuel, for whom his mother pleaded for years, was also dedicated to the service of the Lord and left at the temple when he was weaned. Jesus was "lost" by his parents at the age of twelve but was found sitting with the teachers in the temple and he himself was teaching.  Now I am not calling my son the deliverer, a prophet, and definitely not the Savior, but there was comfort in finding that other mothers had to trust that their children were ready and instilled with enough knowledge, virtue, etc., to let them go early. 

Then three years ago, I began my battle with cancer. The day before William's eleventh birthday, I had my first chemo treatment. Amidst the battle, there were times  I wondered what would happen if I did not survive and had to leave my family. Had I taught them everything they needed to know? When it came to the things most important, I could say, "yes." While there are a lot of gaps in my children's upbringing, loving God and loving others are not on the list of gaps. 

"So why boarding school? Why now?" 

Our kids love watching "Once Upon a Time." A recurring phrase regarding the children is to "give them their best chance." At this point in time, this is what we need to do to give William his best chance. 

Pray for us all as we transition, including his sisters who love him so much. 

(P.S. Mariama will miss William, but is looking forward to taking over his room and having her own room for the first time in her life!)

Friday, August 4, 2017

Keep Your Dirt Swept

Sunday before last at church, I heard about a common practice here in this country that I had heard about in other parts of the continent as well, but it was explained in a different way. The Truth of it came alive for me later that week. 

Across this country, there are lots of places that are not paved, even here in the capital. None the less, the people will sweep the dirt to keep it looking nice, but the reasons go much deeper. In other places, I had heard it explained that they swept to make it smooth, so that a snake's trail could be easily seen when it goes into a house. However, here, they say it is to keep grass from growing close to the house, so that there is nowhere for the snake to hide to get near the house. 

I don't know about you, but I certainly like the idea of it not getting in the house in first place rather than just knowing if it has gotten there. Maybe that is why the Bible admonishes us to not even give the enemy an opportunity. Ephesians 4:26-27 says, "In your anger, do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold." 

Over the next few days, I saw how it played out in real life. From all the moving, I had let little things build up in my heart against my family members. With Rich being gone for over a week, I had allowed the bickering between my daughters to become bickering within me. Instead of keeping my dirt swept on a daily, even moment by moment basis, I had allowed seeds of discontent to grow.  I was miserable and causing everyone else to be so as well. 

A couple of days into it, I had to ask for prayer for my health. In the midst of praying, the prayers for my well being went so much deeper than stomach issues. In seeking out the cause for my stomach issues, I discovered the root cause of my discontent. I was not going to have anymore of it. I told the enemy to get out, not unlike the scene in "War Room." I decided to focus on The Lord and the Word. 

The way we do battle is with praising the Father, not giving too much attention to the enemy. We know his schemes to recognize them, but we are to set our hearts and minds on things above. Because she was too focused on the enemy, Mariama recently had let things that she needed to know to be more security conscious turn to anxiety, but I admonished her to change her focus. Philippians 4:8 tells us, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things." 

This week my personal Bible study has been on forgiveness. It has shined a light on places in my life that I had let unforgiveness, towards myself as well as others, take root, in spite of saying that I had forgiven.  I have pulled up weeds of discontent. I encourage you to examine your life for the areas that seeds of unforgiveness or discontent or other seeds have begun to take root. 

Keep your dirt swept, not just to see when the enemy enters, but do not even give him a chance to get near the house.