Saturday, October 25, 2014


Yesterday was a graduation celebration for the P7 students at Good Shepherd's Fold primary school. The educational system here is very different from that in America, so I will briefly explain what this means. The school year begins in February and ends in November. The primary school system begins at P1 and continues to P7. When students complete P7 they take a placement test which determines much of their future. If they do very well on this exam, they can get into one of the better secondary schools and possibly make it to university one day. If their score is good but not great, they might get into a lower level secondary school which decreases their chances of scoring well enough in secondary school to continue on to university. If their score is a bit lower they may only be able to attend a few years of secondary school. And if they have a bad test day, they are finished with school altogether. These kids are most the age of students in middle school in America. Can you imagine if your educational future was determined by a test you took when you were in middle school? (The photo to the right is of me with my volleyball players who made it to the national level of competition. They were also recognized at the graduation celebration.)

These students feel a great deal of pressure, and for good reason. The celebration yesterday was celebrating the end of their regular school year. These students still have the exams to take and a class safari trip. (There are some great benefits to growing up in Africa!) At this celebration there was much talk about these upcoming exams. When Mark Gwartney, our team leader, spoke to the students, he also talked about this exam. He talked about how this test is important and may feel like a lot of pressure, but there is a more important test, the testing your heart to determine whether Jesus is your Lord and Saviour. All you have to do for this test is to acknowledge your inability to be right with God on your own and to receive the righteousness of Jesus through faith. While the results of their academic test will have many implications for their lives, the results of this Spiritual test have implications for both this life and the life to come. I was so thankful that Mark had this opportunity to share the gospel with these students and their families one more time before they leave school at GSF. Most of these students come from the nearby villages and are from a variety of religious backgrounds. The students from the school have historically scored well on these tests, so many families send their kids to the GSF school even though they are not Christians.

As you think of the ministry here at GSF, please pray for these students as they prepare for this important test. (To the left is a photo of our nurse, Kim, and the GSF kids who are finishing their P7 year of school.) Also pray that the families who have heard the good news of righteousness and salvation in Jesus Christ will come to faith in Jesus. Please pray for us to know how to encourage, comfort and point to Jesus as we talk wit the kids who live at GSF who are also preparing for this exam. It is so good for all of us to remember that our lives are in the hands of our Saviour who loved us so much that he sacrificed his own life, that we might be children of God. When I get anxious and worry about the future this is my greatest comfort.
"He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?" Romans 8:32

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