Monday, December 26, 2016

Celebrating Christmas in Uganda

Living overseas often provides a real mixture of emotions on holidays. We miss being with extended family and our friends from the other side of the world at these special times. We miss some traditions from our years in the USA that are not possible to maintain here. At the same time we enjoy so many blessings celebrating with our missionary team and people from other cultures and traditions. 

Here in Uganda there are many tribes with different languages, foods, clothes, traditional dances, and cultures. This Christmas, our staff at GSF celebrated this variety in an interesting way. Each missionary or staff member was assigned to a group from a region of Uganda. I was assigned to the Western group, and David to the Northern group. Each group trained to do a presentation of the traditional dances from that region.
Here is David wearing his headdress from  the North. It was fun watching his group dance with a great deal of energy. 😜 The GSF staff enjoy a full day of celebrating which culminates in Christmas gifts of basins full of rice, sugar, cooking oil, soap and many gifts including meat from a bull that the GSF farm slaughters and divides into a bunch plastic bags. It is a special gift that everyone gets to have rice and meat for Christmas! Thursday was a very full day with much celebrating!

The GSF staff party was the day after finishing exams and our school Christmas party on Wednesday.  Our elementary students had their white elephant gift exchange first. 
Then our middle and high schoolers also joined in the fun. 
We have had a wonderful first semester and are thankful for the opportunity to assists missionary parents with the education and discipleship of their children. Thank you to those who support us in prayer and financially to make our work here possible! 

On Wednesday afternoon and evening, we were able to take a couple GSF kids with our family to a pool, a live nativity with Christmas lights and out for dinner. It was a day of more American type celebrations for us. This is the first year since we have been in Uganda that we have been able to go see a live nativity and Christmas lights! It was a blessing to have a larger family for these fun celebrations. 

After celebrating with our students and GSF, I planned to celebrate Christmas on Friday with the women and students in my Bible study group in the village. I always enjoy the opportunity to share the amazing love of God as we talked again about who Jesus is and why He came to earth, to be our Saviour. 

On Saturday we took the GSF kids Christmas caroling in the village and visiting several elderly members of our community. We were also able to give two elderly women a solar powered audio version of the New Testament in Luganda. They are not able to attend church due to health and family issues, and reading on their own is a challenge. Now they can listen to God's Word whenever they want (as long as they have charged the battery in the sunshine.) They were both thrilled and began listening right away! 

After caroling, we went to the Gwartney's house for a gift exchange and a delicious Christmas Eve dinner with our missionary team. It is so good to have a second family here!
After gifts, we had our delicious dinner! The kids had fun at the kids' table!
We are blessed to be able to serve together with these families! 

After our meal the families divided up and went to the houses of the GSF kids houses to read the story of Jesus birth and give Christmas stockings. We got to go to the toddler house! It was a very special time! Each toddler sat with on of their aunties, a missionary or some of the missionary kids while Claudia read to them.

After reading the story of Jesus birth, we handed out the stockings. The children were very excited! 

After our time at the toddler house we put our kids to bed and prepared some gifts for our children for Christmas morning. The highlight of our family gifts was a bunny rabbit which we have to Esther. She is thrilled to have Sweetie, aka Little Bunny FuFu. 

 We drove some of our GSF kids and one Jajja from the village to church. I got to teach Children's Church and share the Good News about the birth of Jesus with probably 80 or so kids from the village.  Even after the children left, the church was packed. I hope that many people clearly understood why we celebrate Christmas. It is so amazing that the God who created and sustains this world, took on flesh, humbled himself to be born as a baby, and lived perfectly on this earth for 33 years in order to take on himself the punishment for my sin and yours, to die for us and give us his righteousness and eternal life, to rise again showing his victory of death! What an amazing joy, to celebrate that our Saviour has come! 

After church we served a Christmas lunch for all the GSF kids, housemoms, older GSF brothers and sisters, missionary families, security guards and the few farm workers who had to work on Christmas. (The cows don't milk themselves even on Christmas Day.) After lunch we were able to give out some gifts to the children. 
The kids all got backpacks with some fun gifts inside! It was so fun to see their excitement!

In the afternoon, we went home and crashed. I even got a nap since my kids woke around 5:30am. I was exhausted and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon and evening while our children played with their new gifts. It was a wonderful whirlwind of a several busy days, but we are now enjoying some time of rest before we begin our second semester of school. Our family was able to have a quick Kampala get away to be able to see a movie, do some shopping and enjoy a little family time. We thankful for the many opportunities to celebrate our Saviour and enjoy time with family and friends here in Uganda. We hope you also are enjoying this Christmas season! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Day Off!!!

While many people had a busy Black Friday looking for deals in America, our family decided that we needed a day of rest. Teaching Monday through Friday in a village setting means that on Saturdays we need to go to town to run all our errands. On Saturday evenings I meet with my village Bible study group and buy jewelry from the Buwundo Beads group.  So far this school year everyday that we have taken off has been for a GSF ministry function. Since David's birthday was on Friday, we decided that it would be good for our family to take the day off to celebrate and rest a bit. We found a great place to stay at a good price. It is called Hotel Paradise in Jinja. There is a pool, air conditioned rooms and a delicious breakfast! Here are the early birds at breakfast on Saturday. 

It was so good to take some time away for rest and refreshment! On Friday we went to some of David's favorite restaurants in town for lunch and dinner. Then we had coffee and a birthday dessert with some friends at an amazing, fairly new place in Jinja, called Java House. It tastes as good as it looks! 

I am so thankful that we were able to have a brief family getaway. Since we also ran our errands in town this morning we are heading home now to start some Christmas decorating as a family. This weekend was exactly what we needed! We thank God for providing this needed time of refreshment for our family! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Giving Thanks in Uganda!

This week many of us spend some time counting our blessings, thanking God for many of his good gifts in our lives. For almost a year now, I have been recording things for which I am thankful. The book, One Thousand Gifts by ann Voskamp, has helped me grow in the practice of thanking God, listing the gifts even in the midst of struggles. On Monday morning I encouraged my students to begin their own lists. We had about 20 minutes to write things for which we are thankful. I was encouraged that many of my students were able to list over 100 gifts from God in their lives during that short time. Reading their lists brought a great deal of joy to my heart! Some of them even listed math!

As we were preparing for the Thanksgiving holiday, we thought that it would be a good time to incorporate a service project. Another one of our neighbors has a mud house that is falling. He had begun gathering poles and reeds to build the basic structure for another hut. Our children have always enjoyed helping to mix and add the mud, so we offered to help. We also found out that several of our other neighbors had some projects that they could also use some help to complete. We decided that the Wednesday before Thanksgiving would be a great time for our students to help us serve our neighbors. We also decided that it would be a great opportunity to share a meal with them. Below you can see the photo of most of our students before starting to work. (A few of our high school students had an anatomy test to complete before joining the rest of us.) You can also see the big pot of matooke (a cooked, mashed banana) that we were preparing for lunch.

As we began we divided our students into four main work crews. One group was digging a pit for a latrine at an elderly couple's home.
Another group worked mudding their cooking hut.
 Several other students worked slashing and digging a field for another elderly neighbor so that she can plant it.

Some other students worked mixing and carrying mud and packing the walls for the new hut. 

We had a few other jobs here and there like fetching water...
planting flowers...
and just visiting and praying with the neighbors.

I was so thankful for the way our students worked and really blessed our neighbors! We have some amazing kids who know how to work hard. At the end of a hard day of labor, the field that our students were digging was almost done, but the rain had begun. Instead of heading home, they decided to stay and finish the job, even in the rain! 
By the end of the day, the group of 3 students dug the latrine pit over 5 feet deep! And the students who were helping with the mud huts, really made some great progress! We are letting the bottom half of the wall dry for about a week before adding the top part. 

I mostly supervised, but in my short times of digging I joined many of our students with blisters that tore. 
I thought our sore hands might be a good reminder for us all about how much we have to be thankful for. 

While Wednesday's work helped us to be thankful, the time together with the other Global Outreach missionaries in Uganda also reminded me of the people I am thankful for here who have become family. Here are some of my team and family here in Uganda who all ended up wearing similar colors for the day.
We had a great time getting to host about 60 people including our GO missionary families, a family in Uganda to adopt and several military personnel.
And the kids' tables were outside under the solar panels. 
 It was a bit crazy, but also a lot of fun! We also were thankful for lots of delicious food (and paper plates we brought from America!)
After the meal we had some good time just hanging out and visiting!
We even had a game of American football! 
It was another full day with more gifts than I could list here. After a bit of clean-up, my family had time for a family game. Well, most of us, Zeke was sacked out on the couch. 
We ended the day teaching our kids to play Spades. It is fun that they are now old enough to enjoy games like this together!
I pray that we will continue to thank God for His many gifts even beyond this week of Thanksgiving! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

Prayer and Planning Leadership Retreat

On the first Thursday and Friday of November our leadership team at Good Shepherd's Fold went to a place called "Prayer Mountain" for a time of prayer and strategic planning. The leadership team is comprised of missionaries and Ugandan managers who serve together here at GSF. The two days together were good and we had time to discuss and pray over many of our core values and how we are doing at implementing these. We also had some time for prayer and thinking about goals for our particular area of ministry.

As David and I were discussing our thoughts and goals regarding our life and ministry here we found that we both were feeling like adding anything more to our to do lists would be overwhelming right now. We are both a bit maxed out. Between both of us working full time as teachers having 5 or 6 seperate class preps each, both of us leading a cord group of 7 or 8 pre-teen to teenage kids here at GSF, David serving as an elder and sometimes preaching, me overseeing children's church on Sundays, David employing and supervising students for landscaping jobs on their school holidays, my work with the village Bible study and Buwundo Beads business, assisting with preparing for visiting teams, caring for the needs of our four children, trying to love our missionary team well, trying to make time for nurturing our marriage, and just dealing with the general stress of life overseas, we both are fairly certain that God is not calling us to add more to our to do list. Don't misunderstand; we are thankful for each of these opportunities to serve! We love the people we work with and are blessed to spend time with them! But we also see that we have not left much margin in our lives. As Richard Swenson describes in his book, Margin, our lives are a bit like a page with words covering the whole thing, edge to edge. Just looking at the page is overwhelming!

As we prayed through and discussed these things, we considered where we might step back a bit. One of the things that has regularly come to our minds is that we could really use another teacher! We did add one teacher to our school this year, but we also added 14 new students, and some of our older students were needing us to add classes that we had not been teaching. All of this led to me going back to being at school full time and both of us needing to devote more time to class preparation. We are praying that God will provide another teacher to lighten our load either by taking some of our classes for us or assisting in some way. Over the years we have been here, and even in the year leading up to our move here, we have pursued several leads about possible teachers to join the work we are doing here. I cannot tell you how many times I have been hopeful that someone would join us, but in the end it has not worked out. We trust that God has had his reasons in each of these situations, but please pray with us that God will provide someone to lighten our load soon!

As we discussed these things, I realized that our goals are things that only God can bring about. Here are three of our goals that we have been praying about which completely depend on God's provision, although there are of course things we need to do as we ask Him to provide.
1- We are asking God to provide another teacher.
2- We are asking God to provide the finances we need to build additional classrooms since the space we are currently using is needed for housing for the toddlers at GSF.
3- We are asking God to provide a way for us to take a day off periodically. We would love to have some substitute teachers who we can ask to cover our classes every once in a while so that we can take a day away for prayer, rest, or even just to get to offices in Kampala that are only open on weekdays.

We trust that if these goals are in line with the direction God has for us, that He will provide. We ask that you also pray with us toward these goals. If God is leading you to be a part of the answer to any of these prayers, please contact me! If the Lord is leading you to contribute to our classroom building here is a link. Just select "Donate to the GSF International School."

God has already begun answering these prayers! This past week a team of women came to visit GSF and encourage the missionaries serving here. One of the women who is a teacher offered to cover my classes on Friday morning for me to have a day off. It was beautiful to see this answer to prayer just one week after we had prayed for this! Of course this thoughtful visitor has gone back home, so we are still praying for an ongoing solution. We also received notification from Global Outreach that we have already received two donations toward the new school building! We are so thankful that God is beginning to provide for this need! And lastly, I have the name of a teacher who might be interested in serving with us. While these prayers and goals have not been completely answered, we are thankful that God seems to be at work in each of these areas that we are asking for His provision. Thank you for praying with us as we seek to follow where God leads us, trusting Him to provide everything we need! 

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Buwundo Beads and Crafts

Back in June, I wrote about the jewelry business that I began in order to help provide income for the women in our village. For a long time it wasn't really a business, since I hadn't actually sold anything. I knew that I wouldn't be able to continue buying these items if I couldn't recoup at least some of the expense. In order to be able to sell the items, we came up with a name, "Buwundo Beads and Crafts" and a friend developed a label for us.

During my brief week and a half in Florida, I was very encouraged about how many people were interested in the necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and purses that we brought with us. I displayed the items at a church and a school that I attended over 25 years ago. (Wow, I'm getting old!) In both of these places I listed a suggested donation, and I was so encouraged by how many people wanted to support this ministry and also get some of the beautiful handmade items created by my friends and neighbors in Buwundo village. 

Here is a photo of some of our amazing artisans who work to create beautiful handmade crafts. I am thankful for the blessing of being able to continue our Bible studies together and to work together in this business venture. Several weeks ago I heard the women all celebrating and I found out that one of the women had saved enough to buy a mattress for her family in addition to sending her children to school. Another woman bought me into her hut to show me a blanket that she was able to buy with some of her savings. Another woman was able to buy a goat for her family to raise. I mention these things to let you know how much your support matters in the lives of theses women. When you choose to purchase an item from Buwundo Beads and Crafts, your support helps send children to school and provide for the basic needs of the families in our village. I pray that our Bible studies together are also caring for their spiritual needs.
As I returned from the US, I wanted to encourage the women with what God was doing and how people really loved their work. I wanted them to experience a little taste of the encouragement I received while selling these items on their behalf. David and I decided that we would have a small celebration for our Buwundo Beads team and give some small gifts to each member. The students received notebooks and pens, pencils, soap and sweeties. The women received a basin (which is used for washing everything) with some basic supplies and sweeties. The women were so excited!

After receiving these gifts, we were able to walk together to visit an elderly woman in our village who has been very ill recently. We all prayed together for her and sang songs of praise and worship together with her. It was a beautiful time of worship so I didn't take out my camera. Instead I just took mental pictures of all these women surrounding our sister in Christ, encouraging her by worshiping together. A friend took this one photo and I ask you to pray with us for this amazing woman who loves Jesus, but is physically struggling right now. Also pray with us that our Bible study group and our church would be the hands and feet of Jesus to this woman in her time of need.
Thank you for your prayers and the ways you support our ministry here! If you are looking for Christmas gifts that are inexpensive, but have a big impact around the world, let me know. I have family and friends in Florida and Georgia who have many necklaces and bracelets available. I have not yet set up a way to purchase items online. Please let me know if you are interested in being a stateside distributor for this ministry. These women are extremely grateful for the opportunity to work in order to provide for the educational and physical needs of their families through this business venture. Please pray with me for God to continue to provide a market for their faithful work. And in this season leading up to Thanksgiving, I want to remember to thank God for all that He has provided! He is continuously doing abundantly more than we could ask or imagine! To Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus! (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Thankful for this Sunday!

Today, there are so many things for which I am thankful! I was able to start the day participating in a very encouraging worship service at Advent Lutheran Church where my brother works and my parents worship. My favorite song from the morning was new to me, but the words were "I'm no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God." I think I need to sing those words every day. It was refreshing to my soul! While we were there, I was able to thank the congregation for their support and give a brief ministry update. In between the services, I had a display table out with the necklaces and other things my friends in Buwundo village have made. Many people made donations and took home a piece of jewelry which will help them remember to pray for our ministry there. The congregation is such a welcoming group of people and I really enjoyed our time there! 

After church I was able to enjoy a lunch with my parents and catching up with my brother, niece and nephew. It was so good to be together with my family! Not long after that we drove to my younger brother's coffee shop to see him and his bride-to-be. It is an great little coffee shop called Brew Urban Cafe in Ft. Lauderdale. In between them serving customers, I was able to give them the wedding gifts that the women in My Bible studies sent for them. I wanted to have the time to explain each gift, how they were made and who they were from. Since the wedding day would not afford that time, I gave them the gifts there at the coffee shop. 
It made me so happy to see that my brother and sister-in-law-to-be treasured these special handmade gifts and the generous heart behind them as much as I do. I am so blessed to have such a loving family!

After visiting with both my brothers, we got to visit with both of my grandparents. My mom's mom has had some recent health troubles, but when we went to visit her she seemed so happy and was even up and walking around. Seeing your great-grandkids can definitely bring a smile. Zeke was sacked out due to jet lag, so I just kept carrying him to and from the car as we went around visiting. He has had the most difficulty adjusting to local time. 

Our next stop was visiting my Dad's dad. He was so happy that we were able to have a little time together. He said, "When you're over 90, you don't know how many more times you get to see people." Actually that is true everyday. None of us is promised tomorrow, so I hope to love people well today. 

After all of that driving around and visiting we were all pretty worn out, but I was so thankful for the day. God has graciously blessed me with an amazing family and a special opportunity to be together with them for a little over a week. It is my prayer that I can encourage and love my family well in our short time together. It is also my prayer that Zeke will sleep through the night tonight! 

Friday, October 7, 2016

A brief trip

As I write I am sitting in a car in the airport parking lot with two of my children. It just occurred to me that I should ask everyone to pray for our family over these next two weeks. I am traveling to Florida for my brother's wedding. The two children traveling with me will get yo be in the wedding. David and two of our boys will remain in Uganda as school continues. I praise God that we were able to find a substitute to cover my classes for a week and a half. Thanks for your prayers for our travels, transitions, and time apart! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


Lately, I have been feeling pretty weak. Last week I was very ill with high fevers and other malaria-like symptoms. I felt terrible! The blood work didn't indicate any particular illness so we treated for both malaria and a bacterial infection. (It is possible to have a false negative with the malaria test.) I haven't had any fevers for several days now, but I am still feeling very weak and tired.

This morning I was taking some time to read and pray and this passage from 2 Corinthians 12 came to mind.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions,in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

I have been seeing my weaknesses keenly. They don't make me feel strong. I regularly struggle with the fear that someone will be unhappy with me or that I won't do a good job. Now that I am back to teaching full time, I don't have nearly as much time for the many other aspects of ministry.

I know that some of my friends in the village wish I would come visit more. 

I wish that I had more time to spend with the GSF girls who are in my cord group. I know that every child who lives at an orphanage has experienced trauma, and I wish I could spend more individual time caring for them. 

I know that I have some students who need extra time and attention to help them understand math well, and when they don't get a concept, I often feel like a failure. 

I volunteered to organize meals and buy food for visiting teams, and I forgot about this until the last minute with a team that was here last week. It made for a crazy day trying to scramble and get the needed supplies. 

I dumped our trash in a private dumpster in Jinja and got scolded by a security guard and a police officer and paid a "fee" that felt like a bribe. Missionary fail. 

Yesterday, I realized that I still haven't gotten together all the receipts from our team that visited back in July and don't know when I am going to be able to organize all of that. 

I didn't plan ahead well enough with our finances, so I ran out of money to pay the students who have been making necklaces to earn school fees. Thankfully, the schools allow students to begin the school year before fees are paid, so they can still start back to school. 

An elderly neighbor is sick and I have been too weak to go visit him. 

I just ate a cookie for breakfast. 

I haven't written a blog post, a letter, an email or thank you notes for our support team recently. 

The list goes on. I can't keep up with all of these things, and I surely can't make everyone happy with me all the time. So here I am lacking energy, feeling physically weak and emotionally weak, trying to believe that "when I am weak, then I am strong." It certainly doesn't feel that way! But I go back to verse 9 and read that God says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." So I guess it really isn't so much about me feeling strong, but seeing that God's grace is sufficient and His power is revealed even when I don't have the strength to do any of these things. So I guess I need to stop the self-flagellation and start fixing my eyes on Jesus. Why is it that I either want to beat myself up over my weakness or I want a pity party to excuse it? Either way, I am just fixing my eyes on myself. Pray for me that instead I will lift my eyes, and fix my gaze on the One who looks at me and says...
....It is finished. (Jn.19)
....I have loved you with an everlasting love. (Jer.31)
...nothing will separate you from my love. (Rom.8)
...come to me and I will give you rest. (Matt.11)
...even when you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you don't have to fear because I am with you. (Ps.23)
...I rejoice over you. (Zeph.3)
...I am your advocate. (1Jn2)
...I have given you my righteousness (2Cor.5, Phil.3) grace is sufficient. (2Cor.12)

Today, I pray that I will stop looking at myself with my weaknesses and failures, and fix my eyes on Him believing what He says! 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Lab sciences in rural Uganda

Teaching lab sciences to high school students has certain challenges when you live in rural Uganda. You cannot just order supplies from Carolina Biological Supply and have them delivered. Since David is teaching Anatomy & Physiology and Biology this year, he knew that he would need to do some dissections to provide the students with the full experience of these lab sciences. He also has a few students who are interested in pursuing a career in health care and wanted to equip them well for their future studies. One solution that came to David's mind was to use local animals for dissections. Our friend, neighbor and pastor raises pigs, so David bought a piglet and paid him to properly prepare it for dissection. 

David was able to help his Anatomy & Physiology students find and identify all the major organs and body systems. He then had his 4 A & P students teach the 4 Biology students what they had learned. They did a great job explaining! 

Since I am teaching Health to all of these students, I was thankful they they all were able to see the body systems that we are also currently learning about in Health class too. 

I'm so thankful for the learning opportunities we are able to provide these missionary kids. Math class doesn't usually provide as many interesting hands-on opportunities, but I am thoroughly enjoying the chance to help our students stretch their minds and develop their problem solving skills as they study mathematics. It is a blessing to see the ways our students are learning and growing! Please continue to pray for this group of missionary kids. They are amazing kids who will be equipped to serve in a variety of places and roles. We look forward to seeing the kingdom God that God will do through them in the years to come! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Fun with science!

On Friday my Algebra 2 class was learning about inverse and joint variations. Most of the examples were from Physics so I declared it "fun with Physics on Friday morning!" But I don't have any interesting photos of us working together to solve equations. In the previous couple of weeks though, I was able to get some photos of our students having fun with science. 

We recently had the opportunity to see a partial solar eclipse. One blessing of having a roof with some holes above the science room is that it provides a great place to view a solar eclipse! Here is a photo of how we could view the eclipse on the table. 

David called the other classes into his room so we could all view this partial eclipse. He then showed the students a computer animation of an eclipse and explained how it occurs.
One of our students had eclipse glasses from the last time we viewed an eclipse, and he brought them to school for the students to all take turns using. Here is Miss Vicky helping Bobby view the eclipse.

The elementary students have been talking about predators and prey recently. They did an activity where they got the be M&M predators. Here are the 5th grade girl M&M predators. They look ready to eat their prey.

After sorting the candies, they put them into a camouflage habitat with many pieces of colored construction paper. 
When it was time for the hunt things got a little crazy...

Our high school Biology class has recently had opportunities to use the microscope to view various types of cells. Not quite as exciting as hunting for M&Ms but it is a fascinating learning opportunity.

We are grateful that our small school can provide fun learning opportunities for our students. They are a great group of kids and we are blessed to be working with them! It is our prayer that as they learn more about the world, they will be able to better appreciate and worship the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.  

Studying math and science always remind me of this hymn that I love: 
"This is my Father's world, 
and to my listening ears 
all nature sings, and round me rings 
the music of the spheres.  
This is my Father's world:  
I rest me in the thought 
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; 
his hand the wonders wrought." (Lyrics by Maltbie D. Babcock) 

Friday, August 19, 2016

First week field trip!!!

I know that it is a bit unusual to plan a field trip for the first week of school, but we did. Since many of our students were new to the school, we wanted to plan an activity to help build relationships and unity and have some fun too! On the other side of Jinja there is a YWAM base with a low ropes course. One of our teachers, Cody Fox, has experience leading challenge courses and doing team building activities. In the photo below he is on the right giving the students some instructions.

Cody planned some great ways to encourage the students to work together in order to make it through the course. We were divided into 2 groups. The first challenge was working together to agree on a name. There were some interesting compromises.
Above is Group A: "The Infinitely Mighty Popcorn Warriors"

And here is Group B: "The Ponycorn Eagles"

The stated goal was to work together to get the younger students, a heavy backpack, and an adult who was functioning as a robot following only one step instructions through the entire course. It was great to see the older students helping the younger ones! Here is Emma doing a split in order to help Zeke reach the next tire. 

I also loved how the students had to work together to catch one another and get their team across the rope swing. 
They enjoyed problem solving together and helping each other as they completed all the obstacles. Sometimes our group had to wait a bit. Here I am, the "robot" for the Infinitely Mighty Popcorn Warriors, waiting for further instructions. 

In the end, after completing the course, we got to ride a long zip line! Zeke was pretty nervous, but in the end he decided to ride with Mama. He had so much fun! 

We wrapped up our first Friday of school with lunch in town along with all of our students. I am blessed to get to work with such a great group of kids! Ezra is definitely posing for the camera. 

As soon as lunch was over, the adventure continued as our family drove straight from Jinja to the east and then to the north for an introduction, but that is a story for another day....