Flooding, Conflict, Stewardship and Too Smart

The G version is surprisingly hard for me to write without feeling like I am not telling the whole story, but I promised so here goes.

Flooding.  Some have seen the devastation of more than 20 inches of rain in 4 days in our coastal city of Sentani.  100+ dead and as many more wounded, many still missing, 10,000+ are being housed in gym’s, schools and stadiums with over 1,500 homes damaged/destroyed.  But Bokondini, which also has had tons of rain, is fine and we are grateful for that.

Conflict/War front.  Nothing has been settled yet. The other day a group set up a road block with dump truck across the road and a bunch of armed and painted warriors to block our church leaders from leaving.  Parents talked with the group and it turned into the most polite roadblock we have ever experienced.  Warm hand shaking, apologizing for “holding us up,” threats buried deep within kind and formal language.  It was refreshing, our guests were allowed to pass and we are grateful. 

Another big plus is that our family hasn’t faced any direct threats since January and there have been several public apologies for what happened last year.  School has been able to run fairly normally, and we only lost about 15% of our jr/sr high due to the conflict and opposition.  Our 9th and 10th graders have all held firm even though there has been so much pressure to be sponsored and sent off to an “awesome” boarding school on another island.  I am so grateful that I get to teach and mentor these kids for Bible, Chapel, Life Skills and Social Studies classes  My 11 classes are the highlights of my week!  Thanks for helping me to be able to do something I love.

Stewardship.  It is so encouraging to see the kids taking over all the maintenance of the campus in our Life Skills classes from the “Garden of Eden team” who does grass, trees and flowers to the Fence, Carpentry and Cleaning teams.  The Art Team is putting a creative twist into our beautiful new campus.  The mechanics are learning to change oil and clean filters in the machines and vehicles, the electric team is running new cable and taking care of the hydro’s.  45 farm-teenagers working 20 hours a month is like owning heavy equipment.  We are now paying them as their work is so valuable which then goes to for school fees.  We are recording and documenting all of this to help them with college scholarships.  But mostly we love to see the work ethics, skills, responsibility, pride and ownership they feel for the school. 

Too Smart. A big problem has been how we can keep up with these kids academically.  On Saturday I was building a BBQ with Arwen’s classmate Donny.  Twice he corrected my Math in English.  David Haag, Jon Ronning, JD and several others have helped us find a solution.  For Science, Math and History the students are now using a Khan Academy (KAlite).  There is a worldwide movement for learning equality with the goal of providing top quality education for all bypassing economic and geographic boundaries.  (Basically, we have great international standard education available to us on an INTRAnet system that runs off a big hard drive and is accessible through our wireless network as we don’t have access to high speed internet).  Students have excellent materials and work at their own rate and it is all free.   The only sad thing to me is that Christians, who historically have pioneered the great education for the poor around the world, didn’t do this.   But I digress towards the R rated version. 

I am writing this in Sri Lanka where I have just finished up my DAI MA in Organizational Leadership residency number 4, 1 more to go.  I am learning so much and am so grateful for this opportunity.  We are incredibly grateful for all of you who keep us rolling.  Those who pray, who encourage, who train, who mentor, who network, who give financially and support in other creative ways.  You know who you are!  OA continues to grow in all ways and things like this “free Khan” aren’t free when every student must have a laptop and wireless system and power to run it.  But God provides amazingly… just cash salaries for about 40 national staff alone are $10,000 a month now, not to mention all the other expenses of running a school.  Every month all of our needs from money, to staff, to electricity, to encouragement to training and prayer are met.  Thank you for your part in that! 

Scotty, Heidi, Walker, Arwen and the Ob Anggen gang.

1) Donny and his amazing Math skills!

2) Arwen’s classroom of Khan.

3-4-5) Our Community, rich in relationships.

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