Disruption and Hope


Just when you thought your class was going well…

I’m sure the picture is familiar to lots of us who are teachers!

This session I’ve had virtually no students in my normal classes with LIFE Education Language School, thus freeing me up to stand in the gap for Bridges Academy, our sister concern, and take classes for their Grade 8 which does not have a teacher. The last month has been spent gaining some semblance of order among the kids so that I can conduct effective classes. I thought I had finally got the class into a place where I could teach effectively.

Then last week, I had multiple interruptions to my class from children who clearly haven’t had any sense of order in their lives for many years, few boundaries, and unstable homes due their being refugees. Add to this teenage hormones, and the mixture is potent enough to go through lead. As usual, it’s a few who are holding up the many.


A digital artwork I had created many years ago using Chaoscope and Paint.NET, which describes how the class feels at times. Incidentally, the name I had given this piece was ‘Car Crash’!

In the end, in the chemical reaction of hectic days, one thought crystallized, ‘I’ve got to win my class over; they can’t be viewed constantly as troublemakers.’ There had to be a way to get the troublesome core interested in learning, and starting to follow my class rules and boundaries. I’ve started to reach out to the boys who keep erupting in class, and I’m praying for changes in their thinking and hearts. I hope and pray that I won’t lose any one of them.

A couple of days ago, all the boys turned up looking really smart in class with their ties on and shirts tucked in. At first it felt like a prank, but then it turned out to be genuine, and there is a sense of greater cooperation as well. It looks like it was worth it joining them in wearing a tie (something that has aroused much mirth and ribbing from the teachers at LIFE Education)! However, it’s clear that this is going to be an uphill task, and taking the class still feels like riding a wild horse. Today, ironically, when an important homework assignment was due, about 1/3 of the class was absent, and I know I’ll have problems with those who’ve missed today’s important lessons in which we moved forward in what we were learning.

As the picture in my last post says, ‘Journeys need hope’.

And downstairs in the building where I live, my watchman’s family continues to struggle to manage the disruption of their own HIV positive condition, and the illness of their 9 month old child who is showing many signs of being positive too. After months of suggesting, gently reminding and encouraging, last Saturday we saw their living space, for the first time, bound in from the outside with plastic to keep the chill and wind out, swept clean, and with everything neatly arranged. It was unbelievable! The child was still continuing to be sick with fever and chest congestion after many days of treatment, and we had arranged for a checkup again to see what was happening, with the result that the child has been admitted and is under treatment. But the sight last Saturday gave us hope that God is working in them towards change, regardless of how painfully or slowly the change is being birthed.

Each small step forward is like a battle, and each hope soon comes under assault.

We’re always faced by what seem to be insurmountable difficulties. I’ve had to think often of how real the hope I have is. And whether I would write these things if I had failure assured before me.

And the signs are very many

Of a very real Hope,

Because It doesn’t depend on me,

Or on the disruptions surrounding me.

But It is a Gift, given before creation, of the price of all this pain paid for, and atoned for. A Love so big that It bleeds over everything that exists. It bleeds over me, over all that I do; It soaks me in forgiveness, redeems everything I do, blesses me with lavishness beyond description, and tells me I am the apple of my Father’s eye.


Slain Before Creation – the perfect atoning sacrifice decided upon before even the world was made

How can I not have hope,

though it come under assault

every day?


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