Hope is an Open Door

Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander…

This was a line from a song called ‘Oceans’ we sang in church on Sunday, and it embodied everything I had been feeling over the last week. You can listen to it below at the end of the article..

Dad’s improvement is still amazing to see. He now eats three large, full bowls of food (bowls much larger than the one in the picture in my post ‘Miracle of the Mundane’), besides breakfast and snacks, and he’s always hungry. He walks more and is actually walking almost normally now rather than shuffling. The swelling in his feet is less, and he’s passing more urine than before.

then-and-now

Then and Now!

The child of our watchman’s family has been discharged from hospital, and with the loving care and prayers of the nurses and doctors, rectifying wrong feeding habits and proper medicine, the child improved almost immediately, and his eager feeding shows how hungry he has been. This is the first time our watchman and his wife have come back from a hospital with a sense of peace about them, and in better spirits than when they left. They are now in a place we can get them into a regular pattern of going for check ups and being in touch with people who know their condition and who care about them. The improvement came at a time we know the child has a high chance of being HIV and TB positive.

Our final session for this year has begun at LIFE Education Center and in spite of the many difficulties and challenges, it was encouraging to hear many testimonies of improvement from our students on Friday during our report and certificate giving ceremony. My grade 8 class in Bridges continues, but on Friday, for the first time, I had students who could hardly speak a sentence of English, actually meet the challenge of coming up to the front of the class, and describe in the English they had learned, a sequenced wordless picture story on the screen. It was great to see the effort many were making to construct sentences with words and grammar they had learned, rather than depend on rote learning. Today I gave them an unannounced writing assignment to be completed in class using the grammatical structure and vocabulary they had been learning, and it was heartening to see several of them starting to show some cohesiveness in their sentences and more care with spellings and grammar.

grade-8

My little grade 8 classroom. The orderly rows belie the chaos that can sometimes ensue!

And wonder of wonders, following the 4 months of developing the idea of having vision and goals in the Tuesday morning ‘Thought for the Day’ with Bridges Academy grades 8 and 9, 13 students signed up for a more serious developing of their vision and goals, which will provide many stories for sure over the next few months, and although several are clearly in it without any real idea of what it means to be serious about it, there are others whom I am sure will benefit from the follow through.

These are some of the many answers to prayer we have been experiencing again and again, and they fuel and strengthen hope. Some of these situations seesaw, expectedly, because of their nature. But that’s all right. It doesn’t take away the hope, because as I’ve said before, the hope doesn’t depend on them or their outcomes.

I’ve been thinking about hope a lot as I’ve struggled with handling stress. I’ve begun to realize that hope means there is a future; and a future means there is something ahead waiting; perhaps a destination, a vision, a plan yet to complete. And this is important; it prevents engaging with all the situations described above from becoming a chore. Hope gives us courage because it shows us a future in what we are engaged in because many situations and people that we are engaged with are unavoidable, and that surely means God has allowed them to come before us to either shape us, or to be transformed by us, or more likely, both. I find that the more hope I have, the more I am engaged with people. It’s like an open door. I see possibilities when I have hope. I take greater risks and step in out of my depth when I have hope.

And aren’t teachers meant to be dreamers and adventurers; captains of ships that sail over the edge of the earth?

I pray for the great Family of teachers that I am so privileged to be part of, across every nation and tongue, and for myself – may we be filled with passion, with excitement of life, with love for the students in our care. May we know the love and passion of God, the Great Teacher and Father of all, who speaks through everything He has made, and whose spark we carry. And may we have Hope in the midst of every circumstance and trial; the Hope born by the Price paid for us that sets us free to be everything that we’re meant to be.

And may we go in deeper than our feet could ever wander…

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