Sunday, December 14, 2014

O Come Let Us Adore Him

O Come Let Us Adore Him

For you alone are worthy!

Wow!  This year has been full of many ups and downs!   Celebrations and struggles and through it all He ALONE is worthy.

Recently NCA Matagalpa held its first Christmas concert.  It was a night filled with joyful singing, beautiful recorders accompanying choruses of students artfully telling the story of Christmas.   The night concluded with the classic Christmas carol   O Come All Ye Faithful  or Venid Adoremos in Spanish.     I was overcome with reverence for our King as I sang the words surrounded by students, parents, and the staff of NCA.

I don't stop often enough to  bow in worship of the One who is Faithful, the One who is triumphant, the One to whom all glory belongs.    In an attempt to recap just a bit of this year and to recognize the One who has been and forever will be Faithful I bring this humble offering.

O come let us adore Him
O come let us adore Him
   through great growth in numbers and in unity at NCA this year
O come let us adore Him
   on the days when the road seemed so long and hard yet I was not alone
O come let us adore Him
   through the trials of trusting Him for the answer in His perfect timing
O come let us adore Him
   in joy as I am  reminded of His call on my life to serve where He has placed me

O come let us adore Him
   as students who have struggled with learning and behavior begin to feel that they have an important    place in our NCA family and begin to see that they can learn and overcome bad habits
O come let us adore Him
   when relationships are broken and can only be restored by the grace and humility of submitting it        all to Him who has made restoration possible.
O come let us adore Him
   for the opportunity to run and play ultimate frisbee with community in Matagalpa
O come let us adore Him
   when conversations are difficult but can only lead to growth and greater trust
O come let us adore Him
   for the opportunity to travel to Milwaukee and see great teachers and administrators in action and        be reminded of why I love teaching
O come let us adore Him  
   seeing my sisters become great, loving moms to their energetic, full of life boys
O come let us adore Him
   timely visits and conversations with friends and family that reminded me who I am and that God is    asking much because He wants to give much
O come let us adore Him
   watching teachers grow in confidence, creativity, and their love and knowledge of the Word                through a Biblical worldview

O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Stars on our staff
Custodians, guards and IT 

We are made for community.    God designed us to live life with others in it... not a life of self-sufficiency and solitude.    This is a reminder that God so graciously gives me every once in a while to remind me that I can not do it all on my own.   "Share the load." He says.  "Cast your cares on me and I'll help you."

Elementary World Cup Winners!
This month we have been working on trying to develop a strategic growth plan for NCA Matagalpa.   This has involved some time for reflection on what are our values as a school and what are the things that we don't want to change in our school community whether we stay the same size or grow to 500 students.

Due to our large growth spurt this year I was curious what our student and staff value about our community at NCA.   I sent out a little survey to our staff and students this week and I was encouraged by the things that stand out to them as important and valuable to our school community.

Here are some of their responses:

  • Devotion times 
  • Respect for the opinions of everyone
  • Organization
  • Trust
  • Strong sense of family
  • Genuine interest in helping us succeed
  • The variety in the staff and students
  • English

There are so many things to be thankful for with these responses.   Our students and staff are growing into a community of grace.    A community where we recognize the need to love, encourage  and live life together.   We are in no way perfect in this but we are in the beginning phase of building this community and by God's grace and sovereign design we are  valuing the important things.

7th grade Girls World Cup Winners
As we look forward and pray for the growth and development of our students, staff and parents we ask for your  prayer support.   This a challenging journey for us at times and we are anxious to see and know God more with each step.

Friday, April 18, 2014

He is Not Here

In this season of Easter we often reflect on the great demonstration of God's love for us through the sacrifice of His only Son on the cross.   It is only because of that sacrifice that you and I today and can experience a glimpse of the grace and love He lavishes on us.  As I look on this great demonstration of His power and saving grace I sometimes limit my view to the "big" demonstrations of His presence and miss the day to day manifestations of this same great power and love.   Dare I listen to the message of the angel to the women at Christ's empty tomb,  "He is not here, He has risen!"  I'm in no way saying that what took place on the cross is any less important simply that it is not only there that we find reflections of His sovereignty and love.

Where is His presence in the day to day?   With eyes wide open I can see His hand at work all around me.   Wanting to give Him all the glory here are reflections of His hand moving among us here in Matagalpa.

High Schoolers using recently donated microscopes
Second Graders doing an experiment with dancing raisins
NCA is growing by leaps and bounds.    More students means more parents and more lives to invest in.  Some of our student's  stories  are heartbreaking, filled with hurt, distrust, shame, anger and brokenness.  This month I have had the privilege of seeing divorced parents come alongside their teenage son to support him in becoming a responsible young man.   My first encounter with the parents was an icy one as neither of them wanted to accept their part in the character formation of their son but instead heaped insults and blame on the other parent.   When asked if all of us could meet together to formulate a support plan for their son both parents said NO.   Through nothing other than the hand of God in the hearts of both of these parents they agreed the following week to meet and we were able to talk openly and honestly about the steps each one of us needed to take in order to support and hold their son accountable.   Fearful of the explosive potential of this meeting I asked many to be in prayer for God's peace to reign during the meeting and God's peace and wisdom was revealed in the hearts of all present.

Sara chatting (right) with a parent
Providing learning opportunities for the teachers and staff at my school is a strong desire of mine.   It is a personal struggle for me as I am so busy doing much of the admin stuff for the school that I don't get to prepare for and lead as many training sessions as I'd like.  However, God in is goodness continues to bring amazing people to us that are eager to share their ideas and help our staff grow.  This year he brought us Sara. She is an amazingly gifted teacher with experience as an instructional coach at a school in the Dominican Republic.  She has been a GIFT to NCA in so many ways.  Encouraging us all to grow in new and challenging ways.   In addition to Sara others like Brianna have come to spend a week sharing creative science experiments with our staff and students.   I can not help but be overcome with gratitude at the countless ways that our Father makes His presence known in our lives and reminds us that He knows the desires of our hearts.
Brianna doing an experiment with the 5th graders

In the past week Nicaragua has experienced several earthquakes measuring 6+ on the richter scale followed by hundreds of aftershocks.    God's hand has been over the country as there has been relatively little loss of life and damage compared to similar earthquakes in the past.    We praise God for his protection and continue to pray for peace and provision for those who have been affected.  There is still fear of more quakes especially in Managua.

It is my prayer that this song from I Chronicles 16:8-14 would always be on my lips.
"Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.  Sing to him, sing praise to him; tell of all his wonderful acts.  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.  Look to the Lord and his strengths; seek his face always.  Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgements he pronounced, you his servants, the descendants of Israel, his chosen ones, the children of Israel, the children of Jacob.  He is the Lord our God; his judgements are in all the earth." 

Parents and students building a flower nursery for NCA

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ready, Set, GROW!!!

Learning how to play Corn Hole during recess
Ready.  Do we ever really feel ready for the big race, that presentation, test or conversation.  The answer rarely is yes!   Ready... was I ready for this job as the director of NCA Matagalpa?   My answer was no but God knows better.    He knows that the mere fact that not feeling ready means that we are more likely to recognize that we are not the ones really in control and are dependent on Him who is always ready.   I recently found this quote from Phillip Yancy that  clearly expresses this idea for me.   "A person who lives in faith must proceed on incomplete evidence, trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse."  

Starting the day off right!
Set.   Setting up for a new school year is yes, overwhelming for teachers but there is a sense of excitement in the air.   A fresh new start.  New faces, new school supplies, themes and techniques to try out.   The start of year 2 for NCA Matagalpa is an exciting one.   We learned so much in our first year and are excited about the new challenges that more students and more staff bring but we are even more excited to see what God has in store for the lives of the families and students we serve.

NCA Winter Olympics 2014
Grow.   Usually growth is a slow and steady process. Then there are those quick growth spurts where it seems like things happen overnight.   This year we are experiencing one of those growth spurts.   NCA Matagalpa finished the first school year with 42 students and currently has 140 students enrolled.   The teaching staff has grown from 8 to 16!  The school facilities have also expanded with the help of many hands building, painting and donating $.   This year we've added on 3 more classrooms and another set of bathrooms.

Move.  As the school year has now begun we are definitely moving, a lot.  The year started off with lots of excitement helping many new students get situated.   In an effort to help bring together the 5th-8th graders we had our own version of the Winter Olympics.   Students were divided to represent 6 different countries and participated in events like speed skating, luge, biathlon, curling and more.

Gold Medalist in the Luge   Nica Style
Team Pakistan
Serve.  Serving our new families and students comes with lots of growth-spurning conversations, research into our students  special education needs, conversations with students and parents as well as a healthy dose of time.   Serving is fun and exhausting.   We've already seen some great adjustments by some of our new students and we are confident that the God we serve will give us the strength we need to run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.  (Heb 12:1-2).

Love.   Love is such a simple, yet complex word.   Loving our students the way Christ loves us but not loving their destructive behavior and attitudes requires lots of prayer and consistency.   As we live, learn, love and teach others it is our prayer that we would love as we have been loved, blindly.   Not loved because of our looks, brains, socio-economic status, name, experiences or job, simply loved because we are His.   Ephesians 1:5 "In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will."

Please pray for us as we continue to live, love and serve.  We are daily dependent on the grace and wisdom of God who leads and directs our steps.   Pray specifically for our teachers and students with special needs.  

Thank you!  Thank you for your patience, your prayers and your faithful support.

Excited to be in First Grade