Friday, August 25, 2017

August 2017


Our students sharing a very small space
We are currently in the third term of school. All school kids had a three week mid-year break for the in July. On our Oketsa register, we have 9 kids in our tutoring program. Another 2 or so have come once or twice to see what we are all about. This is great news because it means the message is getting out there that we are available to assist students! So far we have seen most of their reports and they didn’t do great, but have made some improvements in some areas. We are still waiting to see a few of the reports, but I think only two of the students passed the term. We are still struggling with space and feel that some kids don’t always come because the majority of the kids share a coffee table as their work space and another two or so, use a bed in the same room.

Now that we are in term three, we have started implementing a few changes. Based on their reports, I have begun printing off extra worksheets for the students to work on after they finish their homework and on the weekends. These worksheets are mainly English/grammar and Math. I also hand out short chapter books for them to improve their English and reading skills. Another very exciting thing is that we FINALLY have the NPO bank account open. It is very unfortunate that many things involving the government run painfully slow.

Secondly, we have become much more consistent in our devotional and prayer time with the kids. We know that their education is extremely important, but so is their spiritual well-being. Thus, we begin each day with a short scripture or story, a challenging question, and a time of prayer together. They seem to be enjoying it as they do ask relevant questions and engage in the topic. Also, on a Friday night, anywhere from 2-4 of the students attend the youth group at our church if they have taxi money available. Many of them want to come with to the youth group and we wish we had the means to transport all of them!

During the July holiday, we took our Oketsa students to the local science museum. Many of the students (most of which are in high school) thought it would be boring and they’d spend their afternoon reading boring “science-y” stuff. They were quite surprised that the whole museum was full of hands on experiments and displays. We even sat through a “science show” where a biologist did some very cool (seemingly magic!) experiments. The students all had a great time. We then took them out to lunch which they very rarely get to do being from very low income families.

On a personal note, many of you have followed my (Leah) long and tedious journey with my temporary and permanent residency in South Africa. I have been on a temporary spouse visa for the last 6 years and finally qualify to apply for my permanent residency. I actually tried applying for it at the beginning of the year, but was missing two documents that could only be obtained in the US. After a very long 5 months, I have since gotten a hold of those documents and am pleased to say that I turned in all of my papers yesterday!!! I now have to wait another 8-10 months to hear if they’ve granted it. The positive thing in all of this is that my temporary residence permit is still valid until Oct 2018, so I should hear before having to renew my current visa (thank goodness!).

Harmony and Lesedi are doing quite well. They are both very bright children who talk a lot and get up to quite a bit of mischief. Harmony still loves preschool and is currently learning the Lord’s
Prayer. She almost knows the entire thing! Both kids have been sick on and off, but I suppose that’s pretty normal for this age. Lesedi is a little boy with a lot of energy and seems to eat his weight on a daily basis. :)

Piet is still loving the coffee shop that he runs 5 days a week. It definitely adds another layer of challenges to our life, but it is a blessing and a ministry in itself. He is able to interact  with and minister to a number of people, including those who work for him, every day.

One of Piet’s friends from Germany is arriving this Sunday and will be staying with us for two weeks. We are of course excited for his visit, but this also gives us a much needed excuse to take a whole week off and take him to a nearby safari lodge. I shared in our last update that we are in quite a hard season and that is still very true today. We covet your prayers as we go into battle every day!

Loving Africa,

The Bakers Four

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