Greetings from Jos Oct 2018
Hi there everyone! Wow, how did we get to the end of October already? It has been an incredibly busy few months for me and all of us working in the girl’s ministry. We have had many visitors, short term missionaries, new children, new staff and new long term missionaries to host and show around to see the amazing things God has enabled us to do in our land in Bassa. It is good for me to show people around as it reminds me just how far we have come, for all of those other times when I feel overwhelmed and completely out of my depth, God has been strengthening and equipping me and we are seeing progress.
This summer we took a week during the holidays to serve our community. First of all we ran a Holiday Bible Club for our younger children (150) in Gyero with half of our girls. The girls ran everything, the singing, drama, quizzes and taught the lessons and competed as team captains in the sports, they were great and they all grew in their confidence as a result. With the other half of the girls we ran a Holiday Bible club for some of the ID children (Internally Displaced) in a nearby town. All of these children are orphans and some brought their mothers along too!! We started the week with 150 kids and ended with 350 and 120 widows!!!!!! It was pretty hectic and noisy, but our girls rose to the occasion and did amazingly well at controlling the crowd. It’s staggering to see how many children have never ever coloured a picture before and the delight on their faces when they had something to take home was priceless. It was good for our girls to realise they are better off than a lot of people in their own country through being in the ministry.
Our building continued through the rains, we did a lot of pumping out of water so we could lay concrete!! We soon realised the building was taking a lot longer, was much harder and was costing a lot more than we anticipated. So, to ease the pressure, we decided to use some space in our existing hostels to begin school by September while we waited for funds and drier weather. We have just completed the decking and are about to begin building the second storey this week.
So on 10th September Integrity High School began to the Glory of God. We have 26 pupils in 4 classes, all our own children this first year. We have 9 in our newly created Vocational class and just 5 and 6 in the other ones; it is indeed lovely to have small numbers for now. We have begun with 4 teachers covering 13 subject areas, and I myself had to step in to cover the Home Economics as we had a need !! I was never going to teach again but I am actually enjoying the experience in very different circumstances than from when I taught before.
Fransisca and myself have enjoyed the challenge of writing timetables, aims and vision casting, devising school rules, designing school uniforms and a school badge and logo; we even have a school song, written by our teachers, which is sung every morning along with the national anthem The girls indeed look great in their uniforms, made for us by Rebecca, one of our girls recently graduated from our programme with her own sewing machine
Our Vocational programme so far has been a huge success, the 9 girls are dressed the same, have the same number of lessons a day and share some subjects like PE, Life Skills and Discipleship and Art classes and it has really helped boost their self- confidence. They love attending school and are all learning to their potential. They spend several hours each day on English and Maths and then learn a vocational subject; this term it is sewing which they are really enjoying. They are a mixture of ages and abilities, all having special needs of some description.
Pictured here are two of our new girls, Basera (on the left) is a convert from the north of Nigeria and, as is common in that culture, as a girl she never had any education until she came to our ministry. She still can’t speak much English but she is learning fast; she is very happy with the bag she just made and embroidered herself. She is 16 years old and is starting to learn to read now.
Joy is another girl aged 15 who is in the class. Up until a year ago, she had been brought up to believe she was a boy, until puberty began in her body. She was in shock and was struggling to cope with the stigma in a rural community. She is happily developing her confidence and learning to read and getting used to being a girl now. Our ministry exists to help girls such as these feel loved and accepted so they can become confident mothers of tomorrow.
Thank You for partnering with me as I continue to minister here in Nigeria.