Endings and Beginnings (Roberta #5 of 5)

Ya hello-o! (A greeting to you all in Liberian Koloqua)

Saturday’s professional learning session at the Deborah Kaye Moore Foundation had a challenging start.

The generator broke, so we got a 30-minute late start. The technology did not function well, which pushed the start time back even later. We worked our way through three projectors before we found one that successfully connected with Ollie’s computer. It was very very hot (though I was the only one who seemed bothered by it). By many standards, the day should have fallen flat for the representatives of the five schools attending. But it did not. I continue to be amazed by the impact of prayer; yours and that of the teachers attending.

Ollie and I were prepared, worked well together, and adapted as we went. I am learning to be flexible and understanding how little if anything is in my control (not easy for an enneagram 8 to accept!). After the initial two hours presenting the Early Childhood Development content we had prepared, Ollie had asked me to teach about giftedness and Habits of the Mind, two of my favorite topics. I suggested I would probably need about a half hour to give an overview of the two topics, as Liberians are not currently familiar with either topic and we were looking merely to whet their appetite about new ideas. Two and a half hours later, we had to call the class to a close because another class needed the room. Wow!

These educators are amazing! After initial push back to the concept of giftedness, they embraced learning about it voraciously in the time available, and are looking ahead to what they can do with the information they absorbed. I introduced Habits of Mind as a tool not only for problem solving but also for self-care. They were interested, intrigued, and had many questions and ideas about how to use the Habits in their own lives as well as how to teach them to children. Speeches and prayers were made at the end by teachers and principals, thanking Ollie and I for bringing new ideas to challenge their minds. One educator who works at Beautiful Beginnings as instructional supervisor and teacher concluded his thank you by saying, “When you return to America, please do not forget about us.”

I learned later that some of the participants traveled over an hour each way on public transportation to be present. And they were fully present…on a hot, hot Saturday. I am still amazed.

The day was probably the best professional learning day I have ever helped facilitate; not because of me, not because of Ollie, but because God was there and because of the participants. Thank you for your prayers.

As our trip came to a close (I won’t write an email about our unplanned trip to Paris and the unscheduled stop in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire where my Aunt Alice served as a missionary, nurse, translator, and artist for 40 years), we were both eager to get home and see our families, and sad to be leaving a place that became home in 10 short/long days.

In the time that has passed since our opportunity to walk in our Liberian colleagues shoes, it has become clear to both Roy and I that our connection with Liberia is not over. ‘What are your next steps?’ is a question we hear often. We don’t know. One thing that has become abundantly clear is that God’s plans are so much bigger than our plans, and it is wise to wait and see what He has in store for us.

In the meantime, watch for the launch of the FACES (Foundation to Activate Children’s Empowerment and Spirituality) Mission website at the end of August-this is the overarching title that encompasses both Beautiful Beginnings School and Elite Teacher Training. I will send you a link when it is completed.

Learn more about Ollie White and the remarkable journey God is guiding and sustaining her on.

Pray for God’s provision of the finances to pay teachers at Beautiful Beginnings School. They will be better able to develop Liberia’s leaders if they do not have to work 2 and 3 additional jobs to supplement their $125US monthly teaching salary. Donate through Surge Soccer.

Tell people about the work God is doing in Liberia as He moves His people to action.

We thank you for your prayers.

Roberta Reed

Writing in her diary, Anne Frank reflected:
“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”