Month in Review: January - New Year, New Goals
Updated: Jan 28
I know I'm a few days early posting this. But, let's be real, not much is going to change between now and Monday (she says, hopefully). And I don't want to forget to get this done. So, here we go. I’ll be honest with everyone. I wasn’t all that bothered to see 2020 end and 2021 begin. I know better than to think that a new date will change the world we currently live in. I understand why people were eager to see the number change. But it didn’t mean all that much to me.
However, the new calendar numbers did help to give me perspective on what goals I would like to see happen in the months to come. And I thought I’d share some of those with you all – along with the full understanding that I may or may not achieve any of these goals. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that we have control over very little. Still, I can plan, right? LOL
COVID-19: This stupid virus is still very much sticking around here in South Africa. We are on lockdown, level 3. We were put back on lockdown several months ago. Level 3 basically means that we are back on curfew and should only be out and about for necessary things. We’re not required to have a permit to be out and about anymore. But we don’t have church services, we don’t have parks or beaches, we don’t have public gatherings, we can’t have “normal” funerals or “traditional services” (i.e.: rituals), we have to be home by 9pm every night, we don’t have alcohol sales, and the start of the new school year has been postponed. There are other rules I’m sure that I’ve forgotten. But those are some of the big ones. The covid case numbers here, even with the new variant, aren’t as bad as many people expected, especially with all of the other health issues that SA struggles with (i.e.: HIV, TB, etc.). But if the numbers grow too much, the health care system here will simply collapse. At the same time, however, the economy is hanging by a very thin thread. So, the restrictions are trying to keep things as in control as they can be. We’ll see how long they stick around. Personally, I did contract this virus twice last year. But I was blessed to have friends around me to help me overcome it as quickly as possible.
GOAL: Pray! Pray! And pray some more! I also have a goal of doing all I can to keep my classroom, car, and home up to the government’s cleaning standards to help prevent any spreading of the virus to my kids, friends, or my co-workers.
Community Outreach: Since last year, I have not been able to get back into the communities and help in the homes and pray with people like I really enjoy doing. It’s not forbidden or anything. But it’s “not safe.” So, there’s not a lot of options for me with this one. And I really, really miss seeing people come to understand who God is through these one-on-one meetings in their homes/shacks. In the meantime, I have been meeting with people and praying and asking around to see who is still active in the townships and to see how I can still be of help to the people that I love so much. I’ve been asking God specifically about this area of my heart and His response continues to be, “Let Me lead.” So, I will continue to wait (sometimes patiently, lol) for Him to make the connections I need and direct my steps. I’ll update more as I can.
GOAL: Pray! Let God make connections. Prepare my heart to be able to learn from these amazing people in the township/community and from those who serve them. Let Him lead.
King’s College Primary School: Because of that stupid virus we all hate, our new school year has not been able to begin (the SA school years starts in Jan and ends in Dec). Some other schools have found ways to do virtual learning. But our kids simply do not have access to wifi or data to be able to attempt something like that. Last year, during some of the worst of the Covid-19 incidents, the staff of King’s College worked together to come up with take-home activities to help parents with their kids. This was a huge help at the time because all businesses were also closed. So parents were stuck at home attempting to keep their kids safe with very little for them to do. I, personally, worked hard to write the booklets each week for Grades 4-7. The problem with repeating this is the lack of supplies. It cost us a lot of money in paper and printing to make the booklets for all 300+ of our kids. But we also needed to find ways to get basic school supplies to all of our kids as well. Also, businesses are not closed this time around. So, parents are not home to teach their kids like they were before. So, for now, we’re just waiting for the government to release us for in-person learning. They have told us we can start school on February 15 (staff can start on the 1st). We’re all praying that this remains to be the opening date, as it would only put our kids about a month behind for this year (and about 5 months behind from last year).
We are also working through some leadership changes at the school. But I will address that more next month, when things are in place more securely.
GOALS: I would love to finally get the computer program running on its own. I would also love to see the staff fully trained in typing and Microsoft office skills. Also, I am actively looking for ways to add the Bible into more and more of the curriculum that I teach – as well as finding ways to get the kids to open up to us about what’s going on in their lives so that we can speak into them and connect them to resources, if needed.
Victory4All: Last year, my role at V4A (the ministry that King’s College falls under) became more defined. I have been working with this ministry for almost 3 years now. I first started by working at King’s College and trying to start a computer education program at the school. Last year, we finally saw this program come to fruition with the donation of 12 laptops. But, while the directors of V4A remain stuck in The Netherlands (due to covid travel restrictions), I began helping more in the office and was able to verbalize some plans to extend the ministry’s resources to more than just the primary school. V4A also serves the communities of Jbay and Humansdorp with a special needs school (Rainbow School), special needs training center for older kids (Rainbow Centre), a creche/early education center (Noah’s Ark), and several foster homes. The plan now is to find ways to bring technology into the lives of all of the kids that we serve in all of these ministries. My role, moving forward, is to see these expansions through.
(If you're looking for more information on Victory4All, or a way to support what they do directly, please visit the Support button at the top of this blog. They are AMAZING!)
GOALS: This month, we were blessed to receive 8 touch-screen smart boards for the school, which I will help to coordinate installation and training for very soon. Next month, Lord willing, a shipping container will arrive with many more resources all the way from The Netherlands. I hope to see the King’s College program running on its own (with the teacher I have been training for the past year), so that I can move on to the Rainbow Training Centre and the Rainbow School to meet their needs. I also have dreams of how to help the staff at all of our ministries, as well as some form of “homework center” for our foster kids and others to come after school hours and access the internet safely for school projects. Eventually, I would also love to see a training center for adults of the communities. But that is a long-term dream.
Church/Personal Life: Um… well… I don’t really have a church right now. But I’m on the hunt. I was visiting churches just before we were moved to level 3 of lockdown. But I haven’t been involved anywhere since because everyone has gone to online services for now. There is one church that has been so kind and welcoming to me, and incredibly understanding about my hesitation to jump back into another church. But for now, I’m just waiting for church doors to open again. I am still involved in my Mentoring Group and I am still meeting with strong Christian friends on a regular basis. But I do miss the full fellowship of a church, despite my fears of starting over in this area.
GOALS: Overcome my fear of being hurt in order to be open to another church group. Continue to find ways to pray for, support, and encourage my friends. Pray that I get to see how God blesses them for their amazing kindness to me.
Financials: Because I was unable to visit USA this Christmas season like I normally do, my personal fundraising has been greatly affected. I attempted to do some online/virtual fundraising. But with all that was going on in America, these were not as impactful as I would have liked. I’m praying things change, but if not, I will make adjustments and continue here in South Africa for as long as God allows me to. Also, for those who don’t know, I work at night as a contract worker for Lifeway to help make ends meet in my budget. They have allowed me to do this work with them for the past two year and a some change. (I worked for them for 9 years before God called me to move to South Africa.) However, this was also affected by world changes of 2020. Last year, I had decided to use my side-job to help others by hiring and training a trusted friend of mine here in SA as a sub-contractor. It has been such a blessing to this single-mom and allowed her and her kids to have a place to live, as well as some new job skills for the future. However, I recently had to cut my hours and consequently, my sub-contractor’s hours, to meet the changing needs of this ministry. So, financially, I’m not where I was a year ago. But I have been through tighter times with God and He has never failed to provide for me. I know this will be no different. I just need to keep the stress and fear of lack from encroaching at my heart’s door.
My car also recently had to go in to "the doctor" for some pretty big repairs. This has meant a lot of my work has had to stop. And a lot of my time with God is spent in the car - specifically praying over the city almost every night while driving. So, I miss having my car for several reason. This also means that a large bill is soon to come my way. But, again, I know my God will help me through it all - even if I have to make a plan B, C, D, or E.
GOALS: Lean on my faith and remember continually what God has already done for me and my friends. Be open to do fundraising differently as opportunities come along. Use what resources God has given me to the best of my ability with integrity and an open-hand. I also need to do a better job of communicating what God is doing here in SA for those in America to know how God is using their gifts so amazingly.
So, there we go. That’s what I hope to see happen this year. Again, I know things are not in my control. But I hope and pray that I can see some of these things change for the better – for God’s glory.
Finally, please feel free to message me about anything if you have questions or concerns about. I honestly don’t mind being asked anything and I will let you know if I don’t have answers for something. I am not generally a person who takes offense to any question asked. In fact, I often feel encouraged because you want to know more about something in my life. So, you are more than welcome to ask me questions.
I also absolutely LOVE to pray for my friends, family, sponsors, and strangers. So, if you need prayers for ANYTHING or just need a listening ear, please feel free to message me. I promise I will keep your messages private and will be more than happy to go before God on your behalf!
You can email me with any of these things at: Kristin.firstname.lastname@example.org or you are welcome to comment on this blog if you don’t mind others seeing your messages.
I love you guys! I hope you believe that! Thanks for “listening!” God bless!