There Is No God? A Missionary Family's Journey
- Friday, April 22, 2011
Despite long hours and long days serving food and love to very poor families, my baby arrived none the worse at 10 lbs, 4 oz, attended by a Christian midwife courtesy of the National Health Service, in a beautiful birthing centre in Hampshire. This pattern of God’s amazing provision has been evidenced all the way through our sixteen years in Albania. Daniel Ezra arrived in 2000. Jonathan Josiah arrived in 2003 and was born at home, in Albania, delivered by an English Christian midwife.
God has proven His name, Jehovah Jireh, over and over again as we have run a busy ministry and homeschooled five children. Imagine our incredulous delight when God began speaking about us buying land and building a home! Without telling others our needs, God prompted people to provide all the finances. A beautiful house is now under construction on a breathtaking hill spanning views to the east, south, and west of Albania. I delightedly proclaim: Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory! (See Ephesians 3:20.)
As Joshua and Joanna grew and Samuel Nicholas arrived, homeschooling began to evolve with lots of fun, preschool material. Teaching Josh and Joanna to read and write was no problem, and Samuel almost taught himself!
In 2000 Daniel Ezra arrived whilst we were on furlough in the UK. We were tentatively putting out feelers for some sort of programme to help me teach Josh, now 7; Joanna, 5; and Samuel 2½ (and already beginning to read and write). We stumbled upon the ACE programme, distributed in the UK by TEACH (The European Academy for Christian
Homeschooling). We jumped at the opportunity to brush shoulders with more experienced homeschoolers (deemed as very strange creatures in the UK at the time).
Being isolated on the mission field created the big challenge of finding others to advise and encourage us. Thankfully TEACH’s pastoral director was always there on the other end of the telephone!
As we live in the mission house/church centre and Albanians are tremendously friendly, sociable creatures, we soon realized I couldn’t maintain “school” and minister to all the urgent and desperate cases coming my way. We decided to rent a room 100 yards down the road, in a neighbour’s house. There we “did” school for about seven years. It meant turning a blind eye to most of my domestic duties! A dear lady in the church came and cleaned the house and cooked a basic lunch for us each day. Thankfully, because most people (including me!) now realise I am not available in the mornings, we have been able to resume school at home.
Last but not the least of our fabulous children is Jonathan Josiah, born here, in the church office in fact, in a portable birthing pool. He is now 7 years old. All five are now in school using the ACE programme.
We have had to diversify somewhat with one of our boys who has been diagnosed with dyslexia. Back in the UK, summer 2009, we visited an educational specialist who offered practical advice on tackling some of our boy’s special needs. We found a great programme from the U.S. (advertised in TOS magazine actually) called Math-U-See, which our son has been enjoying. We also bought a handbook for teaching dyslexics, recommended in the UK, called The Hickey Multisensory Language Course (ISBN 1-86156-178-4, Publisher’s website: www.whurr.co.uk), and from that I developed exercises and flash cards (used daily). This child still apparently “hates” reading and writes only under duress, but he is slowly and surely gaining confidence. The only drawback to the Math-U-See programme is that it requires a bit more teacher preparation than I find I can give. My boy would get more from this programme if I were more involved. Maybe that could be said of most things. However, the beauty of the ACE programme is that a not-very-organized, over-committed, multi-tasking, wish-I-was-a-lot-better-at-this-than-I-am, homeschooling mother of five can give each of her kids something resembling a fairly decent education!
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