Primary School Improvements (By Sarah)

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As you know, we’ve been working hard on a paint project at the school. We’re brightening up the entrance-way to the school and making it more inviting. This also goes a long way to helping elevate the professionalism of the school. This is really important in Uganda. Parents here choose which school to send their children too based on its reputation and prestige.
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Things like a smart-looking entrance and the knowledge that international teachers visit raise people’s impression of the school. RIM’s partner church opened Hephzibah International Primary School less than two years ago. It is their desire to fill the school with students because that’s one of the most effective ways to reach community families for Christ so we’re thrilled to be a part of activities (painting and teaching) that make that Kingdom reality!
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I’ve attached pictures of our paint project. There are more, but these are some of the best ones. The teachers are so excited about it, and we know it will have a huge impact on the professionalism of the school!  So that is super cool! The entire project should be finished on Tuesday!!
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Anyway, thanks so much for loving and supporting us. We booked our trip to Kampala tonight and we are all SOOO JAZZED about it. We’ll be spending two days in the city. During that time, we plan to visit another school to gather ideas to bring back to Hephzibah. We’ll also be printing and binding a teacher training manual for the teachers we’ve been working with and buying gifts for our students. Then on Friday, we’ll have a final celebration with the students and teachers at Hephzibah to remember all that the Lord has done in the last few weeks.
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Over the weekend, we’ll spend some more time with the church, and then Sunday night we head out to our safari destination.
Love you guys!! Thanks for all your prayers!
Sarah
(RIM Project Director)

Hephzibah International Primary School (By Tiffany)

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Before coming on this mission trip I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought that I would be spending all my time with children – teaching them, sharing the Gospel with them, and playing with them. Little did I know that God had something totally different in mind. When we arrived in Uganda, we were told that we would be helping out in a school. “Yes,” I thought to myself, “this is totally my element! I’m so excited!”

Later, we were told that we were also going to lead a staff development for the teachers. Being one of two teachers on this team I was signed up to take on this task alongside our trip leader, Sarah. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be much help in this area because I had only just finished my first year of teaching. But after a week of helping Sarah facilitate the staff development, I’m taking on a completely different attitude.

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I’m very thankful for the opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with the teachers at Hephzibah International Primary School. I’m very thankful for what I’ve been learning from Sarah. And I’m very thankful for what I’m learning from the Ugandan teachers as well. There are things from them that I’m definitely going to use in my classroom back in California!

“Bravo…ba ba ba…ba ba ba…for Uganda!”

Celebrity Teachers (By Malorie)

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“Muzungu.”

This is the title we have been given by all Ugandans. It literally translates to “white person.” Imagine being on the street by a shop and having someone literally address you as the name of your race! This is one of the hilarious culture differences we have experienced here in Uganda…

Truth be told, white people are a bit of a novelty here, especially at the school. Students are so surprised to see muzungus, that they don’t know how to act.  Think back to when you were in school and had a substitute teacher… You were never on your best behavior then, right? Discipline was impossible to enforce and everyone in the class knew it was basically a free day. Now imagine having a celebrity as your substitute teacher. You would be way too excited to sit still in your seat and listen to them teach about your lesson for the day. Instead, you would want to take pictures with them, hug them, learn about their life that’s so different from yours, and marvel in the fact that they are sitting there with you. While we are nothing more than some young girls coming to serve the Lord through teaching them, the kids only see us as celebrity substitute teachers taking over their classes.

Translation? CHAOS.

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I have had the privilege of teaching both Top and Middle class, and it has been interesting. My class contains a total of 12 of the most adorable 4-6 year-old children I have ever meet in my life. They are full of a love for life, curiosity about the unknown, and limitless energy. I’ll be honest, it has been a challenge to teach these sweet babies, but it has been so rewarding at the same time. Watching them grasp a concept, such as the spelling of the suffix: -ing, or watching their eyes light up when they spell a word correctly has been incredible.  But as rewarding as these little moments are, the most rewarding of all is every morning when we step into the school yard and they all sprint towards us yelling, “Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!” It truly makes all the chaos worth it. 

Getting to love on these beautiful children and teach them in the few minutes of focus they allow us brings so much joy to all of our hearts. They show us the meaning of being joyful in all circumstances, they remind us what it looks like to love without limits, and they inspire us with their curiosity and creativity.

Teaching these children is an experience that will stay with us for the rest of our lives as it will remind us to live our lives like these sweet children do.

The Need to Teach Teachers

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Ugandan School ChildrenThis week our team has worked hard at the Ugandan school, and they have one more day of classes before the weekend.

Playground at Uganda School

Sarah and Tiffany have facilitated a professional development program for the school teachers and an administrator. They’ve worked hard to teach principles of classroom management and how to build relationships with students. They’ve also tried to share techniques for effectively teaching different subjects. The teachers have thoroughly engaged in the process and have expresses appreciation for how much they’re learning.

Ugandan Classroom

Meanwhile, the other girls have been running classes for all the students. They alternate between teaching them what the Ugandan teachers have planned for the day (acting as substitutes during the teacher development program), and running actual English camps.

Games in Ugandan Classroom

During the English camps, our girls use all sorts of games, songs and hand motions to help students learn and remember. They also help to correct pronunciation and grammar that has been learned incorrectly. It’s a huge value add for the school to have American English speakers to help!

Teaching English Camps in Uganda

As you can imagine, each day brings something new in Uganda. For every great ministry moment, there’s also a surprise or a challenge. For example, what do you do when a little boy brings his goat to school??

Ugandan Boys with Goat

Keep praying for our team, they have Friday and Monday in the school, and then they’ll return the following Friday for a big celebration.

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During the middle of next week, the team will be involved in some additional ministries in Kampala (the big city, about an hour away).

Road Trip in Uganda

Here’s a fun picture from one of their earlier trips into town…

Zebra Statue in Kampala

And also an update on the painting project the girls have been working on at the school!

Ugandan Community Development Project

Finally, what post would be complete without a picture of Tiffany holding a sweet little baby?!

Ugandan Baby with Missionary

100+ Kids Welcome Us

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Sharing the Gospel in the DR at a School

On a typical RIM trip in Central America or the Caribbean, we spend the first two weeks with our summer teams presenting the drama at school assemblies, 3-5 schools per day.

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This blast of evangelism sows a lot of seeds for our contacts to follow up with after we’re gone. It helps bring visibility to their ministries and increase their reach into the community. 

Presenting the Gospel in the Dominican

With the DR, one challenge we anticipated is students being on summer vacation during the month of July (unlike other countries, they have a similar school calendar to the US).

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So far, we’ve had an awesome time taking the Gospel more directly out into communities, and our host contacts have worked really hard to strategically place us for the greatest impact.

School Ministry in the DR

One of our main contact’s friends has a church and a school nearby to where our team is living this month, and he saw RIM’s drama when another team visited the area last March. When he found out about our team, he requested us to spend a whole day at his church–performing the drama and doing children’s ministry.

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Initially, we felt skeptical that he could gather up many kids during their vacation time, but WOW did he surprise us. When we arrived yesterday, more than 100 children eagerly welcomed us and could not wait to spend the day with us!!

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What a phenomenal day! We presented the drama and the Gospel, and children responded. We also broke into small groups with them to really get to know them, share our testimonies, hear about their lives, and minister to them.

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In addition, we had a blast playing games, singing songs and building relationships in all kinds of creative way. God is so good, and we loved seeing Him at work in this community!

Dominican Republic Children's Ministry