Tuesday, January 13, 2009

the TLC in Africa

I have some friends that are headed to Africa today. The Bob and LuAnn Herring are leaving today and will be gone for over 2 months doing mission work in Africa through the missionary organization that their family started called Africa Connect. I encourage you all to visit their website and see what an amazing work God is doing there through this family. They do work in Kitale, Kenya serving children through a school called Neema Care Center. In Africa, children must have attended preschool in order to go to primary school. Most preschools cost money and therefore the poorest children are blocked out of school entirely. Their existence in the slums is bleak to say the least. The number of homeless street kids is astounding and most of them resort to sniffing glue to numb their coldness and pain. A documentary called Glue Boys chronicled this sad situation and is a huge eye opener to one of the many overwhelming problems that these kids face. Anyway, our friends the Herrings, in partnership with African nationals have been able to provide a wonderful free school program for children in Kitale Kenya that couldn't otherwise afford school. The work that they have done is so amazing. Just one family, with a heart to serve God by serving these people, has touched the lives of hundreds of children and this is just the beginning.
Last year when we were studying Africa Luann came and did an awesome presentation at our house. My kids were so interested and we have continued to pray for them and talk about the work that is being done there. Last week LuAnn gave me a book with little bios of each of the children at Neema Care Center (there are over 100 enrolled right now). The book has pictures of each child and tells of their family life and what they like to eat and what they want to be when they grow up. The TLC kids are enamored with the book. We also received in our last update a picture card of one particular child to pray for. His name is Aldaff and the kids pray for him usually 3 or 4 times a day! He's an honorary TLC student now and he doesn't even know it.

Seeing how amazing this connection was for these kids I decided to make a bio book to send to Africa of the TLC Academy. It's much smaller, of course, but I am so excited for the connection that we are making. The kids all drew pictures and we wrote a letter to the school director in hopes that we can correspond with them often. The kids are amazed that their pictures are getting on a plane to Africa today. We are so blessed to have this opportunity to truly connect with the people that we are praying for and supporting. It's really an amazing thing.

Our bio book came out beautiful thanks to the incredible school pictures that Seven took of the kids and our adorable class picture. Seven is an amazing and versatile photographer. She has done our family portrait as well as our school pictures and Christmas card picture. She also does wedding photography. If you are interested in having her take pictures for your family you can email her at

In other TLC news, we have transitioned back into the school routine pretty well. It's never easy after a vacation to get back into the swing of things, especially when it's cold and you can't get outside enough. I tried to make it a little easier by making the first week super fun. Our study of gingerbread and fairy tales definitely helped. We read a few versions of the Gingerbread man story and Hansel and Gretel, played a gingerbread game that I printed off of Jan Brett's website, decorated gingerbread men on the computer, made play dough gingerbread men, made real gingerbread men and attempted unsuccessfully to make a gingerbread house. We also learned the history of gingerbread houses, a little about the spice ginger and about what a fairy tale is. It was a busy week!

Ian has been requesting a workbook of his own for awhile now so I finally got him one. He loves it. He asks to do his "phonics" every time Isaac and Nova do. He has been participating a lot more in "school activities."

I know I have mentioned in the past how sometimes the silliest things are so entertaining to the kids. I found a new one. Gum. I let them all chew gum while they did penmanship the other day. It made life wonderful for almost a whole 1/2 hour. Everyone was just beside themselves w/ glee as they munched away on their yellow Juicy Fruit (when did Juicy Fruit turn yellow anyway?). Hannah and Bella, knowing you can never chew gum in "school" thought it was a great treat.
As most of you know, it's been snowing quite a bit here lately. It's been pretty cold too and going to get even colder. Getting outside is a huge chore but necessary for the fresh air. Dressing my kids to go outside is the bane of my existence every winter. Dressing 3 extras does not make it better. Despite my loath of all things winter, I do let the kids go out (sometimes). We went out the other day and they had fun. I will refrain from commenting on how I actually felt about it because we are learning about self-control this week.

Last but not least we want to give a huge THANK YOU to Nova and Mika's Aunt Sarah. She lives in Shanghai China and when she came for the holidays she brought some gifts from China for the TLC! We got some authentic Chinese newspapers, postcards, stickers, and best of all toys! She gave us one of the most popular toys in china. They are little sticky, squishy pigs and the kids LOVED them. They threw them on the wall, the floor, at each other, swung them around and eventually broke them all, but they loved every minute of it! They think the kids in China are really lucky because if they break theirs they can just go get another one. I think I'm lucky that I'm not replacing popped piggies every other day :)

Stay warm in the arctic blast if you live around here, if not, feel bad for those of us who do.


Anonymous said...

I think it's great that the kids are learning about so many different things! I wish my teachers had been more like you! I love reading about all the adventures. The portrait of your family is so good! I'm glad to know you're all well!

Anonymous said...

Wow Melissa! This is the first blog post I have read. I always think of the future of my children and whether or not I want to put them into public school. Mostly I do not want to but I do not know if I will be in the position to be able to home school them when the time comes. (or if I would even be a good teacher!) It is so amazing what you guys are doing at your little school at your home! I love the fact that they are learning important things in life like compassion love etc...The connection they are making with the kids in Africa is such a great way to learn about so many of the things I feel like kids may not learn in school and should! I suppose those are things kids are to learn at home but not everyone is as lucky as I was to grow up in an environment where those things are as natural as breathing. So I want to say thank you for being you. I know those are not my children, but for some reason I am still grateful:)

Love Love love,


ps. Bella is getting so big!!! I mean they all are but she is looking so grown up!