Monday, September 26, 2011

Speaking of School…

ACSI Conference AttendeesThe past few months we have been serving on a committee to host the first ever, Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) conference in Mali.  The conference was this weekend and we are very happy with the results.  We had over 100 people in attendance from 24 different Christian schools including pastors, school administrators, teachers, and others interested in Christian education.  The speakers were Dr. Samson Makhado, the director of ACSI Africa who came from South Africa, and Daniel Neuhaus, the director of ACSI for French speaking countries who flew in from France.  Part of our responsibilities were hosting the speakers in our home. This gave us some wonderful opportunities to talk with them and learn from their experience in Christian education.  In addition, Julie was involved in delegate registration and taking care of the speakers.  John worked with the publicity team and did a lot of the graphic design.  He was also in charge of all things technical during the conference including sound, video, and PowerPoint.

The goal of the conference was to promote the importance of Christian education and organize the Christian schools in Mali.  The conference sessions went very well and everyone learned a lot.  We finished the conference by forming an association of Christian schools in Mali which will allow us to pool our resources and help each other in addition to capitalizing on the vast resources ASCI has to offer.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It’s A Girl!

Clarks   1We have a new addition to our family - a new little girl that recently moved in with us.  Her name is Anne-Marie and she is 8 years old.

Anne-Marie’s parents serve with YWAM in a village 2 hours outside of Bamako, where we live.  Her father is Malian and her mother is from South Africa.  Because of her mom’s roots, she does speak English fluently as well as French and Bambara.  She has had a difficult time in Malian schools and we offered to take her into our home so she can attend BCA, the school for missionary kids where we are serving.  We converted John’s office into a bedroom and she moved in two weeks ago.  We were initially concerned about the cultural adjustments as our home life is very American.  But Anne-Marie seems to be adapting well and enjoys the new lifestyle – especially eating American food – which we thought would be a problem, but it turns out she loves American food.  So far, she seems to be thriving.

When we asked her if she considered home, our house, or her home in the village, she immediately answered our house.  We’re so grateful for her excitement and enthusiasm for this arrangement.  The plans are for her to go home on weekends once or twice a month.  Having a new little girl is introducing a lot of new dynamics into our family.  We know it’s still early on, but so far, so good.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Teacher, Teacher I Declare

Professor JohnSchool started last Thursday.  This year marks a VERY big change for our family as John is also teaching full time at Bamako Christian Academy (BCA) this year.  Because of a dire teacher shortage, John offered to step in.  He is teaching 3 high school science classes and 2 high school Bible classes in addition to 2 elective classes.  As you can see, he’s even dressing the part.  Between the two of us, we are teaching a majority of the high school classes.  We have 8 high school students (including Cole) in 9th through 11th grade.  If you’re a teacher, we’d LOVE to have you come out and teach this year.  You’ll even get a cool lab coat too.