Thursday, December 16, 2010

I, Karen, am writing this for reasons that will become clear. Today, Charles was asked to attend the graduation of a small Methodist school in Lamadi. He went and was humbled, awed, and left speechless by what he encountered. A teacher had heard a sermon Charles preached about everyone using their gifts for others and so this teacher started a school in September of this year with five children. The school was in a small, one room Methodist church with a dirt floor in the Itonga area of Lamadi. It has six small benches and one small chalkboard. By December, the school had eighty students and two more volunteer teachers. The children were all orphans or those too poor to pay for the relatively cheap government school. They get Christian instruction for an hour every day and then regular school for the rest of the day. They have ten Muslim children, so they include one Muslim prayer every day. Because Charles was the inspiration for the school, they named it after him and wanted him to come see what one sermon could inspire. They needed $100 to buy the land, so they could stay there, a bigger chalkboard, and more benches. Charles gave them all the money he had ($200) to get them started. He is also going to pay to have a cement floor put in before school starts again January 10th. He wants another $1,200 (hopefully from some of you) so all the students can have uniforms ($12 each)--then they won't feel the stigma of poverty so much. He was too overwhelmed with emotion to even talk about it for an hour after he came home. The official name of the school, registered with the government, and on all the certificates--The St. Charles Academy (they couldn't pronounce Wiggins, it came out wigness or winess). The Saint part was their idea. The first thing he said when he could talk about the day, "Now, I have a reason to get up every morning." Check out the pictures on the right and the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YXWWFmxXy8 where the kids say the Lord's Prayer in English and sing some songs in English. I don't think Charles will ever be the same.
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