Saturday, June 3, 2017
“The desire to reach for the stars is ambitious. The desire to reach hearts is wise.” ― Maya Angelou
When my wife, Karen, was in her senior year of high school (1961), her high school guidance counselor told her she was not smart enough to go to college and the best she could hope for was a secretarial school (few choices for women, then). Well, on June 2nd, 1965, she celebrated her 22nd birthday (yesterday, she celebrated a bigger one). Two days later, on June 4th, she graduated from McMurry University in Abilene, Texas, with a degree in Elementary Education, and the following day, June 5th--married me. Quite a week, and three months later she began teaching in her first year of forty consecutive years of teaching kindergarten. Not bad for someone not smart enough to go to college (where do they get those counselors?). She taught for five years in West Texas, then eleven years in a Los Angeles ghetto, then seven years in rural Arkansas, then four years in suburban Boston, and then in 1992, moved back to Arkansas where she began her final 13 years of teaching in a brand new school called George Elementary in Springdale, Arkansas. She retired from teaching after forty years and in her last year was named Teacher of the Year. That same year, 2005, she moved permanently to Bunda, Tanzania, where she started teaching an English class on the grounds of our mission using the same techniques and methods she had used in Springdale teaching English to Hispanic students. That school, Elihu Ni Uhuru (Education is Freedom), is still operating twelve years later. She trained two full-time teachers and they are still teaching using her methods and under her supervision. Now at 74 years of age and refusing to let serious health issues hold her back, she has also helped start seven pre-schools (one here on our grounds) in some of our churches and has held teaching seminars to teach the teachers the Maria Montessori method of teaching young children (in addition to teaching sewing seminars). Some of you saw the uniforms she designed and helped make for our orphans and other students. The pink is to honor her good friend Caryn Pierce who died too soon. Every time I see one of those kids walk by, strutting their stuff (they love their new uniforms), I think of how important Karen’s work is here—and it ain’t over. Keep us in your prayers as we continue to serve God in this distant vineyard.