October 2013 Update
Kurt & Barb Matthews (1990)
MOVING ALONG IN SCHOOL
Greetings to you all from a surprisingly cool Ghana! We have been enjoying another rainy season and the cooler weather that comes with it. It doesn't make for good clothes' drying weather, but we aren't going to complain. It makes for great studying!
As you all know, our home school has been back in session for two weeks now and so far, so good. My forte in teaching is with the younger primary grades, especially in teaching reading. This year is the first year that I don't have any children in that grade range as Moriah is now in fourth grade. So, it's been a bit challenging for me to get excited about writing lesson plans and teaching, to be honest. I've been praying and asking God to give me that excitement and love for teaching that I usually have at the beginning of the school year and He's been good to give me some of that excitement each day so far. Thank you all for praying for us and for me in particular, as a teacher to our children.
We've also made a major decision as a family in the last few weeks - to invite Dorcas to transfer to a school in Ho and to stay with us during the school year. Her parents and her pastor both liked the idea, so Dorcas went through the application process for one of the better schools here in Ho. My favorite part is that it's an all girls' school! Dorcas was accepted into Mawuko Senior High School last week and will begin her studies there in the next few weeks. Dorcas will have to work extra hard in school to be able to stay there, but we believe that she can do it. Kurt has been challenging her in the mathematics area and I've given her some books to read to work on her English skills to help prepare her and catch her up. Please pray for Dorcas that she will work hard and we will be an encouragement and help to her in many ways.
MOVING THE BUS ALONG
Some of you may remember reading how a pastor was using our bus/RV in Alabama to help rekindle a church there. The bus is no longer needed there and in fact, it needs to be moved in the next month or two. Our first desire is for the bus/RV to be used in ministry. If you know a missionary, pastor or church member who would benefit from using the bus (for living in or for traveling), please let us know. If there is no use for the bus, then if you have a place where a 40' MCI (like a Greyhound) bus could be stored for a couple of years, that would be great. Please understand, we have offered this many times as we travel on furlough. Usually no one responds or needs the bus. So please feel free to check around and let us know. Getting lots of responses would hopefully result in the bus being useful to someone. Thanks!
Barb and Kurt (for the Mathews' clan)
Growing a new generation of passionate Christ followers
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN DOING?
Every week when I sit down to write my update, I ask myself that question. Sometimes, it seems like what we've been doing is just the same stuff you all are doing - like homeschooling our children, entertaining guests, helping our teammates, getting our car worked on, preparing for our Christmas program at church, and surviving the heat (or cold, in your case). For that reason, sometimes I just don't write anything. But I've been informed that you all like to hear about the humdrum of our lives because you think that living and serving God in Africa is wild and exciting and different than serving God in America. Well, it really isn't all that different.
WE'VE BEEN DOING SCHOOL
Like many of you who homeschool, most of my day is consumed with overseeing our children's education. I write lesson plans every weekend and teach, grade papers, answer questions and sometimes deal with bad attitudes about school all week. ("Why do I have to learn this? When will I ever use Algebra in life?) One of my children even wrote a song about Geometry, focusing on how there are people all over the world dying without Christ while she is sitting and pouring over her Geometry lessons. So, you see, my school day isn't any different than most of yours.
Of course, you probably don't deal with your child's friend showing up at the door on a school morning because he didn't have a cutlass (machette) to go to school that day. The local school requires the students to come to school sometimes just to cut the grass. If the students show up without a sharpened cutlass, they are caned (beat with a stick). So, this young man didn't want to be caned and decided he'd rather come and hang out at the Mathews' house during school time one day this week. Well, I had to nip that one in the bud! "No, you may not hang out here during school hours. You need to go back home and wait until after school hours to come and play." That statement, of course, did not earn me any brownie points with my children. How could I be so heartless as to send that poor boy back to his boring home where there's nothing to do when he isn't hurting anything by being here? "He won't distract us from school." Right! That has happened more than once, both in the village AND here in the town of Ho.
WE'VE BEEN HELPING OUR TEAMMATES
A lot of what Kurt has been doing lately is helping our new teammates, the Erways, get settled. They rented a house near us that wasn't completed (that's normal here), and Kurt offered to help them finish it (which is also normal for Kurt). Kurt loves to be a help to anyone who will express their need for help. Well, you can imagine that someone new to Ghana would need lots of help when they are trying to oversee workers, buy paint and other supplies, and work with a landlord who doesn't communicate well in English and is blind.
So, Kurt has been running them all over the place to help them find the things they need. He's also been helping them paint and scrape and sand and clean and make phone calls and write out rental contracts, to name a few things.
Kurt is also serving as our team leader this year. So, that job requires that he set up team meetings, write the agenda, and lead the meetings. This role would not be Kurt's first choice to serve in, but he does a fine job and I get to be his secretary! This has been an especially hard year for our team because of all of the transition of our ministries and trying to reconcile with our national leaders and everything - all things that I've written about throughout the year. So, sometimes Kurt has to have hard conversations or pour over a difficult letter for hours and hours. He is the type of guy who pours himself into whatever task God puts before him, whether that be painting a room, planning a team meeting, or holding a teammate's dog for the vet to do an operation.
Now, there's something that you might find interesting! Lately our dog, Suzuki, has been moody and aggressive at times, so we were counseled to get him "fixed". I had no idea what that entailed, but in my mind, that meant that we take him to the vet and leave him there for a few hours and then come pick him up again - all done. Well, I was wrong. Kurt, instead, went and picked up the vet and brought him to our house. Then the Vet proceeded to ask us for a "new blade" to do the procedure. I thought he wanted to shave the dog's fur before the surgery, so I brought him a new safety razor instead. No, that was not acceptable. So, we sent Noah off to the local "store" with about 5 cents to buy a plain razor blade. Then the vet asked us to put a muzzle on our dog and hold him down for a shot of local anesthetic. Well, Suzuki didn't want to have anything to do with that muzzle! Kurt tried and tried to get it on him to no avail. But, that's okay. Since the vet was in our area, our teammates who live near us decided to use his services to "fix" their dog as well. Kurt's help was needed again. Since their dog is just a puppy, it was much easier for Kurt to get the muzzle on him and hold him down. He whined and cried and carried on enough to bring tears to some of our eyes, but the procedure was fairly quick and simple - all done in our front yard under the mango tree.
The next day, the vet returned to try to work on Suzuki again. He had given Kurt some pills to give to Suzuki to put him out for the procedure, but all they did was make Suzuki a little groggy and tipsy, and a lot more mean. Suzuki never did get to have his operation, but he's finally back to normal after all of the medicine wore off.
Well, once again, I've labored over this letter to let you all know what we're doing and how to pray for us. So, what can you be praying for?
• Pray for wisdom in training our children, not just in school, but in life.
• Pray that we will be an encouragement to our teammates and be available to help them whenever we can.
• Pray that we have a balance in how we use our time - for ministry, for helping teammates, for family times, etc.
• Pray for the national leaders that we work with - that they will be faithful to God, trust Him, and depend on Him to meet their needs.
Thank you all for your faithful support of us and the work in Ghana. Oh! I almost forgot! Kurt asked me to mention that we found a "home" for our bus/RV. A wonderful family (with 8 children!) who ministers to orphans and foster children on the east coast is going to use the RV for some time. So, thank you to all who replied to our request a few weeks ago. We are delighted that God is using the RV to further His Kingdom.
Barb, for the Mathews' clan
Growing a new generation of passionate Christ followers
PS - If anyone knows of a tupperware consultant, could you please send me their contact information (preferably e-mail)? I have a bunch of tupperwares with no lids because the heat just destroys them and I need to order some replacements. Thanks again!
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