MJ Live

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Rechargin’ the Batteries (Written 3/10/07)

This week has been sort of crazy for me – especially the last two days of class (Thursday and Friday). On every Thursday for the next couple of weeks, we are going to be losing students to netball and rugby games. Last week wasn't so bad because it was only rugby which meant a lot of the boys left but that left the girls…with netball going as well, it takes away of the majority of the girls and we are reduced from about 400 students to 60, and we lose the teachers who are coaches as well. Unlike in the states where sport activities take place mainly after school, since the buses stop running at about 6pm and the kids have to get home the sport activities take up precious class time. So on Thursdays we are going to lose the last two periods of the day simply because we don't have enough teachers or staff to finish the day. Every Friday, we have 'electives' which are outside of the classroom activities for the kids to do – this is a Chanel only activity, not government induced. Electives only take up one period on Friday, so it's not incredibly bad BUT since we are on a rotating 6-day schedule a different class will miss their 7th period every week. This makes it kind of difficult to give quizzes to the students because I like giving them on a Friday so the kids can then play on the computer and go home for the weekend (and I can take the weekend to grade the papers). But this place is like Texas – sports reign supreme here so nothing I can do except sigh and bear it.

Fortunately, I didn't have to sigh for long because I was going on a retreat with the Young Adult group at Peace Chapel called 'Next Generation'. This would be our first get together of the year just to get reacquainted and get away from the stress of the week. We went to Maninoa Surf Camp on the south side of the island where a member of the church (Tim) works. I rode over with some of my friends from the group (this journey took us over the cross island road – my first trip over the road since I biked over it from Josh's house) and we arrived there just as they were getting ready to start cooking the food at about 6:30pm. Instead of cooking with a grill, we cooked using wood, coconuts and fire…so it took a while since no one was really good with getting the firing going and staying (the folks who did know how to do that didn't arrive until about 8pm). Unlike our last retreat at Aganoa Black Sand Beach, this beach had fales that we could stay in which were really nice and comfortable. The food was finally ready at about 10pm and we had hot dogs, chicken, bread, vegetable salad – let's just say there was a ton of food there and we had about 15-20 people there (not everyone stayed the night though). After we were done eating, we went up into a real life treehouse and just had a bit of worship and talked about the vision for our group for the next year. The first point that came out of this retreat was having our focus be more on evangelism which means reaching out to people at planting the seed for Christ in their life – not through manipulation or anything like that – but through having a legitimate relationship with them. The second point was to be a little more interactive with the youth group within Peace Chapel – we're talking about high school age kids here. These are the kids that look up to us as role models and we should be encouraging them and getting to know them better – which is one of the reasons that I was more then happy to tutor the kids from Faatuatua: it's an opportunity to get to know them on a deeper level and help pull them up in their walk with Christ. So it was a productive – but late – night. I went to bed at about 11:30pm and as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was out until 7:30am the next morning.

If there's one thing I like about sleeping on the beach is the fact that it's so easy for me to get a good nights rest because the sound of the waves are so calming. Definitely needed a break like this and it's one of the great beauties of Samoa – breaks like this are only about a 1 hour drive away from Apia (by car, it would take a couple of hours by bus). The next morning everyone did a little swimming before we got together and had another session, this time with a couple from New Zealand (Todd and Donna) who are here to help with a ministry within Peace Chapel. They once again emphasized how important relationships are not only for reaching out to non-believers but also growing and sharpening each of us within the Next Generation group. It was definitely what we needed to hear at the start of year 2 of this new endeavor.  After the session I headed back home and did a little work before calling it a day. That's right I came from a break and went right back to work…only 9 more months to go and I can actually live away from my work!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you definately don't know me but thought i'd leave a message...i just briefly read your blog and it was interesting to read about your experience. i found your blog after Googling something i was curious about (in Samoa) and it must be a small world because even though we have never met, I think I may have heard of you...
I live in Seattle and a good friend of mine runs the Lotopa Market--i think it's called. she's currently here in seattle visiting and has told us all her stories from back home (we're all native Samoans). she told me about meeting Peace Corps volunteers since she knows I've always thought about joining, and she said one is from Tennessee. I remembered this particularly because I have been to Tennessee to visit (UT Martin). I think you must be him! Also my family lives in Moamoa. What a small world to find you virtually by accident. Hmm. Well, this is very long and I didn't mean to take so much space. Thanks for the good read! Take Care and hope your experience there will be (fondly:) remembered forever...