Monday, August 23, 2010

From Then Til Now

Today, Monday morning, early, I sat down with one of my colleagues to discuss themes for the year. We chatted back and forth a bit about the new schedule and then Cathy informed me, "You have a new student coming in from West Africa. She speaks French and very little English, but you need to check with Lydia in the office because look at her birthday. She's young so they may put her in second grade instead."

"Yay! Love new students. I wonder what part of West Africa if she speaks French," I responded.

"I think Lydia put the paperwork in your mailbox," Cathy added.

"OK, I'll run down and check now," I said

I was excited! That made three new students coming in for this year. I began to wonder if the girl was from Burkina Faso, being she spoke French. Wouldn't that be something?

I had travelled to Burkina over 15 years ago with a youth mission team after graduating college and just last year knew of a couple who travelled there for the first time, themselves. One is never the same upon doing so. The country is extremely poor, but certainly not in hospitality. The people are so warm, welcoming, and generous with faith as strong as steel. They gave us their best wherever we went.

Lydia was on the phone when I walked into the brightly lit office, so I went straight to my mail box. Scholastic News, a few book clubs, and upcoming conference materials, but no new student info. I strolled out of the copy room, but Lydia was still on the phone, so I headed back up to finish meeting with Cathy.

"There was nothing about the new student," I said.

"Well, they may have sent it over to the other side of the building," Cathy replied.

Knowing I'd be headed over there when we were finished, I responded, "I'll get it when I go over in awhile."

Cathy and I finished chatting about the curriculum and themes for the year and I walked over to the primary side of the building. A bit anxious, I stepped up my pace to enter their office and find the paperwork I anticipated. It was folded in half and stapled. I gave the sides a quick tug to open it and discover the student was indeed from Burkina Faso, West Africa.

"Aaghhh!!! Yes!! What are the chances?," I blurted out. I rushed up to my classroom to call Cathy.

"Cathy, you're not going to believe this! The new student is from the same country I visited in Africa!," I exuberantly carried on.

As Cathy and I chatted about the African theme unit she planned way before we ever knew of this new student coming, I envisioned Burkina's black night sky lit up with a zillion bright, white stars. I remembered the beating of the African drums across the land. Land that was clothed with red dirt and mango trees. Land that is inhabited by some of the warmest people I have ever met.

Burkina was now coming back to me, flooding my mind and senses with everything it entailed, but now through the gift of a newly arrived student.

Isaiah 46:10 reads, "I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come."

Psalm 139:16 reads, "All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."

Surely, the Father knew that when I made my trip to Burkina over 15 years ago, that today a newly arrived student would enter my classroom from the same distant land I travelled to so many years ago. Yes, most assuredly, He knew. I am anxious to see what He has in store next.

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