“Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” Are we really ok with that? When it comes right down to it, are we ok with making plans, telling people what we are going to do, raising support for a certain project and then having your plans change due to what God wants us to do? Sometimes it is really hard to watch the changes occur and sometimes it’s thrilling. In our case at Fort White, it has been exciting to watch as what was planned by man has had a makeover by God.
When we first were approached to come to Fort White in South Africa, it was because they wanted to start a school at the campus. Being a teacher, they pursued us with the plan that I would be teaching and running the school. My first thought was that I really didn’t know how to run a school, but I’m sure I could work it out since God was on my side – in my weakness, He will be made strong. My second thought was, “Am I really ready to go back into the classroom full time?” Since my 11-year-old was born, I haven’t had the desire to be in the classroom full time. I have enjoyed teaching at Vacation Bible School or in a Sunday school setting, but a full time teacher is a different thing. “If that is what You are calling me to do Lord, then I guess I’m ready to go back into the classroom full time.”
So, our energy this summer (winter here) was spent making the schoolhouse ready for a school to start in January 2010. Dr. Alf Kettles had been working diligently on getting the paperwork filled out to have a proper school at Fort White. Unfortunately, right before he left to go work in Ireland for a few months the paper work was sent back to him with a new packet that was supposed to be filled out in the first place. Quite frustrated, Alf started again but had to leave it to the rest of the board to finish.
During our time here, Mark Presley and Dustin Taylor came to document the work that was being done at Fort White. One day, they went with Philip and Festas to a school near by. The principal told them that the government allows 4 teachers for their school of 90 students. The problem is that the school has grade 1 through grade 12. This means that one teacher has three or four grades to teach at one time. Another issue that we would have to consider would be if we started at school at Fort White, we would take some of the students away from that school. That might be helpful to four or five children that would come to our school, but that would mean we make their student numbers lower, in turn having the government fund less teachers. That would be awful.
So as we listened to the community and felt a pull from God, we were not at peace about starting a school at Fort White. During the same time, Dr. Kettles was struggling in Ireland. He was not at peace about the paper work and the process that seemed to not be working for us to start a school. He called Philip one day with a heavy heart and Philip could tell that he was having a hard time working through this problem. Philip finally said, “Alf, we don’t feel like we should start a school at Fort White. We feel like we should compliment the schools that are already in the area.” Dr. Kettles almost jumped through the phone. He was so excited because he was thinking the same thing but was concerned that we had our hearts set on starting a proper school.
It turned out that everyone on the board, as well as our family, had been feeling the same about starting the school. It seems that the schools around us don’t have extra mural sports, libraries, music programs, chapel times, computer classes or life skills training. These are all the things that we could offer at Fort White. How exciting to watch the plans unfold for what God has planned for the Place of Hope, Indawo Yethemba.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.