Hello again and time for chapter 2,
This time I’ll focus on Ellen’s ministry. She’s had one of those years that makes you wonder whether you should laugh or cry and definitely keeps you on your knees.
She has been overseeing the Mbingo Hostel and the renovations that have been going on there, still helps out in the embroidery room, helping to put together colors for the different items the former leprosy patients make and sell. But the real ministry happens in the classroom. She continues to teach remedial reading 2 mornings each week in the primary school she started 11 years ago, she has several students that she tutors in the house in many of the empty time slots in the schedule that are left when she isn’t teaching, making lesson plans, and correcting papers, for the 5 classes she teaches English to at Memorial Comprehensive College, a secondary school in the village of Mejang about a mile and a half down the road.
There have been some very challenging times for the past few years at the primary school that she started that have been heart breaking for many people, Ellen in particular as she had the privilege of starting the school but also because she knows the negative effect it is having on the quality of education for the children of the school.
For that reason Ellen has stepped back from the administrative role at the primary school and just continues to teach the remedial reading and overseeing the library.
In chapter 3 I will discuss what seems to be developing in the lines on ministry, transformation…or not? I will also get into a few more details on the situation that has precipitated the changes in Ellen’s role at the primary school.
Awesome things are happening down at MCC, the secondary school. At the end of the first term the kids had the highest grades ever. In all 5 grades many kids had extremely high scores and the overall class averages were also high. In Cameroon, Form 5 is the end of a segment of education in secondary school. Kids who reach this level write an exam at the end of the years called the GCE, these are also called Ordinary, or “O” levels. From here some kids will end their studies while others will go on for another two years that is referred to as High School, these two years are referred to as Lower and Upper 6th. At the end of that time they will write the Advanced, or “A” levels. MCC to date stops at Form 5 but the owner, Daniel is applying for High School status from the government so he will be able to offer the higher level of education.
The main cause of the higher grades achieved this year is primarily due to some changes in teaching styles. Back in October, our good friend Kathy Fox and two of her granddaughters, Kali, and Jessica came out for a few weeks. The girls worked on making some posters for the primary school and they all led a time with crafts and Bible study with the kids at the primary school. One day they went with Ellen down to the secondary school and Kathy had a small talk with the teachers on some teaching methods. The teachers were eager to put the suggestions to use, wow that was exciting as it hasn’t happened like that before!
Between Kathy’s suggestions and them adopting some of Ellen’s interactive style of teaching rather than lecturing the kids scores have shot right up. It will be exciting to see how the end of year scores turn out.
Application is underway by the school for permission to start a primary school this fall at MCC as well, there are many people down there who don’t want their little ones going all the way up to the hospital on the dangerous road. Ellen will work with Daniel to help the teachers learn how to run a serious school. They will only start off with a couple of grades for the first year.
The most exciting thing about MCC however is that it is a Christian school, every day they have time for praise and worship and Bible study. The Gospel message is presented regularly as well, Daniel the owner and principal is also seminary trained and embarked on education with ministering God’s Word as a driving force. Because of the consistent above average results there are many children from Muslim backgrounds who attend the school.
Keep the schools in Cameroon in prayer, without good education the prospects for future leaders whether in government or in the church is pretty bleak. As the world becomes more global economically, uneducated people will continue to be exploited and remain the poorest of the poor. We believe God wants His people to be making a change in the world wherever He has placed them as lights in a dark place that He will use to draw people to himself. Chapter 3 will be next and I want to talk more about that!
Love from Mbingo,
Thom & Ellen