2015 has been a wonderful, yet unusual year. It feels like it has spanned two years because of all of the changes that have happened. Halfway through the year, God called me to leave my job as a classroom teacher and step into the unknown with a yet unformed and unnamed non-profit. I thought I would be running a five-day after-school program beginning in the fall and yet God had other plans. Over the next several months, God taught me to trust and love him. When I had no idea what the next day would bring, God was constant. When working from home, instead of among a classroom of children, God was constant. When I missed my students, God was right there. Someone told me recently, “Good for you! You stepped out of your comfort zone, even though it could be uncomfortable.” Well, in some ways they were right, a lot of things about my new life were uncomfortable while God was teaching me, but I have a joy I never could have experienced had God not radically changed my life. So, I think that though it may seem that stepping out of your comfort zone is difficult, I have found joy in letting go. I think not following God is where you will really be uncomfortable.
Our first year as a non-profit, God has truly blessed Oak Tree. These are just a few of the many things that come to mind. During Reading Club before Christmas break, I saw many students during snack time chewing with their mouths closed and one said “excuse me” as she squeezed past me in the doorway. One student walked up to me as soon as she got to club and said, “Ms. Halie, I already had my warning on the bus, so if I be bad today, you need to put me in time out.” I was overjoyed! While manners or even one instance of honesty may seem little, I am so proud of what they are learning so quickly! These 14 students love being with their buddies, they love sharing about their day, and they are excited about reading! What more could we ask?
During Bible Club this fall, every child began learning our new behavioral system and they are thriving! They have learned so much about Jesus and his miracles and I am so excited to see what they absorb through his parables next year. God has given our ministry a building and volunteers to help us clear out the inside. God has deepened our relationships with the families in Marks Village. We are no longer strangers or mere acquaintances; he is making us friends and family.
While my last semester of teaching feels like a distant memory and the last six months of ministry feels like at least a year, I am thankful for all that God has taught me and all that he has done. God is not done working as midnight rolls around and the New Year dawns. He is busy and I am excited to work with him!