Monday, March 24, 2008
Potratz Easter Update 2008 - Wanda and the boysHello,
I hope you had some fun looking up some of the links in the first email. We tried to do some more of that for the second installment of what in the world are we doing in Niger!
Wanda has always considered her first calling as being a Mom, and considers the boys her first ministry.
At Sahel Academy, Wanda is teaching second grade language, second grade reading and third grade math. Her students this year are from the US, Pakistan, Nigeria, and Canada. Their parents are church planters, evangelists, Christian relief workers, teachers, accountants, embassy personnel, and doctors. Through her ministry, Wanda is helping those people concentrate on the work the Lord has given them. A couple of years ago, Sahel raised the percentage of non-mission students they would accept. While the school continues to have a Christian perspective in learning, including mandatory bible classes and chapel, the quality of education at Sahel attracts some families who are not Christian. Sahel has become more of a mission field in its own right, and Wanda has tried to plant seeds in the classes she teaches.
With Sahel Academy in the midst of the accreditation process, Wanda has also been given the responsibility of writing up the curriculum for kindergarten. Curriculum writing has proved to be very time consuming and quite a learning experience. She is striving to do it well.
Chris has been on the music team at school, either playing guitar or running the sound system. The music team helps to lead school chapels, and occasionally helps to lead the church services for the English language evening church that meets at Sahel.
He has also been part of the outreach team that went to Tera and helped to build "hangars" for the public girls school there. Tera is a town of about 22000 people 190 km to the west of Niamey, not far from the Burkina Faso border. Part of that trip was to also support the long time missionaries who have been serving in Tera for the last 16 years. They are in the midst of moving to Niamey to begin new ministry opportunities there. Chris will also be part of a group of missionaries that will be returning to Tera to help them move the rest of the household items from Tera to Niamey.
Chris was also excited to be able to go to the SIMAIR hanger to perform some general maintenance on the one of the airplanes and help put finishing touches on a new paint job for that plane.
Christopher's classmates this year are from the US, Canada, Ghana, and Korea. Their parents include church planters, evangelists, a pilot, teachers, administrators, and counselors. When his class graduates in 2009 it will be the largest graduating class that Sahel has had.
Justin feels he has been growing mentally and spiritually. Through Justin's service time at an orphanage in town, he has been learning to serve others and has been learning to use his French more effectively. Also during the orphanage time, he is learning to be a good role model to the kids by playing and interacting with them. Justin was able to go to Tera this year as well, marking the third time he has made the trip. For the first time on a Tera service opportunity Justin was surprised and happy to see the Nigerien students also working along side to improve their school.
He feels Sahel Academy is preparing him for life situations as a believer and as a person. He particularly finds bible and history classes helpful in his growth. In a small group bible study on Wednesday's, he is learning how to be a youth that honors god in his everyday life. Justin is amazed to see how God works in different people's lives and his own, sometimes in ways you would not expect.
He is very happy to have good relationships with his classmates who come from all parts of the world. Justin's class is composed of kids from the US, Canada, Italy, and Nigeria. Their parents are aviators, administrators, evangelists, church planters and embassy personnel.
Noah has not had many service opportunities. However, he has been able to help moving somethings for the missionaries moving to Niamey from Tera.
Noah has had a couple of opportunities to have fun in Niger though! In softball his team came in second in the social league of the Ougadougu softball tournament. This was the first trophy in many years to come back with at team from Sahel Academy. In basketball, Noah and his team won the 8-12 year old division of the three on three basketball tournament in Niamey. He did find that there is some surprisingly good competition here!
Noah's classmates are from the US, Canada, Korea, Belgium, Niger, and Australia. Their parents are administrators, a pilot, teachers, translator, church planter, doctor and a Christian radio station director.