HARVEST ACADEMY: In the beginning…

Tr. RebeccaTr. AngellaTr. DoreenTr. CathyTr. DianaTr. Johnny

When Chris and I decided to homeschool our children in 2010, I had no idea the kind of journey I had just subscribed to by saying yes to that call. With all the doubts and fears, I took the leap of faith to instruct two precious ones at home with an understanding that I was committing to two children for the next 12-15 years of my life. How wrong!

Warning signs began to show when I had friends express interest in entrusting their children with us in the homeschool. As you can imagine, I would not hear of it. At the time, I felt like two children were ENOUGH! Four hours a day of questions, energy, life and exploration with a two year and a five year old daily was enough to make me break sweat without a jog! Lemuel is always experimeting with anything ranging from collecting insects, creating mixtures of harpic, jik, dissolvved soap, perfume, omo, and baking powder, small time hiome made bombs from the black substance on a matchstick, electrical experments and anything else he can land his hands on. And he has managed to recruit his meticulous and organised sister into the mix. To imagine that I can multiply that by 20, 50, 100, 200 or more students with time was not a welcome idea. At all!

But God has this incredible sense of humor. Being heavily involved on leadership team, I was very aware that Worship Harvest had a plan to start a school in response to the fifth global giant: Illiteracy. Every time our Lead Pastor Moses talked about it, I got extremely  agitated with conviction to step up to the challenge: Lead the education part of the church vision. As if that was not enough, for about a year every time I arrived at Worship Harvest Naalya for garage, a swarm of children run to me automatically. If they arrived later than I did, they came to me to say hello before they settled in their seat. Well, eventually I said yes and the journey began.

Today, I look back on 2014 in amazement at how far we have come. I did respond to the call to think beyond our two-student homeschool and chose to believe that God indeed knows the end from the beginning. For the next three weeks, I will be giving you a sneak peak into the world through the eyes of some of our students who make me absolutely proud. I am forever thankful that I said yes to the call to Harness the Greatness in every child and raise them to be leaders that transform their communities.

To begin with, I would like to celebrate the amazing laides and one young man who literally gave their lives, time, resources, sweat, tears, homes, name it to set this ball rolling. They were there in the beginning when we ferried saucepans, plates, cups, buckets, and all kinds of kitchen equipment to keep in the office because the kitchen itself was not ready. They were there in the beginning when all of us did everything-recieve children, go to the bank, go to the market fo shopping, cook the children’s meals, wash dishes, take them swimming (all of us apart from the chef went along), cleaning our three calssrooms and so many other activities involved in setting up a new school. We have weathered all kinds of storms together and we have shared intense joys together as well (I will never forget the kitagururo dance we had in the office on the last day of the first year!)

Rebecca, Angella, Doreen, Cathy, Diana, and Johnny: You are my superwomen and superman. It would have not been the same without you. I am absolutely proud of you. You have made Harvest Academy shine and this story can never be told without your names being printed on the very first pages because you were there….. In the beginning!

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WHAT DO YOU SEE: The Power of a Name

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“Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.

Genesis 2:1, 19

When my husband and I were preparing for the birth of our children, we went through great lengths to find names for both these precious people. We went on the internet to find names that described what we were feeling in our hearts about them. For the firstborn, we were based our decision on the fact that firstborns in the old testament bible times were dedicated to God. Hence, Lemuel– Hebrew name meaning ‘Dedicated to God’. Then came the second child. As we pondered on what she would be called, friends of ours visited us and jokingly mentioned that since both parents are worship leaders, this child should be named Worship. And boom!!! The idea settled in our hearts and she got to be named Sinza – Luganda word meaning ‘Worship’. In the years that have followed, I see a continuous fulfillment of their names daily. At the age of 11, Lemuel is serving as an instrumentalist on the church worship team, he is mindful of people, justice is important, volunteers once in a while with children’s church, is innovative, has never broken a bone (even when they say boys will be boys, they will break bones)and many other things.  At 8, Sinza is singing soprano on the music team, writing songs, does vocal and lyrical practice independently, and is leading people older than herself.

God invites us to co-create with Him. He did not need Adam to do the naming because after all, the work of creation had been completed. But then, He goes ahead and brings each living creature to Adam ‘to see what he would call them’! It almost feels like a test of sorts to me. It seems as if God is checking what Adam’s perspective and thinking is concerning the creature. The last part of verse 19, confirms that He (God) is posing a question to Adam, ‘What do you see?’;

‘And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name.’

A name is a powerful thing; a declaration of what someone, something or situation will be. When we receive children at birth, adoption or otherwise, God gives us a clean slate. Everything is else is set for the child – limbs, eyes, ears, nose, internal organs, etc. Only the name is missing! He is waiting to see what we shall name them; what we shall choose to declare over this child for the rest of their lives. Whatever we choose to name them is what they will be!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Proverbs 18:21

God has given us the privilege of co-creating with Him in naming. Whether it is a child, an event, a health condition, or a situation; whatever you call it, it shall be.

 

We carry God’s DNA

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Yesterday I had the honor of having lunch with two incredible girls- Kosher and Alitha in Grade 2 at Harvest Academy. On Friday last week, there was a leakage in their classroom so in addition to getting it fixed, the teacher in me quickly grabbed what is referred to as a “Teaching moment”. I asked the class who could spell the word ‘leaking’ as in ‘Water is leaking’ and well, as you can imagine all sorts of spellings were offered! Eventually, Alton spelt it correctly. He won himself my precious Friday lunch which is such a big deal at school- Chips, Chicken, salad and fresh juice. The class could hardly believe what had just happened! Alton was going have ALL of Teacher Lynnet’s lunch. What?! A rather concerned Gabriel asked what I was going to eat since Alton was going to have my lunch! Some speculated saying maybe I would have lunch at home.

Anyway, I rode on the excitement in the room and asked a follow on question.

“Who can spell licking as in “I am licking ice-cream?” I asked.

Hands shot up eagerly and to cut the long story short, Kosher and Alitha spelt it correctly. Their award was to have lunch with the Principal on Monday. The joy was tangible! The whole school would know in just a couple of hours that Alton was having the Principal’s precious Friday lunch in addition to his own and that the two girls would have lunch with her the following week.

At this lunch, I gave them an opportunity to alternately ask me any three questions of their choice and this was one of Kosher’s questions;

“Why did God create numbers and letters?”

My mind raced at lightning speed to try and find not only an answer comprehendible to this 7 year old but theologically accurate as well.

“Actually, I think it is man who created numbers and letters not God. God gave them the brains which they then used to create numbers and letters”, I answered. I went on to explain that we need letters to be able to put words together for purposes of meaningful conversation and that numbers help us put time in perspective. Otherwise without numbers for example, we would never know how old she is.

She seemed convinced for a moment, until the follow on question came.

“Teacher Lynnet! So, why did God give people brains? Is it for just creating numbers and letters?”

Oh dear! What should I say now? Think! Lynnet. Think! Then, suddenly the answer came.

“In the beginning, God created…” I began, tagging on them to complete Genesis 1:1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth, they said.

“Great! And in whose image did God create us?’ I asked.

“In His image”, they both answered after a split second of trying to quickly remember the story of creation they learnt in Kindergarten.

“Exactly! He created us in His image so we are like Him. He is a creator and so we too are creators. He gave us brains so we could be like Him in creating all sorts of things. Someone created the chair you are sitting on, the fan, plate, carpet, and the building we are in.”

Even as I spoke, the light bulb came on again! We carry God’s DNA. Everything He is, we are.

Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.”  1 John 4:17

He made us in His perfect image, replicating Himself in us not partially but 100%.

 “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.”  John 1:16

Do you sometimes feel insufficient and too small for the world? You and I carry God’s DNA meaning we can operate exactly as He does. This goes for everything pertaining to life- EVERYTHING! In 2012, I stood at one of the four corners of a home my husband and I had put on the market for sale. As I viewed the property a part of me was hurting deeply from the fact that we were selling. “What do you see?’ The Holy Spirit asked. What I was seeing at that moment was a beautiful building, a mature well kempt compound, the memories of the time we had lived there and subsequenty, the extent of what I felt was a deep loss at the time.

“So, who did all this? He pressed on.

As I reflected on that second question, the memory of that place at the time we bought the property came back like a flash. It was a forest with monkeys in it! There was no access road and if one wanted to physically take a look around, they would literally take a forest walk! Then by the wisdom of God, my husband and I had transformed that ‘forest’ into a beautiful home. In that moment it dawned on me that just as our Father is so are we! We had created a home from scratch. It began in our minds and became reality with time! We are creators! Much as we were selling this home, we had the ability to recreate this in amother place because it was within us.

In the beginning God created the heavens, the earth, the sun, moon, stars, birds of the air, fish of the sea, land animals and all sorts of things. And all this came from a place that was dark and void. He spoke these things into being. On further investigation of the story, it is clear from the sequence of events that God had the end in mind. For example the earth had to be perfect for hosting human life so He created man last after everything is in place, the fish needed to come after the waters had been gathered in one place and well, the first order of business was separating day from light so seasons are clear from the beginning-night and day!

This is the guy we take after. We are created in His image. We carry in us His very own DNA, 100%. Like Him we are creators. Create the present you would like to see by painting the picture, speaking it into being and making decisions today that create the future you see. Choose to walk in the fullness of who you are because you and I carry God’s DNA.

STOP! He needs you

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This morning, I knocked at the children’s door. It was 6:10am – Five minutes to departure time!

“Quick! Quick! We have only five minutes left. You need to get ready for school”, I literally commanded.

He was wrapped in his towel, still dripping from his early morning bath. “Mum, I have a surprise for you”, he said with a twinkle in his eyes.

“What is it?”  I quickly shot back trying to keep a calm tone but quite jittery at the ticking clock. In my mind I was thinking, Lord, no! Not now. We need to beat the slow traffic on the way to school. There is no time for surprises and lingering extended conversation.

He pulled out an old CD my friends and I recorded while at the university over 15 years ago

“It doesn’t have a scratch!” he proudly declared.

“Oh! Where did you get this?” I asked in surprise. He smiled back at me refusing to reveal his secret. Then, just as quickly, I took another quick look at the CD, put it away and switched back to what we referred to as “Quick! March!!” while we were growing up.  Within 15 minutes I managed to ship him along with his sister out of the house, sending them off to school.

I carried on with my work and started on what was supposed to be a bible study but the scene played over and over again in my mind.

“I should have stopped! I should have stopped!”, I went on to scold myself quietly. Why on earth did I do that? I could see it was important to him. Why on earth didn’t I stop? So what if we are a few minutes late? Okay, even if we were an hour late because of the slow traffic, so what? The earth will make one full rotation around the sun every 24 hours and still spin about it’s axis 365 times a year. In other words, nothing earth shattering will happen.

I felt like I had missed a moment to connect with him and it wasn’t going to return. I set aside the bible and said a quiet prayer, “Lord, I know I have missed that moment. It was important to him. Please give me another opportunity. Amen.”

And the opportunity came. Before he left with the shuttle at the end of his school day, I asked to talk to him.

“How are you?” I asked.

“I am fine”, he responded.

“Did you like the CD?” he inquired. This time, I stopped. And with as much heart as possible, told him how surprised and happy I was. Also, given he is spending the weekend away from home I told him how much I would miss him. He walked away with a smile that beautifully wormed it’s way into my heart.

I was glad that this time, I STOPPED.

STOP! He needs you.

 

 

Words of Peace

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Genesis 41:15-16

“And Pharoah said to Joseph, ‘I have had a dream, and there is no one to interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream to interpret it.’ So Joseph answered Pharoah, saying, ‘It is not in me; God will give an answer of peace.’”

Before Joseph got to hear the details of the dream which bothered Pharoah, he made a profound statement; “God will give an answer of peace!” Joseph’s experience of God in times of turmoil was peace. Pharaoh’s dream had thrown the whole nation into a state of panic; a catastrophic famine was inevitable. God’s answer indeed helped Egypt to collect one fifth of the produce of the land in the seven years of plenty.

At the heart of every prophecy (by way of dreams, visions, words of wisdom and knowledge, etc) should be always be words of peace.

 “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” 1 Cor 14:1,3

In John 7:11b, Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery; ‘Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.’  God said to Abram, ‘Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them for four hundred years. But in the fourth generation they will return here.’ Gen 15: 13, 16a

However difficult a message is, there ought to be peace and healing at the heart of every prophecy. Declare words of peace as you prophesy.