It's the middle of March now and you'll be pleased to hear both the schools and our tutoring program are well under way again. The schools (mostly) didn't start until the last week of February (the few that run only at weekends started earlier) so the start of the school year is once again delayed in comparison to the pre-pandemic early-January start. Since school finished late for the last two years they have started late the last two years too but we were hoping things might start to move back to "normal" this year. No such luck.
The week that schools started was the week that we had a visit from Kathy & Joel, so we didn't start tutoring that week (they wouldn't have had any homework to catch up on in that first week anyway) but did have times for the young people to come and meet with us to have some time with Kathy.
Over the last couple of months we have been continuing to put together backpacks with the school supplies the teens need as we have received those lists from them. The kids studying at the weekend got theirs first, and the rest have received them here and there, meaning we have sorted a few back packs at a time seemingly every week - we are still waiting on one or two more to give us their finalized lists!
Related to this, some schools have asked their kids to get uniforms and some haven't. It is unclear though as to whether later in the year, if we return to a fuller form of in person teaching, they may then ask them to buy them. For all of the students, however, we have been buying shoes. We were able to purchase and deliver shoes for all of the boys so far, but the vendor we have been using has been waiting on a delivery of girls shoes for weeks now, so we are having to look elsewhere to buy shoes so the girls can have them now.
More importantly than all of the school related supplies (important as those indeed are), last week we were able to gift Bibles to each of our students.We used them that week as part of our devotional time and are asking them to bring them with them each week.
Every tutoring session begins with a devotional time, and this year we have decided to cycle through a variety of spiritual exercises each month.
- In the first week we are having a time of sung worship together.
- In the second week we are spending time in the Word by reading through the book of Mark, reading through a chapter by taking turns on each verse.
- In the third week we are making space for prayer, asking them to share any prayer requests but also praise reports for previous prayer themes.
- And in the fourth week we are going to be having a time of teaching based on the issues or areas of interest they ask to teach on. Last year we asked them for a list of questions they may have about life, the Bible, school, faith, work, family, or anything else, and used those questions to guide our messages. The plan is to do the same this year.
- We are also planning to use the occasional fifth week as a time to look back and celebrate the birthdays of those who have had them in the couple of months since the previous fifth week.
Please pray for us as we look to encourage these kids in their discipleship, that the Holy Spirit may instil in them a passion for worship, a love for the word, a desire for prayer, and an openness to learning. We hope to see them move closer to God each week as we run this project and know you do to.
Thank you for your prayers and support for these teens!