Saturday, April 28, 2012

Our Students Graduate - Celebrate Your Milestones AND Your Footstones

28 students completed their Life Skills and Computer Training course! This means that ALL the students who began the course finished and graduated. 

So I've heard this is quite the feat they accomplished - because many times a person will begin something only to drop out.

But finishing is reason to celebrate! 

Photo Credit: HAC Staff
So we held a graduation program surrounded by their families and friends, with congratulations from our directors and instructors, and two students gave speeches. We sang and danced and prayed (I was definitely out of my comfort zone as I felt like the clunky robot in the midst of beautiful African worship), and food and fellowship followed the ceremony.

The students were so excited, and you could not rub the perma-smiles from their faces. Why? They had graduated from high school within the last few years, BUT they did not have a graduation ceremony. Only the students with special honors were recognized for their accomplishments.

This is so sad to me.

I believe we need to recognize and celebrate our accomplishments. We talk a lot about people's "milestones," those big accomplishments in our lives, the monumental feats, and celebrating these. We recognize those with the best grades, the loudest careers, and rolling in the dough.

But who defines the milestone?

Why should we celebrate completion? Why should we recognize what may seem small in our own lives or that is perceived as small by someone else?

What if finishing something - like 7 weeks of Life Skills and Computer Training - is the domino for someone's better tomorrow?

Maybe someday my "footstone" will become my milestone.

Maybe someday this graduation day - this "footstone" - will become my students' milestone.

Photo Credit: HAC Staff

Will you pray for encouragement and perseverance for these graduates as they apply for jobs in a country with 40+% unemployment?
Do you recognize a "footstone" - something to celebrate - in your life today?

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Kite of Dreams

Let your kite arise on the wings of winds.

Higher, higher -

It blows.

Moving upward,

Letting go.

Clouds consuming

It sails

On cumulus waves of white.

Until I have my own illustrating abilities...
Photo Credit: Lim Heng Swee via

Tragic could be its effervescent flight

But only if grasped too tightly in these clenching fists.

Let it breath.

Let it play.

Sweeping, rolling, dancing

Above earth-bound days -

Only to meet its captain

When time rounds the bend

Into the calm of night.

Floating, waltzing, arriving

It makes its decent.

Squinting eyes against sun's light

And telescopic vision needed no more

As the glinting diamond spirals - downward -

Arrayed in ribbons of flare.

No longer clung to -

No more to own -

With palms wide open

 And near to the heart

It's offered as a gift

From awesome heavenly parts.

Come away with me.

Come away

With your kite of dreams.

Fly the realms of forgotten tomorrows -

Let your imagination be free.

Run wild. Breath deep. Jump in - Take flight!

It's mine to soar.

And it's yours to share.

(By Shannon Mintz ~ 08 April 2012)

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Time to Trust

Photo Credit: HAC Staff
On day 2 of Life Skills class, we talked about our experiences with trust.

The students shared heavy things in their lives; maybe it's the first time they have been able to talk about it, from tragedy to being wrongfully accused of a crime, being emotionally charged to not being able to share.

On day 5 of class…

We talked about “How I came to Life Skills – Before” and “How I have changed during Life Skills – After 5 days.”

Here are each person in my group’s answers. If you read the point on the Left, that person's response is on the Right.

This is the poster my group made.

Wow! One student began feeling, "tense, terrible, traumatized" and now is "free from stress, loose body, relieved heart, can see the future." Another student "doubted my capabilities," and now says, "I can believe in myself."

Dressed up for practice interview day
On day 5, one student went from holding it in to sharing her experiences. After sharing, she now says that heaviness she felt has lifted. She feels free.

My students are growing and finding new hope, I pray that they will seek the truly best Foundation for her life – that is a Full Life through Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Lord, for how you are working in these lives and may you continue to draw these hearts to yours.

Would you continue to pray for my students who started the Computer Training portion of their course? That they would continue to Grow? To have Hope? And seek and know the Solid Foundation?