When I started working here as a teacher I thought I was going to teach for just one year. But, after a year went by I decided to teach again. I knew this would allow me to enjoy getting more acquainted with the Mission School and Community. I can’t believe it is my fourth year teaching here. This year I am teaching the 3rd grade only, which is great. I have a wonderful group of nine students eager to learn. There are seven boys and two cute little girls. The boys are very talkative and all my students have talents that show in class.
It’s great being around young scholars as they remind me of my self when I was young. When I was a little girl my parents taught me lots of things at home in our own language. Some of the things my parents taught me were: names of the month, days of the week, four seasons, four cardinal directions, and most importantly, my Diné clan and how I am related to others who have the same clan group as mine. My parents used to tell me about Diné history like the Diné Long Walk that occurred in the 1860’s. This year I thought about teaching some of the things I learned when I was young. So, at the beginning of the school year I asked my students if they were interested in learning about some of the things I had learned when I was their age, and they all said “yes.” They especially liked that we would learn about the different clan groups and how they are related to each other by clan. After school started we learned about clans and kinship, and found out that in some form of relationship by clan we have sisters, brothers, nephews, cousins, aunts, uncles, etc. in one classroom! As a class we found joy and comfort in knowing that there are kin members we learn lessons with, eat and recreate with at school.
It’s a wonderful feeling to know my class and that wherever I go I will find a relative. It’s very unique. Now I know I have lots of relatives living in the Sweetwater Community. Now I really feel like I am at home. It makes me feel great and joyous to be here at the Mission School, and I can feel the Spirit of God.
We currently have 86 students enrolled for the 08/09 school year. There are 6 seniors and 10 new kindergarteners. We have 54 elementary, 8 junior high, and 24 high school students. We have 17 school staff members with 3 new teachers (see their articles elsewhere in this newsletter). Gerald Harvey is the new school cook. Lula Tom has switched to full time bus driver. Our retention rate is 92% which is very high for mission schools. Students like to come to school here for a variety of reasons, but, of course, we believe that God has them here to hear about Him. Please pray for our new staff, for safety, and that souls will be saved. We see signs of good things in the upper grades with several of the seniors being bolder for Christ. We are fervently praying for revival in the school. Please pray with us.
I love the month of November for several reasons. One being that November means that December is almost here. November brings winter–I woke up this morning with snow on the ground. November also brings Christmas music. And November gives me the hope of going home for Christmas soon. Those are just a few of the numerous reasons that I love the month of November.
October proved to be a fun month as well. Around the middle of October, the first nine weeks of school ended. We rushed to get everything done and improve grades before the end. Open house was on the 21st. All in all I love open house time–it feels so festive. I met with a few of the parents of my kids and we were able to discuss grades and learning and all that teachery stuff.
After the nine weeks were over, we needed a crazy week–before we all went crazy. So last week we made Piñatas in geography in conjunction with the High School Spanish classes. We also made a movie of Peter’s escape from prison in Bible class. In English, we started Literature Circles–which is new to my kids. It was nice to do some things that were out of the ordinary. Now we are back to the same old, same old, tried and true learning, but every now and then we’ll switch it up again. This week we are writing a blog as if we are Paul at Lystra and Derbe.
In my last newsletter, I mentioned the need for prayer for a particular student. I very much appreciate your prayers. I wanted to let you know that in the last week and a half, I have seen a major difference. She is beginning to interact with her teachers, is smiling in class, and she is even trying a little in her homework. I praise the Lord entirely and am anxious to see her grow even more in the next few weeks.
Life here at the mission is going well otherwise. The weather the last couple days has been fun. The wind has been blowing the warm weather away. Last night I heard thunder and what I thought was rain, only to wake up to find snow. Of course it melted away by lunch time, but it is still quite cool. Right now I am sitting in front of the fire and am torn about the need o leave it. Tonight we have our cooking class. Gerald, our school cook, has been offering a cooking class on Wednesday nights as part of our craft class. It has been a fun change up. Tonight is freaky Wednesday where everyone brings their own recipe. Wednesdays are quite busy as we also have our Navajo class. Greg Staley, one of our seasoned missionaries is teaching a Navajo language/culture class for the newcomers. I am really enjoying it. It has only been a few weeks, but I already know more than I ever thought I could. Yet I still only know a handful of words and have troubles understanding what I am saying. But I am learning–and that is what it is all about.
November promises to be an equally fun month. The busyness of the season is about to hit full swing. I am also looking forward to Thanksgiving break even more so than the kids. I pray that all is well with you and I would love to hear from you. I do thank you so much for your prayers.
Much love, Kelli Wilson
There are no gas lines to the Mission (or phone lines, or mail delivery, or trash pickup). We all have tanks of propane outside our homes and huge ones for the school. I call and order a truck to come and refill them when they get low. When the prices for propane went up I was tempted to call the bills profane! Please pray with us for the Lord’s provision. We are not allowed to have a partial order without an even bigger per gallon price. So we must order the whole truck and put it in various tanks. We had to order for the school tanks in August. The bill came to over $6000. It has been exciting to watch God provide this need. Many have given more than usual to help cover this added expense. We are so thankful to God and to you.