Wednesday, December 30, 2015

That time I remembered I had a blog

I didn't actually forget I had a blog - I just simply became very lazy about it these past 9 months.

9 months?!?! What has happened since then??

Well, let me bulletize my life over the past 3/4 of the year:

  • I no longer live in Ghana (surprise!). I left my term of service with AgriCorps in late June. See what they're doing (and check out some more of my photography) on their website.
  • I drove to California with my dear friend, Angela, and we explored 15 states and several friendships along the way! 
  • I no longer live in Pennsylvania. I moved to California in July to take a new job (see rest of blog post below). 
  • I am currently back in Pennsylvania for another week of Christmas break. It is very cloudy here compared to sunny California. 

Well, that was much easier than anticipated. Now for a bit more elaboration - since I know you are dying to know about my exciting life.

WAYYY back in March/April (when I lived without running water, constant electricity, and Starbucks), I began to consider the setting of my next chapter in life. My thought process went like this:

"So, I miss the USA (and Starbucks), but I still have a heart for the nations - but not Ghana... Well, maybe another country in Africa, but Ghana has been a challenge - culturally, spiritually, and emotionally. So I think going back to the US for a bit is okay. Hmm... I don't really want to (use my degree to) teach high school agriculture right now, as that is a bit of a commitment (a few years, at least) and I still feel like this is a good age to be abroad, if possible."

Enter the prospect of being directly involved in ministry (rather than serving the Lord by loving others through an indirect/secular occupation). Two years abroad with a team of solid believers (guaranteed community) in a somewhat urban area... sounded legit. So I began applying to iEDGE with the Navigators. Lo and behold, I found out about 2 days before the applications were due, that I was not going to be back in the US in time for the required training for the 2015 team... and thus, God closed door #1 of the "job" searching.

Next thought process: "Okay, so the US it is - well maybe I can find something that pays decently, uses my degree, and is still on the East Coast so I can be close to home for a couple years before going abroad again..."

Applications to two different extension/education programs in NY and VA didn't pan out - one was an internal hire, and the other application never went through the online system! Clearly, God was closing a few more doors.

It was getting into mid-April and with 2 months left before returning to the US, I was getting a bit concerned about my "next step." So, much later than I should have done, I began to pray earnestly for some guidance from the Lord. I asked for anything from a sign to a job posting to a dream. I was really unsure about WHAT I wanted to do and WHERE I should do it - I was willing to go and grow anywhere!

*Note, I am about to talk about making decisions based on having dreams... if this freaks you out, just pretend that I've always wanted to live in California and that's why I searched for jobs there*

So then came the dream about California. I had previously considered grad school, but decided the timing wasn't right to start applying just yet. When considering grad school, I thought about several schools - UC Davis included. However, when praying about a job or sign, I received a dream about applying to UC Davis for Grad School. I trust that the Lord can use dreams when He desires (see Genesis 37-41, Daniel 2 and Daniel 4) although I know that I am not a prophet. Let's just say I decided to not decipher the dream as actually applying to UC Davis, but rather considering California for a job... so how did that look?

"California? Really, God? Okay... we'll see... let's google search 'California agricultural education' and see what comes up. Hmm - the California Agricultural Education website, how interesting. Job listings... wow, there are a lot of teacher openings in California. What's this one? Ripon Christian Schools - a small private school looking to start an agricultural education program and FFA chapter. Supportive community."

Please note: although I wasn't planning on looking for teaching jobs, my "ideal" teaching position was always one that involved starting an ag program from scratch, utilizing community resources to develop brand new opportunities for the students of a smaller school... well, once you throw in the whole Christian thing (you know, kind of important) after living in a spiritual desert for a year, I was quite intrigued.

Also, there was this rock that I stepped on every day in Ghana as I walked from my home to school. From the first day I arrived, I always thought of it as the "California rock" - Californian friends may not think that it looks like your state, but the rest of us (and myself at the time) think it looks close enough! So I called it the California Rock. Then I applied to a job in California.


Now, when I inquired about the teaching job in California, I didn't hear back for two weeks - so I decided to drop all hopes of finding a job and move home to bum at my parents' house. Just kidding - but I did decide to give job searching a rest until I got back to the US in June. But then I heard back about the job, and received an application to fill out. Then, two weeks later, after a phone interview from Ghana and some prayer, I accepted a very nice offer to start the agricultural education program and serve as a teacher and FFA advisor at Ripon Christian High School in little Ripon, California. 

Then it came time to say goodbye to my African life. I cannot believe it has been 6 months since I left that tropical home - as a home it was. I learned so much about God, humanity, and myself while living and working in Ghana. Although I faced some struggles in Ghana, I know my time with AgriCorps was part of His plan to teach me MANY lessons. I still miss my students and community members dearly. 

My awesome little brother, Kwame Davis.
My sister, Esther, and I on a hike. 
My other little brother, Mac Sebastian, and his mama - Nanama
My sister (and student), Ama Regina, and Mac
My temporary pet kitten, Felix. He was a bugger. But I miss him.
Even if they didn't realize what it meant for the obroni to leave, they still made me tear up with this stunt... 

Arriving in the USA in June was refreshing - but also felt a bit rushed, as I had only 3 weeks to pull my volunteer life out of two suitcases, re-organize everything, and throw my big girl, paid job life into my new (hand-me-down) car, Fred. With such little time, I was amazed at how smoothly things went. I also managed to catch up with over 30 friends in that 20 day time frame - as I knew I wouldn't get much time to see them once moved into California.

My dear friend Angie decided to make the 9-day trek west with me - and we had an amazing time visiting several of my (our) friends in Ohio, Detroit, Chicago, Minneapolis, and North Dakota. The trip was so incredible, and went so smoothly that I was continuously encouraged that the Lord's hand was over my move west. 




Then, I moved into an adorable little house that just happened to work out perfectly, even without meeting the owners or seeing it prior to arriving in late July (another God thing). A week later, my position officially started (August 1). Then, less than 2 weeks later - classes began.

Well, it has been a whirlwind... but a blessed one. I absolutely LOVE my job. Teaching agriculture and introducing FFA to a group of talented students has been a huge success. They have jumped on board and, together, we are learning more about ourselves, our Father in heaven, and agriculture. We have already experienced successful speech contests, CDE events, community events, and fundraisers - all to the glory and praise of God (which I get to do, you know, since I work in a Christian school).

I could really go on for ages about all the successes that we've experienced as a new program, but that blog could last for ages. So, instead, I will leave you with a marketing plug so you can see for yourself what RC Ag Ed has been up to! Follow and like these social media pages that some of my awesome students have created!!!

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rc.ag.ed
Instagram: rc.ag.ed


Check out that awesome blue corduroy.

In other news, I am still (sort of) doing photography! I sold my photos (as cards) for the first time in public last month! Check out my website.

As for my heart - God has been continuously teaching me about community, trusting Him, and reassuring Him (and myself) that my life and job never become my idol. Although I may work 50-70 hours a week, I know that I am doing it to honor Him by loving these kids... and I know how to take a nice break every now and then! Even if that does involve cooking or baking.

Thanks for reading! Hopefully I will be a little more regular on my blog than one post per 9 months...

Blessings to you and your family!
Happy New Year!


3 comments:

  1. I am very glad to see you blogging again!

    Keep doing great things,

    Daniel

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