Tales from Tanzania - O'Neil Family Blog

Though we have already been in Tanzania for one year, this is a journal of our time at Haven of Peace Academy in Dar es Salaam. Karibu sana.

November 16, 2006


HOPAC is a school filled with great teachers but today I want you to meet one - Elaine Shenk. Not only is she a great teacher, (she teaches biology and psychology) but she is a great mom, (mother of four), and a great friend (she shares an office with me - we try to work more than talk).

One of the educational goals of HOPAC is to integrate faith and learning in all areas and subjects. As we learn about biology, literature, and math there are so many ways that God expresses Himself and the Christian teacher's task is to direct the student's attention to what God is telling us through these aspects of life. As we learn about a subject, we ultimately learn about God. Elaine has such a heart for this type of learning. Just recently I was walking by her small college level Psychology class and I had to stop and listen because the material was so ineresting. They were looking at a psychological study of how people respond to being put in prinoner/gaurd type roles and then allowed to follow these roles only being observed. Elaine was able to capture the students attention at how the people responded to these roles but also move into a thoughtful discussion about the sinful nature of man and how we all have a desperate need for His rescuing. Amazing Biblical insight being taught in Psychology!

Elaine also took the most of her opportunity with parents during conferences to boldly encourage those of different faiths. She has worked at the school for several years and her family is here for the long haul. She has invested in the lives of these students. She asked each family who came to conferences how they felt about their child being at a Christian school though they were of differing faiths. So interesting and varied were the answers, but many expressed some interest in understanding Christianity better as their children were reading the Bible in school and often had questions they could not answer. She took this opportunity to encourage the parents to read the Bible with their children at home. What a great chance for God to speak not only in the lives of these kids, but also their families at home.

Elaine is just one example of all the teachers here - each with hearts to make the most of the time they have with these kids. They are great educators and desire to see the students do well academically, but they also have a stong burden to see these children and their families grow in faith. Pray for the wonderful teachers here at HOPAC and the amazing ministry each of them has with their students.