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.

March 20, 2008


On a Monday morning while reading emails, I learned that Timmy’s grandfather had died over the weekend. Timmy and his extended family are expatriates from Kenya and the UK. Timmy is one of our 3rd grade students, and his grandparents live here in Dar es Salaam. I know Timmy better than some as I coached his basketball team this past season.

Later in the week, I attended an afternoon memorial service remembering the life of Timmy’s grandfather. While there, I was deeply moved as I observed HOPAC’s reach into the memorial service. More particularly, I observed the influence of a HOPAC 3rd grade teacher on the lives of her students and the ripple effect on parents and those who attended the service. Let me explain.

At the core of HOPAC’s mission is to see students understand and “live out” a biblical worldview. After all, we believe that Scripture is God’s word for today, so it makes perfect sense that we would want our students to know what God has to say and to apply it in their lives. Our 3rd grade students memorize and learn to understand Psalm 139. And guess what? Psalm 139 was the scripture reading for the memorial service. And guess who influenced that decision? Timmy did!

I also heard about the sympathy cards that Timmy received from his 3rd grade classmates and learned that Psalm 139 flowed through many of the words of encouragement and sympathy. So I asked Timmy if I could read the cards. Here are a few of my favorites:

· Timmy, I know it’s hard, but God has a plan. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
· I will be praying for you.
· God will be with you. He has a plan, Timmy.
· Timmy, here is a verse that might cheer you up-“Praise be to the God and Father; the father of compassion and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”-2 Corinthians 1:3,4

Moments like these remind us why we’ve invested in Christian education half way around the world. Through a 3rd grade teacher, God’s word was implanted into the students’ hearts. And those 3rd grade students not only internalized Scripture, they “lived it out” in the complexities and challenges of life.