After my PA year I continued to teach at Henderson Intermediate for two more years 1967-1968. This time I had Form 2 classes of mixed ability - 43 students in each class! That was normal, it seems. They were often challenging children but I loved them and loved teaching so I was happy. I do remember coming home some afternoons feeling totally exhausted and sure I couldn't do another day - but of course I always did. Every year I read CS Lewis's Narnia books to the children at the end of most days. I enjoyed that as much as they did!
|Form 2 1967|
In 1969 I taught a standard 4 class at Ranui Primary school. With these younger children I could branch out a bit more into some of the creative approaches to teaching that my final year at TColl had allowed me to explore. Very satisfying! One memory is of making the children's creative writing into a book - laboriously copied on the Banda machine and stapled together.
|Standard 4 1969|
One Easter during these years Dad was speaking at an Easter Camp at Ngaruawahia. In his love of walking he went out exploring one afternoon and got lost in the bush. When he did not return for the next meeting search parties went looking for him. The police were called in when he was not found by nightfall. He was out for two nights and the police warned the searchers they may no longer be looking for a live person. But amazingly he walked out - on the other side of the ridge he had climbed. A farmer noticed him and alerted the rescuers. They said his hand knitted thick wool jersey helped him to survive the cold winter nights.
|Family celebrating Dad's return. He is wearing the jersey Mum had knitted!|
During 1969 I started thinking about doing theological training. Bible College of NZ was the obvious choice as Dad was a lecturer there. I think in my family preparing for some form of "Christian service" was a given. Not that it was in any way expected - it just seemed natural.
So I applied and was accepted for the following year.
Over the next two years I completed a Dip Theol and a Dip RE (religious education). No degrees were available at that time - which became significant later. I enjoyed the study and made many good friends.
|Student leadership team|
|As women's president I had a larger room with a telephone - note its antiquity!|
|Obviously it was not all hard work!|
One of the things I was most concerned about was that God would call me to be a missionary! I couldn't imagine how hard it would be to "go to darkest Africa" (or anywhere else) as a single woman. I prayed a lot - telling God I was willing to serve him anywhere in NZ but please don't send me overseas. But... in a series of ways that are too long to elaborate here, I knew that "going to darkest Africa" was indeed what God had in mind for me. Now I can see that facing my greatest fear was the very best thing to free me for many other challenges in the years to come. But at the time it just felt terrifying.
I applied to SIM hoping to be placed in a school for missionaries children in Nigeria. However, the need was greater in the Education Department to work on curricula and other educational resources. So that was where I was expecting to work. Shortly before I was to leave a NZ teacher (Anne Power) in the mission school had to resign as she gave birth to twins, one of whom died. That very sad occurrence meant that in the end it was to a school for missionaries children that I went! I can't remember who said "God's guidance is usually easier to see in hindsight"!
Before my farewell in Glen Eden Baptist Church I had jokingly said, "They'd better not sing that awful hymn: 'So send I you, to labour unrewarded...'" But you guessed it - there it was on the
programme. It really is a terrible hymn!! Here's the first verse and there are four more equally dire verses! Click here if you can bear to read them!
So send I you to labour unrewarded
To serve unpaid, unloved, unsought, unknown
To bear rebuke, to suffer scorn and scoffing
So send I you to toil for Me alone
So in 1972 I set off in much fear and trepidation. I was warmly welcomed by fellow NZers Helen and Gordon Stanley who were based in Jos where I was to live. Here is my first accommodation - a flat in the Guest House. I lived there for some months until an apartment was available.
|My first home in Jos, Nigeria|