International Ministries

A Star is Born! -- we think

April 17, 2009 Journal
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…Think what sort of people you are whom God has called. Few of you are men of wisdom…few are powerful or highly born. Yet, to shame the wise, God has chosen what the world counts folly, and to shame what is strong, God has chosen what the world counts weakness…to overthrow the existing order. I Corinthians 1:26-28

Nsey Diakoko is a beautiful young woman, one of the 32 literacy teachers we trained in Kikwit, Bandundu’s commercial capital, last week.  I suspect that among all those we trained, she will be one of their best and most dedicated teachers for years to come. Despite her difficulties getting around quickly to different parts of the blackboard to give her lesson (Nsey uses platform orthopedic shoes, braces and crutches), she is intelligent and determined. In our juries her lesson stood out as one of the best.

Nsey was not our only physically handicapped trainee at Kikwit. In the French course training, we also had the president of the Bulungu Handicapped Association, Mr. Mungombe Epiphane (here miming smoking a pipe for a lesson), who followed us from the town of Bulungu to be trained to help his fellow parishioners and handicapped persons there.

What Nsey and Epiphane have in common, besides being physically handicapped and new literacy teachers, is that the Congolese society of today doesn’t expect much of them or offer them a lot of options, but they are determined to overcome their odds. It is our experience that some of our best and most motivated teachers are those who missed out somewhere in their personal lives: the intelligent young woman in Bulungu (Epiphane’s co-worker) who missed out on finishing high school because she got pregnant and married early, the young man in Masi Manimba who failed so often to pass the state exam for a high school diploma that in shame, he changed his name, the older brother in a prominent family who also couldn’t pass the state exam.

These are the people who really take pains to help others improve their lives through literacy, who feel a sense of calling and fulfillment for their own lives in this work. They’ve become truly exceptional teachers. Through this medium of teaching others to read and write and empower their lives, God is making exceptional people out of those the world has counted unworthy of notice or investment. Here’s looking forward to seeing Nsey and Epiphane star in Kikwit and Bulungu!