23 January 2018 // Articles & Stories

So, what does teaching on the mission field look like?

Hannah Coggins teaches at Wellspring Academy in Chad, providing education for the children of missionaries serving in Africa. In her latest prayer letter, she shares how her role is not only allowing missionary parents to stay on the field, but is a mission field in itself, too:

One of my regular prayer requests has often been for wisdom in managing the dynamics of my multi‐grade, multi‐cultural class (I currently teach Grades 1-3, and have pupils from 8 different nationalities). And, I can honestly say the Lord has faithfully answered those prayers beyond my expectations. How easy it is to dream small and forget who is going to answer! That is not to say it is always plain sailing. Just this week I could be heard to say, ‘Everyone, put the glue down. Put the scissors down. Let’s start again,’ after a slightly chaotic attempt to organise our science folders! However, everyone is making progress, and this month each student shared their work with their parents at our Parent-Teacher conferences. It was such an encouragement to all involved, particularly for the parents of the new children.

Another way that God has provided for us this year is by bringing Tracy to us. Her role is to support the children in class as well as giving additional support to some of the English learners. It has transformed the way I plan my lessons and means that I am able to focus on individual groups in a way that I wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.

Wellspring is part of enabling parents to share truth with those who have never heard and it is also a mission field in itself.

I pray that my students will choose to follow Jesus, but I pray also for them to experience a deep sense of belonging to him when they make that choice. One of the blessings here at Wellspring is that we can also feel that sense of belonging to others, which truly is a gift from the Lord. It is hard for me to explain what it feels like to be foreign. If that label applies to you, you’ll know what I mean, but otherwise it can be a difficult emotion to quantify. Each one of our students feels it, and God has given them one another (as well as their family and teachers) to walk this path together. We don’t talk about it much, but that mutual understanding is evident in the way that they pray, care for and accept one another. They choose joy every day and I am so thankful for that. One of the times we see their ‘togetherness’ the most is during playtime when they are a force to be reckoned with as they play games with the older students. The other day a 13 year old told me, ‘When your class decide to tag me, it’s like an ambush!’ So, while encouraging such ambushing may be ethically questionable, it blesses me to see this community and belonging developing – and they do have good relationships with the older students too!

One of the things that we’ve been doing this term is reading through the book of Acts as class and, more recently, we have dipped into Paul’s letters as we build community together. The following quotes from my kids are the highlights of these times:

‘Miss Coggins, I want Jesus to be in the driving seat of my life’

‘I didn’t used to forgive people in [my home country] but I will now’

‘It’s hard to love people when I am angry. What should I do about that?’ (this was then followed by a beautiful class discussion).

Wellspring is part of enabling parents to share truth with those who have never heard and, as I hope you have seen above, it is also a mission field in itself. I count it as an absolute privilege to share truth with these precious ones and without God none of this would be possible. 

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Hannah Coggins

I teach at Wellspring Academy, serving missionaries in Chad. As well as teaching, I work with the staff team to develop curriculum and policies as the school develops. We also run homeschool weeks twice a year for those homeschooling across the country.

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