In 2016 Hannah moved to N’Djamena, Chad, to teach at Wellspring Academy. A ministry of Africa Inland Mission, Wellspring Academy was set up in 2010 primarily to serve missionaries.
Now the school serves families working cross-culturally through their day school, as well as by running twice-yearly homeschool weeks for students being homeschooled across the country. Hannah teaches Grades 1-3, with eight nationalities currently represented in her class. Here she talks more about her journey into teaching:
When I started training to be a teacher, I had no idea how much I would love it. As time has gone on, God has faithfully used each chapter of my teaching career to grow that love and reveal his plans. He used the eight different schools I taught at during training to increase my heart for diversity and an openness to teach somewhere I hadn’t expected. It was his plan that my first job taught me to advocate for my kids, and to realise that was a privilege. As I explored ways to progress my career in the UK, he steered my attention to an opportunity to teach in Rwanda. He knew that I needed that year in a big international school to learn about the American curriculum, to witness the joys and challenges missionary children face and to meet the woman who told me something that changed my life.
“This is for you”
I was helping lead children’s ministry at an AIM conference in Rwanda when one evening, as we drank tea and looked at AIM posters about unreached people groups, my new friend said, “We chose to live here because of the school”. Education for their children is a massive factor in the parents’ decision of where to serve. I think I knew that already, but at that moment God took those words and said to me, “Hannah, this is for you. I will help you, but you need to choose to go”. So I did. Not because I was well equipped. Not because I am some super teacher with a sense of adventure. But because I could. I love teaching, that’s God’s gift to me. By this point, I’d grown to love missionary children; their resilience and tenacity, their determination and need, like all children, for someone to be on their team.
“God took those words and said to me, “Hannah, this is for you. I will help you, but you need to choose to go.”
So, after being accepted as a full term member of AIM, I took a deep, prayer-filled breath and ventured down to Betroka, Madagascar. I dove into the world of homeschooling with my team of six children aged 5-13. Their parents learned language and built relationships. They taught literacy and told Bible stories. They looked after their toddlers, cooked in solar ovens and sat on mats drinking tea and sharing truth. They did the things that God had called them to, and so did I. I taught those children and they taught me. I taught them to read and spell and solve maths problems. They taught me to play baseball. We had triumphs and tears, ‘I just can’t do it days’ and days when everything made sense. But in it all, our loving Father had a plan. A plan that during those years, those kids had someone to walk their road with them. Someone who didn’t have it all figured out, someone who was also on a steep learning curve herself, but someone who loved what their parents were doing and wanted to be part of their journey.
Choosing to go
That was a few years ago, and those children are in three different countries now. Some are homeschooled and some are in local schools. Since going to Rwanda in 2010, I am definitely realising that support ministry often comes in chapters, as support needs change. In 2016 I moved to N’Djamena, Chad, to teach at Wellspring Academy. We use an American homeschool curriculum, we support homeschoolers teaching in remote areas, and we teach in multi-grade classrooms with an ethnically diverse student body. The Lord has given me experience with these things over the years to prepare me for this. He continues to give me new challenges and opportunities which, I am sure, are shaping me for the chapters to come. At the beginning of each chapter, he revealed just the next step, and gave me the faith to take it; “Hannah, I will help you, but you need to choose to go.” I am so thankful that I did.