The Miracles Behind the Numbers

“First year teaching: L.O.V.E.

My first year teaching is finished. Summer has officially begun and during my time off I wanted to THANK YOU for walking close this past year in Dakar. I found comfort in the Father through every challenge and joy as I was reminded my Prayer Covering, in all of you, literally had my back. 

If you want it in numbers:

  • Over 100 students come in and out of my classroom over 10 months. 
  • I had 8 classes, supervised 2 and maintained 1 crazy study hall of 6th graders. 
  • I worked hard to keep my room clean and open and welcoming in every way for them, and only 2 students were accidentally locked in the classroom after hours. 
  • 10 Deaf students visit 1 day a week for computer classes. 
  • We took 20 of my 7th graders to visit the deaf school and dorm during our Serve Day kick-off. 
  • 1/2 dozen middle schoolers joined ninja club weekly. 
  • A handful of sophomore girls met as a small group every other week – 6 of them came on the High School youth group retreat. On the 3 day retreat I got to share with the 30+ young women on how to pray for our brothers, sister and selves. 
  • Once a week I met with 1 God-loving friend to lead 3-6 students going deeper into hearing the voice of God. 
  • 12AM – the average time a “vortex” lasted – until in our apartment… when God came in and Roomy and I were able to go deeper and more real in prayer and conversations. 
  • 15 amazing new staff members will no longer need to go to “New Staff” meetings and will be a little less confused come August.
  • 27 seniors will be missed as they move on to further the Kingdom of God in their own beautiful unique ways. 

If you want it by miracles:

  • Mountains were moved through faith and prayer. Mountains in the form of forgiveness, communication and open doors. 
  • God’s presence was consistently hope-filled and peaceful in my classroom and our apartment. People came and were LOVED. 
  • Patience led to stopping for the one and praying fervently for the freedom of my students.
  • Months of asking and knocking led to new opportunities for the deaf community. New relationships and new hope and new faith. We practiced basic computer skills in my classroom but really opened their minds and hearts to the possibility of ALL the gifts God has given them. #deafpride
  • Physical injuries and emergencies brought our community together in prayer and faith that we serve a Mighty God. 
  • All my girls – these amazing young women of God – realized their weaknesses and sought out their identity and strength in the Father’s affirmation and Truth. After praying for themselves during the high school youth group retreat their leader debriefed with them for another three hours. A few weeks later the seniors had a chance to pass on their wisdom to the younger ladies. They were able to encourage and enrich the language and focus of young women on our campus. 
  • Prophecy was encouraged and students (and staff) heard the VOICE OF GOD more often in a community than even I have experienced before. The proof was taped all over my walls by the end of May. Letters and words from God to uplift, direct and bless. 
  • Our apartment door was open to the community. My roommate and I welcomed formal and informal times with our DA family. We stayed up late – knowing we asked God for times such as those – to listen and pray and cry and seek God together as a Body. 
  • We grew as a staff by praying and listening and forgiving and giving and serving…
  • The Class of 2019 will change the world in the name of Jesus. They were a huge blessing to watch and serve this past year. I enJOYed their creativity, selflessness, leadership and sense of humor. Good luck, you guys!

But what I learned most was LOVE. Repeatedly. Loudly. Boldly. LOVE. Even in a new language and context the purpose of God is still love. 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. 

God’s heart is always love first. Always love last. And so much love in the middle. I can never forget or dismiss that my purpose is anything but, or anything less, than to LOVE. It is that simple. 

Please pray with me during this summer of rest: Many families are on furlough needing financial support, housing, vehicles and rest. Our school is gaining a large number of new staff in the midst of great transition and change. One of my students is going through a medical emergency this summer due to an accident. Pray for love, the voice of God and peace in the stress and busy for all of the Dakar Academy community. 

Thank you!” – Caitlin Woodward

Year 2019 Verse: “Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” – 1 Corinthians 13:7

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