Graduation Day, December 1, 2009
New Dawn School graduated its first class with great joy. Notice the wonderful facility next to which they stand. In April of 2009, by the grace of God and the help of many donors, their campus came to include a school built out of shipping containers! These students will never forget New Dawn's humble beginnings (Feb 2006) in the crowded borrowed space of a village church, and the eventual purchase of two other buildings for classrooms and a library. They have been on a journey as the "seed" of this project, and they have endured, with beautiful results! We at Saba, International wish them all the best as they journey onward and upward. We commit to standing with New Dawn year after year, and are confident that God will continue to go above our asking and imagining! (Ephesians 3:20-21)
As the graduates march into the ceremony, they are crossing a threshold from the known to the unknown. For four years they have been together, building community, encouraging and challenging one another. Now they must extend their territories away from New Dawn, but better because of New Dawn. They await their national exam scores to see if they qualify for university. Many of them seek additional technical skills training. Please pray for their future endeavors, that God would make a way for them, and that they might be able to do the same for another disadvantaged student someday!
Humble, Faithful Teachers
Without the patient endurance of the staff and teachers, New Dawn would never have arrived at graduation day. They have worked long hours for sub-standard pay, and journeyed long distances daily to be at work. Their work environment has been cramped and their teaching resources have been limited. Yet they have produced good fruit as they have watched God prosper New Dawn School and its students! May God honor their willingness to serve the students of New Dawn!
A whole tent was packed with family members of the graduates, including parents, guardians, aunts and uncles, neighbors and siblings. New Dawn has been a blessing to these families, financing and providing secondary education to a group of disadvantaged youth that would have otherwise been forgotten. Many graduates have younger siblings who need the encouragement of their whole family to endure in the pursuit of their own education. Please pray for these families as they are burdened by the physical, mental and spiritual forces of poverty.
Dancing in Praise!
Two groups of younger student dancers performed in celebration of the graduates, reflecting ancient dance traditions of Kenya. They were organized by a recently hired female teacher who has a background in traditional dance!
Standing Tall with Confidence! To see these students brimming with confidence was the best gift a teacher could ever receive. When I first started teaching them three year ago, they were in their Form 1 year (freshman), and they were so downcast. I would ask a question, and everyone would gaze at the floor and hope they wouldn't be asked to speak. Now they are eager and confident to share their thoughts, and are filled with hope and ideas.
It brings to mind Psalm 3:3...But you are a shield around me, oh Lord; you bestow glory on me and you lift up my head.
Henry Atetwe receives his diploma with great joy, as did all the students! The day was a great celebration of all the people that God has raised up to support these students in so many ways, and we praise Him who brought it all to pass! Each student was given a study Bible as a gift from a family in the Saba, International network. May God use his word mightily in their lives as they go out with joy and are led forth in peace (Isaiah 55:11-12).
The Six Ladies: 30 students graduated from New Dawn, and only six of them were ladies. They are bright young ladies, and it's amazing to hear their accounts of what they have endured to complete their education at New Dawn. Stay tuned for more on this group of gals!
The Next Generation: This child was hanging around during the graduation ceremony, and it made me wonder what her future would be like. Will she attend New Dawn? Might she know a life free from the shackles of poverty?
New Dawn has already become an agent of change in the lives of its first graduating class, and together we must trust God to spill over from their lives into the lives of their families and communities.