Saturday, March 28, 2015

Zambia Ministry update

The first pictures is of the supplies that the students and staff at Coston Elementary collected in four days. The second is a video Shelby posted of the community in Zambia that she is helping.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ode to Mrs. Brookshire

It is time - time to clean up Lizzie's room. I started on Friday, and it really doesn't look like I've made much headway. I've gone through every drawer at least twice deciding what to keep and what to donate. I have 3 boxes of memorabilia: items that I remembered, items I had forgotten, and items that I never knew about. I found tons of cards which I will share at some point, and I now have a total of 46 t-shirts that will be made into a quilt. There are t-shirts from Panther Pride and t-shirts from UT. Some shirts were just favorite ones that Lizzie loved to wear. One is a signed team jersey from that really cute soccer player that visited Lizzie in the hospital. Of course there is a Just Beat It and a Be the Change team Lizzie shirt. And there are two Girls of Grace shirts which makes, well, either the following more special or the shirts more special. I found a flashdrive on my third pass through a small desk, and, of course, had to take a peek. Several people have commented on the impact Lizzie made on their lives. The following shows the impact Laura Brookshire made on Lizzie's life. Thank you, Laura, for being such an inspiration and helping mold Lizzie into the wonderful young woman that she was.

Ode to Mrs. Brookshire 

              I remember that as I child I admired every actress on the Disney Channel.  To a twelve-year-old girl, it seemed as if Hilary Duff, Raven Symone, and Christy Romano had everything a girl dreamed of at that age: fame, fortune, beauty, and boys. I worshipped every one of those girls almost to the point of obsession. In fact, while I was in third grade, an unsuspecting teacher asked me if I were Lizzie McGuire because I knew every fact possible about the popular television show.  As I lost my naiveté, I also lost my innocent childhood idols.  I no longer admired the child stars of Disney; I almost felt lost until I met Mrs. Brookshire.

            After moving to Lufkin, I was amazed to see the irony of my new hometown.  Lufkin, a small town with churches on every corner, located in the center of the Bible Belt, boasts the highest teen pregnancy rate in Texas. More and more girls arrived to school with noticeable baby bumps, and even though I knew it was impossible, I began to doubt that pregnancy was not contagious. While everyone laughed off the comments joking that pregnancy was in the water, I stopped drinking from the tap. As an impressionable young girl in a new town, I began to question if my morals were keeping me from fitting in.  My longing to be part of the “in crowd” caused conflicts between my head and my heart, and I was constantly questioning whether my principles were worth preserving.  Mrs. Brookshire answered my question when she became my Girls of Grace teacher, an organization whose goal is to inspire girls to see themselves through God’s eyes.

            Mrs. Brookshire sees the best in me; she sees the best in her girls.  Teaching a class of teenage girls to be confident in ourselves and not to give in to the poor morals of our generation is not an easy task, but she accepts the challenge each year.  She constantly uplifts me by reminding me of all of the small achievements I have made: not succumbing to the pressures of my generation, standing up for those who cannot, and leaving my group of friends to befriend a lonely peer. Her confidence in me helped me to have confidence in myself.

            High school has been a big struggle for me.  Being surrounded by people with negative attitudes, which unlike pregnancy is actually contagious, has a habit of affecting my  everyday choices. Knowing that there is Mrs. Brookshire, who supports me and loves me no matter how many mistakes I make, has made my high school career so much easier.  Her never-ending positive encouragements have made me happier with myself and my abilities, ultimately making me feel more in control of my life.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Live Like Lizzie

I have come full circle. Shelby's testimony was like God tapping me on the shoulder and saying "This is why, Dianne. Right here. This is why".  So where do I go from here? My first step is to support Shelby and the mission work she is doing. Lizzie always wanted to go do mission work. It was her dream and goal. I honestly believe that Shelby is fulfilling that dream. So...... I am calling on all who can to help Shelby. She is currently in Zambia and is working at a school that has 500 students and only about 6 teachers. They need supplies: books (k-5th grade), paper, pencils, etc. If you would like to contribute anything - a pack of paper, pencils, erasers, books, crayons, pencil sharpeners - anything, please let me know or simply mail to me at my address below. I will get all to Shelby's mom. Or if you would simply like to donate to help with the shipping costs, let me know. The Team Lizzie account is still active at Bancorp South in Lufkin. I will know whatever is deposited from this date forward is for shipping costs or supplies for the kids. You can also write Zambia Kids shipping or Zambia Kids supplies in the memo line. The following is Shelby's FB post:

This week, I've realized just how vital a good education is to breaking the cycle of poverty. I am working in a 1st and 2nd grade classroom with one teacher and over 80 students. The students are unable to receive the specialized attention they need for their age and the resources for them to excel are unavailable. In this week, I have realized even more how passionate I am about education and I know without a doubt that I am called to be a teacher to students in impoverished... communities.
With this said, I have met a 9 year old girl named Jennifer this week. Jennifer is in my class and has asked me to teach her to read and write. Last semester, I took a class on early literacy development and I am excited to put what I learned into practice. I am needing to buy some supplies such as books, paper, and writing utensils for her and I would appreciate if you would pray that this would be financially achievable for me. I would also appreciate if you would pray that teaching her would be a smooth process for both of us. I am kind of nervous about actually putting into practice what I have learned as a teacher, but I know that I have been called to this task and the Lord will equip me.
I'm really excited for this opportunity and for what the Lord is revealing to me about my future and the gifts that He has given me! I cannot wait to update you all on Jennifer and the progress she is making. I need all the prayer I can get!

This feeling is so odd. I feel like I have just had 6 espresso shots along with a RedBull. I am on fire to help this school. I feel like Lizzie has a hand in this somehow. I'm also scared. I've never tried to spear-head anything like this. Pray that I ask in the right way. Pray that my passion reaches people who can and will help. Pray that someone who is knowledgeable about charity and donations contacts me and offers help or guidance.

My address is:
2202 Holly St
Lufkin, TX 75901