Thursday, April 28, 2016

American Girl In Africa

 

There is a saying in Sierra Leone, it goes: you no de tek tem tak. This roughly translates to: you aren't thinking before you say things (when saying this there is a not so subtle "you idiot" implied).


Often times, people will ask me what it's like living in Sierra Leone. They ask brilliant questions like: "Is it hot there?" Or "Do you, like, have a pet zebra?" Or, my personal favorite, "Do you speak African?" Yes. Yes, I speak a continent. At these times, all I can think is: you no de tek tem tak. Though I can't really blame them, because four years ago I would have been asking the same questions.
Our house
 

In the summer of 2012, I, my two younger sisters, Anna and Ella, and (of course) my parents packed up our things and moved to Sierra Leone, West Africa. Our parents had made the announcement to us three Ropiecki girls almost a year before (at an Ethiopian restaurant, oddly enough), but no matter how many times we watched the lion king, it could not prepare us for the real thing.

Here we are heading of to Africa

 As a twelve year old kid who had only been out of STATE a couple of times, a new CONTINENT was a bit overwhelming. And I will admit, at first, I struggled. But Salone (Sierra Leone's Krio name) grew on me, and is now my home just as much as the states were.


In order to avoid making this blog entry an autobiography, I'm not going to try to explain everything that has happened with the Ropiecki family while living here. Needless to say, it's a quite a lot! We've gone from living in a tiny quiet village called Bauya, to living in Freetown, Sierra Leone's Capitol.



We've had strange medium of jobs, from being local village Doctor, to helping set up Ebola quarantine centers, to digging wells (and a plethora of other things!). And most importantly, we acquired two new family members, Hawa and Maggie, who's adoptions we're currently working on.
 
My Family
 

To give you a picture of my (often crazy) family, I'll explain life for us right now. We live in Freetown, Sierra Leon's Capitol and big city. There are seven of us: my dad and mom, my sisters, Anna (12), Ella (8), Hawa (6), Maggie (3), and me (15)! And then there's our dog Krakin (we amply named her after the scary sea monster), who is probably closer to the size of a horse than a dog.
 

Our Dog Krakin

Here in Salone, it rains six months out of the year, and for the other six months we have blistering sun (fun, right?).
 
 Rainy Season Fun

 The official language of Sierra Leone is English but most people just speak Krio (a pigeon language that is a mixture of English, and native African language), or the occasional tribal language.
Me with a chameleon.
 
Sierra Leone has gorgeous beaches, and lush jungles that are home to a lot of cool animals. We may not have any of the cliché African animals (lions, zebras, giraffes) but we do have (to names few cool ones) chimpanzees, chameleons, boa constrictors, cobras and crocodiles- both fresh water and salt water!

 Us in Bauya
 
When we lived in Bauya, these jungle animals were everywhere, but now that we live in the city, things are a little different. Here in Freetown we have paved roads (mostly paved), electricity (some of the time), and even super-markets! We've met some fellow expats with kids I and my siblings age who live not far from us, and it's been really cool getting to know people who've gone through the same things we have.
 
Anna with a Monkey
 
My sister, Anna, and I just started helping out at an after school tutoring program (which we love!), and I'm currently trying to set up an art program there.
 
Anna helping out a child in the tutoring program
 
When writing this, I was asked to write about a typical day in my life, but this can be a bit hard to explain. Things change A LOT for me. I mean, they can go from 0 to 60 like *that*! I don't have much of an answer! So, the next time someone asks me "What's it like living in Sierra Leone?" (Only the single hardest question to answer EVER), I won't think: you no de tek tem tak.
 
Me and a Free Town Bo
 
That doesn't mean I'll have an answer, but that's okay. Life changes. A lot. But good things come of that change (even if I can't exactly see it at the time). And though there will probably be more change later, right now is my good things.
 
 
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11


 
http://thelifeofanotsonormalamericanteenager.blogspot.com/2016/03/keep-your-feet-in-water.html
Like this post? Check out Keep Your Feet In The Water


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

27 Ways To Reach Your Community As A Homeschooler


As a friend of mine likes to put it you can't reach others by sitting at home. As a home schooler his can be hard- we don't go to school with 200 other students. In my school its just my sister and I. How do I share my faith / reach others? After talking to a few youth leaders I put together some ideas on how we home school students can reach our communities.
  • Volunteer at your local church, some church's allow you to volunteer in the children's ministries.
  • Collect food or clothing for your local food pantries or shelters
  • Check with a local crisis pregnancy center, ours allows you to volunteer there at 18.
  • Check out community projects in your area
  • Pick up trash in your neighborhood or church
  • Babysit for a single mom
  • Giveaway soft drinks or water at sporting events when its hot
  • Help take people's groceries to their car
  • Giveaway ice cream or Popsicle on hot days, with an invitation to your church
  • Umbrella escort on rainy days
  • Wind shield washing
  • Giveaway hot chocolate & cider on cold mornings
  • Giveaway flowers to mothers on Mother's Day
  • Free car wash & vacuum
  • Neighborhood food collection & distribution
  • Take family photos for people at events (like Easter egg hunts, Christmas events, Fairs, Mothers Day ect.). You can send them the photos and invitation to your church.
  • Giveaway balloons with cards attached inviting people to your church
  • Dog washing
  • Door to door with morning paper and coffee
  • Offer to walk the neighbors dogs
  • Garage cleaning
  • Rake leaves in the neighborhood
  • Mow a neighbors lawn
  • Shovel snow off of a neighbors driveway of side walk during the winter
  • Window washing
  • Tutoring younger kids in subjects you are good at
  • Just be a friend. As home schoolers our schedule is more flexible, we can often go to our public school friends games recitals etc. 

But don't just do it once. Keep doing it. While writing this I got in touch with several youth leaders and the really emphasized this point. Don't do it once and then stop, keep doing it. Keep doing it until the people get to know you. They know your name you know theirs. Find what you are passionate about and then make a difference.

Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Saturday, April 23, 2016

God's Not Dead 2 Movie Review



Plot:

A high school history teacher Grace Wesley is attacked for answering a student's question about Jesus. But when she stands up for herself and refuses to apologize, the school board votes to suspend her and threatens her future as a teacher. She finds herself standing trial against the ACLU to try to save her career. The teacher hires a young lawyer Tom Endler to represent her. He comes up with a great plan to show the jury the historical significance discussion in class.

I really loved this movie.  It touched me in ways that I didn't expect and the audience felt the same way.  People in the theater were vocal. They cried and laughed along with the movie and clapped at the end. I recommend you checking this one out.  I liked it even more than the first one.


Content:

Sexual: 
There is zero sexual content; 
Violence:
There is one slapping scene during a heated conversation 
Cussing:
There is zero cussing (unless you count "idiot" and "loser")
Drugs/Alcohol:
None



Starring:

Melissa Joan Hart as Grace Wesley; 
Hayley Orrantia as Brooke Thawley; 
Jesse Metcalfe as Tom Endler; 
Ray Wise as Pete Kane; 
Robin Givens as Principal Kinney;
Pat Boone as Walter Wesley; 
David A.R. White as Rev. Dave; 
Benjamin A. Onyango as Rev. Jude; 
Ernie Hudson as Judge Stennis; 
Trisha LaFache as Amy Ryan;
Sadie Robertson as Marlene; 
Lee Strobel as Himself; 
James Warner Wallace as Himself; 
Newsboys as Themselves
 
 
Leave a comment and let us know what you thought of the movie!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Stop The Circus Act!


Anyone else feel like getting in the shower after reading through the news? Over here we have some celebrity sharing bathroom shots while over there we have someone calling someone else a racist, while still over here we have Trump making fun of women or being crass. Since when do we have to roll in the mud to get news? Seriously. When did what pictures so and so shares become news?

Maybe its time we got our brains out of the gutter and started focusing on real news.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Philippians 4:8 

While I understand that some stories are horrible- but we need to know what is happening, I don't recall gossip being news and frankly nothing that comes out of Mr. Trumps mouth lines up with the verse above. We need to stop wallowing in the dirt. 

“He that lies down with dogs shall rise up with fleas.” ~ Benjamin Franklin 

It's like a three-ring circus- and many Christians are just as much of a problem as those who are not. I've watched as people who claim to be Christians tear apart people who support Senator Cruz over Mr. Trump. Stop! This is America. We don't have to agree on every little thing.
America was and is a melting pot. It's not supposed to be one group of people that all look alike and agree on every little thing- that would be a robot, not a person. We are adults - not little kids. We can agree to disagree and agreeably without disrespecting, or abusing someone else. That's why we have freedom of speech- so that we can say what we believe. Stop trying to shut down people you disagree with.

 “If your eye is pure, there will be sunshine in your soul. But if your eye is clouded with evil thoughts and desires, you are in deep spiritual darkness. And oh, how deep that darkness can be! Matt 6:22

The person with the best argument will win - know the answers. But argue with respect. Christians its time to act like Christians. Not jump off the bridge just because everyone else is doing it. 

 "I will set no wicked thing before my eyes" Psalms 101:3

"Do not be deceived: 'Bad company corrupts good morals'" 1 Cor. 15:33

Above everything else, guard your heart. Everything you do comes from it. Proverbs 4:23 

"In your anger do not sin":  Ephesians 4:26


Click on the photo to be taken to another post. Check out this post: 
Why Voting Is Important



Monday, April 4, 2016

Seven Ways To Know He's Not Prince Charming

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14 (NLT)

Alright ladies, admit it- in some form at some point in our lives have wanted the handsome prince to ride up on his magnificent white charger to slay the dragon and sweep you off your feet and as you ride into the sunset the words "And They Lived Happily Ever After" slide above your head in a graceful arc - Yeah. Guilty as charged, I love fairytales! In fact sleeping beauty graces my bedroom walls, I have a collection of jewelry with fairy tale quotes and - well you get the picture.

But how do you know when the guy in your life isn't Prince Charming? I know that seems like a really obvious answer, but bear with me for a second. Yes there are some easy answers - like someone who isn't running from the law (cue the western music with horses hooves pounding), or someone who is living in their moms basement playing video games in his underwear... but seriously what does Prince Charming look like for a Christian girl?

Let's start off with looking at what he should look like...

Prince Charming should:
  1. Always puts Christ first. 
  2. Has a deep desire to grow in his faith and is on the path of growth. 
  3. He encourages you to seek Gods will for your life and encourages you in your walk with God. 
  4. Honors and respects you. 
  5. Makes an effort to reflect Christ in everything he does. Weather its how he talks to his parents to how he treats elderly people. 
  6. He's invested in his bible. That means that he picks it up and reads it and not just twice a year. 
  7. Makes an effort to pray with you regularly. 
  8. He has a passion to remain pure sexually. 
  9. Does not flirt with other women. 
  10. Did you get some red flags? Now that we looked at what Prince Charming should look like lets look at a few ways to know he definitely is not Prince Charming.

Prince Charming Does Not:
  1. Do whatever he wants. 
  2. Treat you like he can live with or without you. 
  3. Get high, drunk or endanger others for his own enjoyment. 
  4. Encourage you to disobey God's laws or your parents rules. 
  5. Treat his parents and or others with disrespect. 
  6. Treat you like you are worthless, he does not yell at you, or hit you. 
  7. Remain stagnant in his faith. Which is really impossible. My old pastor used to say, there is no standing still in your relationship with God. It is like riding on a escalator. You are walking forward or going backward. 
But don't take my word for it, let's look at some scripture.


Don’t become partners with those who reject God. How can you make a partnership out of right and wrong? That’s not partnership; that’s war. Is light best friends with dark? Does Christ go strolling with the Devil? 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her Ephesians 5:25

Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”1 Corinthians 15:33

Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long Exodus 20:12

Do two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going to the same place? Amos 3:3

Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm. Proverbs 13:20

Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing... 1 Peter 3:8-9

Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, Proverbs 22:24

It isn't smart to get drunk! Drinking makes a fool of you and leads to fights. Proverbs 20:1