In Christ, All Things Are Made 'Better'March 5, 2010
This spring marks the tenth year our family has lived at and served Inanda Seminary. Yet, the school today is not the same school we arrived at in 2000. Oh, what a blessing it is to see something become better and better and better. What a greater blessing it is to participate in it! Daily we witness the transformative work of the Holy Spirit as it inspires and achieves.
Can things get any better? It hardly seems possible, but at this faith-based school, it always seems to improve. Although, it is hard to improve upon a 100% graduation rate for five straight years (86% have grades high enough for them to enter university)! Yet, Inanda girls do improve by developing their bodies, minds, and souls in addition to their intellects. The marching and steel drum bands, the karate club, and all the athletes playing rugby, basketball, soccer, and softball continue to perform at higher levels so that they almost need extra transportation to carry home all their trophies. The grounds are immaculate; the buildings have either been rebuilt, are being improved, or are scheduled to be renovated. Student numbers are at their maximum. Through private and corporate giving, sixty-eight students receive scholarships. Discipline is maintained more and more by the students themselves rather than the staff. New and highly skilled teachers have been added and the equipment they utilize to teach is becoming state of the art.
And the improvement starts in worship. Every morning. As Chaplain, Susan's theme this term in chapel is values. The girls are taught to fully develop into their God-given potential so that the entire school and the work of the church impress all. The Scriptures seep into the manner in which the students approach their classmates, school work, and extracurricular activities - so that God is worshipped throughout the day. After school, Susan counsels many of the 390 plus students, especially the young ones who are boarding for the first time and become quite homesick. Susan, as other women here, is referred to as "Mah"; she is a mother to them and emphasizes that the Inanda family loves and cares for them as its own child.
As Development Manager, Scott assists the school by preserving both the past and the future. Scott works with two dozen students to unearth the history of the school. The girls learn that the school's history is a microcosm of the scriptures: that they and Inanda Seminary are a part of God's on-going revelation, that there are times of faithfulness and betrayal, suffering and celebration, that there are good examples and poor examples from which to learn. The students remember Americans and South Africans who sacrificed their lives for the benefit of others. For example, Dr. Helmut Weigert who escaped Nazi persecution in Germany, came to teach at Inanda Seminary and drowned while saving a student's life; or Mary Kelly Edwards from Milford, OH who in 1869 was the first principal of the school and died at the school at the age of 97; or Chief Albert Luthuli who served on the Advisory Board of the school in 1936 and won the 1960 Nobel Peace Prize. When they remember these Christian servants, it inspires them to also sacrifice for something much greater than themselves.
Can things get better? Well, they seem to be headed that way! In preparation for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, the city municipality has identified Inanda Seminary as a place to showcase the best South Africa has to offer and designated over US$ 25,000.00 to upgrade the museum and archives that evangelizes – tells the good news brought to southern Africa by our ancestors in faith, proclaims the great work currently being accomplished, and provides hope that God's presence will continue to be felt in this place.
Revs. Scott Couper and Susan Valiquette
Scott Couper serves with the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA) as a Development Manager of the Inanda Seminary. Susan serves with Inanda Seminary, Durban, South Africa as the chaplain.
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