Category Archives: Education

Driving through Kanyama

IMG_2595Yesterday, Pastor John and Jacob (two of our AZ National Workers) and I drove to a church in Kanyama Compound. Kanyama is one of the biggest compounds in Lusaka, with some people estimating that almost one million people live there. Much of Kanyama is very under developed with high rates of poverty and extreme poverty. We went to go visit the pastor of a church, where we taught the CROSS Project a few years ago, about some future ministry possibilities with their community school that has over 1,500 students.

I haven’t done a driving video for a while. So, below is some of our drive into Kanyama yesterday –


Helping Charlie Understand Jesus’ Death and Resurrection

Holy Week is my favorite time of the year. On Palm Sunday in Zambia, the streets are flooded with groups of people from churches waving palm branches in the air as they make their way to church. Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis taught me what Maundy Thursday services were, which have become an incredibly meaningful occasion. And Easter Sunday has always been such an exciting, joyful day, filled with sunrise breakfasts, joyful singing, choirs, lilies, and (if I’m going to be honest) even colorful eggs and treat-filled-basket hunts.

Having very young kids means that we are at the special place of being able to create traditions that will shape how our kids remember Easter. With Charlie being almost 3, it seemed appropriate to begin tangibly showing him what “Easter” is all about. Thanks to Noël Piper’s idea in her book Treasuring God in Our Traditions, Charlie and I made a play dough mountain and tomb. I couldn’t find pipe cleaners to make the people, so we used Duplo Lego people to recreate the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection.

Charlie is a typical toddler, so he liked the hands-on-ness of this project. He also got bored with it pretty quickly during the story times, but he always came back to it later. And after the resurrection, he really thought that someone or something ought to be in the tomb/cave with the stone over it. So, I kept finding different Lego people in there or a donkey or other animal in there. It provided a great opportunity to remind him that the cave is empty, because Jesus came out of it!

I think that, for the first year doing this, he really liked the activity and will look forward to doing this again in years to come.

And the Answer Is….

If you chose ‘B,’ you answered correctly! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol intake puts a person at risk for a stroke. And excessive drinking is considered more than one drink per day on average for women. All the other answers were incorrect.


“Respect the NCLEX” – that’s what one of my nursing textbooks said. NCLEX-RN stands for National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses. If you can’t pass the NCLEX, then graduation means nothing. No NCLEX, no job. Simple, right?

Well, the only problem is that the NCLEX is one of the most nerve-racking, difficult tests in a Registered Nurse’s life. Talk to any RN out there, and you will find that not one of them would ever want to repeat their NCLEX experience. It has a very unique way of making a competent person feel like an idiot.

This past Monday, I had the joy of taking the NCLEX. I really was excited to see the first question and just get it over with. The first question was no problem, but the second question? Halfway through the test my mind began to turn to mush. I got increasingly nervous with each question that I was sure I bombed. But all of the sudden, after I had answered 90 questions, the computer screen went blank, and those terrible words appeared which mocked me, “Congratulations, you have completed your test!” Yeah, right.

I spent the rest of the day trying to forget the NCLEX. Much to my dismay, I realized that I had to wait until Wednesday morning to find out if I passed or failed. But Wednesday morning finally came, and I nervously typed in my credit card info for the “find out your results early” fee. I waited…and waited…and waited for at LEAST 3 seconds for the screen to load, and there was the 4-letter word I could hardly believe I was looking at – pass.

I promised the Lord that I would make sure He gets the glory for my passing, because He gave me the desire to become a nurse, He carried me through all my courses and even caused me to LOVE anatomy and physiology and chemistry, and He graciously answered many people’s prayers that I would pass the NCLEX.

Respect the NCLEX? Sure.
Praise the Lord? Definitely.

Just for the fun of it, here is an example of an NCLEX-style question:

-You are the nurse teaching a community health program on the topic of stroke prevention; a 52-year old female corrently understands the information when she says:

A. I am at low risk because I am not over 60 years old
B. I am at moderate risk because I drink 1-2 glasses of wine with dinner
C. I am at high risk because I take medication for atrial fibrillation
D. My friend smokes and is a marathon runner, so she is at low risk

*I’ll post the answer tomorrow!

2 Days and Counting

I have come to the last 2 days of my preceptorship/internship/externship/whatever-you-want-to-call-it on the cancer unit at Fairview Southdale Hospital! Yay!!! It has been an amazing experience, and I have learned so much. In the last 3 weeks I have hung more IVs than in the last 2 years, and I have also seen the joys and the sorrows of life on a cancer unit. Strangely and wonderfully enough, every time I leave one of my shifts there I feel more and more excited to go to Zambia and use these skills there.

But for now, I need to finish these last 2 days and then a couple finals – then graduation!!!

Pray that God will give me a job as an RN. As everyone knows, times are tough, and even hospitals are not hiring. But pray that God will be gracious to me and give me a job where I can continue to learn and gain experience.


Many people have been asking me (Kristin) about my preceptorship – the final clinical experience I will get before graduation. It is a 10-week clinical, in which I am paired with one nurse at a local hospital, and I work with her/him to care for patients over the course of at least 80 hours during these 10 weeks. Several months ago I requested either a basic med/surg unit or an oncology unit. Normally, oncology wouldn’t be my first pick, but because Derek and I feel God is leading us to work with HIV/AIDS in the future I thought it might be somewhat beneficial – even if only for the experience of working with people who have terminal illnesses.

The other day I was specifically praying that God would give me whatever preceptorship would serve me the best for my future as a nurse. And this morning I just received an email from my instructor, saying I will be on the oncology unit at the hospital where I am already a nursing assistant! While I know it will be challenging, I am really looking forward to the experience and putting my skills, knowledge, and gifts to work there.

Why Online?

I (Derek) have been asked by quite a few people about going to school using the online format through Moody Bible Institute to get my bachelors of Science in Biblical Studies. Mostly the questions are about if I think I am getting a good education. One of my professors did a pretty good job of summing up my feelings on the subject (below). Not that the online format is perfect for everyone, but it does have some benefits (and not just that I can “go to school” in my pajamas or that it’s extremely eco-friendly since I don’t have to drive anywhere). Also, I would say that I am getting an equal education to those in the formal setting. It’s probably not for everyone (like my wife), but it’s not as “hard” as some might think.

I’m a firm believer in this type of education for lots of reasons. It is efficient (both for schools and students). It is accessible (so those who need it most can get it). It offers unique interactivity (much of which is unparalleled in the typical classroom). It respects your primary learning community (family, home, church, neighborhood, job) by letting you learn in the contexts in which God has placed you. Online education has some similarities to the New Testament which I describe as a distance learning tool itself. When God wanted to build His church, he inspired a few key leaders to write instructional material that was sent to local leaders for development right where God’s people were. It sounds something like our correspondence and online courses! -Dr. Steve Kemp, Moody Bible Institute