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Opportunity knocks for French teacher

In a small Swedish town of only 5,000 inhabitants, Christina Lumeya, French teacher, began her journey. While studying French in high school, Lumeya’s interest in foreign cultures was kindled.

Dramatic descriptions of Paris excited Lumeya to learn more. Two years after her high school graduation, she traveled to France for a year to try social work. She enjoyed the opportunity to have more exposure to the French language and culture.

Raised in a Christian home, Lumeya accepted Christ at a young age. She was the head of the Christian group at her school for a year after attending meetings as a member for several years first. During her early twenties, however, Lumeya’s life turned radically around.

“I wandered away from God,” Lumeya said. “I also no longer attended church.”

Lumeya began to search for something to fill her life. Seven years into this state of rebellion she realized how empty her life had become.

“It was as if something was lacking,” Lumeya said. “Something that makes your life really worth living. I don’t know how I made it that long and I was so happy to come back.”

It was during these years of wandering that Lumeya made the decision to become a teacher.

“I decided to become a teacher during my time away from God,” Lumeya said. “I was confused about what I wanted to do and a musician friend suggested I try teaching. I did try it and I really liked it.”

Twenty years after beginning her teaching career as an elementary music teacher, Lumeya has taught several other subjects to various grade levels.

Lumeya also spent a number of years teaching Bible classes in French-speaking Africa. After staying with a missionary family for nine months, she decided to become a missionary herself.

“I completely fell in love with Africa and its people,” Lumeya said. “I learned the local African language to be able to reach them on a more personal level.”

Lumeya spent 1987-1990 in the Central African Republic and then served in the Democratic Republic of Congo (formally Zaire) from 1991-2000.

Despite her experiences teaching various subjects, Lumeya’s passion lies in languages. In school she learned English, French and some German, in addition to her native Swedish.

“I remember being shy and self-conscious when learning unfamiliar languages,” Lumeya said. “This is one of the reasons I wanted to become a language teacher.

“I want students to see that knowing a second or third language is such an asset to your life. You meet new people, you’ll get more out of traveling; it broadens your perspective and it is a chance to get in touch with another culture.”

Lumeya came to the United States in 2000. She had substituted briefly as a French teacher in Sweden and was hoping that she could teach French in the U.S.

An opportunity arose when she heard about the retirement of former campus French teacher, Marc Ferguson, in Jan. 2004. Ferguson had taught choir and French on campus for 15 years.

“I am excited to be able to use the knowledge I have gained in school and through my traveling experiences to encourage high school students to succeed in their language studies,” Lumeya said.

Students hope that they can gain new perspectives from Lumeya and broaden their knowledge of French. Most experiences in class this year have been favorable.

“Mrs. Lumeya is really nice and she is a good teacher,” Kevin Reed, ?05, said. “I have learned new ways to pronounce things and different facts about French society.”

Lumeya hopes that all students will take their language classes seriously and get as much out of them as they can. She also wants to express to her students the benefits of traveling and using the information that they have acquired.

“There is nothing wrong with staying in your country,” Lumeya said. “But getting another perspective is worth a lot. I’ve benefited immensely from my experiences.”

For more information on French class, contact Lumeya at 299-1695, ext. 165 or email her at [email protected]. For more information about missions in Africa go to the Adventures In Missions website at www.adventures.org. For more information on learning French, go to www.bbc.co.uk/languages/french/index.shtml.” “Brianna Stobbe, Photographer” “Swedish born elementary teacher Christina Lumeya studied French in high school and later became a missionary in French-speaking Africa.” “Brianna Stobbe, Photographer” “After briefly teaching French in Sweden as a substitute teacher, Christina Lumeya came to the United States in 2000. She replaced 15-year veteran teacher Marc Ferguson as campus’ French instructor.” “Adventures In Missions

BBC: Learn French

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